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What’s Your Plan to Improve This Season?

Army After Action Review Report Improve Season Skills Strategy Chemistry Recruiting

Unless you won it all, you’re probably disappointed in how your season ended. So how are you going to figure out the changes you need to make? Keep reading, I’ve got the answer for you!

Where do you start improving for next season – Do you need to hire different coaches, change the way you practice hitting, recruit better players? Unless you use an After Action Review your change might be completely random.

When your season is over what are you going to do to make sure your team gets better for next year? What will you do to make sure that the things your team was good at this year you’ll do even better next year, and how are you going to either fix or change the things your team really struggled with that hurt you?

While these are pretty reasonable questions, they’re ones we too often never ask ourselves following our softball seasons. Any of you that are in business recognize these questions as part of what’s called anything from a Debrief to an After-Action Review.

The “After-Action Review” (AAR) was originated by the US Army to provide some insight into military performance on missions. An After-Action Review is essentially a tool that explores what has happened with a team, why it has happened, and what we can do in the future to move forward and fix any problems.

Whether or not you’ve ever done anything like this before shouldn’t keep you from doing it now, while this past season is still fresh in your mind. To help make this AAR process much easier for you try to categorize the season into the following groups, and then smaller issues within each group:

Overall Team Skills:

  • Hitting
  • Bunting
  • Infield
  • Outfield
  • Pitching
  • Catching
  • Bench Play

Strategy:

  • Team Offense
  • Team Defense
  • Pitching

Team Chemistry:

  • Communication
  • Team Experience
  • Coach Interactions
  • Player Interactions
  • Enjoyment Factor
  • Parent Support
  • Administration Communication & Support
  • Coach Leadership
  • Player Leadership
  • Coach Followership (ability to follow a leader, follow instructions and be loyal)
  • Player Followership (ability to follow a leader, follow instructions and do your role)

Recruiting:

  • Athleticism
  • Academic Capabilities
  • Adaptability
  • Versatility
  • Teachability
  • Hunger & Determination
  • Toughness
  • Player 1st – Person 2nd or Person 1st – Player 2nd (this means are you going first for talent and then for good people, or is having good people most important? Sounds like an easy and obvious question, but give it serious thought)
  • Transfer Trolling
  • Quality of Parents

Overall Season Summary:

  • Win/Loss Record
  • Athlete’s Skill Level at Start of Season
  • Athlete’s Skill Level at End of Season
  • Quality of Execution
  • Team Competitiveness (Hunger & Toughness)

Within each of these categories you’ll want to list your successes as well as your shortcomings, and then come up with solutions and steps you’ll start taking NOW to improve your team for next year.

To help make it easier for you to evaluate this past season and to improve your team for next year download our FREE Softball Excellence After Action Review Template, and also checkout our book A Coaches Guide to Creating Team Chemistry and start getting better today!

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