If you’ve always fancied yourself as a coach and you can see yourself leading a new young team of softball players into the local league, look at this advice to help get you started. You may have the finest young players, a great clique of coaches and adequate funding but that doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to be winning game after game. You need to get parents on board, you need adequate facilities and equipment (softball bats, gloves, balls) and you need a commitment from everyone involved to train, practice and improve constantly. Resting on your laurels should never be an option. It’s time to turn your softball coaching dreams into a reality.
Developing an Ethos
The culture of any sports team can make or break its success. You need to be inclusive, encouraging and always seeking out ways to get the best out of your young players. Bullying and intimidation may scare kids into turning up to practice, but they won’t play well, parents will refuse to cooperate, and your team will have a high turnover of players. Instead, realize that setting up a softball team from scratch is a slow process. Encourage your players to make mistakes and get together as a team to learn from them. Watch games back on video and analyze where you can improve. Giving young players the responsibility to make themselves better means they will be motivated to play because they are passionate about the game rather than out of duty.
A team must feel motivated. Even if you’re going through a bad patch with results, don’t fall into a negativity spiral. You need to be encouraging at all times, however difficult this may be. Morale doesn’t just come from the coach. Invest in an awesome kit that looks professional and gives your players a sense of belonging. Put up some customized softball lineup cards so kids can see their names up in lights come game day. Little touches like this can buoy up a team and motivate them to perform even better.
Ensure that your coaching team (including you) is clued up as to the latest techniques, strategies, and rules regarding the game. Attending professional development training sessions for coaches will mean that you’ll be learning new drills from veteran coaches and managers of the game. Your self-improvement will then be fed down to the players leading to better on-field performances.
Looking to The Future
Starting anything from scratch can seem like a hard slog, and there may be times when you feel like giving up. Don’t. Every team must start somewhere. After the first season, assess your progress and analyze the stats from every game. Do you need some new pitchers? Is the mercy rule coming into play too often? Should you play a tad more conservatively? A post-season review will enable you to look to the future in a more nuanced and meaningful way. Improving should be your top priority, and even the smallest steps of progress will eventually build up to see your softball team reaching the top positions in your league.