When we agree to have the equipment dropped at our door to become the coach of a softball team, we are agreeing not only to teach the game to a group of individuals who want to play. As te certified coach, we are also agreeing to take into our hands the responsibility for their technical, tactical and mental skills and something we don’t often consider, their emotional well being while on our field.
The Certified Coach
Becoming a certified coach will give you the knowledge required to teach the technical and tactical skills and some of the mental training skills that should be a part of every softball program. Attending a certification clinic in your area will also help you to network with other coaches for support which is something we don’t often take advantage of.
Beginning my certification process was the biggest confidence builder for me as a coach. Knowing that I had the knowledge to pass on to my players and the ability to plan my practices in such a way that I was essentially planning my season as I was planning my practices and games. Having the confidence of knowledge, also alleviated some of the stress that comes with being a new coach as I was working with adults at the time so it was a little bit intimidating.
When we consider the emotional well being of our players, all we have to do is observe the interactions within the team and their actions and reactions during games and practices. Even though certification programs will give you some insight, they will not give you the answers for this aspect of coaching which comes more with experience. However it does allow you to spend more time learning about your players because you might feel less self conscious about your coaching abilities. If we consider that we are actually coaching people first and softball players second, it will allow us to consider how we react to things that happen and then act in a manner that supports the players in a productive way.
If we can also see the game as a tool of growth physically AND emotionally, we are doing more of a service to our players then maybe even they were expecting to experience when signing up for the team. So consider the amount of influence we can have on our players experiences and especially for the younger players. It has been said that coaches are the 3rd most influential adult in children’s lives and we need to take that seriously. Our first priority should be the well being of our players and we should strive to ensure that when they leave our field there is a smile on their face and that they had a good experience regardless if you won the game or lost the game.
This is only one way that we can get this game back on the map and keep more kids in the game.