Changing Millions of Lives Through Repetition

Changing Millions of Lives Through Repetition, Repetition, Repetition by Scott Knight

Changing Millions of Lives Through Repetition, Repetition, Repetition Written By Scott Knight

My last couple of articles was intended to challenge our local leagues to promote player development at the league level by implementing a quality and affordable “skills and drills” program. WOW, the responses I received were overwhelming and I am very proud to say that several leagues are in the process of starting a “skills and drills” program that will give league players in those communities an opportunity to receive quality and affordable training.

Now that we have established the “skills and drills” program we must execute the player development plan. We can sum up this “skills and drills” program in three words, “Repetition, Repetition, Repetition”. Many coaches spend way too much time talking and stopping practice to show one player what they did wrong while the other nine players are standing around waiting. We have found a way to teach the players correct fundamentals while keeping the practice moving at all times.

Our goal is to give every player a thousand catches and a thousand throws per practice. While this may not be possible that is always our goal. We believe that if we hit our players one thousand balls a practice they will improve at a much faster pace than a team that is hitting one hundred balls per practice. Some of you may be saying “if you do not correct their mistakes they will be developing bad habits” and to some extent this may be true but we believe the repetition is our first priority and our second priority is to coach them while the drill keeps moving.

Remember the key to success is “repetition, repetition, repetition”. The drills are very fast paced and again our goals for each practice is to hit each kid at least one thousand balls so we do not have time to stop and teach one player their mistakes. Listed below are some common mistakes that we see league coaches make in their practices and some advice on how we think they could be more effective and productive:

Problem 1 – Players are put in their position
Many league coaches typically place their players in their position and hit one ball at a time until the ball eventually makes its way back to home plate. On average this takes approximately 1-2 minutes per ball hit with most league teams. In our practices we will hit at least 30 balls per minute to players standing in a line at shortstop and throwing to a coach at 1st base. With that said our 10 players are receiving at least 3 ground balls per minute while league players are receiving one ball per minute per team.

Solution: If the kids cannot catch and throw very well you are wasting your time by putting them in their positions. Focus on teaching them to catch and throw before you worry about position responsibilities. You can be much more productive with one line at shortstop rather than ten players spread all around the field. The coach hitting the ball should hit balls as quickly as an assistant coach can feed them to him.

Problem 2 – Correcting Mistakes
How many times have you seen a coach stop a practice and spend several minutes coaching one player while all of the other players stand around waiting? After correcting that one player the coach will hit another ball to a different player and and likely have to stop practice again and correct their mistake as well. Again, while the league coach is hitting 2-3 balls per minute to his players we are hitting 30 per minute.

Solution: Place a good assistant coach at the end of the line and he can correct players after they make the play on the ball that was hit to them. The drill never stops or slows down for corrections. We can also correct mistakes with the “team” once we have completed the drill or have to pick up balls but keep it brief and get back to your next drill.

Problem 3 – Chasing Balls
When a player misses a ball or makes a bad throw most coaches “chase” the ball down and makes the throw before the next ball is hit. If you wait for a player to chase down their missed ball and make their throw you have just wasted at least 30 seconds of valuable practice time.

Solution: Start each drill with a full bucket of balls and do not “chase” any missed balls or bad throws. Keep hitting balls as quickly as possible and once the bucket is empty we will have the players “pick em up” and return them to the bucket. This is a great time for the coach to briefly correct any consistent mistakes they are making.

Problem 4 – Babysitting
Many league players are not accustomed to fast paced, hard hit balls but do not cater to these players. They are accustomed to taking lots of water breaks and picking lots of flowers.

Solution: Do not let them slow you down. Do not let them keep the more serious players from getting better. Do not hit the balls harder to some than you do others. Do not give any player a break unless the entire group gets a break. Take every second of every practice very serious and do not let weak kids slow you down but rather work hard to make those weak players strong by pushing them to their full potential.

Problem 5 – Young Players vs Old Players
Many coaches treat an 8 year old much different than they would a 12 year old. We see league coaches that are scared to hit a ball hard to an eight year old. Rarely will you see a league coach hit a line drive at an 8 year old or throw the ball hard to her. Normally 8 year olds are not expected to catch fly balls in the outfield. Therefore, when they play in a game they cannot catch hard grounders, pop fly’s, or throws being thrown to them. One league coach brought me in to help his team and he asked me to roll the balls to the fielders and the fielders would roll the ball to the 1st baseman because she could not catch balls coming to her in the air. Needless to say I told him I could not help them with bowling but I would be more than happy to help them with softball.

Solution: Treat an 8 year old just the same as you would a 12 year old. If you want them to make plays in games they must be able to make plays in practice. An 8 year old can do anything a 12 year old can do and that has been proven in my 8u program for the past seven years. They can catch line drives, pop fly’s, and balls being thrown to them. They can turn double plays. They can execute rundowns. They are like sponges and if you challenge them they will expand more than most coaches and parents think they can. One other piece of advice is to ask all players to wear defensive protective masks at the younger ages so the coaches will have more comfort in hitting them line drives, etc… and the players will have more confidence making the catch without the fear of getting hit in the face which can do long term damage.

If these 5 key problems are solved you are on your way to helping change the lives of your players and families. I personally believe that any child can become an elite softball player if they receive the proper training. We have seen thousands of kids come into our program not being able to catch and throw that are now elite softball players winning state championships and world series championships and this was done primarily through repetition, repetition, repetition.

If you are interested in starting a skills and drills program or you would like any advice of coaching youth softball please feel free to email me at thundersoftballcoach@gmail.com and I will be more than happy to help.

Fastpitch Magazine

Challenge To Change Millions of Lives Through Player Development

Scott Knight

Scott Knight

Written By Scott Knight:

Over the last twenty years I have had the opportunity to be involved with thousands of kids lives through team sports and specifically youth player development in softball and basketball. I do not have a degree and I am certainly not a “professional” in regards to coaching. However, what I do have is a “passion” and a “vision” to change lives through youth sports and player development.

As I mentioned in my last article there are millions of kids with potential to be elite athletes that are getting lost in a world of league softball where kids are being put on teams with coaches that have never played this sport and often times have less knowledge of the game than the players on the team they are coaching. While we appreciate the league coaches for volunteering and giving up their time we are also wasting the precious time for the players to learn and reach their full potential.

As the former President of a local league program, the biggest complaint I received from the parents was that their child was placed on a team with a coach that had very limited knowledge of the game and their child was not learning anything about the game. My solution was to create a skills and drills program at our local ballpark every Wednesday night and every Sunday afternoon to give the kids an opportunity to receive quality training at an affordable price. We charged $5 per practice and ANY PLAYER, ON ANY TEAM was welcome to participate.

The skills and drills program started with a handful of kids that were attending but through word of mouth and seeing players improve at a very fast pace, the skills and drills program eventually had hundreds of kids participating. The best news is the majority of those same kids are now teenagers that are winning state championships, World Series Championships, and searching for college athletic scholarships.

If not for that skills and drills program the majority of those players would have most likely been left behind with that same league team and that same league coach with no opportunities to receive fundamental training. For that reason, I am writing this series of articles, and today I am challenging our local league board members, league coaches, and league parents to consider implementing an AFFORDABLE skills and drills program that will give all of the kids in your league an opportunity to reach their full potential.

It can be done, because I have done it, and I want to reach out to anyone that is involved in a local league, where the training opportunities are limited, and TOGETHER we will make a difference in the lives of those players that want to reach their full potential.

To get started here are a few things that I suggest:

First, you must find an individual “coach” in your area that has a “passion” for the game, a “passion” for kids, and the knowledge and experience to teach the fundamentals. We are not looking for a “professional” coach (although that would be great) but we are looking for someone that in energetic, financially stable (this job doesn’t pay much), and someone that wants to accept the challenge to help us change lives through player development.

Secondly, in order for us to have a practice we must have a facility/field to practice on a regular basis. This field/facility must have lights because most of our work will be done during the evening. These facilities will need to be very reasonable in price because your skills and drills budget will be very limited in the beginning.

Lastly, we must “train the trainer” on the skills and drills program to ensure that we are offering a quality and affordable practice as often as possible. I can help with “training the trainer” and then we are on our way to turning those “C” class players into “B” class players and those “B” class players into “A” class players and hopefully they will eventually be college “scholarship” players.

That, my softball friends, is the challenge for now. If you can obtain a quality coach in your community, that is willing to step up and take the lead, and provide him/her with a facility to offer quality and affordable training we can make this happen and I will be willing to help you every step of the way… that is my “vision” and I challenge you to help ensure that all kids that have the desire and the work ethic to become elite athletes have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Softball Junk

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Millions Getting Left Behind In League

Scott Knight

Scott Knight

Written By Scott Knight:

Very few people reading this will know who I am in our great sport of fastpitch softball. I am simply a travel ball coach that has a passion for helping kids reach their full potential. Just the same, very few people reading this will know the names of millions of softball players around the country that never reach their full potential. Most youth softball players will never receive the knowledge and training that is required to become elite softball players. There are literally millions of youth softball players in our local leagues that never have an opportunity to become elite softball players because our local leagues are not providing quality education and training for those players. I personally believe that ALL youth softball players that have the desire and the work ethic to be an elite softball player can be an elite softball player if they receive the proper guidance and training opportunities.

This article is the first of a series over the next few weeks intended to challenge, educate, and inspire the local coaches and leagues to step it up and start “manufacturing” elite softball players. Our local leagues are currently accepting registration fees and placing potential elite softball players on teams with volunteer coaches that sometimes do not know anything about softball much less how to teach it. The result is a team full of ten or more players that eventually get left behind in our sport. Multiply those ten players by the number of teams in each league and now you can understand why millions of potential elite softball players are left behind playing in our local leagues and never have an opportunity to reach their full potential and most likely do not make their local high school team.

So who is at fault that these kids are getting left behind? In my opinion it is the fault of our local leagues. Rather than collect their money and put them on a team with a coach that is not qualified to help them reach their full potential put a program together that will give every kid in your league an opportunity to get better.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing articles that will offer advice and ideas to the local leagues to help them start ensuring that ALL kids in their league have the opportunity to become elite softball players if they have the desire and the work ethic to become elite softball players. Future articles will be speaking from my own experiences and how I was able to create a successful travel ball organization through our local league players. It can be done if the local leagues will be open minded that this is about the kids reaching their full potential and not being held back in order for you to keep them behind in your league.

Please stay tuned, join in with your ideas, comments, etc… and together, I believe we can all give more kids more opportunities to become elite softball players and NO CHILD gets left behind!

Softball Junk

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