So you signed up to coach your daughter’s softball team, and while you played softball or baseball every summer when you were younger, you haven’t really played the game for 20 years. You may feel like you are lost on your quest to help these kids have a successful season, but look no further. This guide will help you become the best coach, leading your daughter and her teammates to be happy to be on a winning team.
Brushing up on your game through literature is a great way to start yourself on your way towards coaching a winning team. Check out the book Survival Guide for Coaching Youth Softball (Survival Guide for Coaching Youth Sports Series), which teaches coaches the essentials for leading a youth team by providing drills and information as well as organizational skills such as scheduling and running practices. And for the coach who feels completely lost, the first chapter is even titled “Help! Where Do I Start?” and gives advice for beginning coaches. Next, it is going to be a good idea to brush up on your basics and get back into the softball groove. For beginning coaches,
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helps teach essentials of the game, including throwing, catching, fielding, and hitting. The book also provides drills to help the team practice efficiently, teaching them skills to be transferred into the game.
Once your team starts practicing, you will probably want to take your drills a step further in order to challenge the girls and provide fresh practices, rather than the same routines. Coach's Guide to Game-Winning Softball Drills: Developing the Essential Skills in Every Player is perfect for doing just that, as it provides nearly 250 softball drills in all aspects of the game that push teams to their best and achieve victory. Similarly, The Softball Drill Book provides 175 more drills to get your team moving, and it even includes pictures to help explain the drills clearly so that you can ensure you are doing them right. Of course, there is some overlap between the two books, but it is nice to have unique points of view from different writers on which drills they think are best.
As your daughter and her teammates develop their skills and grow older with the game, or if they are an older team to begin with, they will move into faster-pitched games. These games may be intimidating, but by reading Coaching Fastpitch Softball Successfully, the game will go much more smoothly and you will be filled with the confidence to lead your team to victory. Aimed more towards experienced players, this book does still hold its ground for young coaches, as it can show them what their team will be experiencing within the coming years. You can also consider buying your team members the book Softball: Steps to Success - 3rd Edition (Paperback Book), a book which highlights each necessary skill found in softball, as well as a descriptive list of field positions and batting lineups. Pitchers will find this resource especially helpful as it includes a thorough list of pitches for all types of games.
Another excellent resource that definitely should be checked out is Jennie Finch's Throw Like a Girl: How to Dream Big & Believe in Yourself, an inspirational book for any softball lover that discusses issues with female athletes, including topics such as body image, femininity, and peer pressure. Jennie Finch is the world's most famous softball pitcher, but she started in the same place that your team members are now experiencing. Her words of encouragement and positivity will resonate well with both youth and coaches alike.
You will need to buy equipment before your team starts their first practice, especially if your league does not provide the equipment for you. Softballs are expensive, but if you buy in bulk then you can get good deals, such as the MacGregor Bucket of Yellow Practice Softballs, which are perfect for practicing and make great warm-up balls. A great resource for beginning pitchers is the Markwort Christie Ambrose's Softball Pitching Trainer, 11-Inch, which shows pitchers where to set their fingers on the ball in order to achieve the perfect pitch. While many girls will already have their own gloves, you can consider buying extras, such as the Wilson A440 11 1/2 inch Fast Pitch Softball Glove Mitt, which is a solid glove at an extremely reasonable price. Bats span a wide range in price, so depending on how much you spend you can get quite a variety. One great deal is on the Worth ALXSB Chrome Silencer softball bat 34/27 NEW 0136 bat, which was listed as only $30 at the time of this post.
Of course, having fun in softball extends beyond the game, and your team will appreciate efforts to make their uniforms more exciting. One way of doing this is to buy fun socks, such as the Softball Socks, which feature a fun print of softballs, available in various colors. And don’t forget that taking the team out for ice cream after the game is a great way to bond off the field! Some Dairy Queens offer free small sundaes to players who come in after the games in their uniforms, so that is a fun option.
Best of luck in your season of coaching youth softball!