We have embarked on a very difficult and uncomfortable topic. The bad news, for all coaches. is that we are almost all, if not all, part of the problem. The good news is, however, really good news. Making the changes we need to make will only require a little, well really, a lot of practice.
Coachspeak, catch phrases, cliches and the like are all something that we can all improve on. It was a real eye opener for me to come to understand that I was just as guilty of this mistake as any coach could possibly be. So it is with a heavy heart that I continue to work on this project.
During our holiday camp I spent some time asking the following question:
Can you tell me some things your coaches tell you at practice that you don’t really understand?
The ages of the players varied but included a wide spectrum of players. The list ended up being very long so I divided it into some very general categories. What I think you are going to find is that the list of things we think are so clear, aren’t really that clear to our players.
Category 1: Defense!
Hit the Cut Through the Ball
No Doubles Check the Runner
Cut Off vs. Relay? Double-Play Depth
Jump on the Ball Look the Runner Back
Play In Play Deep
Pull Hitter Throw One Base Ahead
How many of these do you use at every practice? I’m confident there are many more terms used at the ball park that are creating confusion amongst our players when they are trying to play defense.
Now that we are starting to see there is a fundamental weakness in how we are teaching these things to our players, we have an opportunity to fix something that requires fixing.
Up next: Pitching!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.
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