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Million-Dollar Questions

million-dollar questions:

By Coach Gabe Katich 

These questions are some of the most common from youth baseball parents and are valid questions to be asked.

Baseball is such a complex and detail-oriented sport. Coaches have so many decisions they must make before the first pitch. Here is the formula for Tacoma Select baseball coaches to determine playing time. These philosophies are not unique to us and will run true throughout the player’s career.

Skill is very much a part of the process, but let’s start with the four top reasons your player might be LOSING playing timeno physical skill required.

ATTITUDE – What is the attitude of the player? Here are a few negative attitudes that can affect playing time:

  • The player is disrespectful to coaches and teammates.
  • The player comes to practice with complaints about being there.
  • The player pouts when things don’t go the player’s way during practice or a game.

FOCUS – Not listening to coaches during team huddles, meetings, or instructions will lead to less playing time. Not being able to show attentiveness and focus in a closed controlled environment will translate to not showing attentiveness and focus on a baseball field during a game.

EFFORT – Showing up is great, but the intent behind how the player practices is everything. Just going through the motions and expecting things to go their way will not earn playing time. Effort at practice needs to be seen.

COMMUNICATION – Many players lose playing time for being unable to communicate; they are simply too quiet. Being on the field in a game requires players to talk and communicate where the next play is. If a player is not displaying that during practice, it will translate to the game.


Now to what it takes to play certain positions and why your child might not be playing where you think they should be.

Positions are never random; there is always a reason why a coach puts players in certain spots. Here are some surface-level reasons for each

PITCHER – Does the player showcase the skill to throw consistent strikes > does the player have the ability to not let emotions get to them? (Lefty or Righty)

CATCHER – Does the player have the willingness to be a catcher and put in the extra work it takes playing that position > fearless > ability to constantly catch the baseball > able to communicate at a high level? (Righty)

1ST BASE – Does the player showcase the skill to catch the ball CONSISTENTLY > Does the player show the ability to communicate? (Lefty or Righty)

2ND BASE – Does the player showcase proper form while receiving a ground ball > does the player showcase the skill to throw the ball accurately > quickness > agility > has the ability to communicate throughout the game > high focus level? (Righty)

SHORTSTOP – Does the player showcase proper form while receiving a ground ball > does the player showcase the skill to throw the ball accurately > strong arm >  quickness > agility> has the ability to communicate throughout the game > high focus level? (Righty)

3RD BASE – Does the player showcase proper form while fielding a ground ball > fearless > strong arm > communication? (Righty)

OUTFIELD – Does the player showcase the ability to catch fly balls > does the player have the ability to focus and track down balls? (Lefty or Righty)

**Outfield is not a punishment or a negative. The best players in the MLB are outfielders Julio Rodriguez and Mike Trout, to name just two.

If you’re an outfielder, own it. Be proud of how you don’t let a ball get by you. That you take the best angles. That you always back up your teammates. Take pride in those diving catches and rocket throws. BE THE BEST OUTFIELDER YOU CAN BE!

How do coaches know where to play the players?

During practice, all players are put into the same drills for the same number of repetitions. During that time, players are analyzed and then put into positions where the coaches seem to be the best fit. Because all players do the same drills, coaches can determine skill sets and movement patterns. Our goal is always to put players in positions where they can succeed the most. Things can change from practice to practice or month to month, depending on how much effort the player puts in on their own. No one is cemented into one position. It will always be based on performance. If one is not performing, then the next player in line will get the opportunity.

If all players get 100 ground balls and your player only fields 15 / 100 but catches 60/100 fly balls, there is a great chance the player’s opportunities will be in the outfield.

As a parent, it is extremely important to remember that just because 9u, 10u, 11u, 12u little Johnny Is not a shortstop or a pitcher now, it doesn’t mean he will never become one. It takes time and constant work. It means that in your player’s CURRENT development process, he did not develop the skills needed for a particular position.

Communicate to the player that hard work is essential to reaching their goals, and nothing is given; everything is earned. If the player works hard and improves the skill set that might be missing, their opportunity will always come around eventually.


The batting order is quite simple. If you hit, you won’t sit. Hitters that put the barrel to the baseball more often will hit higher in the lineup. The batting order will change throughout the season based on performance.


Baseball is a performance-based game and is very much a team sport. Players are put into positions to better the TEAM, not the individual. 

Players will not always like where they are in the lineup; players will not always like what position they are playing. It is part of it. If that is the case, then the player must identify what skills they are lacking and work towards bettering them.

To wrap it all up, parents, please preach hard work, skill, and patience to your players. These will take your player to the next level on the diamond. Those same attributes will lead to success off the field as well. The support from you as a parent means everything to the player.

Opportunities are everything in this game. Once you get yours, it is important to be ready and deliver.

Gabe Katich


14U Head Coach | Director of Player Developmeent

Gabe brings an immense amount of baseball experience, energy, and fun to his team and the Tacoma Select Baseball program. Along with coaching our 14U Team, Gabe will be running pitching instruction and catching for all our age groups.

Growing up in California, Gabe played for the San Jose Lights Out travel team, ranked #1 travel ball team in USSSA Rankings. In high school, he was a two-time First Team All-League. Gabe played college ball at CAL State Monetary Bay, where he made Second Team All-CCAA. In his 2016 Season, he recorded 60 strikeouts in 71.2 innings. — After college, Gabe played two years in the Independent League with the Napa Silverados in the Pacific Association and the Santa Cruz Seaweed in the Pecos League