More Coaching Resources

 

COACHING UPDATE – 

In this Coaching Update you will find fielding drillsbatting tips and a great training plan that might help your team secure some early wins this season.

Enjoy the read and be proactive to incorporate one or two new ideas for your next training session –your players will thank you!

FIELDING DRILLS

A strong defensive team is critical for any successful team.  If you can minimise the number of runs score against you, you will reduce the pressure on your team to score lots of runs when batting.  Kids love to hit and run, so if your team can make three outs quickly when in the field, your players can enjoy more time in the batter’s box.

Here is a VIDEO on YOUTUBE that has been prepared by Mike Candrea for USA Softball...These are easy drills you can incorporate at your next training session.

YouTube: Mike Candrea fielding drills 

BATTING TIPS

If your players are having difficulties hitting the ball or inconsistently making good contact with the ball, chances are they may not be watching the ball hard enough. 

There is an old saying... “you can’t hit what you can’t see”, so as a good coach, it is important to encourage your hitters to watch the ball all the way from the release of the pitch to contact with the bat.  “Keep your head on the ball” really means you need to keep your head down and eyes on the ball.

Here is a great video that shows a drill you can do at your next training session to get your hitters tracking (watching) the ball from the release point.  This is a good starting point to make sure your hitters get into the habit of watching the ball all the way.

Cindy Bristow video footage

SAMPLE TRAINING PLAN– “Failing to plan is planning to fail”

Training Organisation is a resource guide that will assist you to improve the quality and effectiveness of your practice sessions.

Softball Training Plan Format is a resource guide that provides you with information to prepare a training plan.

 Here's a sample softball training plan that will help you become a better coach, while giving your players the chance to improve at a faster rate and have fun.  Use this as a guide/starting point and make the plan your own, add your own ideas and activities that have worked for you.

Duration: The plan is for a 90 minute training with two coaches providing instruction. You can adjust per your needs.

Dynamic warm-up (10 minutes)
There is always the lap and stretch, but occasionally use movement preparation to prepare for game conditions, consider run throughs, fun running games, roller hockey.  Dynamic stretches are very popular at the beginning of your training.

Form throwing (10 minutes)
Start on one knee, and work up to a regular standing throw. Most throwing warm-ups are not supervised carefully and are therefore mindless. Have the players develop proper throwing and catching mechanics. Proper habits developed now will last a lifetime and really pay off down the road.  Focus on the throwing and the catching skills.  Consider footwork and transfers as the players develop.

Base running basics (5 minutes) 
Now is a great time to teach proper base running, while also developing conditioning and getting the players ready for the rest of the softball training plan. Split the players into two groups (one coach with each). Have half of the kids go from home to first and work on rounding the bag, while the other group is scoring from second base. Each player can get three to four trips around the bases in five minutes.

Fielding (20 minutes)
Break into groups of infielders, outfielders and catchers. Coaches should hit.  Create a sequence for third base, short shop, second then first base to make plays across to first.  Then create different sequences for example, hit to third and first, and they throw across the diamond. Right after you hit a ball to the third baseman, hit one to the shortstop, and have the middle infielders working on plays as second base. If you have more than one coach you can have more than one hitting grounders, or have one roving coach helping out with instruction.

Hitting (25 minutes)
Again, break players into groups. The age groups and how many coaches you have will determine how many stations you can have. The more the better, as this means more swings in the given time frame. Obviously with six year olds you cannot leave them alone doing tee work, but with older kids you can. I use many different stations with tee work, soft toss and live hitting. The goal is 80-100 swings total each in 30 minutes.

Conditioning (10 minutes)
Put some fun conditioning drills in my softball training plan at the end of training. The kids love it, and they really receive great benefit as well. Some examples are sprinting competitions, medicine ball throws, football passes, push ups and general physical preparation. Keep it upbeat, and keep it fun!

Cool Down (10 minutes)
Like the warm up, the cool down is really important!  Your players need to stretch down to recover and avoid injuries.  This is the easiest thing to skip at the end of your training...so don’t make that mistake.  Plan the cool down into your session (every session) and make it a priority.


HYDRATION HINT
Factor in drink breaks.  Hydration is important even when you are training in the winter or it is not hot.  Encourage your players to carry their drink bottle with them to each station.  Water is the best general hydration beverage, so either provide a large water bottle or access to a tap so the players can re-fill their bottle.

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