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Thread: New coach feeling overwhelmed.

  1. #1
    Checking out the clubhouse DarkHonor's Avatar
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    Default New coach feeling overwhelmed.

    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?

  2. #2
    Softball Junkie David Carter's Avatar
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    Well at 14U rec most of those girls won't be playing HS softball unless you are in a small town with a small pool of girls to chose from and if there are a couple you have probably already figured out who they are.

    What I would do is focus fundamentals, you can check out the internet...fastpitch.tv has lots of good video that can show you different drill instructional video etc, I think there are also some ASA sponsored videos with good trips and drills. You can always come to this board and ask for advice about any topic and we would be happy to help. Even if some plan to go on to HS ball stressing the fundamentals will only help them. Throwing correctly, throwing to the correct bases, teach a sound fundamental swing, help your pitchers understand the fundamentals, etc. Simple drills and situational practice scenarios help a lot. I don't think I could coach two team, I have a 14U rec team myself right now and that is more than enough.

    Good luck and keep coming back

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    Certified softball maniac quincy's Avatar
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    I am not recommending these over others but some DVDS.

    Fielding - Howard Kobata
    Pitching – Bill Hillhouse
    Catching - New England Catching Camp

    Where we are located DD needs to work outside of MS so her coach, who is great, has a limited impact on her making the HS Team. You do not have enough time in your day with all your players to get her ready.

    I am growing with my DD so I am sticking to her age or less. Great your DD made14U but I understand what you are saying, funny how the players get better even in Rec.


    P.S. Thanks for coaching a couple teams, good for you!

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    Super Moderator Amy in AZ.'s Avatar
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    Along with Quincy's ideas, I suggest you look on YouTube for Mike Candrea's fielding and hitting drills. You have to teach throwing. It is fundamental to everything else.

    For simple signals, I might use 2 hands in the air showing the outs. That would mean steal. Or I might use their last name, or I might shout out an even number. Or if there is a coaches box, I might stand on a line. Other signals can be their last name, their nick name, their number, etc.

    Feel free to PM us, by clicking on our name. Most of us like to answer questions. Look for our replies up under Notifications. Amy
    MTR - A foul ball is a foul ball. Nothing else, just a foul ball.

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    I can talk softball all day Pdiddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amy in AZ. View Post
    Along with Quincy's ideas, I suggest you look on YouTube for Mike Candrea's fielding and hitting drills. You have to teach throwing. It is fundamental to everything else.
    totally agree with that advise....the Candrea's videos are very good

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    Certified softball maniac coach james's Avatar
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    I agree with quincy and amy 100%
    And to add to it... Crystal Bustos video series on batting
    Last edited by coach james; 03-27-2013 at 01:14 PM.

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    Checking out the clubhouse DarkHonor's Avatar
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    Honestly practice planning is a big cause of stress for me right now. I feel like I need a couple extra hours in the day during softball season just for practice planning and making game lineups.

    My 14u's practice on Mondays and Wednesdays for 2.5 horus. The first half hour is pitchers and catchers only, the remaining two are whole team. We play one night game on Friday and one afternoon game on Saturday, except every third week when we have no Friday game and a double header on Saturday.

    A typical pitchers and catchers practice would be half straight pitching with the catcher signaling locations and the pitcher working on hitting her spots, then half something different. On Monday I had the pitcher taking a step back after every pitch she got over the plate, with the goal of trying to reach second base and still get the ball there then work her way back in one step at a time. My catchers were popping up and making the throw back hard to stimulate a first and third steal situation where we want to fake the throw to second to draw the steal from third and when my pitcher got back far enough she's basically working on picking off a steal. Last Wednesday I set up a Jugs screen with strike zone outline straps over home plate and had my pitchers take turns throwing from the rubber. They get a point if they hit the strap, lose two points if they put one through the middle without hitting the strap, and lose one point if they miss the zone. Scores reset every ten pitches. While they did that my catchers did blocking drills.

    Whole team practice is the non pitchers and catchers doing their stretching and warmup while my pitchers and catchers keep doing their thing since they've already stretched and warmed up. Usually we'll do base running after that (running out a throw at first, rounding, lead offs, steals.) Then I'll have them start playing catch to loosen their arms, throw ground balls back and forth, throw long pop flys, etc. By now it's usually 5:45ish.

    Right here I need some help. Some days I'll put girls in the infield and have a coach hitting to them from home plate while I have girls in left field and a coach hitting to them from right field. Some days I'll do an outfield station working on drop step, run backs, and pop flys. An infield station working on fielding ground balls and making the play based on where the coach running that station says the runners are. A tee station, and a toss station working on hitting. 12 girls on the team, three at each station, rotate every 15 minutes.

    Other days I break the girls into two teams and scrimmage the last half of practice. One coach is at the plate correcting the hitters. One is behind second base correcting the infielders. And there are coaches on first and third coaching the runners if I have my pitchers throwing, and one on third coaching the runners and one running the machine if we use that instead of having the girls throw.

    Written out like that it doesn't sound as chaotic as it feels while I'm trying to run it. There just aren't enough minutes in the two and a half hours to cover everything I want to cover. I feel like during a typical practice I'm lucky if I get to spend two minutes with each girl on the team. It also feels like they aren't getting enough reps at each station to really improve their skills. Does every coach feel that way?

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    Certified softball maniac MsDinosaur's Avatar
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    It's good that you're keeping your groups at stations small and rotating. Having girls waiting in long lines is bad. I agree with the Candrea folks. If you can add in his drills, your girls will get a lot more reps!

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    Certified softball maniac Sweet Lou's Avatar
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    DarkHonor, you may feel overwhelemd but it sounds like you are running a vey good practice. No matter how much time you have on practice though, there will always be things you want to cover that you just don't have time to get to.

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