Why do people coach youth sports? There are many answers to this simple question. They have a kid who wants to play, or they used to play and they love the game, or they have a relative who plays and they want to spend more time with their family, or they just want to get involved and give something back to help kids.
No matter what motivates someone to get involved with coaching, they all have one thing in common. They want to coach. Wanting to get out on the field and work with kids is a great thing but we have to ask a question. Are they interested in or willing to learn more about coaching this great game?
All coaches should have the attitude of wanting to be a lifelong learner.
We have discussed many times on our Everything Fastpitch podcast that I wish I had been writing blogs and doing the podcast much earlier in my coaching career because I feel like I would have been a much better coach. I’ve always been is willing to learn more about the game. Whether it was technical on the field information or the mental game or strength and agility, I was all in.
What’s the point? Coaches need to keep learning to give their players the best possible experience. If they have a better experience they learn more, have more fun and stay in the game for a much longer period of time.
Studies show that less than 40% of all softball coaches have any training in on field strategies. Less than 30% are trained in CPR. Less than 30% are trained in basic first aid. Less than 20% are trained in mental game or motivation techniques. So what was the standard of “training”? That they attended a single or session of a class, clinic, seminar or coaching school. A pretty low standard if you ask me.
There are dozens of ways for a coach to learn more about fastpitch softball. Our website fastpitchprep.com has tons of great information, including our YouTube channel, to help a coach learn more. There are coaches clinics all over the country. You have the NFCA convention where there are dozens of speakers who cover all aspects of the game. Facebook and Youtube offer thousands of videos offering all different levels of information for coaches at all levels.
The bottom line:
Coaches if you have an attitude of, I know all I need to know, you are selling yourself and your players short. You both deserve better.
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.