There comes a time in every season where things just aren’t working. The team isn’t playing well and the more you push as a coach, the worse it seems to get. How we, as coaches, handle this frustrating situation oftentimes determines whether a season is a success (youth sports success does not mean wins or championships).
This is the time to get back to basics.
Basics – Philosophy
Do you know what your coaching philosophy is? Do your assistant coaches? Do your players? Now is a great time to make sure everyone on your team knows exactly what your team is all about.
As a college basketball coach, I learned the importance of having Core Values to guide team culture. As a softball coach, our core values were very simple:
- Have Fun
- Get Better
- Give 100%
When our team struggled, it was easy to look back to our core values and see where we were coming up short. Our players were always aware of these core values and we talked about them all the time.
As far as softball specific philosophy goes, each coach is different. With that said, you really should know what you want your team to be about, especially as your division becomes more competitive. Our softball coaching philosophy consisted of:
- Infield – Always get get the out at 1st
- Outfield – Always keep the ball in front of you
- Base running – huge secondary leads and always see the ball
- Batting – Be comfortable. High hands. Be ready for your pitch
Basics – Fundamentals
Almost every time my teams have lost their way, it has been my fault. My ego has always wanted to “out coach” the other teams. That usually meant getting tricky instead of focusing on the things that make the most difference: Fundamental Skills + Repetitions.
If your team is struggling (or if it’s not), now is a great time to get back to fundamental basics. Get back to the fundamentals of good throwing mechanics. Get back to the basics of fielding a ground ball. Get back to the basics of hitting and spend some quality time doing some tee work.
When your season is over, you will never regret the time you spent developing individual skills.
Basics – Fun
Northwest Girls Softball is a recreational softball league. Everyone wants our kids to succeed, however, we need to keep in mind that there are no scholarships being handed out at Majestic Fields this fall. Some of our kids will go on to play college softball, but most will not. Many of our kids will go on to play high school softball, but most will not. As a coach, the most important thing we can do to keep softball in our daughter’s lives is to make sure that they have every opportunity to enjoy their experience with the sport.
Northwest Girls Softball is successful because of our people. Our girls love the game of softball because our coaches volunteer their time to be out on the softball field. It is impossible to express how appreciative we are to all our volunteer coaches.