First let me say thank you to everyone here! I've been reading this forum for a few days when I found it while googling for advice to help my daughter. You guys are a great resource for a dad who doesn't play trying to help a daughter who does.
Now, to my issue. I'm currently coaching two rec teams simultaneously, a 6u and a 14u. I'm doing a decent job with my rookies since I've picked up the fundamentals over the last few years, but I'm in over my head with my older girls. I never played softball except as a fill in player for our unit slow pitch team once in a while during my military days. I played Little League as a kid, but only up to age 12 when I switched to football. I'm coaching two teams because I volunteered to be a board member for our rec/B travel organization and we couldn't find enough coaches this year. I've coached middle school volleyball and wrestling, but this is my first time coaching softball.
My daughter started playing two years ago at the age of 10. She spent a year playing 10u, a year playing 12u, and now she's playing 14u because she was ranked by the board as a rec majors level pitcher even though she's young enough to play and pitch in our 12u division. I'm proud of her, but I was honestly expecting her to spend another year at 12u, so I would have been coaching a 12u team if they needed me to coach. I found out I would be taking a majors team after the tryouts so I had to draft a team with limited information, and feel like I've been playing catchup ever since and I'm letting my girls down.
It's not our team record. I could give two shits about that, and don't need to dominate a spring rec season to stroke my own ego. I look at these 12-14 year old girls and I look at the local high school team which has won 7 straight central coast sectional titles, and I don't think I'm doing enough to get my girls ready to play at that level.
So, I'm throwing this out there. Assuming you have an open minded new coach, who doesn't come with a lot of preconceived notions about how to teach or play the game, what would you want him to be emphasizing with middle school aged players to get them ready for high school level play? What books do you guys like? What video series? What websites? Do I need to calm down and keep focusing on fundamentals? Is there a good book out there on game strategy? I have several on drills, practice plans, positive coaching, and whatnot, but haven't seen a single book on developing a game strategy based on the strengths and weaknesses of your team, or even simple stuff like designing a signal scheme to use with your base runners and hitters.
Is it normal for a bucket dad to feel this overwhelmed the first time they coach a rec team, or am I in serious need of Prozac?