Under normal circumstances, tonight would have been the 2nd game of the 2020 NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) best 2-out-of-3 Championship Series. We all know 2020 has been far from normal, but we still wanted to pay tribute to this awesome event.
Making it to Oklahoma City is the pinnacle of college softball. Eight amazing teams, 8 amazing coaches. We all think we could coach in the WCWS, but for fun, let’s see if we really have what it takes to coach in the most pressurized of situations.
We’ve all sat riveted – watching games, arguing with calls, amazed at the incredible plays and let’s face it, questioning coaching decisions. But isn’t that our job as coaches and fans? To question and argue and second-guess?
But could YOU do it? Do you have what it takes to coach at the Women’s College World Series? While there’s a mile-long list of all the details these coaches have put in over their careers, never mind to make it to Oklahoma City – I’ve boiled it down to a few general skills it would take to coach at the Women’s College World Series:
- Dedicated Delegation – This is far more than just surrounding yourself with the BEST people in the game, its making sure you’ve trained them to do their job, given them the respect they deserve throughout the year and now that you’re at the show, will you allow and trust them to do those jobs. This doesn’t just go for your assistant coaches, but your entire unit – including players, coaches, managers, trainers, sports information directors… – EVERYONE who is travelling with your team must be clear on what their job is and isn’t, be allowed and trusted to do it, and know their job is valued. Oh, and this started the day your team got together back in the fall, not as you boarded the plane to OKC.
- Calmness Under Fire – Everyone’s gunning for you in OKC so there’s nothing but “fire” there. As the head coach you’re the head of the spear. Everyone watches you and you set the tone. How you feel is how everyone feels, so the question is, can you feel like your normal self while everything around you is anything but normal? Nothing that happens at the WCWS is more important than at any other time throughout the season. No one play, no one pitch, no one game is more important than it’s ever been and those coaches who can stay “themselves” in this amped up environment are the ones in the best position to help their teams succeed. Are you up for that?
- Lazer Focus – Could you keep your focus centered on helping your players be at their best in spite of your desire to “win”, the distractions ALL around you, and your own wild thoughts. Could you stay focused on your team instead of the crowds or the cameras or the interviews. Look there’s Holly Rowe, wow that camera man’s in our dugout, we just gave up a grand slam and I don’t feel like doing the in-game interview, on and on and on. There are a million things pulling at you to take your focus away from where your focus belongs, which is with your players and coaches, just like it’s been all year long.
- Strategic Mastery – Most people will notice this one but it’s probably the least important of all of them all. You’ll need to make some moves and pick between some gut-wrenching choices. You’ll need to have done your homework and be as prepared as possible, but you’ll also need to make strategic decisions about your team as it is NOW. Not your fantasy team but the tired, injured and possibly broken down, worn-out team standing in front of you. You’ll need to harness everything within you to coach YOUR team through the all the pitfalls while you also coach against them. There’s a saying in strategy that goes – the bigger the game, the bigger the risk. Would you have the guts to take your biggest strategic risk in the biggest game of your coaching career, on the biggest stage in softball? If not, then chances are you wouldn’t make it coaching at the WCWS.
If you’re ready to improve yourself and your coaching, then we’ve got your next step: