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It’s a part of youth baseball that happens more often than you might think: Parents asking, Do Little League coaches get paid? Surely someone who puts in that much time, energy, care, and dedication gets compensated. Right?
Coaches and managers in Little League are purely volunteers, without pay. This is true for coaches in the Little League Baseball organization, as well as other entities that govern youth baseball like PONY Baseball, Cal Ripken Baseball, or Babe Ruth Baseball.
In fact, at least at the local level, where leagues and player divisions are managed by adults, Little League is a complete volunteer organization. That does not mean, however, that coaches can’t generate income away from the rules of an organized youth league.
In the modern era of youth sports, or this century, there are many adults nationwide who take payments from parents to teach baseball or softball on the side, individually for young players, away from a team setting.
What are called pitching coaches are common, because of the significant skills needed for the position. There also are hitting coaches, and fielding instructors. Some parents might even hire a running coach, thinking it could help their little ballplayer clear the bases faster.
These instructors typically charge by the hour, say starting at $20 per hour or session, and going up from there. Some do it nearly full-time when away from real baseball fields, say at a lighted batting cage or indoor facility.
Some may even organize clinics to attract dozens of players at a time for instruction in a particular area like hitting or fielding, or an entire day dedicated to every aspect of the game. Parents would pay that coach a fee to participate in such clinics.
Another element of youth sports that has exploded this century is what is called “travel ball,” with travel teams developed away from youth sports leagues and specifically to compete in tournaments regionally, statewide, or nationally.
These are private clubs funded by fees from the parents of the children playing, and possibly some sponsorship funding. These parents can pay a significant amount to participate, with an initial up-front fee to join the team (to cover uniforms, tournament entrance fees, travel, etc.). Some club managers arrange a monthly payment system.
How much those coaches are paid is up to that team, or a group of parents. If they want a nationally recognized coach, they can pool together funds to attract that coach to instruct their kids and manage them through competitions.
Travel ball clubs might host their own tournaments and draw hundreds of teams from around the regions to participate ~ and gain revenue from entrance fees. A serious coach of baseball or softball can almost start a business in such a manner.
But travel ball is for older players, most commonly starting in divisions for players age 10 and older. However, travel teams do exist for younger players as well. And they are not governed by Little League or the top national youth baseball organizations.
Participants in youth sports like baseball, softball, soccer, and lacrosse can jump from what is known as recreational ball to travel ball whenever they wish. However, they cannot participate in both at the same time, as schedules conflict. Some governing bodies forbid travel players from participating in what is simply called rec ball.
Believe it or not, some of the very top coaches with nationally recognized success can bring in $60,000 a year managing a travel club.
In fact, ZipRecruiter, a prominent national employment marketplace, states, “As of Jan. 11, 2022, the average annual pay for a Travel Baseball Coach in the United States is $45,020 a year.”
Which would amount to about $21.64 per hour ~ or what coaches giving private lessons might charge per hour of instruction. The difference is that travel coaches would make it full-time.
Note: many travel coaches are paid only a per diem to cover travel expenses, maybe $400 or $500 per season. Some of them charge parents to cover only actual expenses like uniforms and tournament entry fees. Whatever is left over might go to the coach, but running a travel ball team comes with many expenses including gear.
In short, it’s not an easy way to make money.
Aside from Little League, PONY Baseball, and Cal Ripken Baseball, many other organizations exist just to govern and provide uniformity for youth baseball play in the United States:
- American Legion Baseball
- USSSA Baseball (United States Specialty Sports Association)
- Continental Amateur Baseball Association
- Dixie Youth Baseball
- Dizzy Dean Baseball
USA Baseball is the governing body nationally for amateur baseball. Almost every major national amateur baseball organization in the United States is a member of USA Baseball, and as such adopt the national organization’s standards such as those for metal bats.
USA Baseball is the organization responsible for managing U.S. baseball teams in Olympic-level competition, or teams representing the United States in international play.
Youth Baseball Organization Jobs
All of this is not to say that no one involved with Little League or youth baseball organizations is paid. To the contrary, they usually have a chief executive-like officer overseeing the entire operation, who could be compensated with 6-figure salaries. Plus paid support staff.
Even though these youth baseball leagues are designated as nonprofit, or not-for-profit, a substantial amount of planning and administration is required at the national (and sometimes global) level. This involves a headquarters with staff of both leadership and administrative varieties.
Some might also have regional or state offices, though not in all instances are those offices staffed by paid personnel. Volunteers predominantly run youth baseball (and softball) leagues in America.
Serving as a youth baseball coach can be brutally difficult, both physically and mentally, and nudge some parents to wonder why they do it. In Little League and other youth baseball games, it’s for their child (or children), for the love of the game, or to give back to the community with solid volunteer time.
But not for the pay. Youth baseball coaches do not get paid for the practices, games, and parent management the work entails. However, some might generate income away from the fields by offering players personalized instruction by the hour, or hosting clinics for many players.
Question: Is this true for managers as well as coaches?
Answer: When talking about youth baseball, “coaches” refers to both the manager and his or her assistants. “Manager” is a term more for on the field, to designate which of the coaches makes decisions related to game play.
Q.: Do high school baseball coaches get paid?
A.: Yes, most of them. Some very small schools may assign a classroom teacher to do the duties, but even in such cases these sports coaches usually are offered some sort of an incentive for the after-school time. It might be in the form of a single per diem amount for the season. Bigger high schools may pay baseball coaches separately, and certainly college baseball coaches are paid.
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