As a softball coach, softball parent, and former softball player, I have a pet peeve. Well, actually, I have more than one, but I won't bore you all with them. This one in particular I've seen too often recently and it REALLY drives me crazy!
Pet peeve: When the only thing a coach teaches their athletes is to “do as they're told” vs empowering them with the knowledge and tools they need to make smart decisions about their own training and performance.
This upsets me. It really does. I believe we, as coaches, should be building players up, not dumbing them down.
Don't be that coach. Empower your players!
How will players ever own, or take responsibility for, their training and performance if all they know how to do is what someone else tells them? When they've been trained to simple be a pack of followers instead of emerging leaders?
These same coaches rarely demonstrate, or pass on an understanding of, WHY players are doing what they do. I'm not sure these coaches know
WHY they run the drills they do or teach the methods and concepts they teach. All they seem to know is WHAT their team is “supposed to” do and how it should look.
These coaches typically do things because…
They think they're “supposed to”
Because it's what other teams are doing
Because they read it in a book somewhere
Because they saw it on a video
Because they heard about it at a seminar or convention
Because they saw it on tv
Because it's what everyone else is talking about
Etc, etc, etc
But they don't have any further understanding of the WHY behind it. They don't bother to dig past the WHAT. They think you can just throw a piece of a program into your team environment and it'll work just like magic. They don't understand that those pieces are part of a bigger picture and often don't quite work under different circumstances or without the other pieces of the larger whole.
These coaches can't tell their players what there is to gain from the methods or concepts they teach or when and how it should be applied. They mistakenly teach concepts as the ONLY way, usable in ALL situations.
Don't be that coach. Seek a deeper understanding of what you implement with your team. Know HOW you want it to work, WHAT you want it to accomplish, WHAT you want your team to get out of it, WHY you want to use it, and HOW it will help your players.
Any time you show your team something, or ask them to do or try something, you should be able to explain it well enough that they understand WHY they are doing it and how it can help them. They should understand the purpose of drills they do, otherwise they're just going through the motions and never get the most out of it. Heck, they may even miss the point entirely!
Do you have to explain every single detail of every single drill to every single player?
But you should be able to explain if they, or anyone else, ask.
It IS your job to understand the details so you can help any player get the most from their training. You should be able to identify when something isn't working and why. You should have ideas on how you can help them improve and make adjustments necessary for maximum results in training and performance.
Don't ever leave your athletes thinking, “This is stupid. Why are we doing this? It doesn't make sense. ”
This does not help you. This does not help them. It's a sure fire way to waste precious time and energy and undermines your players' confidence in your ability to successfully train and lead them.
Don't be that coach. Dive deep into your craft. Care about what you do. Don't just stop at WHAT to do, understand WHY you're doing it and HOW it works so you can give your players reasons to WANT to do/try it. Plus, it's the only way you can make timely, effective corrections and adjustments to keep your team moving in the right direction. Without this understanding, when things don't go well, you'll be left wondering why, with no clue what to do or how to fix it.
Don't be that coach!
Stacie started playing fastpitch softball at the age of 9 and Founded All About Fastpitch in 2004. Stacie also served as the Chief Marketing Officer at Softball Performance. She currently blogs about Fastpitch softball at StacieMahoe.com. Her perspectives on the game as a former player, current coach, and current softball parent provide unique insights on various softball issues. Visit her website at StacieMahoe.com
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