Welcome to Discuss Fastpitch

Your FREE Account is waiting to the Best Softball Community on the Web.

Register Log in

Practice Questions

Jul 16, 2018
118
18
Hello,

So it looks like I am becoming closer and closer to starting up my own team due to some issues I am seeing here in my area. The team itself is going to be blended with ages. Gonna have some young girls to some HS Freshman. Technically its a 2nd year 14U team. We're holding official tryouts this next weekend however the guy I am coaching with has told me that he knows quite a few of the girls so he expects to be able to field a team however he did tell me that these girls for the most part are cast offs from other teams so we figure that we have our work cut out for us.

Im planning on running tryouts pretty much how I want to run my fall practices. We might hit we might not. I planned to watch the girls take grounds balls (from SS/2B specifically) and have another group out in the outfield playing 4 Square so I can take a look again at footwork and overall athleticism.

To get to the meat of my issue - my daughter is going to play up with us who is pretty athletic but lacks proper foundation as she (and her previous coaches) just relied on her athleticism to get her by. So figured I could stop waiting for someone to do it I might as well do it myself).

Practices will be more about fielding than hitting since we will be inside soon enough and will hit then. Taking a cue from my sons HS Baseball coach (who actually has set up a support system of sorts for me and my coach for this team) philosophy of learning how to play both (IF/OF) and let the position naturally sort itself out.

Fully admitted - Im not a coach Im just a fed up dad if you will. I've been around baseball (yes I realize the differences) and played through HS before a bad attitude did me in. Any help and pointers are welcome
 
May 17, 2012
1,969
63
Just some observations that may or may not apply to you.

1. If you have enough players for tryouts you will want to measure actual metrics instead of relying on "the eyeball test". In other words measure home to first time, arm speed, bat speed, pitching speed, etc. The weakness of every coach I have ever met is pride. Get the measurable stats and rank them by position. Makes offers accordingly. Talent wins 9 times out of 10.

2. Teach them something new (defensive foot work, hook slide, anything really) and see how fast and how well they learn. Take notes and grade them accordingly.

3. I would definitely have fixed positions for each player offered a spot on the team. Secondary and third positions are great for all players development but teaching them all IF and OF positions is a time suck and a recipe for disaster.

Good luck!
 

Strike2

Allergic to BS
Nov 14, 2014
804
43
A counterpoint to the "measurable stats and rank them" approach...

I've seen kids with great God-given "talent" (speed, arm strength, etc) who were average-to-bad ball players as they got older. I've seen kids who were phenomenal in the cage, and then led the team in strike-outs. They had phobias that they couldn't shake, couldn't perform under pressure, or simply didn't have the motivation to learn the game. A few were very unpleasant to be around. Attitude, hustle and "want" aren't measurable, but those traits will make or break your ability to teach and ultimately, to compete and be viable. Yeah...the really unathletic kid with all the great intangibles may not work out, but I'd take the average athlete with solid fundamentals and a great attitude ANY day over the brooding track star.

Further, position flexibility on the part of your roster is vital to being able to field an effective team. Injury, illness, schedule conflicts, and teenage girl temper tantrums will mess with your lineup. Kids who can play multiple positions, especially including the outfield, are far more valuable in the short and long run. TB coaches do a disservice to players by not allowing them to work at different positions, if they are able. On DDs team, everyone works at at least one IF position. When we do more OF-specific work, everyone participates. Most everyone plays OF at some point each weekend as well as their IF positions.
 
Last edited:
Jul 16, 2018
118
18
Just some observations that may or may not apply to you.

1. If you have enough players for tryouts you will want to measure actual metrics instead of relying on "the eyeball test". In other words measure home to first time, arm speed, bat speed, pitching speed, etc. The weakness of every coach I have ever met is pride. Get the measurable stats and rank them by position. Makes offers accordingly. Talent wins 9 times out of 10.

2. Teach them something new (defensive foot work, hook slide, anything really) and see how fast and how well they learn. Take notes and grade them accordingly.

3. I would definitely have fixed positions for each player offered a spot on the team. Secondary and third positions are great for all players development but teaching them all IF and OF positions is a time suck and a recipe for disaster.

Good luck!
Thank you for your insight. if I may explain a bit further.

1. From my understanding the tryout is to find those extra girls to fill out the roster. The guy heading up everything has already talked to a few girls. Like I said he told me that talent levels will vary so we're not looking to register at US Elite or anything like that. Where we're from the C level is largely for rec teams and slightly above and thats pretty much the level we're going for. Im not saying its completely introductory for these ladies but I do plan on tightening the foundation.

2. Thats actually more of what Im going for. See how they take instruction and go from there.

3. There will be to some extent Im definitely interested in what they want to do however the more they know and can do I feel the more ready they will be which is the angle I take.
 
Jul 16, 2018
118
18
A counterpoint to the "measurable stats and rank them" approach...

I've seen kids with great God-given "talent" (speed, arm strength, etc) who were average-to-bad ball players as they got older. I've seen kids who were phenomenal in the cage, and then led the team in strike-outs. They had phobias that they couldn't shake, couldn't perform under pressure, or simply didn't have the motivation to learn the game. A few were very unpleasant to be around. Attitude, hustle and "want" aren't measurable, but those traits will make or break your ability to teach and ultimately, to compete and be viable. Yeah...the really unathletic kid with all the great intangibles may not work out, but I'd take the average athlete with solid fundamentals and a great attitude ANY day over the brooding track star.

Further, position flexibility on the part of your roster is vital to being able to field an effective team. Injury, illness, schedule conflicts, and teenage girl temper tantrums will mess with your lineup. Kids who can play multiple positions, especially including the outfield, are far more valuable in the short and long run. TB coaches do a disservice to players by not allowing them to work at different positions, if they are able. On DDs team, everyone works at at least one IF position. When we do more OF-specific work, everyone participates. Most everyone plays OF at some point each weekend as well as their IF positions.
On the flexibility part - it wouldnt be a specific "this what you do at 1st, then 2nd" per se but really just this is how you properly field a grounder, catch a fly ball etc. But I love the multiple position angle. i think as some start to show more promise in an area then we can get specific.

to your first comment - thats one of the big reasons why Im doing this. My kid is a great athlete with a decent grasp on the game but lacks the fundamentals. i assumed we would find a situation like my sons where someone would coach and teach my kid all these things and I could be encouraging etc. Then I heard him telling my daughter that she didnt have to run to 3rd base on a ground ball to the left side. Would have been good had there not been a runner on 1st as well.
 

Strike2

Allergic to BS
Nov 14, 2014
804
43
On the flexibility part - it wouldnt be a specific "this what you do at 1st, then 2nd" per se but really just this is how you properly field a grounder, catch a fly ball etc. But I love the multiple position angle. i think as some start to show more promise in an area then we can get specific.

to your first comment - thats one of the big reasons why Im doing this. My kid is a great athlete with a decent grasp on the game but lacks the fundamentals. i assumed we would find a situation like my sons where someone would coach and teach my kid all these things and I could be encouraging etc. Then I heard him telling my daughter that she didnt have to run to 3rd base on a ground ball to the left side. Would have been good had there not been a runner on 1st as well.
Definitely get a feel for what they WANT to do, and do your best to make that fit a good portion of the time. Make it clear that, sometimes, you'll need them to play somewhere other than their first choice. For players with great attitudes who just want to play...that will be a short and easy conversation. The ones with the more self-focused attitude will make that fault abundantly clear when you try to put them where they don't want to be.

I assume, because of your decision to take this on, that you know what those good fundamentals are. Given that, I'm curious why your DD wasn't learning that at home before you decided to coach? Yeah, I know there are some things that require more than two people, but most things that DD does in practice can be worked on with just me on our own. We also do things that she doesn't see enough of in practice, but needs to work on to maintain proficiency.
 
Jun 11, 2012
472
43
Make sure you have girls capable of playing all positions. By 14u most girls are better at one position than others and the last thing you want is a team full of shortstops and no catchers or pitchers. Some kids are just natural at one position. DD is an outfielder, predominantly center but plays left and right also but she’s a lefty who is too small to play first, she knows how to play middle infield but never will because she’s lefty.
At the bare minimum I’d soft toss to them to see how their mechanics are just to give you an idea what you’re working with especially if it comes down to 2 players with equal fielding talent.
 
Jun 8, 2016
4,637
113
Hello,

So it looks like I am becoming closer and closer to starting up my own team due to some issues I am seeing here in my area. The team itself is going to be blended with ages. Gonna have some young girls to some HS Freshman. Technically its a 2nd year 14U team. We're holding official tryouts this next weekend however the guy I am coaching with has told me that he knows quite a few of the girls so he expects to be able to field a team however he did tell me that these girls for the most part are cast offs from other teams so we figure that we have our work cut out for us.

Im planning on running tryouts pretty much how I want to run my fall practices. We might hit we might not. I planned to watch the girls take grounds balls (from SS/2B specifically) and have another group out in the outfield playing 4 Square so I can take a look again at footwork and overall athleticism.

To get to the meat of my issue - my daughter is going to play up with us who is pretty athletic but lacks proper foundation as she (and her previous coaches) just relied on her athleticism to get her by. So figured I could stop waiting for someone to do it I might as well do it myself).

Practices will be more about fielding than hitting since we will be inside soon enough and will hit then. Taking a cue from my sons HS Baseball coach (who actually has set up a support system of sorts for me and my coach for this team) philosophy of learning how to play both (IF/OF) and let the position naturally sort itself out.

Fully admitted - Im not a coach Im just a fed up dad if you will. I've been around baseball (yes I realize the differences) and played through HS before a bad attitude did me in. Any help and pointers are welcome
Good luck. If it truly is just an issue of bad coaching, it would probably be more efficient to just work with your DD instead of having to work with 10 or 11 other girls (and their parents)..
 
Jul 16, 2018
118
18
Make sure you have girls capable of playing all positions. By 14u most girls are better at one position than others and the last thing you want is a team full of shortstops and no catchers or pitchers. Some kids are just natural at one position. DD is an outfielder, predominantly center but plays left and right also but she’s a lefty who is too small to play first, she knows how to play middle infield but never will because she’s lefty.
At the bare minimum I’d soft toss to them to see how their mechanics are just to give you an idea what you’re working with especially if it comes down to 2 players with equal fielding talent.
You know I hadnt even thought about that but you're right. I know im going to be limited with some on where I can put them. The guy Im coaching with his daughter is primarily a catcher. She enjoys it and wants to keep getting better but shes rather slow. But whose to say she cant learn to fill in at first (barring she isnt already) Ill have more in another post.
 

Latest posts

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
35,316
Messages
518,880
Members
16,453
Latest member
hofmanball
Top