Over the past two weeks, I’ve been chasing a high…okay maybe soul searching…an adrenaline rush, if you will. I’ve been chasing what I can only describe as “my love of the game.” I have ramped up my private instruction schedule which is only a few days a week for a small amount of time. Working with different levels of pitchers/athletes, it’s refreshing to learn first hand what they think about while I’m teaching them and when they play. I extended my hand to work with a coaching staff that I played for that is still coaching their youngest daughter this past weekend. I was itching to be around a team environment and coach people who want to get better and are open to tips. Asking more questions, being around more diverse athletes and learning from them is refreshing. It’s almost like this fall season, I am conducting my own sociology experiment on softball today and how it has evolved. It’s amazing, interesting, awkward, weird to learn things that have changed, need to change, and that probably shouldn’t have changed. This is all shaping my philosophy as a coach and in life. Here’s what I’ve come up with.
1. Athletes today are concerned with different things compared to when I was playing. They often worry/think about things they don’t necessarily need to think about. Be prepare for all questions, even the “off the wall” ones. Be appreciative of their questions.
2. Kids will still surprise you in a good one. I would expect common courtesy for people to say “thank you” and “please,” but people today often forget about that. Surround yourself with the people and athletes that practice common courtesy – those are the people worthwhile and are the most grateful for your help. This is the most rewarding part.
3. As a coach, we teach the basic mechanics and fundamentals – usually the physical aspects. Don’t forget about the mental game. More than ever in these days, it’s almost more important to take in consideration the mental well-being of a child when applying different coaching styles. Reinforcing positive thoughts and corrections are key. I’ve found that often times, breaking it down for the athlete and doing the thinking for them alleviates extra weight. Coaching them how to break it down for themselves when they get into trouble is how the athlete gets better once they have mastered their mental game.
I digress…I’m trying to do what I can to prepare myself for high school softball and to become a better coach.
Have a great week! Do something productive.