1. He is a cheerleader, keeping the runner on first and the batter focused. I could have substituted "mental alertness specialist" or "personnel awareness specialist" or any other important sounding title for "cheerleader," but in essence he helps maintain focus of the players on the field. No small task coaching 7 year olds.
2. The coach plays an important role in relaying signals, indicating plays the manager has called from the bench to the players or other coaches. Most people assume the third base coach is responsible for receiving and giving the signals to players, and in most cases this is accurate. However, a wily manager may use the first base coach to relay his signal to the third base coach, or act as a decoy, flashing signs which are meaningless.
3. The first base coach serves as a traffic cop directing the actions of the hitter. As the hitter, especially a younger player, who is now a runner charging towards first base, will lose sight of the baseball. The player is taught, instead of searching for the ball's location, which slows the runner, he is to look at his coach, who is in his direct line of sight, for instructions.
The coach must know where the ball is located, will it be fielded and if it is, by who and what is the arm strength of that player. This must be relayed to the runner a.s.a.p. in order for him to know whether to run through the base, attempt to advance to second base or round the base waiting to see how the defense handles the ball.
4. It's not uncommon for a MLB first base coach to have been a prolific base stealer, as knowing the split second to initiate your move against the pitcher is, in itself an art form.
He has the sole responsible in advising the runner on how to take his initial lead, then secondary lead, then either exploding towards second base or quickly retreating back to first base on a pick off attempt. This entire identical coaching scenario plays out in the MLB same as little league.
5. He is constantly verbally coaching with a runner on first base.
"Be careful not to get doubled up on a line drive,"...
"There's 2 outs... you run on anything,"...
"Watch the bunt."
These are but a few of the constant reminders being told the runner, forever coaching, teaching and talking. The first base coach has more responsibilities than these listed, but this should give you the foundation to realize being the first base coach is a very important job.
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