WYC 076 – Youth Baseball – Colby Patnode talks rewarding Quality at Bats

Colby Patnode started coaching baseball 2 days after he finished playing for his high school team. He is now 24 and has coached multiple baseball teams, both travel and school teams through the high school varsity level. He lives in Yakima, Washington.

Twitter: @CPat11

Facebook: /colby.patnode

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‘Adversity turns weak teams into victims and strong teams into competitors’

My Cringe Moments

  • Colby was frustrated with a call – and instead of going out to talk to the umpire- he threw a baseball into the empty field next to him. Then to make matters worse- when a parent asked him to set a better example – he told the parent to sit down.

Communication with parents

  • The key is to establish communication early  and let the parents know you plans right from the start. Then over-communicate with everything going on with the team.
  • Colby asks the parents to not talk to him during games or practices – and to wait at least 3-4 hours after a game.

Teaching Skills

  • Never assume that kids know something until you see them do it – always start with the basics. ‘Learn your learner’ – Pete Carroll phrase – it starts with understanding each kid and where they are at
  • No live batting practice – Coach Patnode finds it is a waste of time for most of the players.
  • Keep everything competitive – Coach will break up into 2 teams of six and then have them all bunt and keep track of which team lays down more successful bunts, do the same with hit and runs, etc.

Mental Toughness/Achieving Peak Performance

  • Kids will perform much better when they play for each other vs. playing out of fear
  • Set specific and achievable goals, and then expect for them to be met by the players

Culture – Discipline/Rewards/Teambuilding

  • The more rules you have – the more rules kids are going to break
  • 3 rules:
    • 1- Protect the team
    • 2 – Protect the brand/game
    • 3- Do your best


  • Quality at Bats – Instead of keeping on-base % or batting average – Keep the stat that rewards the behavior you want – a hard hit ball – Then set your lineup based on the highest Quality-At-Bat %

Impacting Kids

  • Coach Patnode witnessed one kid who lacked confidence turn things around and start playing aggressively after the coaches continued to encourage him to play without fear of mistakes
  • Coach had another kid who when the pitching coach went to the mound to take him out said ‘Get off my mound, I’m finishing this’ – great example of a kid not giving up and not wanting the easy way out but wanting to grind

The One that got away

  • Colby shares a story of almost making it to the state championship his senior year- but getting upset by a team they probably shouldn’t have.

Best borrowed/stolen idea

  • Cobly realized that some of the high school kids were intimidated by having a coach who was so close to the same age as them – so he told them to call him Colby or Patnode – they didn’t have to call him coach
  • Whatever level you are coaching at – get to know the coaches at the next level, and ask them about expectations for new players – then implement some of these standards and let the kids know you are doing it to prepare them for the next level

Favorite coaching book/quote

Parting Advice

  • Treat everyone fair, but don’t treat them all the same. Understand why each kid is out there.

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