How to "Talk" to Your Softball Squad

How you communicate with your players and their parents will go far in determining what kind of season you have. Quite simply, if you communicate effectively, your chances for success are high.

Here are three strategies you can use to communicate, teach and make a lasting difference with your squad:

K.I.S.S. Method

This stands for Keep It Super Simple. No matter what you are trying to teach, always remember to Keep It Simple. Over teaching or over-analyzing won't impress your players, it will only confuse them. Confused players won't be successful players.

The younger your players, the simpler you will have to make things. You might need to learn a new set of words in order to successfully talk to them but it will make you a much better coach.

Remember, you are not talking to impress anyone, you are trying to get your players to understand something. If your players are extremely young, say eight years old, then you might want to use as many one syllable words as possible.

Say "run" instead of "hustle." Say "be quiet" instead of "that's enough." Say "take the barrel to the ball" instead of "extend the bat into the hitting zone." Keep it simple, and use words they will understand. Use your imagination when making things simple.

Maybe you had a favorite teacher who had a special way of making difficult things easy to understand. Think about it for a minute. Try to remember some of the ways he or she kept things simple.

Occasionally ask your players, "Do you understand what I'm saying?" They will give you an honest answer. If they say "no," ask them to help you make it simple. Kids will admire and appreciate your honesty.

Tell Them What to Do

Have you ever wondered why someone will do something when you just told them not to? If you have coached before or have kids of your own, this is probably a very common occurrence. If you think about the times this has happened, you will probably remember having said the word "don't" as part of your instructions. "Don't walk this hitter!" or "don't come up on the ball!" are usually followed by walking the hitter and letting the ball go through the legs. Why?

Because the human brain cannot process "don't," so the player is left hearing "walk the hitter," or "come up on the ball." Negative instructions have no place in sports or in life. You can tell a player what not to do all day long, but then they still won't know what to do.

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