Stop Over Coaching

For the love of God and all things Holy, please stop over coaching your kids. Especially on game day, and absolutely, right before they walk up to the plate. At a recent game I heard one player get hitting instruction from four different people while she was in the on deck circle and heading up to the plate for her next at bat. Now, I get it, you all think you are helping. You are all doing this last second coaching because you want to see the player be successful and you all believe that your gems of wisdom are going to be the key to that player getting a hit this time up.

Well let’s take a look at this latest instance. The third base coach, first base coach, Dad in the front row and, some other random Dad, all yelled out instruction to the middle school hitter heading to the plate. All well intended but most troubling almost all contradictory to each other. So not only were we yelling out last second instruction that is mostly useless but we were yelling out last second useless instruction that could do nothing but confuse the hitter even more than she already was.

What we know for sure is that sports psychology has taught us a lot about how the mind works during the art of hitting and that the more distractions a hitter has going on the less likely they are to perform well. When hitters are swinging at their best they often talk about a sense of peace and calm when they get ready. They talk about how they were in the “zone” where the ball looked like a beach ball floating towards them. And we know that trying to think about a lot of last minute things is not a great way to achieve the calm mind that leads to the best hitters having their greatest success.

But Coach Tory, “When I reminded her to…she got a hit” is one of the arguments I get when I talk about this topic and my response is then, why isn’t she getting a hit every time? You are giving her the same type of advice before every at bat so she should be hitting 1000, right? Crickets!

Your last minute instruction doesn’t get her a hit. All it does is add another layer of stress and confusion for a player who is already usually a little stressed out. Try saying nothing for a weekend and let me know how her stats compare. If I am wrong we’ll give you a forum to tell the world but so far all I have heard is…crickets!

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?