Top 5 Tips for a Softball Coach
09-07-2016 / By:
All softball coaches are the same in certain respects, no matter what their level of experience. You have a deep love of the game, and you love your softball team, too. But lately, they’ve been dragging. Low scores, obvious errors, sluggish play. You want to motivate your kids to play better softball, without breaking their spirit. Whether you are coaching boys or girls, kids or teens, little league or high school teams, here are the top five ways to improve their game, without lowering morale:
1. Drill, Baby, Drill
Consistency is the single best weapon that you can bring to improve the skill and morale of a team. Set up a schedule with clear-cut practice drills, such as basic catching, batting, pitching, and throwing. If your league does not have a set practice schedule, make it your first priority to check with parents and players to pick the best times for practice. At practice, help each individual team member to focus on strengthening their weaknesses and building their strengths. In the process of doing these drills, team members will also get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and learn to work together and support each other as a team.
2. Build Team Spirit
Speaking of working as a team, team spirit is one of the most important skills you can cultivate in your team members. While it’s certainly important to be a positive influence and build confidence through encouragement, it’s just as important to encourage players to be supportive of each other. Keep a close tab on how players interact with each other, and take swift action to discourage and eliminate any bullying. A team that works together for the betterment of the whole, rather than focusing on a few individuals seeking the limelight, is much more likely to have a winning attitude.
3. The Right Stuff
Getting the right equipment for players is one of the most critical elements of developing good players. Is the softball glove and the helmet the right size? Is the bat the correct weight? Having the best equipment for each player doesn’t necessarily mean getting the most expensive items. Sensible choices in equipment are not only essential to the performance of each player, it’s also essential to safe play. Do what you can to advocate for your players to all have the right equipment for size, weight, and skill level.
4. Never Play Favorites
No matter how well or how poorly each of your players performs, take care that you don’t play favorites. Rotate all equally, giving everyone a chance to play. If a coach is not fair to all players, it has a trickle-down effect on the team as a whole, influencing team spirit and performance. Treat every player the same, and make clear your expectations for practice drills and competitive play. Your fairness will win the respect of the entire team, and ensure that your leadership and direction are followed.
5. Practice What Your Preach
One of the very best ways that you can motivate your team is to talk the talk and then walk the walk. If you tell your players to never be late, make sure that you always arrive early as well. Teach good sportsmanship and team spirit by demonstrating it yourself. Be respectful and calm with players, encourage them even when they have made mistakes. Be approachable on and off the field and communicate team goals clearly. Being an excellent softball coach is one of the most challenging and rewarding roles around, but your behavior can have a lifelong impact on players, both on and off the field.
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