Here is a scenario that plays out all around the country, in every sport, for both girls and boys!
Your phone rings and you recognize the name of the caller as the “Team Mom” for your daughter’s team. She is clearly upset and begins with, “John just got transferred to Buffalo! If you don’t volunteer to coach the team we are going to have to disband!”
You know your baby really wants to play recreation ball this season. She had a blast last year and really loves playing with her teammates. Fastpitch is so much fun and she will be heartbroken if the team folds up. So of course, you say yes.
Then it hits you…you don’t know anything about coaching softball. You played a little but have never coached an inning. You don’t know anything about pitching, almost nothing about hitting and have never organized a meeting, let alone a practice!
So in a panic, the question jumps into your head. “Where do I start?”
First things first. Plan on being enthusiastic and energetic with the team. If you have a smile on your face and a song in your heart, things will start off on a much better footing.
Even if you don’t know a lot, you don’t have to know much to know more than the kids you’re coaching. A little studying, watching a few videos and reading some Fastpitch Prep blogs will have you prepared enough to get through your first couple practices.
If you are coaching very young players, start with throwing and catching. These are the most fundamental skills but also the most important. If your players can throw the ball and catch the ball they will have a great chance to enjoy playing the game and, for you, to enjoy coaching.
Be organized! Have a practice plan! Sketch out a schedule that fits into the time you are allowed to practice. If you “wing it” your practices will get screwed up. If you work on something for the time you have allowed and it hasn’t clicked, move on and come back to it next practice.
Keep things in perspective! No one expects you to be the greatest coach the game has ever seen. Have fun and keep it fun for the kids and you will have solved a huge problem in a very positive way.
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.