I have often wondered why my softball teams would play so well when I had them dead to rights before the game would start. They would chitty-chatty during the entire warm up session, and then, when it came time to play, they got down to business. Then when we were strict from the beginning, they would not perform. This video provides some insight into the reason.
My favorite quote from the video: “Boys must play well to feel good, girls must feel good to play well.”
That is brilliant!
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Rein in the Boys
I spend my entire practice with the minor boys baseball team trying to rein them in! One of the funniest things I have ever seen happen was when our 8U travel ball coach turned around to ask the parents a question. He had a few to answer also, and slowly the boys crept away from him. Not intentionally, they just started a little wrestling, then a little chasing, then like a swarm of bees they slowly led their way away to a full out run all around the field! One of the mothers said, "this can’t end good".
That all happened in a matter of seconds, boys are just rambunctious. Girls on the other hand, start off timid. They seem to have to fully understand what they are expected to do before they will go "all out" doing it. I don’t have any idea why this is, it is simply my observation.
Teaching Girls Aggression
That said, we spend a fair amount of time trying to teach our girls to be aggressive! One of the areas this comes into play is catching fly balls in the outfield. Any semi-talented girl can catch a ball hit right at her, but how many times have you watched them let a ball you know they have the talent to catch just drop in front of them? Frustrating!
Aggressive Outfield Drill
Today we attempted to overcome this. The method I chose was to line them up in the outfield and hit balls that they could catch if the ran in, quickly attacking the ball. If they hesitated at all, they had no chance. At the same time I wanted them to practice our fire play, a throw to second, a throw to third, and a throw home. All we needed for this drill was some motivation!
Keeping with the concept of keeping everything fun and competitive at the same time, I told them they had to run 10 laps at the end of practice, but that they could take 1 lap off for every time they turned a double play. I told them a double play was a clean catch of the fly ball and a fire to whichever base we were throwing to at that time.
At first they didn’t catch anything. Then, as often happens, someone made a shoestring catch and motivated everyone else. Suddenly they were all attacking the ball and making catches. In fact, we had to reset at five more laps. It was very encouraging.
Finally, when they all were at their last station in left field, I told them if they caught 10 in a row I would run a lap! Talk about getting their attention! They got up to 7 one time, but I wouldn’t have let them get to 10 no matter what. I did have the bat in my hand after all!
Anyway, they were very aggressive and confident by the time practice was over. Hopefully it will transfer to our game tomorrow.
Have a great way to get your girls to play more aggressive? Please share it with us!
I don’t want to get too cocky, but our softball team, the Flames are very strong. Not only are they a very talented team, they are one of the funnest teams I have ever coached. They really are coming together and being around them is a joy.
Our first game was last night and I was pleasantly surprised. While I knew we had a good defense and very powerful hitting, our pitching was very suspect! Enter our new (for now anyway) star and team leader.
I have coached this girl for four years now. She is very talented but never really lived up to her talent. She didn’t like pitching, even though she had great potential, she didn’t like being hot, even though we live in Florida! She had little or no confidence and doubted herself.
I don’t know what happened this year, but she has come out of her shell completely! She is leading the team’s cheers and showing a level of confidence she never showed before. Confidence is a very shaky thing though and we will need to help her work through the difficult times she will inevitably face over the long season we have here in the south.
Tonight we held a light practice. FCAT testing is taking place in our county and this is serious business. During that practice this girl continued to lead the team. As we were leaving she asked me who was pitching. I told her I was planning on her. Her reply? “yeessssssssss”. A far cry from the one who didn’t care either way for 3 years.
Hopefully she will maintain this attitude as we march towards our top team championship!
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