The 6 Dos and Don’ts of Youth Coaching: lessons learned from Mitch Williams

MLB Network analyst and former MLB pitcher, Mitch Williams, is the latest coach to give youth sports coaches a bad rap.  Williams, also known during his playing career as “Wild Thing”, has been put on an indefinite leave of absence from the MLB Network after he was ejected from his team’s tournament game at the Ripken Baseball Tournament in Aberdeen, MD last week. According to reports from NY Daily News, Williams ordered the beaning of an opposing team player, instructing his pitcher to throw a ball intentionally at the batter. He was also overheard by spectators heckling opposing coaches and “harassing” their players. He subsequently fought with empires, and his behavior got him ejected from the game and ultimately banned from the tournament. Williams isn’t the first youth sports coach to cross the line, in fact, it happens all too often in high stakes games, tournaments and even practices. Unfortunately, in this particular incident Williams committed some of the worst possible offenses for a youth sports coach. We highlight those errors and others in our list of the top Do’s and Don’t of Youth Sports Coaching:

Don’t belittle or embarrass your players as a means to prove a point or teach a lesson.

Do highlight areas of improvement and encourage behaviors you want to see upheld by your team.


Don’t fight with your own coaching staff or parents, especially in front of your team.

Do find a private place and time to discuss your differences in a reasonable manner.

Don’t swear at or around your athletes, ever.

Do find alternatives ways to articulate your concerns to your team.

Fiery coach

Don’t bully or intimidate the opposing team’s coaches or players.

Do impress your opponents with expert coaching and great sportsmanship.


Don’t fight or try to intimidate the referees.

Do ask for clarification if you don’t understand why a call was made.

Coack K

Don’t ever encourage violence or dirty tactics to your players.

Do ensure your players adhere to the rules of the game and safe play.

violence At CoachUp we believe youth sports are one of the best ways for all athletes to develop admirable character traits and we know first-hand how sports have the power to transform lives for the better.  In fact we’re a proud partner of the Positive Coaching Alliance, a national non-profit organization with a mission to transform the culture of youth sports so that youth athletes can have a positive, character-building experience. Let’s learn from the errors of Mitch Williams and clean up coaching youth sports. To learn more about how private coaches can help mentor athletes and help with individual athlete skill development, head on over 

Share this article to show your support for positive coaching and good sportsmanship across all levels of sports organizations.


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