Girls’ softball practice tips
Someone wise once said that championships are not won on the field entirely. It is true that there is where the final product performs, but the foundation for this product is built in practice. And practice makes perfect, right?
Coaching is not an easy task. There is so much responsibility, as you need to know how to approach your players, how to motivate them, and how to explain possible losses.
It does not matter if you are a beginner coach or a veteran, there is always room to improve or learn new things. We gathered some tips on this topic that may help you perform better as a coach.
If you are new to this business, you might feel a bit overwhelmed by the challenge of coaching young girls. But if you are committed, it will get better in time.
The best way to deal with young players is to have everything organized and have your team and practices run smoothly, just like a well-oiled engine. Reading books on coaching will also offer you a lot of information regarding the basics of teaching.
Even if you are not like this, you have to force yourself to learn this skill. As a coach, you will need it. It is much easier to manage things if you work according to the schedule, or prepare how you will conduct your drills.
For example, depending on the situation, you can map out your team’s schedule for the entire year. Don’t forget to include the pre-season, in-season, and post-season. You can then divide them into more manageable pieces and build mini-schedules.
One important aspect is to practice softball drills repeatedly until they do them correctly. Repetition is the mother of learning! As a coach, you should repeat each drill and work on it, until all the players do it the way you want.
Since there are various positions in a team, some exercises might differ. You can exercise general drills together and then split the team into groups. You can practice specific practices on fundamentals, and repeat them as many times as needed for each of them to get it right.
As an idea, you can begin with baserunning, and when you are done with this, you can continue with bunting. Some coaches consider that multiple bunting works for various game situations, like a baserunner on first with nobody out, and a base runner on second with one out.
Situational exercises are essential in softball practices, as you never know what the opponents will do in a game, so it is best to be prepared for anything.
Another thing you can work on is to analyze all the actions each player from a certain position can perform. Then act in opposition. In other words, defend or attack as each situation requires.
In a real game, your players will be much more prepared if they have already encountered these circumstances in their practice. Moreover, it is less likely that they will be taken off guard, and they will always be ready to handle any situations they might encounter. Let’s face it, we all like surprises, but the pleasant ones. We are less inclined to handle the unpleasant things well.
Even if your girls are young, we do not mean playing with dolls. After the practice is done, you can start a softball game with your team.
Whether a contest to catch baserunners in a rundown or a home run, these games offer your players a chance to apply what they have just worked on in practice. Moreover, they inspire the player’s competitive drives. You can also add punishments; for example, make the losers run some laps.
Age and level
Although the aspects we mentioned previously can be applied in many situations, they have to be used depending on the age of your players and on your team’s performance level.
You will not put the same amount of pressure if you are coaching recreational softball for ten-year-old girls. You will work differently with older players who are preparing for championships.
After considering this aspect, then you can plan the way you want to do the practice. One thing is for sure — even if it is a recreational activity, you should teach them how to perform the drills as discussed earlier. You never know what future softball star you might be training. With the right aligned fundamentals, she could actually get very far.
If you want your team to really learn this sport, you also need to make sure the players have the appropriate softball gear to practice. For example, the right softball face masks, but also the softball helmets are very important to prevent serious injuries.
The softball mitts need to fit the catcher’s hand in order for her to perform well. The batters should practice with the right type of softball bats, and so on.
Dealing with the players
Whether you are a very experienced coach or a beginner, you should know, if you don’t already do, that understanding how to deal with your team and each player particularly is crucial.
Managing children is a lot different from handling older players because they can regularly get only the most general ideas regarding certain concepts. So, for example, when you want to teach them about batting, you should explain the general idea of swinging the bat at first and only later delve into the mechanics involved.
These are just a few tips you can take into consideration no matter if you are an experienced coach, or if you are just at the beginning of your carrier. Still, even a veteran can learn new things, as there is room for improvement for anyone, no matter how good you are already — this is another tip you can teach your team.