Coaching For Commitment

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The road to collegiate softball takes time, hard work, and discipline within the athlete; but how do we instill the commitment necessary to achieve greatness?  How do we prepare them for the next level with extracurricular activities, social media, family events, and other various on-goings outside the game? The importance of commitment is slowing deteriorating.  Athletes are excused from their responsibility to their sport without question; it is disparaging to their game, and furthermore, their recruitment.  Female athletes need constant structure and discipline to succeed at the next level and as coaches; it is our responsibility to create commitment and ownership within our teams.

Following the 4 key steps to teaching and implementing commitment in your female athletes will not only strengthen your team as a whole, but inspire maturity and dedication in your individual athlete.

  • Time Organization. Every female athlete needs organization.  It is understandable that academics will always come first before a sport, but they need to have a plan.  “I didn’t have time,”  “I need to work on my project,” “My group is meeting the same time as practice,” are all unacceptable excuses to disengage from their commitment to their team.  Every athlete should write out their weekly schedule, include due dates, practices, and other time commitments.  Once their schedule is completed, they will notice the free time they have to fit everything in.  A coach’s responsibility is to make it clear that time organization is a must and disciplinary actions will take place for missed practices or games.   The ability for your athletes to be organized within their academics, athletics, and social events will better prepare them for the next level of play.  They will be ultimately responsible for their schedule in college and the better you can prepare them to be time efficient, the more successful they will be in their future aspirations.
  • Structure and follow through. It is incredibly important to set the ground rules early on and stick to them.    If you, as a coach, stay committed to structure, your athletes cannot question your expectations.  The hardest part of setting guidelines is sticking to them.  As you get to know your team and get comfortable around each other, it’s easy to let the little things slide; “She was only a few minutes late to the game today”, “She went on a camping trip this weekend, so it’s ok she’s not at practice.”  Once the individual commitment is gone, the team commitment fades.  As much as you want to have fun with your athletes and enjoy working with them; the structure needs to be instilled on a daily basis.  At the end of the day, you are their coach and they may not like you all the time, but maintaining structure will earn their respect over time.  It’s always important to remind your athletes of their common goal and the work ethic it takes to achieve that goal.
  • Respect. Respect the game.  Respect your team. Respect your common goal.  Whether you are coaching 7 year olds or 17 year olds; respect should be taught from the beginning.   Respecting the game means your athletes come to practice and games with a purpose.  They come to work hard, better their skills, and accomplish preset goals.  Athletes respect their team through dedication, positivity, and camaraderie.  They respect the common goal by showing up as a sisterhood and leaving it all on the field.  When your athletes respect the reason they play, they will feel a need to stay committed to their sport, team, and coaches.  Coaches can set the standards high before the season starts; Coaches are addressed as Coach XXX, not by their first name, athletes approach coaching staff, not parents, athletes write down individual and team “game time” goals.  Maintaining respect among everyone working towards a common goal drives athletes to stay committed through thick and thin.
  • Focus. The more focus and drive within the athlete, the better prepared they will be to play at the next level.   Without focus, your athletes will never succeed.  Female athletes are easily distracted with the social aspects of their lives and need to learn to separate it from their sport.  Coaches cannot completely take their athletes out of their social realms, but it can be minimized when the focus needs to be on the sport.  Lay out rules for your team regarding social media and phone and internet use.  Phones are to be put away 1 hour before practice time, 2 hours before game time, 1 hour before bed time, etc.  Female athletes’ emotions can change on the drop of a dime and any outside influence that will affect their game negatively should be removed.   Teams that travel can implement rules while they are on the road; no phones at team meals, team captain collects all social media devices at the end of the day, etc.  The athletes may hate this rule, but it will help the team to bond and create chemistry; and as always, a clear head helps them to stay focused on the game.  With time, they won’t even miss it.



As the common goal is to play at the next level, athletes need to create a routine of focus, discipline, respect, and organization that revolves around their athletic commitment.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if you stick to structure, and follow through with your agenda, your athletes will respect the work to stay committed to their sport.



How to Teach Commitment and Perseverance

                All too often we let our female athletes “off the hook.”  We let them give up, we let them put their head down, and we tell them, “It’s ok”.  We feel bad for them, we see how tired they are, we see their emotions on their sleeves, come on, they’re just girls.  If you haven’t had this moment as a coach, you’re lying to yourself. 

                We have all been there, because they are just little girls, but are we doing the right thing?  Should we cut these girls so much slack?  Absolutely not.  They may be your princess, the apple in your eye, but just as you would your son, let them fight the battle.  You are setting your female athlete up for failure if you let her give excuses and let her give up.  If she is in constant belief that she doesn’t have to give 110% at all times, she will never know what it feels like to earn the starting position.  She will never understand the dedication and commitment it takes to be successful, a life lesson we would prefer them to learn before they enter the real world.

                So how do we take a stand?  How do we teach and motivate them to make a commitment and persevere?  3 key facts can help keep your athlete’s head in the game:

  1. Never let her give upThis is a duh moment right?  Of course you would never let your female athlete give up; however, how many of you let her quit a team before they earned
    playing time?  You may be as frustrated with your athlete’s playing time as she is, however, let her pay her dues and earn the spot.  Many coaches are loyal to their standing roster, so it takes time to work a way into the lineup.  This is life.  A CEO isn’t going to offer you a VP position the first day on the job; you can’t expect a coach to do the same with your female athlete.   
  2.  Don’t miss practice. I’ve heard a lot of excuses for missing practice: I have too much homework, my cousin’s uncle’s roommate is getting married, I have a cold.  Practices are usually 2-3 hours, in a 24 hour day; your athlete can go to practice.  Unless she is on her death bed, she should be at practice.  Athletes don’t have the option to miss practice in college, so it’s best to learn how to manage athletics, academics, and social life now to be prepared for the future.  If your athlete wants to play, she has to make an effort to show her dedication.  There is a huge difference between saying you want the spot, and proving you want the spot.  
  3. Support Teammates.  Nothing is worse than an athlete who pouts about playing time on the bench.  If your athlete is on the bench, she needs to make the effort to be an effective member of the team.  She can keep score, keep stats, learn more about her mental game, learn about positioning, pick her teammates up, etc.  The bench is a time to develop both physical and mental skill and that time should be utilized to its fullest; don’t let them make it a negative experience.

These aspects of the game will help your athlete learn the importance of commitment and respect the completely satisfying feeling of preserving.  Always remember, athletics teach us incredibly important life lessons and if a Female Athlete
is pushed to preserve through adverse situations, she will flourish as a young adult and career woman who was taught to never give up.


How to Build Confidence

    Many of you may look at the title of this post and think, “Oh thank goodness, someone out there knows how to help my athlete gain confidence!”  Well, it may not be that easy.  There is no quick fix, or perfect words to immediately fix your female athlete’s insecurity or lack of aggressiveness.  If it was that easy, every athlete with pure talent and the best potential would exceed the limits of their success.  If it was that easy, we would all have All American’s on our teams.  Although there is not a quick fix to gaining confidence, you can help build it.

Whether you are a parent pushing your daughter, or a coach attempting to showcase an
athlete’s potential, the key is patience. Female athletes respond emotionally before they exude their physical talents.  If this leaves some of you confused, it’s perfectly normal.  A female’s first response to most situations is through emotion.  “I didn’t strike out the worst batter, I feel frustrated,” “I didn’t take the shot to win the game, I feel upset”.  Most coaches and parents don’t understand
that emotion leads our physical state, which further invokes our mental game.  When something negative happens in
our game, when our potential is questioned, we back off.  Unlike male athletes, our first reaction
isn’t to prove people wrong, but rather to fall in line and simply “go through the motions”.  Please don’t look at this
as a negative aspect of the female athlete; it’s good to be emotional, however, it’s necessary to learn what emotions are appropriate in the game.

If you ask a female athlete about how negative performance makes them feel, you will hear them say, “I’m upset about my game; I was frustrated that I didn’t perform the task like I knew I could.”  Frustration.  I have coached hundreds of athletes and after bad games and the first thing I always ask is how they felt about their performance in a bad game; about 99% of the time, they say they were frustrated.  I cannot stress this fact enough: Frustration is the worst emotion a female athlete can have about her game.  Frustration digs an athlete in a hole where they can only focus on the negative and struggle to find the positive in their performance.

Let’s face it; you may be as frustrated as they are.  You are their coach, parent, mentor, and feel for them more than they can understand.  Frustration may be your first emotion too, but it is your job to bring them out of that emotion.  It is your job to help them focus on the positive aspects of their game, regardless of their performance.  There isn’t a game that your athlete plays that doesn’t have some form of positive feat.  They may have gone 0-3, but they blocked a ball that saved a run from scoring.  Your athlete won’t recognize that play, but you have to bring it up.  You have to help your athlete remember the positive aspects of their
game to keep the growth of their confidence.

Now when you tell your athlete to “stop being frustrated and play like you know how,” you will more than likely get a negative reaction, which in turn, can make them more frustrated.  Now, you may think I am crazy for saying this, but your athlete needs to get mad.  Your athlete needs to turn their frustration into anger which is a workable emotion for game time.  This doesn’t mean I support athletes being mean people, but they need to play mad.  When female athletes get mad, all other questioning emotions fly out the window and you have an aggressive, confident athlete that you may have never seen in prior situations.  Anger helps an
athlete to focus on the game without thinking about all the little things that normally bother them.  It is also important to help your athlete remember that there is a difference in playing mad, and playing with arrogance.  Playing mad implies that the athlete pushes herself to be better than her best, playing arrogant implies that an athlete is cocky without reason.  As simple as it sounds to acknowledge the difference, female athletes struggle with the idea of “playing mad”.  They worry about what others will think and what reputation they will build as an aggressive athlete.  They need the reassurance and confidence from you that her performance is good
, and that this kind of reputation is good.  I have always told my athletes, “be a nice person off the field, but give them a reason to talk about you on the field.”

Now your second thought, “Well my daughter is a nice girl; I don’t think she knows how to play mad.”  This is a good point,
a lot of us our nice girls.  A great way to promote confidence and push aggressiveness is to have your daughter compete against the athlete playing the same position.  Most female athletes play the game their way, but don’t think about their opponent.  The best way to maintain aggressiveness and the best game out of her is to make her compete no matter what.  Say your athlete is a short stop, have her watch the opposing short stops warm-ups and game as they are playing.  This will not only keep your athlete’s head in the game, but also promote competition to be better than their starter; if she hits a single, your athlete wants to hit a double; if she dives for a ball
, your athlete will dive and make the play, etc.

Aside from making competition, have your athlete create goals for herself.  Say she is a pitcher starting the game.  What does she want to accomplish?  Have her set goals, in example, where she only allows 2 hits
per game, 1 walk per game, and strives for 6 strikeouts.  Creating competition within herself will only better her skills and help her to challenge herself in playing to her full potential.

When you love the game, you love it for all the right reasons.  When the game is your life, it is a tremendous feeling to play aggressive, with confidence, and make a name for yourself.  I implore you to support your athlete in bringing out the best of her abilities, and by not playing nice, so to speak.


Key Facts for
Building Confidence:

  • Play mad,
    it’s the best emotion a female athlete can have when they are in the game.
  • Focus on
    the positive attributes of your athletes game.
  • Find
    competition within the game and make it personal.
  • Make
    personal goals to achieve higher standards


In Her Cleats- A New Documentary

Thank you to everyone for your constant support in Coaching a Female Athlete.  We appreciate every read, share, and positive comment we have received over the past two years.

We wanted to share our newest endeavour with all of our readers, “In Her Cleats”.   “In Her Cleats” is a riveting documentary following female athletes in the road to collegiate athletics.  You will see their struggles and triumps in trying to attain scholarships to go to college.  This documentary is extremely insightly and puts light to the small world of female athletics and the difficulty of managing school, lessons, travel, games, and recruitment.

We greatly appreciate any feedback and any backers we may receive on Kickstarter!!  We truly have a passion for what we do and whole-heartedly believe in this project.  Thank you in advance for your support, check out the project in the link below!!




Monkey See, Monkey Do: Looking the Part of a Softball Coach

see, monkey do.  We have all heard this saying, and when we
have children, we understand the saying.
What we don’t tend to take into account is the impact we have as adults in
the simple four-word phrase.  Every
action we commit
, every word we say, children pay attention; they are sponges
and they absorb the things we do and say and can mimic us at any given moment.  The same applies in athletics.

If you do not look like you know
what you are doing, you won’t get the respect that you seek from your
athletes.  Female athletes
are extremely
observant.  The first things we notice
about people are their outward appearance
and mannerisms.  If you lack athleticism, if you can’t do a
drill with ease or perfection, why should you expect your athlete to perform
that way?  Before you demand an action,
figure out if you can do it first, or at least look like you can do it.  Your female
athletes will not only appreciate
that you can do what you teach them, but they will trust you and what you are

The majority of male coaches have
never played softball, but baseball
Being so, they have a tendency of thinking both sports are taught the
same.  Softball and baseball are worlds
apart not only because they are different games, but because males and females
are so different.  Nine times out of ten,
a baseball skill won’t be effective when performed by a female athlete.  Our body strengths and mentality towards the
game differ from a males; something so simple in male athletics can seem like
rocket science to female athletics, and vice versa.  Being so, it is best for coaches to learn
softball skills, as well as a softball
mentality, to better relate to their

There are many ways you can learn
softball skills and drills
for female athletes; you can read online, go to
classes, attend coaching seminars, all of which great.  The best way for you to retain all of this is
to watch yourself perform the drills yourself.
Think about all the things you have your athletes do at practice then do
them in the mirror.  This is the best way
to see yourself do the drill and analyze what you are doing correctly, and what
you need to fix.  Once you perfect the
drill, you can successfully demonstrate to your athletes.  When you look like you know what you are
doing, not only will your athletes respect
you, but parents and other coaches
alike as well.  The more, well-rounded
every member looks on your team, including the coach, the more respected they will
be on the ball field.

Key Facts about Looking Like a Softball Coach

  • Know how to perform what you ask of your athletes
  • Take time to learn softball skills and drills
  • Watch yourself perform softball drills in the mirror until you can do the drill yourself, or at least look like you know what you are doing


“Bats, Gloves, and Glitter” is now available on Amazon!

Thank you all for the great, positive feedback regarding our Coaching a Female Athlete Blog.  With such great response, we are happy to announce our first eBook entitled, “Bats, Gloves, and Glitter: 7 Must-Know Facts about Female Athletes.” 

We cover the most essential, and sometimes daunting, aspects of coaching young, female athletes in an easy-t0-read guide to successful coaching.  “Bats, Gloves, and Glitter” is availabe through Smashwords for the top-rated eReading devices and most recently on Amazon in the Kindle Store!  Check it out at the link below.




How to Coach a Pitcher

Many coaches run into the issue of how to coach a pitcher, especially when they have never been a pitcher before.  Even if a coach has prior experience as a baseball pitcher, it simply isn’t the same; mentally or physically. 

            Coaching a female athlete, for one, can prove to be a difficult task in itself; coaching a pitcher is a whole other story.  Not only are you dealing with the emotions of a female athlete, you are dealing with one that has the pressure of the game on their shoulders.  The pitcher controls a large portion of the outcome and it is well known that they have to be mentally prepared, ready, and tough to see success within the game.  Wins and losses are heavily weighed on the pitching performance and can affect the mental and physical stability of the pitcher.  As a coach, it is your job to help them maintain confidence and aggressiveness in practices and games without putting excessive pressure on them, without being overly critical, and by showing that you support them.

            Many pitchers already understand the pressure of the game and their role as a prominent player.  Pitching is 80% mental, 20% physical and a coach can easily play into those percentages.  If a coach is constantly nagging their pitchers, telling them that they need to throw this and that without error or else they will be pulled, that pitcher will fail.   Regardless of how mentally tough that pitcher may be, the lack of confidence and negative consequence from a coach will only lead to negative results.  Your lack of confidence in her pitching will only deteriorate her confidence in herself. 

            It is expected that a coach supports their pitchers simply because they picked them up on their team for a reason.  If they didn’t have faith and confidence in their pitchers ability, they should not have brought them on the team.  Yes, it can be extremely frustrating to watch a pitcher struggle in a game, or not throw to her ability, but getting mad and showing disappointment in that athlete will not help the situation.  Again, with pitching being 80% mental, there is probably something going on with her that is deeper than her physical ability.  As a coach, and an adult, remember that you are there to support and show them that you will stand behind them as athletes in both their good and bad outings.

            So aside from “having your athletes back,” get to know your pitcher.  If you don’t know anything about your pitcher, you will struggle to understand her while she is in a game.  Female athletes can be hard to read, so the more you can get to know her, the better you can connect regarding pitch calling, her endurance, and her mental stability on the mound. 

            If your pitcher goes to a pitching coach, attend a lesson.  See how she interacts with her instructor and key in on the things she is focusing on developing.  A huge point for male coaches to understand is that you are not a pitcher.  You have never played fastpitch softball, you have never been a fastpitch pitcher, and you will never be a fastpitch pitcher.  Despite thinking that you could coach a pitcher mechanically, understand that you are wrong. J  Even though you may think you see certain things that your pitcher could work on, discuss it with their pitching coach first.  They may already be working on that exact thing, or they could be working on something entirely different.  It is important to maintain that connection with their pitching coach as they have more one on one time, they confide in them, and are in their profession for a reason.  Once you make this connection, it will better your relationship with your pitcher and you will be able to reiterate what their pitching coach tells them during practices and games.

            As a coach, it is your role to be a supportive figure for all your female athletes.  Pitchers in particular need to know that you trust them, you have confidence in them, and that you believe in their ability.  The more you show them this support, the more confidence they will have in their own game, in turn, bettering their performance every outing. 


Key Points:

  • Pitching is 80% mental, 20% physical; a coach needs to play positively into these percentages
  • A female pitchers wants to feel needed and important on a team, more so from their coach than her teammates
  • Be supportive of your pitcher; the more confidence and faith you have in them, the more they will perform 





How to be a Parent and a Coach

One of the most difficult tasks a parent can face is being their daughter’s coach.  Although it may seem like the perfect way to bond and build a strong relationship with your daughter, it can lead you into turmoil.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe it’s great for parents to volunteer their time for their daughters and the team, but there needs to be a known divide between coach and parent.


Being a parent is the easy part; knowing WHEN to be the parent is a little tricky.  It is perfectly fine to show your female athlete that you care about her and her athletics, but there is a fine line when you are a coach.  Be a parent off the field.  Take into consideration that you are coaching your daughter’s team, not just your daughter.  It is understandable that your daughter is the apple of your eye, your shinning star, but making that obvious segregates your daughter from her team.

The more attention you give your daughter during practices or games, the easier it will be for her to be named a “coach’s daughter”.  Let me just tell you, being “the coach’s daughter” sucks.  Being labeled as such singles out your daughter as the girl who is going to play no matter what, play the position she wants, and seemingly, always get her way even if there is a better athlete for that position.  You want to avoid giving anyone the opportunity of labeling your daughter as the “coach’s daughter” and allow her to earn her stripes like her teammates.

Now, this does not mean you need to ignore your daughter on the field, just remember that she needs to be treated as a member of a team, not as your daughter.  As I said before, be a parent away from the game.  Encourage her before, between, and after games.  As soon as you both step on the field, she is an equal member that should receive equal treatment to her teammates.



Now that you are coaching your daughter’s team, you must find a way to balance being a parent and being a coach.  I have heard many coaches say, “No, I won’t give my daughter special treatment, I won’t be ‘that dad’”.  90% of the time, you are “that dad.”  Special treatment comes in many forms, even if you aren’t praising your daughter, giving her negative attention is still special treatment.  If you do not yell or nag all of the other girls the same as
your daughter, you are showing your daughter attention that the rest of the team does not receive.  In turn, she is singled-out as a coach’s daughter.  If you really don’t think you are giving your daughter more attention than the rest of the team, have someone quietly count how many times you refer to her, use her name, call her out, or praise her.  You may be surprised at the amount of attention you give your daughter unknowingly.

I know you want your daughter to be the best, and you are destined to make her the greatest, but there is only so much you can tell your daughter before she becomes annoyed with your behavior.  When your daughter begins to express and demonstrate desires of independence, let her be independent.  Let her be trained by someone else; the more you push your training, the more she will try to prove you wrong; regardless if you are right in any way, shape, or form.  There comes a time when you must step aside and either be a coach to all, or let someone else be the coach.  I promise you your daughter will be forever grateful to simply be a member of a team rather than labeled as the “coach’s daughter”.

I can’t emphasis my last point enough; leave the coaching on the field.  This truly enables you to be a parent and a coach without the hostility of intermingling the two.  When you leave the field, you should be a dad; all coaching duties are set aside and you can now be a parent to your child.  There is so much more to an adolescent female’s life than sports; it is important to stay involved in her entire life so you can connect on more levels than athletics.  Years from now, you want to be able to have a strong, well-rounded relationship with your daughter when sports come to an end.



  •  Your daughter is not the only athlete on the team.  Treat her as an equal to her teammates.
  • Let your daughter earn her stripes; she does not want to be labeled as the “coach’s daughter”.  If she deserves a spot on the team, let her earn it.
  •  Leave the coaching on the field; once the practice, game, or tournament is over, be her dad, not her coach.
  • Get to know your daughter outside of sports; maintaining a well-rounded relationship will create a stronger connection in the long run.



How to Create a Strong Presence, Even if Your Team is the Bad News Bears

            Just because your team has a record of 0-14 doesn’t mean every other team has to think of you as the bad news bears.  You may not be coaching the best team around, but you can help them create an intimidating presence in their practice, pre-game warm-ups, between games, and on the field.  After following 5 key elements of maintaining a strong presence, you will notice the difference in your team’s appearance and how other teams react to these changes.


1.)   Hustle.  Every team that has caught my eye hustles on and off the field.  It is extremely noticeable when athletes sprint to their positions and sprint off the field, every inning.  This shows other teams that your team is serious, that they are here to play, and that they are disciplined athletes.  Your team could be a 1st year 10u team that just learned how to catch the ball in the outfield the day before your tournament.  Just because you and your team know that, doesn’t mean other teams need to know that.  Giving a presence of hustle shows that your athletes are disciplined enough to know they need to run on and off the field, as well as sets a tone for their opponent.


2.) Aggression.  Every inning, every out, should be played like it is the last out of the game, tied ball game, with runners in scoring position.  Keeping the game competitive from start to finish is one of the most intimidating things a team could do all game.  To exploit aggression, have a plan for your fielding warm ups.  Typically, you see the pitcher warming up and the fielders receiving ground balls from the 1st baseman.  What we also see are lazy grounders and throws back to the base.  Make your warm ups look skilled and effortless; this is where the other team notices your aggression.  When they can see how strong your fielders are in warm-ups, the intimidation factor sets in.  Rather than having your fielders all throw back to 1st base, have them make plays.  For example, once they all field and throw to 1st, have them turn a double play.  Also allow for your 1st baseman to field a ball and throw to a base.  Do note, it does need to be reinforced that every fielding warm up should be performed like they would in a game.  Remember that female athletes need a lot of repetition in order to perform a task correctly; beginning your weekly practices in a similar fashion as your pre-game warm-ups will help reinforce success. Not only will this intimidate the other team, but it will promote efficiency in game-like situations as well as confidence in making the play.


3.) Appearance.  As cliché has it sounds, appearance is everything.  Appearance starts when the athletes walk into the stadium.  Being so, make sure your team enters together.  When the whole team is walking to the fields as a unit, rather than coming in one by one, it shows that they are a team instead of a bunch of individual players wearing the same uniform.  When the team does walk into stadium, their hair should be game-ready, uniforms tucked in, and tennis shoes on.  No athlete should walk into a stadium with a messy appearance, and that includes flip flops.  When a team looks prepared and well-kempt, other teams will take notice and assume you mean business.

The first two key points, hustle and aggression, also fall into appearance; the more your team looks like they know what they are doing, the more other teams will think the same.  As the saying goes, “fake it ‘til you make it.”  Not only will your team look good, other teams will take notice to you and think you are good based on your appearance.


4.) Confidence.  Confidence is essential in every good athlete, and every good team.  The more confident you and your athletes appear, the more other teams will take you as a serious opponent.  Exuding confidence not only intimidates other teams, but it is also extremely beneficial to your athletes.  If you have athletes that struggle in games, it is noticeable that they lack confidence; they are nervous fielding and HOPE to hit rather than KNOW they will hit.  This is another scenario where you want your athletes to “fake it ‘til you make it”.

Sometimes confidence building takes a long time and many female athletes struggle to believe in themselves.  Telling your athletes, “pretend to be confident, even if you aren’t,” will help your athletes more than you think it could.  Have your athletes think of themselves as the best hitter on the team, that they can hit the opponents’ best pitch with ease.  The more you instill confidence in your athlete, the more they believe they can do it as well.  Furthermore, your athletes will begin to produce the more they tell themselves they are confident.


5.) Relentlessness.  Relentlessness ties in all 5 key points to creating a strong presence as a team.  The more your team shows hustle, determination, aggression, and confidence, the better they will look as a unit.  Even if your teams’ skills are not up to par with their age bracket, they can still look good trying.  Make sure your athletes run on and off the field, warm-up as if it was a game situation, and play like it was your last out, every single out.  Every athlete should swing hard, run hard, and make effort as if it would be the winning hit, pitch, or out.  The more your team works hard and gives 110% each play, the more your opponents know you will not go down without a fight.  When your team battles every pitch and every hit, it allows for other teams to respect their work ethic, determination, and stamina to never give up in a game.


How to Teach Focus at a Young Age

            Many coaches tend to start seeing their first gray hairs while trying to maintain focus throughout practice or a game with female athletes.  As an adult, we sometimes forget how difficult it is for a young female athlete to stay focused for a 2 hour practice, listen to a 10 minute lecture, or even pay attention to a 2 minute play.  At a young age, female athletes are thinking about more things than you want them to or even things you did not know they were thinking.

Young, female athletes are thinkers, daydreamers, and socialites, for the most part.  Many of them enjoy going to practice simply for the socializing rather than actually playing the sport.  You have to remember, a sport at a young age isn’t necessarily about a sport yet, and as a coach and a parent, you want to keep this in mind.  Joining a team is incredibly important for female athletes to learn how to socialize with other athletes, learn how to work in groups, and learn how to communicate effectively with their peers.  It is also a time for young athletes to learn mechanics, the basics of the game, and of course, to have fun.  At 10 years old, you want your athlete to enjoy the game and develop memories that they will have for a lifetime.

With this said, this does not mean young athletes need to lack structure.  Young athletes can be shaped at this age to learn discipline, and focus, while enjoying their time on the field.  So how do you help these female athletes maintain focus through long practices and games?  Patience.  Coaches and parents of female athletes need a lot of patience and a lot of persistence to develop structure amongst several 10 year old female athletes running amuck.  When a coach loses their temper, or shows their frustration with lack of focus from their young team, the athletes will notice this and continue to act out.  Young female athletes tend to avoid negative feedback and will continue to do what makes them happy instead, i.e. messing around on the field.

So now that you are patient with your team, and they have your attention, how do you maintain their attention for the next few hours?  Play games.  Young female athletes love to play games, and love to win games.  When you create competition in your practices, your athletes will tend to stay focused.

For example: say you are losing your female athletes attention towards the end of practice and you want them to finish the last 20 minutes.  As a coach, call everyone in and say you are playing a game.  The game is to see how many athletes can hit the ball to centerfield.  If 5 out of 10 athletes hit the ball to centerfield, the whole team doesn’t have to run to the tree and back.

A game like this will promote competitiveness because they don’t want to run to the tree.  It will also help maintain team unity as they need to work together to accomplish the goal, meaning that all of the athletes will stay involved because the punishment is for the entire team; not a “single loser”.  Not only are you just playing a game, but your team is working to hit the ball to centerfield, i.e. up the middle, the ideal hitting zone.

By remaining patient and promoting teamwork through consecutive games or activities, young athletes will maintain focus, determination, and competitiveness throughout your practices and games.  Not only will the athletes learn different mechanics through their games at practice, they will also have fond memories of the fun they had with their team.


Key Points for Maintaining Focus in a Young Athlete


1.) Be patient.  Young, female athletes have a very imaginative mind and like to share every thought and feeling they have.  Listen to them, ask them questions, and bring them back to focus when they are done sharing with you.


2.) Play games.  Young, female athlete can be highly competitive and like to participate in games.  The more games you play, the more you will maintain focus in your practices


3.) Remember that these girls are young athletes.  They are playing a game because they think it is fun, not hard work.  Let them be young and enjoy the game as much as possible while still giving them direction and structure.

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