While you’re trying to get your players noticed by college coaches, here’s 5 things they’ll wish you had taught them.
In addition to helping them get noticed, teach your players how to thrive once they’re playing college softball.
Playing college softball is far different from committing to play college softball. Today’s travelball softball is obsessively focused on chasing the college scholarship by getting noticed, being seen and playing for the right teams in the right tournaments.
And while it’s important that college coaches see your players skills, it’s just as important that you teach your players skills that will help them once they’re on that college team. In the college game, we’re spending a good deal of time teaching what to me, seem like skills that our freshmen should have previously been taught. The time we spend teaching these skills at the college level is time these freshmen players aren’t spending on the skills that will ultimately impact their playing time and overall ability to enjoy playing the college game.
So, if you’re a coach that’s looking to really help your players make it on the college level, spend time each practice teaching the following 5 key things:
- Softball IQ – This is simply knowing the game. Help your players know where to make the right throw, instead of rushing the same throw every time. Teach them to know the speed of the runners before the ball’s been hit. These are things that drills don’t teach, and while drills have a place, learning about the game requires players to play more game-like situations in practice. Teach your players the game since it’s the game that players are working so hard to play in college.
- Daily Grind – College is hard, it’s not for everyone, and playing college softball adds a layer that’s even harder. Players need to get themselves into shape mentally and physically. It’s a long season from fall ball through possibly the Women’s College World Series, and it will require players to be strong, stay healthy, stay eligible and thrive under the grind.
- Hold Them Accountable – Players need to be able to think for themselves, make good decisions, talk for themselves and do their work. They need to do these things, not their parents and not you, their coach. Help your players learn to be responsible by giving them responsibilities. And then hold them accountable to do their jobs. Let the players clean up the dugout and field after a game or practice (not you), have the players setup and take down the equipment, and hold their effort level to a standard. While they can’t always control their execution and results they can control their effort – so hold them accountable to that. Every day. Every practice, every play, every game.
- Empower Leaders – To have leaders you need to teach your players to lead, and then give those leaders responsibility. Teach your older players to lead and give them the power to lead. Start small by asking them to lead warmups or explain the throwing drill for the day. All great teams have great leaders so start growing those leaders at a young age.
- Be a Good Teammate – And probably the best thing you can teach your players is how to be a great teammate. Teach them how to look out for each other. Give your players permission to hold each other to a high standard. Encourage them to support each other and insist that they take pride in their field and equipment by setting it up, taking it down and looking after it’s care and condition.
As a youth coach you play a HUGELY important role in the growth and development of your players. While you work to get them noticed by college coaches don’t overlook the skills that will benefit them once they actually make it there.
Our Coaching Certification Program Levels 1-7 will help educate you in the core softball skills required for success!.