The team scorekeeper is one of the most thankless roles on any youth baseball team. This role is typically filled with a parent volunteer. Being a scorekeeper is not an easy job. While being distracted by spectators asking ďWhatís the score?Ē, or being drilled by coaches on where the batter hit the ball in his first at bat, or being constantly asked by the anxious pitcherís parent about what his pitch count is, the scorekeeper has to pay attention to every pitch, ball, and strike; each defensive play and out; and every home plate appearance, hit, steal, and run. Not to mention, the scorekeeper has to occasionally coordinate with the other teamís scorekeeper while making sure both scorebooks are in sync with the umpireís count and score.
There is an alternative to asking a parent to take on the scorekeeping responsibility: designating one coach in a dual role as scorekeeper. There are many advantages to the coaching staff and team for having a dual-hatted coach / scorekeeper. First, since the scorekeeper is also a coach, he or she is more knowledgeable of the game and teamís coaching philosophy than the typical parent volunteer. In addition, the coach / scorekeeper has a better understanding of the league rules than an average parent, which is particularly important when handling and annotating player substitutions in the scorebook and coordinating those moves with the umpire and the other team.
The coach / scorekeeper can also keep the pitching coach apprised of the pitch count for each player that takes the mound, and advise the defensive coach on where to position the infielders and outfielders based on the hitting tendencies of opposing batters. It is much easier and more effective for the coach / scorekeeper to provide this information during game time situations than it is for a parent sitting outside the dugout to do so.
Another advantage of having a coach fill the dual role as scorekeeper is the coachís situational awareness of player statistics. As he or she keeps score during a game and over the course of a season, the coach has a good idea of a playerís batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, RBIs, stolen bases, walks, etc. Having this first-hand knowledge is invaluable during game time situations when calling plays. If the coach keeps cumulative statistics as part of his or her scorekeeping role, this information can also be used when providing regular feedback to players and parents.
Whether or not you have a coach or a parent fill the scorekeeper role, itís a good idea to designate a backup scorekeeper in the event the primary scorekeeper cannot attend a game. The backup needs to be knowledgeable and experienced on how to keep score. This should be one of the roles filled at the beginning of the season to allow enough time to provide training to new scorekeepers if needed.
The scorekeeper is one of the most underappreciated jobs on a youth baseball team, yet it is a critical function. If possible, designating a coach as the scorekeeper will benefit the teamís overall performance during games and allow parents to volunteer for other vital positions in support of the team (e.g., fundraising coordinator, concessions stand duty).
By Author. All Rights Reserved. Date
January 10, 2007
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