What Coaching Is All About

As coaches we have it in our power to make softball a positive and rewarding experience for our young ladies.  Conversely we can absolutely ruin this experience and ensure that they never again take up this wonderful game!  The worst thing we hear from a parent is that Mary is not playing this year; she really had a bad experience.  To provide a good experience for the girls, ensure that you:

  • Stress this is fun and not a life or death experience; they do not have to win every game.
  • Teach them to use the bat. Walks may win games, but learning to hit is what really matters.
  • Avoid isolating the weaker players - identify positions they are capable of playing and rotate them thru these positions.  They should not always play the same position nor always bat last.
  • Emphasize their successes not their failures, compliment, and provide positive feedback.
  • Take them aside to discuss a failure in the field, never yell across the field after an error.
  • Consider their personal success - gamble and let them try for an extra base especially that ‘once in a lifetime’ shot for a Home Run.
  • Be considerate of your opponent.  When way ahead, use position switches, a less dominating Pitcher, rest your best players, avoid the ‘steal sign’ - anything to avoid a complete rout.  Never announce to your fielders that the next batter is a weak hitter.
  • Allocate your time equally across all your players.  Avoid classifying your players by those you want to coach and those you have to coach!  Avoid giving the impression a weak player is a terrible imposition on you.
  • Tell them WHY - avoid instruction without explanation.  Be a coach, not a dictator.
  • Arrive early for games and practices - the girls should not have to wait on their coaches.  Never cancel a practice because only a few girls show up -- they should not be penalized.
  • Outwork your players.
  • Let your players know they are more than a position.  Take an interest in their non-softball activities - ask about school, show an interest in their other hobbies, etc.
  • Solicit questions and promptly answer them.  Don’t tell them later then promptly forget about it!
  • Keep it simple.  Don’t tell them five things they need to improve in their batting stroke and expect results - work on one or two things at a time.
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