5 Ways to Make Your “Everydays” Effective

Fastpitch Softball 5 Ways Everydays Effective Practice Work Re-Work Challenge Less Better Predictability Complete Skills L-R-F-S

Here’s the follow up from last Issue’s article about 3 Reasons Your “Everydays” Don’t Help – discover changes you can make so your “everydays” actually help your players get better!

Last issue we learned 2 critical factors that must be present for players to improve. Now see how you can ensure both are included in your team’s “everydays”.

Before discussing how to make your team’s “everydays” more effective, lets first review some key points that current learning studies tell us about our need to do things over and over again in a desire that they’ll make us better:

  • A player cannot improve (refine) or grow (develop) their skill if they are practicing what they already know how to do
  • A player cannot improve (refine) or grow (develop) their skill if they are practicing in an environment that does not challenge them
  • It’s not the work, it’s the Re-Work that matters

(If you want more detail on any of these points, you might need to review 3 Reasons Your Team “Everydays” Don’t Help from last issue. Or if you aren’t sure what “everydays” are, check out the box at the end of this article)

In the meantime, let’s explore the simple changes you can make to whatever set of “everydays” your team might currently be doing to make them more game-like so your players will be more game-ready!

The concept of practicing what you already know how to do is closely tied to it not being challenging.  If our “everdays” slide too far down into the routine, or fall into the “don’t have to think about them” department then they aren’t very far away from sloppy or careless or mindless. All of those things lead to a lack of skill improvement for your players.

So, let’s check out 5 Ways to make some simple adjustments to your “everydays” so they have more likelihood of improving your player’s skills and carrying those skills over into games:

  1. Do Less of Them, but Do Them Better – instead of doing 4 each of forehands, backhand and shorthops, do 6-8 total groundballs with a minimum of 80% concentration, readiness and finish. 8 with 80% ability beats 12 at 40% all day long!
  2. Get Rid of the Predictability – instead of doing 4 forehands followed by 4 backhands followed by 4 shorthops, do 8 total groundballs mixed up in an unpredictable & uneven fashion. The “not knowing” is a vital part of defensive readiness so help your players “get ready” by eliminating the predictability in practice.
  3. Practice the Complete Skill
    1. If infielders or outfielders – are practicing fielding groundballs or flyballs then follow them with a throw to their partner’s chest. Doesn’t have to be a long or hard throw, but fielding is followed by a throw so organize your everydays to be more game-like. It takes balance for a player to make a good throw after fielding a ball so help your players practice fielding first, getting balanced and making an accurate throw.
    2. If pitchers – are practicing spins then make your pitch spin, just do it closer and slower but use your entire arm motion.
  4. Practice on Your Edges – make it as challenging as each player can handle. If everything is easy, I don’t have to try – if everything’s too hard, I quit. What you want to get me to do is to try my best, so help your players try their best by challenging them just enough in the range or the speed of the groundballs or flyballs. And as Doug Lemov writes in Practice Perfect – we all need to keep in mind that as players succeed at skills we need to add some complexity; and as they struggle, we need to reduce it. Our teammates can understand this concept so they can apply these rules to their “everydays”.
  5. Know the L-R-F-S – Help your fielders know where they’ll throw the ball on every single play by teaching them the L-R-F-S, which means – know where you’ll throw the ball if it’s hit to your Left, Right, Fast or Slow So before every single ball in your “everydays” have the tosser help the fielder practice the LRFS decision by making up a speed of the runner and the base. LRFS is the key to what we always tell our players “know the play if the ball’s hit to you”.
What Are “Everydays”? I want to clarify for everyone readying this just exactly what is meant by the term “everydays”. If you had to identify 3 to 4 very basic skills critical for each group of players on your team to be able to successfully play that position – for instance, Infielders, Outfielders, Pitchers, Catchers –  and then you had your players practice each of those basic skills, say 5 to 10 times each, every single day – well those skills would be called “everydays”. They’re the building blocks for those players. So let’s take infielders – their very basic building block skills would be forehands, backhands, and shorthops, or at-me’s (balls hit right “at me”).  So you would break up your Infielders into pairs and have them toss each other 10 forehands, 10 backhands and 10 shorthops – every single day.  

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