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Thread: Coaching advice needed for 6-8 yr old girls team

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    Checking out the clubhouse Cuda's Avatar
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    Default Coaching advice needed for 6-8 yr old girls team

    I will admit I know minimal about the sport and am trying to learn as much as possible. I've got 13 girls from a six year old who never has thrown a softball to an eight year old that played select last fall.

    What training tools are best? Tee, balls, what else?

    What are the best resources for teaching them the proper swing, throw, etc?

    How important is the practice field? We were assigned a grass field, I'm thinking the closest thing to a real infield would be much better.

    What stations /drills would you suggest?

    Any input or help is greatly appreciated!

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    Finding my way 4 girl's dad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuda View Post
    I will admit I know minimal about the sport and am trying to learn as much as possible. I've got 13 girls from a six year old who never has thrown a softball to an eight year old that played select last fall.

    What training tools are best? Tee, balls, what else?
    A Bownet for sure. And I suggest more than one so you can break them in to groups and do different drills. I also used TCB balls often.

    What are the best resources for teaching them the proper swing, throw, etc?
    THIS SITE! Look through every post and see what info you can use. wassermanstrength.com has some great info on throwing and look through the hitting technical forum here for ways to teach them correct mechanics.
    Throwing Patterns: The L Drill vs High Level Throwing


    How important is the practice field? We were assigned a grass field, I'm thinking the closest thing to a real infield would be much better.
    REAL INFIELD IS MUCH BETTER but you can get by if your grass field is smooth enough.

    What stations /drills would you suggest?
    There are many I used last season when in your exact same spot. I'll try to get you a run down but to start they need to be able to throw correctly and catch the ball. Biggest issue I had.
    I also tried to break them down in to equal skill players working in the same group. You can do more advanced stuff with the better players and more fundamentals with the weaker groups.



    Any input or help is greatly appreciated!
    I was in exactly the same spot as you were just last August. I found this board and it has advanced my knowledge of softball immensely. So much so I felt confident enough to take on a 11-12 yr old rec team for the spring. Look through my posts because the majority were asking a lot of what your going to be asking. Haha!

    Most of all have fun and keep it fun for them. They are young and you want them to want to continue playing. GOOD LUCK!

    Ps find a real practice field if you can!
    Last edited by 4 girl's dad; 02-10-2014 at 12:05 AM.
    Do not argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

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    13th Step Softball Addict coach james's Avatar
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    For now as a beginner I suggest you buy a couple DVDs... first teach them how to hit properly and there are a lot of opinions to this, but the most detailed instructions to batting on DVD is gotbustos.com get the set.
    Also look into solid defence and no one is better than Howard Kobata. Also buy the set.
    Tools and aids are mostly gimmicks to give you a false since of security. Nothing beats proper mechanics. As far as the grass field....only if you have no other options! Try to get a real infield. Look at area schools, parks, churches, etc.
    I'm assuming this is a coach or machine pitch league?
    If so, plant the seed now as to who wants to pitch in the future. So your not caught unprepared next year.

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    Super Moderator Amy in AZ.'s Avatar
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    The first thing that I would do is have a parent meeting and lay down some ground rules. How often can your DD be here? Does soccer or piano, interfere with our practices?

    Cover how and who gets to play the most. (The ones that work and show up.) Can mom and dad come down to the dugout. (Yes, but please don't hang around there. You will need the girl's attention.)

    Then, show each and every parent/grandparent how they can practice with the girl. Anyone can sit on a chair and toss the child a ball.
    Softball really needs to be practiced at home.
    MTR - A foul ball is a foul ball. Nothing else, just a foul ball.

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    Certified softball maniac chinamigarden's Avatar
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    Be prepared to be surprised and be flexible enough to know that sometimes what you plan to cover and what you actually cover might be worlds apart. My very first baseball practice with a 6-8 YO boys machine pitch team started with a lesson on which hand the glove goes, and how to put it on. I hadn't planned for it, but out of necessity it was covered first.

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    Checking out the clubhouse mleber's Avatar
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    Hopefully you have some assistants to help. Keep lectures / demonstrations very short. Keep the practice moving - no down time. Be prepared and organized. Remember the age. It doesnt all have to be so softball minded. Example - warm up could be tag. I never thought hitting marshmellow would be such a hit. They even come in different sizes - smaller = more focus. Immerse yourself in the training, preparation and learning process. Throw in some fun and you will have a great practice. I try to do some silly 1 to 2 minute team building drills every so often. Live on this site and youtube.

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    Checking out the clubhouse CoachChristine's Avatar
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    I was in a similar position last year coaching my first coach pitch team with a wide variety of skill levels. My recommendations:
    1. Get lots of help. Good help, not the overly aggressive, I was a star (in my own mind) so naturally my daughter is better than all of these other girls.
    2. Schedule practices for as many days as possible. In my area, many girls take dance classes. So, I have M/Tu/Th practice. Everyone should be able to make one of those.
    3. Change things up. Don't practice the same way all the time. 13 year olds get bored with this, so you'll lose the attention of 6-8 year olds real quick.
    4. Practice in small groups. This is why you need good help. My AC would work with the infielders on play situations while I took the weaker players out in the outfield for basic skill building (fielding, catching, throwing).
    5. Make it fun! We do a variation of the Barney drill where they get to knock a big stuffed animal off a stool with the softball. One practice, I clothespinned paper plates to the backstop and we threw at those. That's a lot harder than it sounds.
    6. I let my parents know up front that players who don't pay enough attention aren't going to play in the infield. Even using the compression balls can be dangerous and is certainly scary if the batter smacks a line drive at you. If they aren't attempting to play the ball until after it rolls through their legs, they go in my outfield. I couldn't live with myself if one of my players got hurt because I was too worried about complete equity across the board.
    7. Stress the basics. Not just throwing, catching, batting, but also teamwork, sportsmanship, doing your best, etc. For instance, my players aren't allowed to comment negatively on anyone else's playing.

    I have so much more, but I'll stop now. Have fun with it! I loved it last year and get to do it again this year with 9 of the 12 we had last year. We start practice in 10 days!

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    Certified softball maniac Sweet Lou's Avatar
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    Keep it simple.
    Talk little show a lot.
    Don't spend too much time on one drill.
    Never have a situation where you are throwing to one girl and the other 10 are standing around shagging.
    And then follow nearly every thing Coach Christine says above, that's great advice.

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    I can talk softball all day Osric's Avatar
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    Agree with the above and I would stress: HAVE FUN, HAVE FUN, HAVE FUN!!!

    I wouldn't worry a lot about mechanics and form (except for the girls who are showing they excel). Don't talk much, show a drill/concept 1 time and then let them try. Use as many game concepts as you can: hitting marshmellows is good...i used popcorn and water balloons, tag/British bulldog for warmups, etc.

    At this age (all ages really), the more fun the girls have the more they will like the sport and the more they will come back in the future.

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    Keep it moving, keep it fun and do a lot of catching and throwing.

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