Planning a training session - Beginner coaches - Lyneene Orsini

Planning a training session - Beginner coaches

Article by Lyneene Orsini

 

I’ve signed up to coach… What should my training session look like?

You signed your child up to play T-ball/Softball and then all of a sudden you found yourself putting your hand up to help coach... Here is a helpful guide to ensure that your training sessions are fun, engaging and promote skill development. 

First things first – how long should your training session be? 

Typically, the attention span of a child is equal to their age, e.g. a 7-year-old would typically have an attention span of 7 minutes, a 12-year-old 12 minutes etc. Small groups of children may be able to play together for 15 minutes or up to a 1/2 hour if they are engaged in novel, interesting play activities. So with this information in mind I would suggest that children under age 12 train for 60 minutes and children up to the age of 16 train for 90 minutes. 

How should I structure my training session?

Due to the age, ability and various levels of experience within your team your training session should be structured around short sharp activities with a game sense approach to learning the skills. Typically, a training session will look as follows:

Time

Skill

Activity

15 minutes

Warm up

  • Octopus Tag
  • Stretch
  • Run to positions

20 minutes

Throwing

  • Break the skill down into mechanics 
  • Target throwing
  • Speed Throwing

20 minutes

Catching

  • Demonstrate correct glove position 
  • Fly ball self-practice
  • Small ball toss

5 minutes

Warm down game

  • Volleyball using gloves and a softer ball

 

Buzz word: Game Sense

Game sense is an approach to modified sport that:

  • engages children in minor and modified game strategies and concepts where there are opportunities to develop both skills and an understanding of the tactics of the game.
  • encourages simple modifications (easier or harder) to accommodate varying ability levels and therefore maximises inclusion and challenge.
  • modifies game rules, the playing area or the equipment for the purpose of highlighting aspects of the game such as attackers sending a ball beyond the reach of opponents or ‘forcing’ a striker to hit a ball with a bat into a defined region.
  • promotes the development of ‘thinking players’ ("Game Sense Approach", 2019)

Here is a fabulous resource that I encourage you all to take a look at https://sportingschools.gov.au/resources-and-pd/schools/playing-for-life-resources/find-a-card/game-category#Striking and Fielding Games This site has over 50 suggested activities that are aimed at primary school to early high school students. The activities encourage children to have fun and get active by focusing on skills not drills. By focusing on having fun, having a go and getting active, game sense approach to coaching aims to provide children with positive sporting experiences to help develop a lifelong interest in sport.

Sample Training Session at the beginning of the season

Week 1

  • Introduction to each other
  • Introduction to the general skills of the game
  • Introduction to correct throwing/catching technique

Warm Up

Octopus Tag 

One person stands in the middle of the boundary area; in our case it was the gym. The rest of the kids line up at an end of the bounds and when the tagger says go they all run to the other side of the bounds. Whoever the tagger tags then has to stay and help him, except that the additional people that are tagged have to sit down, and can only help "It" by using their arms. This goes back and forth until your down to the last person who then starts the next round. This game is fun when played with a lot of kids. 

Run to positions

Players all stand behind home plate. Coach calls out positions and players have to race to the position. 

VARIATION: Players have to hold hands with a partner, Drop off: students eliminated if last to the position.

Throwing

Mechanics of throwing

Break the skill down into mechanics: (http://www.active.com/softball/articles/7-steps-to-perfect-throwing-mechanics-876582)

Target Throwing

Set up witches hats or spots of the fence that players have got to try and hit.

VARIATION: award points if they hit various targets. Throwing golf, place different witches hats over grounds, they have to try and hit the hats in the least number of throws.

Speed Throwing

Ensure that you teach players to catch with two hands and to try and catch and release in one quick motion. Players work in pairs and try to have the most throws in a set amount of time – or they try to reach a determined number of throws first.

Catching

Hot Tip: Hands Should Form a "W"

To get a better understanding of how your hands need to be positioned to catch the ball, take your glove off. Now, position both of your hands as if you were going to catch the ball. Bring your hands together so they are only about two or three inches apart. Take a closer look at them, what letter do they form? You’re right! It’s a “W.” This position is perfect for learning how to catch. Now, put your glove back on and you’re ready to get started!

Read more at: http://softball.isport.com/softball-guides/how-to-catch-a-softball

Fly-ball self-practice

Players take their glove off and toss the ball up in the air and catch the ball, they then progress to putting their glove on (make sure that there is plenty of space for kids to not hit each other).

Small ball toss

Players stand only 2 metres away from each other and toss the ball gently below the hip to each other.

 

Warm down game

Volleyball

Split teams into two – map out an area of play with a 2 metre dead zone. Players toss the ball underarm to the opposition. Team have to catch the ball before it hits the ground, if player misses it or it hits the ground next to the closest player they are eliminated. Game continues until there are no players left.

References 




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