A batting helmet must always be worn by players at trainings and in games. The only exception is when you are using foam balls and bats, batting helmets are not required. Batting helmets with cracks or missing internal padding must be replaced.
Keep a safe distance around the batter at all times
A player waiting to bat should be at least 4 metres away from the player swinging the bat. This area should be clearly marked with a hoop or cones. When a player picks up a bat for practice swings they must check the space around them and behind them to make sure they don’t accidentally hit someone.
Players on the batting team should be seated in foul territory well away from the batter. Players waiting to bat should be watching the ball at all time as foul balls can still be hit towards them
Make sure fielders are all watching
Make sure all fielders are watching the batter before the ball is pitched or hit off a batting tee
Ensure players are aware of their own safety
Reinforce that players also need to be aware of their own safety. Chatting on the side lines is fine but they need to be watching the ball and the batter at all times.
Always allow sufficient space between batting stations. Either have them all hitting in the same direction or away from each other.
Players must drop the bat after they have hit
Players must not throw the bat after they have hit the ball. There is a danger they can hit the catcher or any other players in close proximity. If the bat is thrown the batter will be called out by the umpire.
Warm up throwing should always be done in pairs, throwing parallel to each other. Allow at least 3 metres between pairs. If there is an odd number do not allow players to throw in a triangle. A missed throw could hit the other players throwing in pairs. If there are 3 players, they should throw up and back to the same person.
Make sure the person you are throwing to is looking
Players should not throw the ball to someone if that person isn’t looking at them. The player receiving the ball should provide a target by holding up both hands.
Catching fly balls
Players should be encouraged to call for fly balls. Players about to catch the ball should call out loudly ‘MINE’ to avoid collisions with other fielding players.
If a ball is going to land between the infield and the outfield, the outfielder needs to learn how to judge who could catch the ball. The outfield has right of way as they can see the play in front of them. If they can catch it they should call loudly call, ‘MINE’ so the infielder can get out of the way. If the outfielder cannot get to it they should call the name of the infielder. The infielder then calls ‘MINE’ and attempts to take the catch.
Pay attention in games and during training
Players should always be facing the field of play. If they are distracted or not watching the balls being hit or thrown, there is a risk they could get hit by an errant throw. Players that pay attention and watch the field of play will have time to react and avoid being hit accidentally. For example, players should not stand directly behind someone receiving a throw unless they are anticipating or expecting that the ball could be overthrown or missed.
Duty of care
As coaches and teachers you have a duty of care to provide a safe environment for children in your care.
Coaches and teachers should also assist children to develop a sense of responsibility for their own safety and to understand the consequences of their actions for themselves and others.
Hitting or pitching a ball
Have the pitcher stand to one side. In hitting and fielding games this is a useful strategy for players who don’t have sufficiently developed fielding skills or reactions time. Batters must hit toward the fielders, not at the pitcher.
A coach, teacher or umpire should call ‘PLAY BALL’ before play is started. Play must not start until this call is made.
Effective group management regarding the movement of players between activities involves:
- Ensuring you have everybody’s attention
- Providing a clear short message about what to do
- Choosing traffic flow arrangements that prevent participants from running into one another
- Ensure everyone knows about the traffic flow arrangements
Check the venue
As a coach you should arrive at your training venue early to check for any possible hazards such as pot holes, wet areas. Clearly mark these areas as out of bounds with marker cones and advice players when you address them at the start of training that these are ‘NO GO’ areas. If a ball enters that area it must stay there.
If you are sharing a training venue with another team or another sport, check with the other coaches regarding where they are setting up and what type of activities they will be conducting. This will ensure that teams and players do not encroach on each other’s space.