Okay, so we all know I am a crabby old coach who spends a lot of time yelling at the clouds and telling kids to get off my lawn but I saw something on Facebook the other day that really drove the point home.
Most of you also know that part of my “old man-ness” is my fear of technology and basic lack of understanding of social media. All this leads me to the post I saw which talked about how your team knows all the latest TikTok dances but can’t remember how to cover a bunt. Now you could substitute many other softball situations but the point is a clear one.
The kids we coach are really smart and are very capable of learning many things. They show it on a regular basis and the TikTok example is just one of many places where they demonstrate that they can learn almost anything that they value. There is no doubt that in my world learning TikTok dance moves isn’t very important, but to many of the kids we coach it is and that leads me to the understanding I came to when I saw the post.
We need to find a way to make the bunt coverage, or relay, or rundown that we as coaches think is so important just as important to our players as the TikTok moves or whatever else it is that they value so much. We have to figure out a way to make our game just as entertaining or fun as the other things that our players value so much.
How do we accomplish this task?
First, we need to try to understand what makes TikTok or other things so appealing to our players. Even though to many of us old coaches, these things seem frivolous or dumb, it is up to us to put our opinions aside and dig into why these things are so attractive and then apply it to our sport. To me it seems pretty simple: Our players like fun things and they like sharing in that fun with their peers.
Well, all their teammates are their peers so let’s start to make our game more fun. Let’s make our practices more fun. Let’s let them share that fun with each other and with other teams. Let’s stop treating the game like it is all “hard work” and allow our players to enjoy their time playing it a little more. Once we make the game as fun as they make TikTok we’ll be shocked at how much softball they can really remember and we’ll all have a lot more success.