The Little League® manager and coach must be leaders. All must recognize that they hold a position of trust and responsibility in a program that deals with a sensitive and formative period of a child’s development.
It is required that the manager and coach have understanding, patience and the capacity to work with children. The manager and coach should be able to inspire respect. Above all else, managers and coaches must realize that they are helping to shape the physical, mental and emotional development of young people.
The Little League manager must be something more than just a teacher. Knowledge of the game is essential but it is not the only badge of a Little League coach or manager.
While an adult with training and background in the game is a desirable candidate for manager or coach, league screening committees should look for other important qualities. Screening of managers, coaches and others at the local league level who have contact with children is also important in attempting to discover those with a history of child abuse.
The heart of Little League is what happens between the adult manager/coach and player. It is the manager more than any other individual who controls the situation in which the players may be benefited. Improving the level of leadership in this vital area must be a continuing effort.
Children of Little League age are strongly influenced by adults whose ideals and aspirations are similar to their own. The manager/coach and player share a common interest in the game, a desire to excel, and determination to win. Children often idolize their managers and coaches, not because the adult is the most successful coach or mentor, but because the manager and coach are sources of inspiration.
Managers and coaches must be adults who are sensitive to the mental and physical limitations of children of Little League age and who recognize that the game is a vehicle of training and enjoyment, not an end in itself. It has been stated many times that the program of Little League can only be as good as the quality of leadership in the managing and coaching personnel. New leagues particularly, should make a determined effort to enlist the best adults in the community to serve as managers and coaches.
Anyone interested in being a Little League manager or coach should contact their local league president in person, and be willing to undergo a screening process that may include a background check, as well as interviews of those with personal knowledge of your qualifications.
Who is responsible for the conduct of the manager and coach? First and foremost, it is the manager or coach themselves. Each of us in Little League must take responsibility for our own actions.
However, as the chief administrator, the president selects and appoints the managers and coaches. As such, no person becomes a manager or coach without the approval of the president. All appointments are subject to final approval by the local league’s board of directors.
Only the local Little League board of directors has the authority to remove or suspend a manager or coach. If a parent or anyone else is dissatisfied with a manager or coach, they must present the issue to the local league president and board of directors. Because the local league president and board of directors are closest to the situation, it would be a disservice if Little League Headquarters became involved in disputes or personality conflicts between managers/coaches and parents.
However, any person who believes that a manager or coach (or any other Little League personnel) is, or has been, violently or sexually abusive to children should report the situation immediately to Little League Baseball International Headquarters as well as to the local police. It is Little League policy that no person who has a history of sexual abuse toward children be given any volunteer responsibilities in Little League.