Coaching softball is not just a matter of running drills. There is actual teaching involved and I am amazed at how many coaches seem to bypass or forget about that part.
I recently watched some newer coaches coaching Little League baseball and I realized that some coaching mistakes are universal. The same mistakes that are made while coaching softball are also made in other sports as well. Take this teaching issue for example…
Some coaches skip this aspect altogether for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s because they feel the pressure of the season coming up. Sometimes it’s because they simply aren’t sure how to teach skills. Sometimes it’s because they feel players should already know certain things and they shouldn’t need to teach it.
I don’t care what age level or competition level you coach in, if players don’t know how to do something, whether they “should” already know it or not, it IS your job to teach them!
Where the mistake is made
It’s said that becoming good or competent at something or reaching a level of mastery happens in stages. First you learn the skill or concept. Then you practice it. Typically, you need to do those two things in order before you can master something.
Learn. Practice. Master.
Coaching softball successfully requires that you don’t overlook that first word…Learn.
Most softball coaches are great at the “practice” part but sometimes skip or overlook the “learn” part…
“Our team needs to hit, so lets throw the girls in the batter’s box and pitch to them and let them practice hitting.”
You can do that IF your players already know what to do, if they have already learned about hitting.
But if you have a newer or younger group of players who just stand in the box whiffing at everything you throw, chances are, you’ll need to back up a bit and put them through drills that allow them to learn how to hit. Don’t just keep throwing balls at them day after day and and expect them to make great strides.
You can’t just go from “practice” to “mastery” when “learn” never happened.
Coaching softball successfully requires the heart of a teacher, not just a leader or manager.
Written by Stacie Mahoe