Teaching your players anything new is hard on them, and can be really hard on you if you’re caught off guard.
Discover the price your players pay for learning, and how best to handle it.
We’re always trying to improve our teams by teaching our players new things from skills to strategies to pitches, but there’s a cost for all this learning. Learning something new requires a lot. Not only do your players have to watch and listen, but they’ve also got to commit their brains to the whole thing. When you introduce a new drill they must listen to the instructions, watch whatever you’re showing them, think about how the whole thing works, understand what their role is and digest how it’s all supposed to go. All that demands a great deal, so it isn’t uncommon for the following to happen to your players whenever you present something new:
- They May Get Tired Faster Than Usual
- They May Appear Uninterested
- They May Be Quieter than Normal
- They May Be More Mellow
- They Might Be Confused
Too often, when coaches see their players moving slower than normal, or being quieter than usual, we tend to think they don’t care, or aren’t trying. So of course we yell at them, which only makes things worse. In reality, when we are teaching something new, a lack of caring probably isn’t the case at all. Learning demands so much from our players that the cost for all the attention and concentration required is a decrease in overall energy.
So cut your players some slack. The next time you have a heavy teaching day be patient and let them know that learning demands a lot. Tell them they may feel more tired than usual. The more you’re aware of the impact learning has on your team, the better they’ll handle the side effects and the faster they’ll embrace whatever you’re teaching them.
For more help with this topic check out:
Book: The Ultimate Softball Practice Guide