Tuesday, December 04, 2007

As the Director of Softball

Not much to say today about poker.

I have almost finished stage one of the action plan that I feel in needed to move the softball part of the organization in the right direction. One of the first things I did was lo make a list of things that are solid with the program as it sits. I then looked at the areas that need help and made a list called Things We Know.

Things that we know:

We have a transition league that seems to be successful.
We have a minor league that seems to be successful.
We have a major league that seems to be successful.
We have a junior travel league that struggles to put a competitive team on the field.
We have a 12U travel team.
We had 5 area girls try out for a proposed 14U travel team.
There are about 22 area girls playing 14U travel for surrounding area teams.
We had no 10U travel team last year and have none planned for 2008.

From this point I looked at other established programs to see what they had done in the past, both good and bad, to see if I could speed up the learning process for the administrator of our league. I found some great information on the web and realized that many of these solid organizations have had the same issues that we are seeing and thus we can try and learn from their experiences.

I have also come up with a plan to field semi-travel teams that are made up of in-house all-stars for each age group that doesn't already have a travel team. They would play in one or two tourneys only but it will give them a chance to experience some of the benefits of playing travel ball. Additionally, it will give some of the parents a chance to see what playing ball is really like and to give hopefully a nudge to one of these parents to become a coach for the next batch of young ladies who want to play travel ball.

I have also looked at how we coach the kids and hope to create a guide book for coaches to follow. We already have a book that shows drills for all aspects of the game but I think giving the volunteer coaches a structured method of coaching these kids will help focus the group as a whole. My experience has shown that if you structure the practices so that that kids know what is coming next, they are better prepared to maintain focus and thus will improve more efficiently. In the end, what we want is to give the girls a chance to improve their skills and to have fun.

As a coach for both travel ball and in-house teams, I only look for three things to happen. Number one is that the kids have fun. This really goes without saying because we are not trying to develope world class players. That is for the private club teams to do. Number two is putting in the effort. All I can ask from the kids is to play hard and stay focused. They don't have to be slaves to the game but their parents have paid money for them to play so I think they should put in the effort. The last thing I look for is improvement. I don't think I've had one player that didn't improve while I coached them. This isn't that amazing but I think I get more out of having a player who had no clue at the beginning of the year turn into some what of a player than a good player who just got a little better. It is really fun watching the kids gain confidence during the season.

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