We all know that every person is unique. Just like there are no two snowflakes that are identical so it is true that there are never going to be two softball players who are exactly alike. Coming to this realization will go a long way for everyone involved in our great game. Whether you are a coach, player or parent, coming to grips with the fact that a cookie cutter approach is going to leave everyone wanting more.
As coaches we often think that a certain style of coaching will work to reach all our players. We get caught up in the idea that it is the players job to match up with our coaching style rather than the other way around. In hindsight, I have fallen into this trap a million times. Whether it was in the way I taught a player a skill, worked to motivate them or communicated with them about their role on the team.
When we understand that every player has a unique background and that past will greatly influence how each player reacts to coaching we have started on a much more effective path. And this realization doesn’t apply just to coaches, it applies to players and parents too. Everyone has an idea of what they think “good coaching” is. For one person they may want, or at least think they want, a coach that is tough or nice or aggressive or passive but what you think you want and what you really need are often two very different things.
Too many kids think that when a coach treats one player on the team differently than they treat another that it means a coach is favoring that player. When a parent thinks a coach is coaching one player in a manner that is different than how they may be coaching their own kid that it might be favoritism, or apathy or even a lack of caring. When in fact, it might mean that a coach has really thought through what he or she thinks will really work best to reach that individual player.
When a coach is smart enough and dedicated enough to invest the time and energy required to find the right strategy to reach each player then everyone involved should be really, really happy. This coach has come to grips with the fact that no two players are the same and that coaching any two players the exact same way is fools gold!
Comments? Questions? Suggestions?