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Baseball Equipment – Checklist For Coaches

Welcome to the exciting and rewarding journey of youth baseball coaching! Your decision to volunteer is not only commendable but pivotal in shaping the experiences and development of young athletes. As you embark on this journey, having the right gear will set a strong foundation for a fun, productive season. This guide highlights essential coaching equipment, ensuring you’re well-prepared to nurture skills and teamwork on the field.


Let’s gear up for a season filled with fun, learning, and unforgettable memories on the baseball diamond! In this guide, we will review:

Essential Game Gear

For younger players, leagues often provide bats, helmets, and catcher’s gear, ensuring safety and compliance with regulations without the need for personal gear. That means you may have to schlep a large equipment bag containing the following items:

  • Baseball Bats: Essential to the game, these are typically provided by leagues for younger athletes, with specifications to match.
  • Catcher’s Gear: Critical for safety, this gear is provided for most rec players. It’s vital for catchers to wear full gear, including a protective cup, due to the position’s risks. Players who are also on a competitive team or tournament team will bring their own catcher’s gear.
  • Batting Helmets: Helmets are provided by leagues for younger players, with many requiring full cage helmets to enhance safety.
  • Game balls: Most recreational youth baseball leagues schedule around 10 regular-season games, in addition to playoff matches. Each team typically receives a box of game balls for the season’s duration. If you run out of game balls, your may league may or may not provide you with extra balls. So if there’s an option to purchase additional boxes at a discount through the league, do it. I usually buy two extra boxes. It’s always fun to reward a game ball to a player who have displayed leadership and teamwork attitude.

Lastly, you may also want to carry a spare fielding glove and a baseball cap.

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Health and Safety

Coaches are encouraged to be well-prepared for any scenario with essential safety equipment on hand. From my days as a recreational baseball coach, I can tell you that you cannot rely on league’s first -aid box that are usually attached to the dugout fence. Almost all leagues are volunteer-run and it is extremely difficult to have enough people to regularly check and restock first-aid supplies to multiple fields. You should consider carrying the following items with you:

  • First-aid kit: Your first-aid kit should include band-aids of various sizes, gauze, athletic tape, scissors, and tissues—especially for nosebleeds. Don’t rely on the small ice packs typically found in first-aid kits. Instead, opt for larger, adult-sized ice packs and store them in Ziploc bags for effective use.
  • Extra water bottles – Not all parents remember to send their kids with water bottles, and during the spring, the heat and humidity can soar, making it crucial for kids to have access to water at all times.
  • Contact list – Your league should supply you with a roster that includes player names, parents’ names, and their contact information. Always keep this list on hand!

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Practice Equipment

Practice is as crucial as games at the youth level, serving as the foundation for learning baseball’s fundamentals. Equip your practices with the right tools to ensure a productive session:

  • Batting Tees and Hitting Stations: For T-ball and certain 6-7 year-old divisions, you’ll need to bring a batting tee to games, although some leagues may provide them in a storage shed near the field. Batting tees are crucial for practice at all levels of baseball, especially for older kids, as they help refine hitting skills. Swing trainers and rebounders are also beneficial, allowing players to practice their swing repeatedly without a partner and support individual skill development.
  • Practice Balls:
    For enhancing safety and effectiveness in training, especially during catching and hitting drills, it’s beneficial to use softer ball alternatives. Tennis balls, wiffle balls, and racketballs are great for young players, offering a less intimidating way to practice while still promoting skill development. For those coaching older players, I’ve compiled insights and tips in my post, “How to Buy Baseballs – Guide to Baseball Buying Secrets,” aimed at navigating the purchase of baseballs more strategically.

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Accessories for Coaches

Paperwork and strategic planning are fundamental yet often undervalued elements for baseball team management, critical for both managers and assistant coaches.

  • Game Tracking: While traditional scorebooks have long been a staple, modern teams frequently turn to digital solutions like GameChanger to keep detailed records of each game. Despite the shift towards digital, the importance of maintaining accurate game records remains constant.
  • Pitch Counter: I strongly advocate for protecting young pitchers’ health by enforcing strict pitch counts. Using a simple pitch counter can accurately monitor a pitcher’s workload, ensuring their physical development is safeguarded and preventing overuse. For those utilizing GameChanger, pitch counts are automatically tracked for each pitcher, further simplifying the process.
  • Lineup Card: For T-ball teams, exchanging lineup cards is generally not a practice. In early youth baseball, attendance can be unpredictable; some kids may attend all games, while others appear sporadically. This variability makes it challenging to complete the lineup card before the game, as having fewer than nine players might require you to borrow one from a different team or call up a younger player. However, for teams of 8-year-olds and older, you can buy a pack of lineup cards that come in triplicates, facilitating easier management. For ages 10+ teams, many coaches prefer using GameChanger, which allows for the electronic exchange of lineup information. Personally, I find it to be easier to keep track of playing positions by paper; this is my free lineup template you can print and use.
  • Defensive card: Many youth baseball coaches use The Coacher (magnetic) board for assigning field positions due to its ease of use and visibility. I personally have used it but found their magnets to be very weak. For teams with older players, it’s recommended to print out a defense position chart and secure it to a clipboard. This clipboard can then be attached to the fence inside the dugout for easy access and reference during the game.
  • Bag or Bucket Cover for Coaches: Choosing the right coaching bag is crucial for managing your gear and reducing stress during practices and games. A good bag that is durable, spacious, and easy to carry, featuring multiple compartments for quick access to equipment like baseballs, gloves, bats, scorebooks, and more will come in super handy. I personally avoid bucket covers due to their limited storage.
  • Base Anchor Dig Out Tool: Bases often have metal poles for secure positioning, and on artificial turf fields, base locations adjust for various age groups. A dig-out tool is essential for clearing hole debris, ensuring the base sits properly on the field.
  • Fungo Bat: A fungo bat, designed for coaches, is lighter and longer than regular bats, enhancing control for hitting infield and outfield drills. Its design reduces swing effort, decreasing fatigue and allowing for more hits during practice. Fungo bats aid skill development by simulating realistic game plays, like tough grounders and high fly balls, improving fielding techniques and game preparedness through repeated practice.

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Through years of coaching, I’ve learned to refine my toolkit, adding a few essentials while removing many non-essentials. Consider this guide a foundation, but feel free to tailor it to your needs.

Remember, the key is to create a fun and educational environment for your players! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask by leaving a comment below.

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