Nov
01

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.


WHEN TO BE A 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.

 

WHEN TO BE A COACH

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.

 

KEY POINTS ON BEING A PARENT AND A COACH 

  •  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.

 

Sep
28

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.

Sep
22

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.

Sep
08

Online Instruction through Technique Doctor!

TO ALL “COACHING A FEMALE ATHLETE FANS”!!

 

After such positive feedback about our blog, we recently decided to expand our instruction around the globe through Technique Doctor!

 

Technique Doctor, (www.techniquedoctor.com) is a website geared to instruction through the Internet.  You can send in your athlete’s video and we critique it through audio and written responses within the same day!  This saves you the hassle of commuting to our location in Sacramento, CA as well as provides service to those of you across the nation or across seas.

 

We would love to continue to share our knowledge, better your mechanics, and develop your overall game through easy access to our instruction!  Check us out at www.techniquedoctor.com!  We look forward to working with you and your athlete!

                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                             Kelly Jackson and Keri Casas


Sep
02

HOW TO SEPARATE SPORT AND FAMILY

How to Separate Sport and Family

 

This may not be something every parent thinks about, but it is completely necessary to understand why and how a separate relationship for sports and home life is important to every female athlete.

 

Why Separate Sport and Family?

As a parent, you want to be involved in your daughter’s life; be supportive, encouraging, and a mentor.  When your female athlete is young, they will listen to you, take your advice, and let you teach them the basic things about the game.  The issue with teaching, or coaching, your daughter is that they tend to grow independent with age.  When female athletes mature into their sport, they want to listen to their coaches or private instructors, those who have played the game.  And even if you played the sport when you were younger, techniques and styles have changed.  Remember that female athletes tend to be a little more defiant towards their mom or dad trying to teach them than a male athlete.  There is nothing wrong with helping your athlete reach their athletic goals, but it is important to take notice when to step down as their “coach”.

Female athletes strive to learn from others than their parents simply because you’re their parent.  If they have the opportunity to learn from a female coach or private instructor, they have a mentor to look up to; someone that they can work with that doesn’t tell them to clean their room or be home by six.  They have your structure and guidance at home, but let them explore other options when it comes to their sport.

I know it is difficult to let someone else coach your daughter, but it is necessary to divide sport and family.  I have seen countless exceptional athletes give up on their dreams of collegiate softball because their parent was too involved in their sport.  I have seen too many dads coach their daughter to a breaking point where the sport was just not fun anymore.  Aside from that, I have seen families torn apart and parents lose their relationships with their daughter because of constant interference with their sport.   As a parent, you don’t want to be the reason why your daughter gave up and quit something they love.  And most of all, you don’ want to lose your daughter.

 

How to Separate Sport and Family?

 

As I mentioned before, you want to be involved in your daughter’s life by being supportive and encouraging.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing that; your female athlete needs your support in her athletic endeavors.  So how do you stay supportive without interfering?  Don’t give your advice unless she asks for your advice.

After a game, let your athlete talk and share her thoughts about what happened.  This way, you can listen to your daughter’s feelings and ideas without your feelings and ideas conflicting.  Let your daughter know you are proud of her no matter what and have her back 100%.  Female athletes need a sense of security and they need to be able to feel that they can open up about a game or their team to someone.  This is a perfect role for you as the parent; you want your athlete to be able to talk to you and your athlete wants to be heard knowing you aren’t going to critique her.  A female athlete wants you to be their parent, not a coach.

It may be difficult to step aside as a “parent-coach” because you want the best for your daughter, but realizing that the best for your daughter is for you to watch her from the stands is essential in her athletic growth and your parent-daughter relationship.

Aug
19

After Game Talk

How to Give the “After Game Talk”

After years and years of witnessing, being apart of, and giving the “After Game Talk,” it is evident that it plays a HUGE role in team communication, confidence, and attitude. Many coaches fail to really understand the importance of this talk as they simply want to get their point across, (good or bad), repeat their point, and tend to do so over a long period of time.
Now some coaches may give positive feedback after a well-played or won game, but many tend to save their disappointments and frustrations with their team for these talks. This is absolutely the worst place a coach could express those feelings. Female athletes do not respond well to constant, negative criticism. It is understandable that coaches are frustrated after losses, but guess what; your female athletes are frustrated too. They understand when they do poorly and when they don’t have a great game. After a game, the last thing they need to hear, especially from a male coach, is how poorly their game was executed.
Female athletes tend to hold on to things, whether good or bad, and constantly think about them; “Why did I look at strike 3? I can’t believe I missed that ball. I had a bad game.” Things like this constantly go through a female athletes head; we self-analyze and criticize more than any other person could. Already feeling defeated after a game, the “After Game Talk” can be crucial to your female athletes’ mental game.
If a coach tends to talk about all the mistakes, both individual and team, he could make their athletes feel very insecure. No female athlete wants to be put down, or made an example of in a negative fashion. The truth is, they already know if they made a crucial mistake, and their teammates know as well; putting the athlete “on blast” can really hurt an athlete’s confidence and security.
After all that, do any of you coaches feel badly about your “After Game Talks?” Did you notice how I droned on about the negative aspects of the “After Game Talk?” It does not feel good to be constantly criticized and now you can imagine how your athletes may feel.
So how does a coach give a proper “After Game Talk”? Although this may seem ridiculous to many adults, it is extremely important to female athletes; compliments. Compliment the things that they did well and the plays they did right. This does not mean that every talk has to avoid the negative aspects of the game played. A coach can let the female athletes know what went wrong, but focus on the next game and stay positive. Dwelling on the game that just ended will only help the girls carry that negativity into the next game.
Here is a good example of a quick “After the Game” talk:

“Well, ladies, we didn’t play our best in that game. I saw a few mental errors, but they are things that we can fix for our next game. Let’s be aggressive, strong, and put that game behind us. Taylor, great job with that sacrifice bunt; Sarah, nice throw into home; Emily, great pitching today, you fought really hard. Let’s take the good things out of that game and bring it into the next game. Let’s have lots of energy and work hard every play”

Having a talk like this allows for the girls to understand that they need to perform better in the next game, but it also highlights positivity in a negative outcome. It is important to find a compliment for every athlete, as every athlete plays a significant role on your team.
Another good activity in your “After Game Talk” is to have the athletes do the talking. Sometimes it is necessary for the coaches to step back and let the athletes share their feelings about the previous game; this way you can get an understanding of their opinions and thoughts on how they played and what they can improve.
To maintain team unity, it is a good idea to end the talk by having all the athletes say one good thing that their teammates did during the last game. For example, Jordan tells Annie, “Annie, you pitched really well in that game.” Annie tells Julia, “Julia, you had a great hit to center.” Etc. This helps the team stay positive and helps your female athletes to support each other rather than break each other down after a loss.

Key Coaching Tips for the “After Game Talk”

1.) Keep it short and simple. Female athletes will lose your attention after awhile so it is best to make you point quickly while they are listening and attentive.

2.) Stay positive! The more negative you are during a talk, the less they will listen to you. Remember, female athletes do not like to be talked down to.

3.) Be careful with your words. Whatever you say will stick with the female athlete and carry on into the next game. If you want better performance out of your team, do not dwell on a loss and have a strong outlook for your next game.

Jun
22

How to Coach the Natural Athlete

How to Coach the Natural Athlete

 

The Natural Athlete is one that conquers most skills with ease.  They are able to perform actions more easily and quickly than some of their peers.  Even though we want female athletes to be mechanically sound, the natural athlete is able to “get the job done” her own way.  This can be a positive factor for your team, but it does not necessarily mean she does not need training.  The Natural Athlete can field, hit, dive, make remarkable plays, but they do not know how they do it.

You may say, “Well, if they can already perform the action, why do they need to know HOW they do it?”  It is important for your female athlete to know how to do it because they need to develop their mental game as well.  If your natural athlete has a poor game and does not perform to their potential, they may become mentally weak because they do not know why the game did not go their way.  This may also cause a domino effect with the rest of their performance and put them into a slump.  When an athlete does not know what they are doing wrong, the potential for them to pull themselves out of a slump is slim.

This is where you come in as a coach.   You need to help your female athlete hone in on her muscle memory and understand how her body works in order for her talents to shine.  If she does not understand how her body performs an action, she must learn it.  As I have stressed in previous posts, keeping instruction simple is the best way to get through to your female athletes; the Natural Athlete is no exception.  Now as a coach, you cannot teach natural talent, but you can teach mechanics.  Being that she does not know what or how to fix something, it is your job to teach her.  If she does not understand how she hits line drives, explain to her how she is doing it.  The more she understands her body’s actions that produce her performance reactions, the better she will consistently be in practice and games.

Lastly, your natural athlete must be treated as an equal to her teammates.  Even if she is the best athlete on your team, you want to maintain team unity.  When you single out your best player, or compare your athletes to her, it makes her teammates feel self-conscious; they already know she is the best player, they don’t need you to make it even more obvious.  Every female athlete seeks acceptance and if you continue to say things like, “Why can’t you field like Taylor does; did you see how Taylor hit that ball”, you are alienating your natural athlete from her peers.  This could cause major emotional problems among your team.  A great way to avoid such problems is to have all your athletes practice the same drills; your Natural Athlete needs drills just as much as the rest of her team and it helps maintain equality.

 

Key Coaching Tips for the Natural Athlete:

 

1.) Even though your natural athlete can out perform you, it does not mean you cannot teach her.  You have knowledge of the mental game that she can utilize throughout her performance.

 

2.) Teach muscle memory and sound mechanics.  It may be tedious to exaggerate the “little things”, but your athlete will understand her body and performance better with time.

i.) Drills for the Natural Athlete:

A.) One arm swings-switch between top and bottom hand getting the bat      through the zone.  The goal is to hit a line drive.

B.)  Bat toss- Use a wiffle ball bat and when she gets to her point of contact, she should throw the bat.  If it goes up the middle, she performed the drill correctly and is throwing her hands at the ball.

C.) Soft toss with popcorn kernals- Have your athlete hit popcorn kernals to increase hand-eye coordination and focus.  If they are able to hit popcorn kernals successfully, softballs will look like watermelons to them.

 

 

3.)  Just because she is a natural athlete does not mean she will not make mistakes.  Treat her equally to all of her teammates, even if their playing ability is unequal.

 

Jun
17

How to Coach the Bratty Athlete

How to Coach the Bratty Athlete

 

If you have never had an athlete on your team with attitude, you are one lucky coach.  The truth is though, every team has the bratty athlete; the girl with attitude, negative leadership, and lack of respect.  Now, it’s not necessarily your job to understand where the attitude comes from, but it is your job to keep her in check while she is a member on your team.

Many female athletes act out in different ways for attention and acceptance, and that is okay, as long as it does not negatively affect the team.  Female athletes love to be loved and however they can receive that acknowledgment, they will do it.  The one thing you want to avoid as a coach is negative actions to receive attention.  If you have an athlete on your team being disrespectful, not doing what they are told, and rallying her teammates to do the same, she needs to be stopped immediately.  The longer that behavior ensues, the more time she has to take control of the team.  Female athletes can be very clingy towards each other and their want for acceptance among their peers is extraordinary.  If your bratty athlete is seemingly the “ring leader” the rest of your athletes will follow.  Their acceptance among their peers is far more important than acceptance from their coach.

So how do you stop your bratty athlete?  Make an example out of her bad behavior.  This doesn’t mean you need to demean her, but it means you need to show her teammates that her behavior is inappropriate.  The best way to defuse such a situation is, unfortunately, negative reinforcement.  When I say make an example out of her, it does not mean make her run laps while the team practices or give her individual punishment, but rather make it a team effort.  If you were to make the punishment all about your bratty athlete, she will receive the attention she was looking for and still have the control she was seeking.

Here is what you can do.  Before the start of practice, tell your team that you are going to have a hard practice and give them guidelines; i.e. if one person does not hustle on and off the field, the whole team will run sprints.  Once the guidelines are given, the bar is set for everyone on the team, not just the bratty athlete.  If she does not comply with the rules, the whole teams runs.  If she continues to rebel, the whole team will eventually become irritated and disallow her behavior.  By making this a team effort, the bratty athlete is not initially segregated as the “bad apple,” but her behavior in a team activity will be exemplified to her team as troublesome.  Just like her teammates, the bratty athlete wants to be accepted and will learn that acting out is not the way to get attention.  When a female athlete’s peers disapprove, they will quickly remedy the situation until she is accepted once again.

Key Coaching Tips for the Bratty Athlete

 

1.) Do not get on your bratty athlete’s level!  The more she knows she can get under your skin, the more antagonizing she will be!  Remember, she seeks attention, negative or positive.

 

2.)  Make sure she receives the same amount of attention as all the other athletes; treating your team equally will help show her she is not any better or any less than her teammates.

 

3.)  Do not individualize punishment!  Rule out bad behavior by team consequences so the team as a whole will push for compliance.

Jun
06

How to Coach the Scholar Athlete

How to Coach the Scholar Athlete

 

A scholar athlete is one that is very bright and excels in the classroom; seemingly a better student than athlete.  Many coaches struggle with the scholar athlete simply because they do not understand them.  They do not understand how they think and how they relay instruction to action.  For example, if you tell a scholar athlete to “watch the ball hit the bat,” they will think a handful of things instead of that simple phrase.  They will think, “Where are my hands,” “do I need to swing now,” “how are my feet supposed to look,” “where does my bat make contact”.  They are very mechanical thinkers.  Now, most athletes do not analyze such a simple phrase because it is just that; simple.  When a scholar athlete is told a command, they analyze, dissect, and picture everything that is supposed to happen to “watch the ball hit the bat,” instead of just hitting the ball.

How do you fix this as her coach?  To make things simpler for your scholar athlete, you need to try to think how she thinks.  The more you are in touch with your athlete and understand her way of thinking, the better your communication will be.  When you start to think about the swing and break it down mechanically, you will understand how your scholar athlete comprehends your commands.

How do you understand your scholar athlete’s mentality? Ask questions!  Ask your athlete to break down her swing; watch what she does and have her explain what she is doing.  By doing so, your language with your athlete can connect based on how she interprets parts of her swing.  Now once you and your athlete are on the same page and you have strong lines of communication, teach her the same way you would any other athlete.  Allow your scholar athlete to break down her swing mechanically while she is completing drills and dry swings, but as soon as she faces live pitching or a machine, she needs to be in “go mode”.  Let your athlete know that they are allowed to be mechanically and analytical during drills, but have her swing with a clear mind against a pitcher or machine.

We call this, “hitting like a 5 year old”.  This is not meant to be demeaning, but to literally have your athlete think like a 5 year old would.  5 year olds know the difference between right and wrong, and they know if you tell them to do something, they will directly do it.  If you tell them, “Look at that ball, when it comes to you, swing and hit it,” they will do it.  Because you gave them a simple direction, and nothing else, they are able to accomplish the task because it is the only thing on their mind.  Treating your scholar athletes in a similar fashion will prove to be extremely affective in their performance.  Stick to direct commands, small adjustments, and key words and your athlete will overcome mechanical and analytical thinking in the batters box.

 

Key Coaching Tips for the Scholar Athlete

 

1.)  Do not over teach!  If you give your athlete too many points to focus on, their brain will be on overload!

 

2.)  Praise small achievements!  Scholar athletes look to be perfect and when they don’t achieve perfection, let them know their small accomplishments are still great!

 

3.)  Get on her level!  Get to know your scholar athlete and the way she thinks.  The more you understand each other, the better your communication and teaching will work!

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