5 Ways Softball Coaches Can Improve Their Communication

As a coach, how you communicate with your players will go a long ways towards determining your ultimate success. Most people do not verbally express themselves very well. We do a good job visualizing things, but do not do a very good job when it comes to verbalizing our thoughts and feelings.

Since your job as a coach is to teach and communicate, the inability to get your point across can be disastrous. Everything you do as a coach involves your ability to communicate.

More: 7 Steps to Softball Coaching Mastery

Here are five keys to effective communication you can use with your fastpitch squad:

Be Constructive, Not Destructive

Everything you say and do with your players should be constructive. Build them up, do not tear them down. If your players are going to be successful, they must first believe that they can be. They will not believe in themselves if they know you do not believe in them.

As a coach, build your player's confidence. Avoid saying things that will hurt their self-esteem. You can build confidence by being constructive and positive with your comments and body language.

More: Coach's Guide to Teaching Young Players

The Sandwich Approach

Along those lines, always use the sandwich approach when correcting your players. The sandwich approach is where you say something positive, which is the top piece of bread. Then you tell them what they did wrong and how to correct it, which is the meat of the sandwich. You finish with encouragement, which is the bottom piece of bread.

For example, if Sally let a ball go under her glove, tell her: "Sally, I like the way you moved toward the ball low to the ground." (the top piece of bread) "Next time, though, remember to bend at the knees rather than at the waist." (the meat of the sandwich) "You are really hustling today. Keep up the great work." (the bottom piece of bread)

This is a much more effective way of communicating with your players, and it softens the blow of constructive criticism by surrounding it with positive words and encouragement.

More: Ex-Player's Guide to Coaching Softball

Be A Teacher, Not A Talker

Instead of spending all your time talking, spend it teaching. Talk some, demonstrate some, take your team to watch another good team play, ask a friend who is a good player to come to a practice and show your players a particular skill, or get your team together and show them one of our instructional training tapes.

Get creative and teach rather than just talk. When you were a child you probably learned some difficult concepts through creative teaching. Teachers use songs and name games to teach lessons we remember for a lifetime. Get creative with how you teach various skills and drills. The learning process can and should be fun.

More: How to Plan Your Softball Practices

About the Author

The Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) is a volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization based in Oklahoma City, and is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States.

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