How often do you lose sleep over a coaching decision you make? Honestly, I never had much of a problem with losing sleep over coaching softball. It's not because I don't care about what I do. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I believe the reason I can sleep at night is because I make decisions based on what I really, truly, deeply feel is the best for my team.
When you put your team first, you have less coaching regrets. You also have to remember that softball coaching often comes down to…
- doing the best you can
- with the information you have
- where you're at
- in THAT moment you're in
You can't tell the future. All you can do is go with the information you have and make the BEST choice you can in any be given situation. No one makes EVERY right choice. Don't expect yourself to either. Expect that sometimes you'll wrong. Know that sometimes, even your best decisions and choices don't go your way. In other words, give yourself permission to be a human coach and don't be so hard on yourself when things don't work out.
Even the BEST in the game make mistakes, lose games, and even championships!
Just as a hitter can do everything she's supposed to do…
- choose the right pitch
- execute a great swing
- hit the ball just right
- run as hard as she can down the line
- and STILL get out
The same thing can happen to you as a coach.
A hitter can only control herself, the choices she makes, and the swing she executes, but even after all that, she is NOT in full control of the outcome of any particular hit. Just think of how many times have you seen a well hit ball result in an out and a terribly hit ball result in a hit.
Doing everything right doesn't ensure things will turn out exactly as you want. By the same token, making mistakes never dooms you to complete and total failure either! Never let a mistake, an obstacle, a frustration, or a bump in the road get you down for too long.
You can do everything “right” and still not get your desired result. That's not your fault. You can also do everything “wrong” and still achieve your desired result. That doesn't mean you don't have things to work on or get better at!
As much as you would like them to, you do not completely control results.
Take the advice you give your players about controllables. Control your controllables and let the rest go.
Regardless of how things shake out from a coaching decision you make, the bottom line is you need to…
- Do YOUR best in that time and place to make a decision based upon the information you DO have
- Make the call you can stand behind even if it doesn't work out (aka go with your gut)
- Learn from the situation regardless of the outcome
When all is said and done, make the call that's really tugging at you, jumping up and down, waving it's hands in the air, and calling out to you. If it goes great, file that piece of information away for the future. If it goes terribly, file that piece of information away for the future.
Learn to trust your gut!
The only way you learn to do that is to actually use it. Sometimes it may seem as if your gut betrays you. Remember, the more your learn and experience, the better decisions you can make. When you first start out, sometimes your gut will be wrong. Don't sweat it! It's part of the learning process everyone goes through.
Sometimes your gut is right and things still don't work out. Sometimes you just aren't really in tune with your gut and can't exactly tell what decision is coming from your brain and what decision is coming from your gut.
However, the ONLY way to strengthen the connection you have with your gut feeling is to actually USE it!
Good or bad, right or wrong, each time you go with your gut it's an opportunity to become a better coach! Going with the logical, textbook choice all the time makes you predictable. Predictability makes you easier to beat.
Learn to FEEL the game, become part of it.
That takes guts, not just coaching knowledge. It also takes time and practice to develop and get better at.
It's up to you.
You can play it safe and coach “by the book” or you can really immerse yourself in the game and become part of it. “The book” is yourself in the game and become part of it. “The book” is probably the more comfortable way of doing things in which you'll always have a logical explanation to defend decisions you make, but think about this…
Since when is success found inside your comfort zone?
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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