Coach Pitch is an instructional level. No Score is kept during play. All players must be given the opportunity to play every position equally over the course of the season, unless there is a safety concern.
Teams with less than 7 players are allowed to bat every player in each inning, unless the team on defense records 3 outs first. Teams with more than 7 players must bat a maximum of 7 in one inning, or stop batting after the team on defense records 3 outs, whichever comes first.
Coaches are allowed to be on the field with their team on defense, instructing the players on where to throw and how to cover bases. The number of coaches on the field is discretionary for your team. A good rule is 2, but more may be needed to keep the attention span of the players. Coaches should make the game fun for the kids. Having fun while learning is the best way to get the kids to retain the information.
Fielders must throw the ball to a teammate to record outs. A 2nd baseman or SS can tag 2nd base if it is convenient, as can a 1st baseman or 3rd baseman. Outfielders must throw the ball in, they cannot run into the infield and tag runners or bases. Base-runners are considered safe if an outfielder runs into the infield to record an out. We want to teach children to work together on defense, throwing the ball and catching the ball.
Pitchers must throw the ball to home if there is a catcher. Pitchers CAN NOT run home on a force out to tag home plate. There are no wild pitches in coach pitch, therefore there is no reason to send a pitcher home to cover the plate. This is the best way to avoid a home plate collision with runners coming in from 3rd.
On offense, a coach will pitch to the batters of his team. It is strongly recommended that coaches kneel down and be at the same height as the child batting. Standing and pitching to the kids does not provide the correct angle for a child to learn to hit from. A coach should take a pile of baseballs out to the mound with him. Each kid can have a maximum of 7 pitches. If a child cannot hit the ball after 7 pitches, a coach may move to the side of the batter and give tosses underhand so that the batter can make better contact. If needed, a tee can be used to allow the batter to hit off of.
There are no strike outs or walks.
At the Coach Pitch level, you can begin to introduce doubles. But there are criteria that you should follow. First, the team on defense must have enough players to play a full outfield. Second, a batter can only be sent to second if the hit reaches the outfield grass on the fly. Runner cannot advance based upon an error in the infield. The hit should be doubles-worthy to consider sending a runner to second.
Runner on base can only advance one base per hit unless the hit ball reaches the outfield on the fly. In that case they can advance two bases, but no more.
Managers must rotate players to different positions at least once per game. We want players to get accustomed to the different positions, but we also don’t want boredom to set in.
A player cannot play in the outfield more than 2 innings per game.
Outfielders must play in the grass.
Defensively, a Coach Pitch team must field an infield first, with a pitcher. A catcher is desired, but if playing short a coach can collect the baseballs. Outfielders are optional, but as stated previously if a team doesn’t have 3 outfielders than a team on offense cannot run out doubles.
Also on defense, you should consider introducing the concept of force outs and tagging runners when a force out doesn’t exist. The easiest concept for the kids to understand is having a 2nd baseman and SS cover 2nd on a force out, alternating depending on which side of the infield a ball is hit on. Double plays are allowed.
Sliding is not permitted.
At the end of game play, teams should line up on opposite sides of home plate and congratulate one another on a good game.
Games have a hard stop at 1 hour and 30 minutes or 6 innings, whichever comes first.
All batting helmets must NOCSAE certified and include a facemask or face guard. The Markwart C-Flap and other similar third-party helmet accessories are not allowed.
Coaches should hand out a game ball at every game and talk about the lesson that could be learned from that day’s events. Game balls should be distributed as evenly as possible throughout the season.