Importance of Softball Education
Today we are going to talk about the benefits of training and education as a coach. We all come from somewhere as we begin our journey into being role models for our athletes, and the best thing that we can do is to add to our knowledge for our athletes and the game.
How do you feel about education and certification as a coach of softball or even any sport? Many coaches have played the game and have a level of knowledge as they enter this amazing world with either a group of 5 or year old children, or even right up through with an adult team, and at various levels. When I started coaching in 1991, I did not have experience in the game and through certification and education, and of course experience gained knowledge as I moved through the age groups and skill levels.
I chose to begin getting educated right away. The National Coaching Certification Program in Canada offers amazing programs and courses, some of which are mandatory in order to coach minor athletes. I found that the knowledge that I continued to gain through further education was very helpful in dealing with youth, and in teaching skills at all levels. I think also that children deserve a coach who is as dedicated to their own development as they are to the athlete.
Coaches have so much experience to draw on that might not necessarily be related to the game. This is a good thing. What education and further knowledge can do though, is to help to transfer that experience into a positive coaching experience for your team. There are some characteristics that are a part of our core as a coach that will not necessarily be modified as a result of new knowledge, however some characteristics will. Some characteristics that might be adapted might be:
• the way we relate to our athletes
• the way we relate to parents
• the way we progressively teach skills
• the way we utilize softball rules as a part of our game
Some of the things we learn can even be used in our daily life such as planning, conflict resolution and mental training skills.
I feel like the best way that we can be the most positive and productive role model for our athletes regardless of the age or skill level, is to become aware and as knowledgeable as we can about softball and everything about it. We talk to other coaches all the time and go to conferences. That’s excellent networking and sharing of information. What formal certification and education can do though is about science and methodology in the delivery of information as we attempt to assist our players in being not only better athletes but better people as well.
Better people is not something that we always think of when we are working with our softball teams. It is something though that we need to always keep in our mind as we teach on and off the field skills. How we conduct ourselves as role models during practices, games and tournaments will also be reflected in how our athletes move through their competitive environments in softball and other sports.
I encourage you if you haven’t already, to check with your national sport organization to find any certification courses you can enroll in. You and your athletes will not be disappointed.