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Thread: Rebuilding High School Program

  1. #11
    Administrator Ken Krause's Avatar
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    WHEREAMI is right about throwing. This is an under-coached part of the game at every level, yet the figure I've heard is that 80% of errors are throwing errors. Eliminate those and you'll keep runners off the bases. They can't score if they don't get on.

    I believe Dave Edwards is in the Indy area. Check him out for a pitching coach, as he is in line with what we believe here. I've coached alongside him at Coach James' Rick Pauly clinics. Pitching is definitely critical. You don't need the greatest pitcher, but you at least need competent pitching. The worse your defense is, the more dominating your pitcher needs to be.

    Offense v defense is a kind of chicken-egg thing. If you limit opponents to 1-2 runs per game you don't need that strong an offense to win. On the other hand, if you can score more than a couple of runs each game it takes some pressure of the pitching and defense. You kind of need to look at what you have right now and shore up whichever side will help you most right now as you work toward making both better. In other words, if your kids are already decent fielders but weak hitters, try to make them excellent fielders/throwers and limit the number of runs you have to score. In the meantime, encourage them to get hitting lessons on their own!

    Another thing to do is to evaluate the talent you have and work with that. If you have a team full of turtles, bunting won't help much. They're just going to get thrown out. If you have a team of rabbits, on the other hand, it could help make up for a lack of power. It's all basically Sun Tzu when you don't have the time to develop things the way you'd like right now.

    As for not liking HS coaches here, that's not really true even though it looks that way. What most here don't like is incompetent coaches, or coaches who refuse to learn anything new. Just asking the question you've already proven you are neither. Be the coach we all wish our daughters had in HS, and then share what you've learned, and you'll be popular indeed!
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  3. #12
    I can talk softball all day BadMonkeys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHEREAMI View Post
    start with stick'em drills, and throwing mech. Then bunting and running. Every practice. Have to start with simple stuff and build from there.
    What are stick 'em drills?

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    I can talk softball all day CoachJD's Avatar
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    There are two general reasons people here tend to be anti-HS ball/anti-HS coaches:

    1) Many, if not most, HS coaches are bad (almost every team we played last year, including the decent ones, had their girls warm up with wrist flicks).
    2) The level of play in HS ball is often not very good, and many of the parents here have daughters who play at level that's beyond what you'll find at many high schools.

    So what's the level of play in your conference?

    Was your school 4-20 because of school size (smaller population to draw from)? Lack of experience? Bad coaching? Was it something of a fluke year with lots of underclassmen?

    Since I'm in the process of building a high school program from scratch (we've only played 1 varsity season), I have tons of thoughts on this for you that I'll try to type up and send your way.

    Oh, one bit of advice: Learn pitching. Learn it so you can at least recognize some of the most basic flaws. It's a lot of work and takes time, but teach yourself to pitch (front toss at least). You correctly identify the importance of pitching, so don't rely on outsourcing the instruction. If you find a top-notch PC who can work with your girls, great. But odds are, that PC won't be there with them at practice every day. They may not be there at the games. You will be. So learn the most you can. The good news: Everything you need to get started you can find on this forum.

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    Coach in Training Spero Koulouras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndyHScoach View Post
    I know HS coaches are not the most popular people on this site but I am going to ask for some advice. I just want to see if my thinking is anywhere near correct.

    I coached almost 20 years ago when I was fresh out of college, where I played baseball for a couple years. Local HS asked me to coach when no one else wanted to. I basically used baseball knowledge to help build better fundamentals. Very lucky that there was a local pitching coach that was willing to help. (I know pitching is the thing to fix.)

    This year I took a teaching job at a small school and was asked to coach again. The game has changed a lot so I have been trying to study as much as possible before the season starts. Indiana is a spring sport. My thought to rebuild a 4-20 something team is start with defensive fundamentals and find a pitching coach (may have a former D1 player help).

    Obviously everything has to be worked on but I would think there has to be some priorities and an order of operation to get there.

    Thanks for any suggestions.
    -I do not have a daughter or relative on the team.
    There are a lot of great comments on this thread addressing program building. I'll suggest one simple resource - "The Softball Drill Book" by Kirk Walker. Is has chapters of drills for all phases of the game contributed by great collegiate coaches. Instead of spending hours writing practice plans just buy copies for all of your coaches and say "today we are doing #1/2/3, 17, 37, 57 ...". I bought copies for all my players, had them read the entire book, and each one of them select 3 drills that they would lead during practices. It was a great way to teach leadership as well as fundamentals.

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    Certified softball maniac GunnerShotgun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spero Koulouras View Post
    There are a lot of great comments on this thread addressing program building. I'll suggest one simple resource - "The Softball Drill Book" by Kirk Walker. Is has chapters of drills for all phases of the game contributed by great collegiate coaches. Instead of spending hours writing practice plans just buy copies for all of your coaches and say "today we are doing #1/2/3, 17, 37, 57 ...". I bought copies for all my players, had them read the entire book, and each one of them select 3 drills that they would lead during practices. It was a great way to teach leadership as well as fundamentals.

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    Without a foundation for your defense doing random drills will not make you better at softball. You need to pick a foundation (Kobata, Candrea, whomever) and focus on that. If you want to mix in some of those drills at the end that's fine but it can't be your sole focus.

    You can do drills for 5 hours a week on hitting and still not be a better hitter. You need a foundation.

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    Checking out the clubhouse IndyHScoach's Avatar
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    Why 4-20? Small school 2A in a small conference-do play bigger schools as non-conference schedule (I like that part, I believe play better teams to get better, to a point)

    I was not here last year, but what I have gathered from different sources are the following factors:
    1) Three different coaches in four years (last year coach left a week before season)
    2) Parents are frustrated and it has been well documented how parents effect a program
    3) Unrealistic expectations
    4) Coaches only work during season (3 months a year- I plan to be a year round coach for those that want the work, definitely not mandatory)
    5) Not many TB players- hope to change that some

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    Coach in Training Spero Koulouras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GunnerShotgun View Post
    Without a foundation for your defense doing random drills will not make you better at softball. You need to pick a foundation (Kobata, Candrea, whomever) and focus on that. If you want to mix in some of those drills at the end that's fine but it can't be your sole focus.

    You can do drills for 5 hours a week on hitting and still not be a better hitter. You need a foundation.
    100% agreed. We use Kobata for defensive foundation and Matt Lisle for hitting. The drills in the book are mostly complimentary to those foundation elements and are not randomly selected.

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    If you plan to coach long term the first thing I would do is go to the middle school and find some softball players and make sure you have a pitcher or two in the group. If not, talk a couple of them into starting now! Teaching defensive fundamentals will not help if you do not have a pitcher that can throw strikes!
    "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times" ~Bruce Lee

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    I'm a fan WHEREAMI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadMonkeys View Post
    What are stick 'em drills?


    We do this with rolling the ball too, middle, glove side, backhand, then go to bounce middle and so forth. Stick'it in the form of moving the glove to the ball. Some like soft hands, I like the movement to the ball on soft hit balls.
    Last edited by WHEREAMI; 10-12-2017 at 12:00 PM.

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  18. #20
    Administrator Ken Krause's Avatar
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    We always called those dailies. They are incredibly helpful. Our fielding improved considerably when we did this at the start of every practice, and before every game.
    Ken Krause
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