When coaching a youth softball team, the first thing you'll realize is that it's difficult. In fact, a youth softball team is a lot more difficult to handle than teams with older and more experienced players.
There are a number of reasons for this. First reason is that young players don't have enough knowledge and experience yet on how softball works. So, you practically have to start from scratch when working with them. Another is that they're kids, and you know that kids are a little bit more difficult to handle than adults. And finally, you also have to deal with their parents. Putting parents into the mix makes things a lot more challenging.
Yes, it's a challenge to handle a youth softball team, but it's something you can do with the right attitude and skills. Successfully coach your youth softball team with these 7 tips I have for you.
Softball Coaching Tip No.1: Learn
Learn as much as you can. Coaching isn't just about teaching your players how to do things correctly. It's also your job to learn as much as you can about the game, about handling your players and dealing with them.
You can learn these through books, seminars and other reference materials that will help broaden your understanding of the game and the psychology of handling a team. Invest in these materials because you'll need them if you want to coach your team well.
Softball Coaching Tip No.2: Simplify
Start with the basics. When you're teaching new concepts to your players, keep things as simple as possible. I mentioned earlier that young players don't have the prior knowledge yet of how softball works, so don't expect them to understand softball jargon and other complex concepts the first day they step on the practice field.
What you should do instead is begin with general concepts about the game. From hitting to throwing the ball, keep your instructions clear and simple. They'll understand you a lot easier that way.
Softball Coaching Tip No.3: Play
Keep things fun. Kids love playing games. And what's more, they learn things much easier when they're having fun. So, instead of putting them through grueling drills and practices, design fun drills that they will enjoy instead.
When they're having fun doing the drills, they won't perceive these drills as work--making them more open to learning new concepts. And an open mind is what you need from your players because they'll be able to absorb more instructions from you with that.
Softball Coaching Tip No.4: Protect
Start them early on safety and sportsmanship. The kids that you're handling are looking for role models, just like any kid would. That said, you're in the position of setting good examples on how to become a good softball player beyond merely learning the skills.
So, constantly remind them how to play safely on the field. Show them how each safety gear works, teach them to eat right and drink water or sports drinks regularly.
And teach them sportsmanship as well. Show them that losing isn't the end of the world. Show them how to accept defeat graciously. These things that you teach them will come a long way, even after their softball career is over.