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Coaching Objectives: What Kind of Environment Are You Fostering?

I’m going to take a little break from the technical pitching info and spend a few weeks talking about what is probably the most important aspect of fastpitch softball: coaching. I know a lot of our readers are probably coaches, and parents who are not necessarily trained coaches but are volunteering their time to give their children the opportunity to play softball. Hopefully the information I provide in this series of articles will help you spruce up your coaching skills and move you toward achieving the common goal we all have: positively affecting the lives of young athletes and creating a playing environment that helps them grow not just as players, but as people also.

If I asked any amateur coach in any sport in the whole world, I bet every one—or at least an extreme majority—would agree that there is more to coaching than teaching skills, winning games, and (for the parent coaches) making sure your own kid gets as much playing time as possible. But how many coaches have you encountered in your life who seem to be putting this philosophy into good practice?

I’m going to share a list of objectives that is presented to prospective coaches of high school sports, but it applies equally to any opportunity to coach school aged athletes, be it in a team or individual setting. It is the duty of all concerned with school athletics to…

  • emphasize the proper ideals of sportsmanship, ethical conduct and fair play
  • eliminate all possibilities which tend to destroy the best values of the game
  • stress the values derived from playing the game fairly
  • show cordial courtesy to visiting teams and officials
  • establish a happy relationship between visitors and hosts
  • respect the integrity and judgement of the sports officials
  • encourage leadership, use of incentive, and good judgement by the players on the team
  • recognize that the purpose of athletics is to promote the physical, mental, moral, social, and emotional well-being of the individual players
  • remember that an athletic contest is only a game; not a matter of life or death for player, coach, school, official, fan, community, state or nation

I think the last three points are especially critical. As I mentioned before, I’d be hard pressed to find someone who does not agree with the points outlined above. But think for a minute if you’re a coach: how many of those points do you actively promote to your team/individual students on a regular basis? Being honest with yourself, how many infractions of these points have you personally committed over the course of your coaching career?

While I truly believe that these concepts should hold true across all sports at all levels, I can’t help but realize that they are exceptionally important for us in the women’s fastpitch softball world. Softball remains excluded from the Olympic games, and professional women’s softball leagues have a lot of growing to do. Until this changes, the vast majority of softball careers end when the athlete graduates college. Given that fact, what is our objective as coaches if not to use softball as a medium to teach self confidence, interpersonal skills, and other important life skills?

This are just some general ideas to chew on as an introduction. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be getting into some more specific things you can put into practice as a coach improve your effectiveness and enhance your players’/students’ experiences.

 

About the author

Carly

Carly is a windmill pitching specialist and co-founder of Fastpitch Power. She has coached teams at every level from 10U to NCAA. She also designed and built fastpitchpower.com. Please feel free to leave questions and site feedback in the comments or via our contact page!

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