Controlling your team’s environment during games starts in the dugout.
So make sure you know how your dugout can help you win more games.
I’m often asked what everyone should be doing in the dugout during games. From players to coaches to trainers to equipment to scorekeepers to signal givers to charters there are TONS of people and equipment and jobs going on in a dugout during a game so organizing them all prevents chaos and puts your team in a position to win.
While most of us usually have too many people and not enough space in our dugouts the things that we do have are the same people, jobs and equipment each game, and that makes planning much easier.
Experts say that controlling our environment is a sure way to take control of any situation and while we might not be able to control our opponent, there’s no reason why we can’t control our own dugout. So let’s take a quick look at things you should plan for and consider the next time your team enters a dugout:
- Behavior – People look to the group for their behavior so make sure your Seniors or veterans know what the expected dugout setup and behavior is so they can show the rest of the team how to do it.
- Setup – You might have to draw it out on a piece of paper to help everyone know where to go early in the season, it’s important to map it out clearly for everyone. Things that you need to make sure you think about and plan for are:
- WHO goes where? – Where do the coaches sit?, The pitcher currently in the game? The catcher in the game? All the remaining players?
- WHAT goes where? – Do the coaches sit on buckets and if so then where do they go? Where do all the bat bags go? How about the bats? The helmets? The catching gear? The team water? Where do you put the team lineup? How about the scorekeeper (in or out of the dugout)? How about everyone that’s charting during the game – where do they sit and what do they sit on? And if you have one, where does the trainer sit?
- WHAT NEVER goes where? – Catching gear should never go in the walking part of the dugout, bats should never go on the ground, NOTHING ever goes in the doorway…what else do you have on this list? How about cell phones? Make sure you have a cell phone policy for your dugout!
- What Do We Do When?
- We’re Up? – What changes in the dugout when we’re up? How does it change? When does the change start? And when does it end? Whose involved in the change?
- We’re on D? – Same questions when we go on defense? What changes? How does it change? When does it change? When does the change end? Whose involved in the change?
- Outsiders – Here’s a BIG thing you should think about as your dugout environment isn’t just the people within the dugout but also the people WANTING to be in your dugout.
- What can they do/ What Can’t they do?
- How should your players handle outsiders trying to approach them while in the dugout?
- Dugout Jobs?
- Charting pitches: Who will do it? Where will they sit? How will they do it?
- Charting hitters: Who will do it? Where will they sit? How will they do it?
- Bench players: Should they warm up at all during the game? If so, then when should they warm up (in between innings?)? Where should they warm up? And How should they Warm up?
- Pitcher warming up? Who will be the next pitcher to warm up? Where should that person warm up? Where should they warm up? Who should they warm up with? How will you let the coach know when the pitcher is warm?
Answer these questions and you’ll have created the perfect dugout environment to help put your team in a position for success.
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