If you have never taught or coached anything before, teaching a group of young boys or girls how to play softball can be rather intimidating. And as we discussed earlier, having played the sport does not necessarily mean you will be a successful coach.
At all levels of sports, the best coaches are usually the best teachers. Here are some tips on what it takes to be a good teacher of the game of softball and build confidence in your young squad:
Tip No.1: Explain the "Why's" Before the "How's"
Most people are naturally curious and want to know "why" they must learn something before they are willing to learn it. Kids are no different.
Players, especially younger, inexperienced ones, need to know what skill they are learning, and why. Therefore, before teaching the skill, first tell your players the name of the skill (i.e., hitting, throwing, fielding). Make sure your players understand what you mean, especially if the name of the skill is used for more than one thing.
For example, explain to them the difference between "catching" a thrown ball, and the position of "catcher." Then explain to them the importance of the skill, and where it fits into the game of softball. Give them a reason why it is important they learn the skill, and how it will help them become better players.
Tip No.2: Demonstrate the Skill
Nearly 83 percent of what we learn in life is from what we see, not from what we hear. In the learning process, seeing how something is done is critical to successfully performing the skill.
Proper demonstration is especially important for younger players who may have never seen anything closely resembling the skill they are being asked to perform. If you are unable to perform the skill correctly, find someone who can.
The following are some tips to keep in mind when demonstrating a skill:
- Teach in proper progression
- Always use correct form
- Show the skill several times
- Break the action into pieces and slow it down for the players
- Demonstrate the skill from all angles