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Jan
29

How to Coach an Athlete Who Takes Private Lessons

Sometimes an athlete taking private lessons can hinder your
relationship with her and her parents.
Parents spend a lot of time and money on private instruction and do not
want things to differ from what they are spending their money on.  If your style of teaching is different than
what their instructor is teaching, you may run into problems.

To avoid conflict,
it is best to understand what your athlete is learning from your private
instructor and develop from there.  You
can always ask your female athlete what they are working on with their
instructor and try to work on those things as well.

For example, you can say, “Maddy, what are you
working on with your hitting instructor?”
She would respond, “We have been working on keeping my hands up and
trying not to drop my back shoulder when the pitch is coming.”  This scenario is easy to work with because it is a common habit in female athletes, and it is something that is visible to you as a coach.  When practicing, if you
see your athlete dropping their back shoulder, you can tell them you see it
dropping, and they will make an adjustment.
Typically, their instructor has taught them how to fix such problems and
they can self-correct.

By pointing out something they are
doing wrong, that is noted by you, the athlete, and their instructor; you will
avoid conflict with all parties involved.
You didn’t change anything about the athletes swing, just noticed that
they were doing something their instructor told them not to do.

You can also tell the athlete what you
have been noticing in their performance on the field and have them take it back
to their instructor.  As the athlete’s
coach, you are around them more than the instructor and may see different
habits forming in game situations than the instructor would see in her
lessons.  By letting the athlete know
what to tell their instructor, it shows you are working with both of them to
make her better; you are not interfering and not telling her to do something
different, just giving her observations.
Please take that point into great consideration; I am not recommending
you change anything about the athletes’ mechanics, but rather noting
observations for her to take to her instructor.
Of course in the moment of a game, you as a coach have the right to give
her quick tips, but a game would not be the time to change anything.

If you want to show you are truly
dedicated to your female athletes, it would be a good idea to attend one of
their private lessons.  This way, you can
see the drills the instructor is doing, listen to what they are telling the athlete,
and use that information in future practices and games.  It also shows that you are making an effort
to see what your athlete is learning and that you are not wanting to interfere
with what the parents are paying for.

Key Points for Coaching an Athelte Who Takes Private Lessons

  • Don’t try to override an athlete’s private instruction; their parents are paying a lot of money for these lessons.
  • Observe the athlete and give them notes to take back to their instructor; you are not overstepping their private lessons by changing things, but rather acknowledging some errors on the field.
  • Go to some of your athletes lessons to learn what they are working on and what their instructor is teaching; it will enable you to be on the same page as the athlete and instructor.

 

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