Everybody wants to win softball games, and yet “winning the game” can often seem too big and vague. So, discover a simple way to engage your team in the little steps it takes to win.
As coaches, we know it’s the little things that win games, but your players might not really grasp that. Start using this Game Goals board and watch how things change.
We all say things like “we’ve got to get the bunt down”, or “we have to make better throws”, or “don’t let the leadoff batter get on base”. A softball game does come down to a string of little things done throughout the game. The team that does those things the best, most often wins the game.
That’s why I want to share a great idea I learned from a friend of mine, NFCA Hall of Famer Chris Bellotto from Florida Southern College.
If it really is the “little things” that win games, then here’s a way your players can be a part of creating their “little things” – in-game goals which they can measure during games.
Grab a whiteboard and 2 different colored markers. Then gather your team together before pre-game warmups. Each of the position groups within your team (your Infielders, your Outfielders, your Pitchers & Catchers) along with the team as a whole will split up and take a couple minutes to figure out their specific goals for this game. Then everyone comes together and with a coach writing, each group then states their 1-3 specific game goals for this game.
- Looking at the board to the right, the Outfielder’s goals are: Run through the Catch, make 1 Diving Play, and Communicate.
- The Infielders want at least 1 Diving Play, Turn bloops into outs and make 1 ESPN play.
- The Pitchers and Catchers want to have 10 K’s (remember, this is their board, so they’ll learn that these might not be realistic goals), 2 Walks (BB’s), Throw a Runner out Stealing and 0 Passed Balls.
- As a Team, they all want to Always be on the Runner, Perfect the Other Teams Cheers (not a fan) do at least 5 Cheers per Inning (again, not a fan), and Pick at least 1 Sign.
Place the board within view, somewhere in the dugout, and once the game starts each time one of these things happens, someone puts a checkmark beside that item. This Game Goals Board serves as a smaller scoreboard within the larger game. The more realistic these game goals are, the more likely they will lead to a successful game.
If you’re wondering why aren’t there any offensive goals on the board, there are. They’re listed on the sheet to the right of all the handwritten goals. And this picture shows a closer look at what’s on that list.
The list describes what they think are “quality at-bats”, and their goal is to get 17 QAB’s (Quality At-Bats) for each 7 inning game they play. And they’ll use the same scorekeeping method here, by putting a little check after each type of QAB they have throughout the game.
Break up your whole game into smaller, more manageable and measurable chunks. This not only keeps your player’s focus dialed in more, but also helps everyone see the small steps your team is taking toward the larger step of winning games!
For more help with your in-game play, check out the following:VAULT CLASSIC member then these 2 eClinics are already in your account – start watching them here!