Jun
13

Communication as a Coach

Communication as a Coach

“Overthinking. The art of creating problems that aren’t even there.”

Our words affect our athletes’ mindset, performance, and communicative comfort. Our words can either make or break a situation, create barriers or paths, trigger emotional states and create a lack in confidence, or change behavior patterns. As a coach, we should be their energizer, encourager, teacher, listener, guide, counselor, and instructor. Yes, we will get frustrated with them when they are not playing up to their potential, not meeting expectations, and getting into a rut, but we have to understand that is part of the game, and it is going to happen. Instead of scaring them and yelling at them consistently, we need to communicate; explain, teach, and create an understanding. If we are constantly yelling and using demeaning words, we are not taking advantage of that teachable moment; our athletes are going to freeze, play scared, and hinder their progress in the sport. I’m not saying as a coach we will never yell, and I am not saying  every single athlete will freeze and crumble emotionally with yelling, some feed off of that, but our choice in words are incredibly important. They send a message, and that message should be a moment that helps them, not discourages them.

 Mindset:

Demeaning words create a variety of thoughts, emotions, and behavior including but not limited to:

Overthinking

Being scared of failing

Afraid of disappointing coach and/or parents

Occupied mind on the field and in the batter’s box

Constantly needing acceptance

Worried/focused on pleasing others

Not being in the present moment

Losing awareness of each situation in the game

Bad attitudes

Quitting

Performance:

Encouraging words have a way of lighting a confident flame within the hearts of our athletes. When an athlete is given words that are motivating, they start to not only gain confidence in themselves, but they also bring a confident energy to the team. Each individual athlete has an influence on their teammates, and it is up to us to make sure that influence is positive, uplifting, and motivating, because when one athlete has a bad attitude and behavior, it starts to bring each athlete down and the entire team down, causing problems on the field and in their mind. They will overthink, lose focus, and stop performing at their best. The lack of focus and the important resetting of the mind that clears the mistakes or struggle that occurred and moves them onward in the game is incredibly important, because if we allow them to dwell, pout, and have bad attitudes, their performance and their teams performance will sink under their true level of play.

Communication:

Whether it is before, during, or after a game, the words we use set the tone and energy as the season moves forward. As coaches we will get mad and frustrated and speak to our athletes with strict, stern, and bold words as we explain our opinions of their game performance, and it becomes necessary in certain situations, but if we are constantly demeaning our athletes, picking them apart, and placing blame on individual athletes, we are not doing our job as a coach to TEACH . We are bringing them down, causing fear, disappointment, creating barriers, and losing confidence from the athletes whether it is in themselves, in the team, or in their coaches. We will point out what we saw, what we think, and what we expect, but it is important to have empathy, to instruct, guide, and HELP our athletes learn the game, learn who they are as individual athletes, who they want to be, who they are as a team, and what they want to be as a whole. Whether it was great game or a bad game, there is something to be learned and something to be taught, and if we don’t take advantage of those teaching opportunities, we are letting our athletes down and we are letting the team down. Communication is key in creating stepping stones for our athletes and team, and if we don’t use it correctly based on our athletes personalities, team demeanor, and expectations, we are losing respect, progress, and opportunities in helping these young athletes excel in reaching their highest potential as an individual and as a team.

“Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.”

Written by Nikoli Sharp

Jun
06

Negativity in the Sport

Negativity in the Sport

“A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can’t go anywhere until you change it.”

Negativity is inevitable in sports. We have it among players, parents, coaches, opponents, umpires, tournament directors, and so forth. We can only do what is best for our athletes; teach them to stay positive and work hard, to fight for the best outcome, to never allow someone else to control their game, and to never give up! There will be people who they know and who they don’t know who will doubt them, try to hold them down, ignore them, and not put 110% into doing their job or helping them. We need to help them runderstand and remember to not mind those against them, because they are just mud on their cleats.

We have coaches who instead of talking mistakes out, explaining situations, and teaching them what they can take away from each game, yell at their players, take them out of the game right away, and never talk through the mistakes or situations that occurred; leaving the team at the same level, instead of giving them instruction and knowledge that they can use to apply to their next performance while becoming better and more knowledgeable within the sport or area they struggled in.

There’s players who are negative when they or another person makes a mistake. They allow umpire calls, teammate performances, coaching decisions, and their parents to affect their attitude in a negative way when the choices made are out of their control and not in their favor. Instead of resetting their mindset during the inning for the next play or in their at-bat, asking questions, or being encouraging to their teammates and using what is happening as fuel to learn and help their teammates and their selves, they take negativity from the situation and bring themselves and the team down, causing a lack of learning, understanding, or seeing anything positive from the situation.

We feed onto the energy around us, especially when a game is crucial and competitive. When umpires are making bad calls behind the plate or on the field, whether we are a parent, coach, player, or fan in the stands, words and reactions affect the emotions of the players, parents, coaches, umpires, and the overall energy of the game. It doesn’t help us. It causes negative thoughts, words, actions, and behavior within the competitive environment.

As a lover of the game, we have to make sure we look for the positive in all the situations. We may get two bad calls in a row, but our players still have to work hard! We shouldn’t let them get down, upset, and negative. We have to keep the energy up, keep their heads held high, and to keep them competing! We shouldn’t allow ourselves or others dictate how we feel, but to use the situations to learn, teach, and apply. It will help everyone in the situation become stronger, smarter, braver, determined, and motivated to keep striving to be the best player, coach, parent, and team they can be.

So get rid of the negativity, and start looking for the good in the situation, because if we don’t, we are letting our athletes and everyone involved down.

“Every day may not be good, but there is good in every day.”

Written by Nikoli Sharp

May
30

Striving for Perfection

Striving for Perfection

“You will never influence the world by trying to fit in.”

Does your athlete strive for perfection?

Are they afraid of being anything but perfect?

Do they fear making mistakes?

Do they worry about disappointment?

Chasing perfection is a tough run. I think it is our job to help our athletes see their own type of “perfect”. While many of us have compared, listened, and judged ourselves based on what society or the environment we have grown up in believes what the idea of perfection is, we start chasing the person we are not, and chasing the person that we want to be based on what others think or believe to be “perfect” or “acceptable”.

Whether it is in life or in a sport, chasing majority’s idea of perfection is setting us up for failure. It is holding us back, messing with our emotions, turning us into someone else, and causing us to lose who we truly are.

As a coach, I never want my athletes to think they need to be “perfect” based on everyone else’s standards. I want them to create their own “perfect”. I believe we are all imperfectly perfect. We have flaws, we’ve made and will make mistakes, we have disappointed ourselves and others, we have reached goals and have had setbacks, but all of those factors in our lives have created each of us as individuals. We become stronger, braver, smarter, passionate, and empathetic. We become aware of who we are and what we are each capable of, and we realize that accepting who we are instead of chasing who everyone “wants” us to be, will lead us into becoming the best version of ourselves.

If our athletes don’t understand that, then they will be disappointing themselves, slowing their progress, and stopping them from having the love for the game and having fun with the sport. Being afraid of disappointment or trying to chase perfection doesn’t allow them to perform to their highest potential, so it is up to us as parents and coaches to help guide them, to help them see their path, and to create tools they can use to get to their own success and to their true self.

Creating goals and an overall plan to our success should be personalized to each individual. We are all different. Different personalities, learning skills, academic levels, athletic strengths and weaknesses, want and needs. If we are able to look at ourselves with honest eyes and an honest heart, we can create a plan in reaching the best version of ourselves that is tailored to us. These individual plans will help each of our athletes take a path that is made for them. Take the steps that are needed to be taken whether they are big or small. Given time whether it is more or less that is needed. And help them reach their own success and their own “perfect”.

Chasing perfection is a disappointing run when the destination is towards someone else’s “perfect”. Help yourself and your athlete create their own! We all want our kids and athletes to reach their highest potential, believe in themselves, and to become the best version of themselves they can be.

“Courage is being yourself every day in a world that always tells you to be someone else.”

Written by Nikoli Sharp

May
23

Great Coaches Keep Learning and Growing

Great Coaches Keep Learning and Growing

“It’s not about the shoes. It’s about what you do in them.”-Michael Jordan

As coaches, we have a different team dynamic, level, and approach each season. Therefore, we are constantly learning and growing! As a coach, many get stuck in the same routine, standards, beliefs, and strategies. But to be a great coach, we have to recognize the need for change and growth! We have to see what types of athletes we have each year, what strengths and weaknesses our athletes and team have as a whole, the types of learners we have, who our athletes are as individuals, what the goals are among the team, and what our rules and expectations are.

Each season and each team is a learning experience for all involved! We are constantly learning and getting creative with drills, practice plans, game plans, and team chemistry events. We should never settle for mediocracy, but to constantly strive for the highest potential not only for the team and athletes, but for us as coaches.

We tend to let pride get in the way at times. Whether you are a coach of 25 years or 5 years, you should never let your pride or comfort get in the way of your success. Change is a great part of life that keeps us on our toes, challenges us, teaches us, and helps us become better than we were to start with.

As a coach, I like to watch, listen, and read what other coaches have to say. There’s always a different perspective, tips, quotes, creative factors, and motivating terms that I learn from and am able to use and apply in my own instruction and approach. It encourages me to always strive to be a better version of myself, not only for me, but for my athletes, team, family, and friend.

Use all of the resources we are all so lucky to have! Ask questions, do research, and get creative! We are all capable of being a great coach, we just have to be willing to work for it.

With the constant learning and growing, perspectives and knowledge I see, hear, and read the more I look forward to each season! It’s a chance to help our young athletes learn and grow as individuals and as a team while learning how to see themselves through a positive perspective, become aware of their abilities and skill level, and gain knowledge about the game.

As coaches we are influencers, and with that title comes a lot of expectation, diligence, and passion. It is up to us to become a positive influence for our athletes. To be honest, caring, hardworking, respectful, and knowledgeable human beings they can look up to, learn from, and be inspired by.

We must put in 110% FOR them if we expect 110% FROM them.

A great coach is constantly learning and growing. Take advantage of all you can learn from each practice, lesson, game, book, coach, and each experience you get during the season, because that is your chance to not only be a better coach and person, but a chance to help your athletes be a better player, person, and teammate.

Written by Nikoli Sharp

May
16

Leaders with Influence

Leaders with influence

“Behind every fearless player is a fearless coach who refused to let them be anything but the best they can be.”

As a coach, we are leaders with influence. We are guides, mentors, inspiration leaders, motivators, energizers, supporters, trusting figures, teachers, and cheerleaders. We are role models that they look up to and learn from, and we are factors in their lives whether it is for one season or for multiple, we have a place in their life, and it should not be taken lightly or wasted.

I truly believe that our athletes are a gift. We are given the opportunity to teach and instruct these young athletes who have incredible talent, personalities, attitudes, work ethic, and skill sets that will not only help them become a great softball player, but a great human being. They will not just reach their highest potential on the field, but in life. It is up to us to help them see themselves with a positive mindset, and through a clear lens that helps them and guides them into seeing who they are and who they are capable of being.

It is not easy being a coach. Because we are so much more than that as I have stated above. No athlete is the same, and it is up to us to learn, understand, and create our own ways of coaching and teaching for each of them. No matter what type of athletes you have, the variety of athleticism, demeanor, and work ethic will have to be structured in creating a strong, fun, knowledgeable atmosphere where they can learn and grow. Although we may become frustrated, angry, upset, and/or disappointed, we have to remember that our reaction, our attitude, and our words affect our athletes’ attitude, perspective, energy, and emotions. We contribute to their feelings and emotions, we contribute to their perspectives and attitudes, and we contribute to their reactions and performance.

We are not just coaches who tell them what they need to do. We are leaders who are here to influence each of them in a positive, motivating, and knowledgeable atmosphere that helps them through their struggles-not coaches who put them down and expect them to use that negative energy to make them stronger. Teaching them and guiding them will be more beneficial than yelling at them. Yes, we will raise our voices because of the expectations we have for them, but we will also need to make sure we are teaching them along the way.

Our athletes have so much potential in life itself, and just being a small part of their journey is special, and I, as well as many coaches are incredibly thankful to help, support, and guide these young athletes in a positive direction that will not only influence their lives on the field, but wherever their lives may take them in the future.

Coaches:

-Give when they don’t have to

-Care for others

-Grow continuously

-Live authentically

-Empower others

-Manage hardship

-Serve with humility

“A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.”

Written by Nikoli Sharp

May
09

Building A Team Through Leadership

Building A Team Through Leadership

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”

Building a  team is not easy or simple and it is not done in “this way” or “that way”; there is no right or wrong, but there are a lot of factors, work, opportunity, knowledge, experience, and heart that goes into it every single day.

Coaching

“A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, and has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you can be.”

If you look up coach in the dictionary, you will come across the definition that reads:

  1. An athletic instructor or trainer; educator
  2. An experienced and trusted advisor; one who inspires knowledge, self-confidence, skill and confidence in an individual player or team.
  3. One who has a high level of self-discipline, expertise, patience, and leadership

It is so easily said and simply written, but becoming that trusted mentor is full of ups and downs with high amounts of emotions, in a very broad range; it takes time, experience, and knowledge not just from a book or videos, but from being on the field, traveling with our team, and teaching our athletes as individuals and as a whole. Becoming a great coach isn’t easy; it is a part of our life that can and should always be improved!

As a coach, we are constantly learning, constantly changing, and constantly teaching in a variety of ways depending on the personalities we have within our team. We learn that not every athlete learns or understands us in the same way, so we get creative and research different ways of instructing, teaching, and guiding our athletes. We have failures and we have accomplishments. We have good times and we have bad times. We have moments of gratitude, and we have moments of frustration. We panic, we worry, we laugh, we cry, we smile, and we stress. And although we have seasons that are hard and brooding and some that are exciting and uplifting, every single minute we get to help, guide, teach, and coach our athletes are worth it, every single time.

We are not just coaches that are easily and simply defined, but a person, mentor, guide, inspiration, motivator, mother or father figure, trustworthy confidant, and leader that goes above and beyond to help our athletes reach their highest potential not only on the field, but in life itself. Life and sports are connected, and if we can bring just an ounce of knowledge and perspective to each of our kids every day, we are making a difference.

Contagious Energy

Each team has a variety of personalities and demeanors, work ethic and behavior, and traits of being coachable and disciplined, respect is tested or it is followed, and attitudes are good, bad, or both, because let’s face it, it’s inevitable. But as coaches, we see each athlete’s role on the field and among the team. We see their weaknesses, strengths, problems, and behavior when they are given constructive criticism, tips, or instruction. And we see what each of them are capable of! Once we are able to see the potential of our athletes, it motivates and excited us into helping and creating drills, personalized practice plans, and stepping stones in order to reach their goals, reach their dreams, and overall guide them into being the best version of themselves. As each individual athlete starts to see their progress and reach new goals while seeing positive perspectives and staying motivated and inspired, that energy becomes contagious and forms a bond among the team as a whole. A bond that is strong and full of incentive, purpose, intensity, and heart.

Contagious energy can come from many things such as:

  1. Being on time
  2. Work Ethic
  3. Effort
  4. Body Language
  5. Energy
  6. Attitude
  7. Passion
  8. Being Coachable
  9. Doing Extra Work
  10. Being Prepared

Communication/Comfort Zone

Communication is crucial, but it also takes time to have a good relationship with your athletes. As a coach, communication should not be limited to softball talk, but getting to know your athlete as an individual. When we are able to understand each of them, it helps us and them in forming goals and objectives in order for them to succeed as individuals and as a whole team. We are able to encourage and inspire them, but also help them see themselves in a confident and positive way that leads to diligence, determination, and courage. They will learn how to create goals for themselves, how to look to their future with determination, and work and prepare in the present. They will communicate with questions and observations, so they can learn and grow as athletes. They will become aware of what they are capable of if they set their minds to it and put the work in for it. They will become the best version of themselves when they are not only able to communicate with their coach, but with their present and future teammates and coaches, parents, siblings, friends, peers, professors, and colleagues. Communication is just one factor that will help them open doors, grab onto opportunities, and become who they were meant to be in the highest of regards.

Preparation

As coaches we need to prepare our athletes in the best way we possibly can as they start reaching higher levels within the sport. We cannot go through the motions if we want to be the best coach we can be for them, and to help them become the best version of themselves. We must evaluate and learn their weaknesses and strengths as individual athletes and as a team in order to create drills, practices, and instruction that is tethered for them. If we are doing all that we can to help them succeed by preparing each practice for their success, then we are helping them move past each obstacle they are faced with. We are helping see what they need to work on, and what they are capable of, and overall, how to get there.

Care

Lastly, we must care. If we are coaches, coaches that want to help our athletes reach new levels and to succeed, then we are not just coaches who only strive for winning, but coaches who care about their well-being, their dreams, and who care about their future. Some coaches only care about one thing and place value on it over all else, and that is to win, but I truly believe “winning” is watching your kids grow as athletes, as a team, as young individuals, and watching them reach their dreams.

“Behind every fearless player is a fearless coach who refused to let them be anything but the best they can be.”

Written by Nikoli Sharp

May
02

Controlling/Understanding Overwhelming Emotions

 

Controlling/Understanding Overwhelming Emotions

 “When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not join their chaos.”

      As coaches and parents we tend to get worked up if our athletes aren’t succeeding or meeting the expectations we have set in our heads. We care about them so much that seeing them fail hurts our hearts, and sometimes we show that in tough love or in just simply the wrong way, because let’s face it, our emotions get the best of us sometimes! We have to remember that our athletes are already full of a variety of emotions and thoughts that lead them into being disappointed, frustrated, and upset with themselves. Of course there will be situations where tough love is necessary and needed in lighting their fire to get them going when they aren’t trying, caring, or when they are even giving up. But when our athletes do care, are working hard, and trying their best, but falling short, making mistakes, and on the days where nothing seems to go right for them, we have to calm their overwhelmed and anxious emotions, not fuel them. If they are overwhelmed and overthinking, us coaches and parents choosing to fuel that won’t be helping, but making the situation worse. Choose to be the calm in the storm for them; the person they can feel safe to turn to when things go awry, and communicate with us in order to get perspective, learn, and move forward. Help them find control and a healthy outlet for their emotions so they can keep moving forward while becoming stronger each time they are faced with an obstacle.

If we can teach them to not ignore their emotions, but to accept them, use them, and/or move forward from them, while also understanding what they can and cannot control, we will be helping them improve as athletes and as young women. Understanding what they can and cannot control will be a huge help for them now and as they get older. For example:

I can control: my words, my actions, my ideas, my effort, my mistakes, my behavior, my attitude

I cannot control: other’s words, actions, ideas, feelings, mistakes, and behavior

If they understand they can only control themselves, it will be extremely beneficial not only in the game and all aspects of softball, but in life itself. The connection between life and sports is so close that our mentorship can help them in more than just the sport. We are leaders that are here to inspire and teach, and we are so lucky to have the opportunity to help shape them and guide them into being the best version of themselves; strong, courageous, smart, diligent, and determined young women.

Teaching our athletes the importance of not ignoring their emotions will make a great difference in their performance not only on the field, but within their mental game in all situations. We are here to help them reach their highest potential, and without the mental training, they will most certainly fall short. We should keep watch on the potential hints or leads that cause our athletes to feel anxious or overwhelmed, because if we can see it sooner rather than later, we can help them learn how to control their emotional situation before their nerves take over.

Signs of anxiety in sports:

-Stomach ache

-Headache

-Fear/avoidance

-Panic

-Overly emotional

-Shallow breathing

Knowing our athletes is so incredibly important, and it’s not just about knowing the way they swing, throw, or pitch, but understanding their personality, the type of listener and learner that they are, the way they take constructive criticism, and what their goals and aspirations are. The more we know and understand them, the better we will be able to coach and teach them, and the better they will learn and progress. We are capable of helping our athletes become the best they can possibly be, we just have to be willing to put the work and compassion into it.

 Let’s help our athletes in the best way we can!

Written by Nikoli Sharp

Apr
24

Together, Everyone Achieves More

Teamwork

“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.”

Teamwork isn’t easy and it is not only about the athletes on the team. There’s a vast amount of politics that goes into the sport, difference in personalities, different likes and dislikes among the team, coaches, and parents, and a great amount of bitterness that can take place when things don’t go as each individual expected.

Expectations can be harsh on you and your athletes if they aren’t realistic, respected, and understood. They can also cause scenes, tension, and frustration if not everyone is on the same page, as I’m sure you have witnessed or have gone through yourself!

If you are struggling with teamwork, you have to look into the root of the issue, the truth in the situation, and to communicate respectfully. Ask questions, be realistic, set goals that are challenging yet attainable, and communicate! It is extremely important that coaches, parents, and athletes are on the same page with the same goals. If you aren’t working together, the progressive state of your team, athletic performance, and goals will not be reached!

Start communicating, building strong relationships among the team, and start setting realistic goals and expectations that challenge your team and athletes in helping them reach their highest potential!

Together

Everyone

Achieves

More

“Excellence is never an accident; it is the result of high intension, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution, and the vision to see the obstacles as opportunities.”

Written by Nikoli Sharp

Mar
28

Finding the Athlete Within

Finding the Athlete Within

Going the extra mile isn’t just about putting more practice time in; it is also about finding the athlete that they are as individuals.

Whether it is focused on their swing, throw, fielding, pitching, catching, or their mental game, each athlete is learning more about her own skills, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. They are each learning who and what inspires them, what they need to work on for themselves, how they need to prepare themselves for a game, how they react and respond in different situations, and how to challenge themselves.

It is very common to have a parent, coach, or instructor become critical, judge mental, and one sided on what is “right” and what is “wrong”…we all have opinions and perspectives, but we have to remember that even though they are our kids and athletes, they are not us. They learn differently, they practice and play differently, they think differently, and they react differently to different types of coaching and teaching styles. As coaches, instructors, and parents we should be giving our athletes the tools and knowledge they need to be diligent, honest, brave, focused, and competitive, but it is up to the athlete on how they use those tools and apply them to their own understanding, lifestyle, practice, goals, and preparation.

It is important to remember that we are MENTORS. We are motivating factors in their lives; we are their guide, and their safe confidant. It is not up to us to tell them who they are, but to help them, encourage them, teach them, and guide them in becoming strong women who find and create who they are and who they want to be as athletes and as individuals.

There is a difference between making your athlete do extra practice verses giving them positive motivation and reasoning as to WHY it is important. Their emotions and feelings during that extra practice are crucial. Attitude is everything! They either want to be there or they don’t. They either take advantage of their time, or they waste it. It is completely up to them, we just have to trust and have faith that we do all we can as mentors, coaches, parents, and instructors to inspire the ambition to grab onto new knowledge, perspectives, goals, and opportunities instead of letting them slip through their fingers.

“No one is you, and that is your super power.”

Written by Nikoli Sharp

Mar
21

Taking Private Lessons

Taking Private Lessons

Taking private softball lessons is crucial in the successful development of your athlete’s mechanics, fundamentals, and knowledge within the positions they are training in. Many parents who have played sports before their children believe they are capable of coaching and instructing their athlete. Parents can absolutely help their athlete succeed in a multitude of ways through extra training, practicing, and motivating factors, BUT athletes who are given instruction from outside instructors as well as the help from their parents or guardians, will benefit even more!

Benefits from instructors:

-Personalized goal setting weekly in making progress

-Knowledge behind each drill

-Breaking down each detail with explanation

-Being taught how to self-correct their faults

-Creating a personalized routine

-Honest feedback

-Connections to college/next level sources

-Different perspectives

-Positive influence

-A post college athlete with experience and knowledge for the next level

-Learning positive focus and how to take instruction respectfully from another person/coach

-Learning mental sports training

-Learning and applying what they have been taught

-Love for the game

All American instructors are motivated, determined, and passionate in helping your athletes succeed. Not only do they use their own experiences from growing up within the sport, but they also create lessons that are tailored for your athlete while making each lesson educational, fun, valuable, and inspiring! We use a vast amount of drills depending on your athletes needs within the position they are training for that range from simple and practical to creative and challenging. For example, a few things we use in our creative drills are listed below.

  • Popcorn seeds
  • Wiffle golf balls
  • Medicine Balls
  • Basketballs
  • Tennis Racket
  • Tennis balls
  • Bouncy balls
  • Frisbee

While some lessons need repetition with certain drills, as instructors, we also like to make some of them into a little competition. They can compete within the drill at hand that will help them improve in a fun way, help them focus on the important instruction and knowledge they are given and taught, so when they make a mistake or do something wrong, they are able to apply their learnings themselves while making progressive steps in order to succeed in the long run. They will be able to not only learn a new drill and reach a new goal, but they will be improving their skills in listening, application, and positively moving past an obstacle; a phase they will come into contact with multiple times throughout their athletic career.

Some commonalities among training also include basic drills, no matter what age we are instructing. Have you heard your athlete say “I’m too advanced for that drill” or parent, possibly even a coach say “They are too advanced for that drill”? As your athlete gets older and more advanced, she learns more drills and strategies to keep her improving and progressing within her offense and defense of play. BUT throughout their athletic journey their progress can become hindered when they are going through a slump. Sometimes the best way to get through the struggle and to get back on track in reaching their goals is going back to the fundamentals and basic drills they started with. No matter what level of play, basic drills have and always will be used! For example, if your athlete is struggling to get their hands through the ball and are too quick to finish their swing, going back to the basic drill of swinging off the tee with one hand or hitting through two tees for extension will be much more beneficial than trying to fix it with the repetition of a drill that does not hone in on the problem directly. We must push aside the pride or the inaccurate thought that going “back” to basic fundamentals will slow your athlete’s progress or make them worse. We have to have trust, confidence, and faith that they can get through the obstacles; it just may take more time, sacrifices, or a change in perspective to do so.

Another advantage that comes with private lessons is mental training. So many athletes have incredible skills, potential, and abilities within the sport, but a common setback is their mental game. Mental training is a tool that we use in order to help our athletes find confidence, understanding of their weaknesses and strengths, how to look for a positive perspective in all situations, controlling their emotions, using their emotions in a healthy and useful way in their sport, visualization, creating goals, and overall getting to the root of any struggles or obstacles your athlete may be facing while helping them prepare for future performances.

Private lessons are so incredibly exciting, progressive, and full of diligence and inspiration. As instructors, we put 110% into your athlete’s goals and dreams in order to help them be the best version of themselves in all aspects of the sport and in being a person. Private lessons have so much more information, passion, knowledge, effort, and useful tools within them that not everyone realizes. Make a change and take a chance in helping your athlete find her potential, create goals, and set sail towards her dreams.

Written by Nikoli Sharp

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