One of the great challenges a coach faces is keeping practice fresh and their players engaged. Whether you’re a 30-year veteran with championship credentials or a rookie coach being thrown into the fire, it’s important to capture the imagination of your athletes by keeping them on their toes.
If an athlete or an entire team knows exactly what routine to expect from one practice to the next, it is likely they will become complacent. This complacency will lead to many players going into autopilot mode, as they simply go through the motions. This is a detriment to the chemistry and the overall development of the team and its players.
If a coach puts forth the extra effort to mix things up, a player will have the opportunity to participate in new drills, develop more skills and appreciate the learning process. A lot has been made of the attention span of today’s youth, or lack thereof. With this in mind, it’s important to incorporate new practice methods, to promote engagement and enjoyment. As Arnold Schwarzenneger described in his training methods, “You’ve got to shock the muscles.”
Not all coaches are created equal. Some skippers have professional or college playing experience, and an abundance of information and training methods to pass on to their players. While other coaches’ playing experience may be limited to a season of Little League or none at all. This doesn’t mean a coach has any less of a desire to succeed, but it does affect the knowledge they have at their disposal.
In the past, this presented quite a challenge for a green coach, and undoubtedly impacted their success. However, as time goes on and information is increasingly accessible - the playing field has leveled. Coaches looking for new drills and developmental philosophies can access that information with relative ease.
Coaches of all ages and experience levels can benefit from MaxBP Reaction Training, because the small ball training methods produce improved hand eye coordination, vision and bat speed. Furthermore, it allows coaches to implement endless drills. Over the past decade players and coaches have continued to come up with new training strategies using MaxBP products, including tracking, vision, bat speed and hand-eye drills.
Mike Coutts, the head softball coach at the University of Maine, shared a creative way the Lady Black Bears use MaxBP to close out their practice sessions. According to Coutts, he configures the MaxBP to a high velocity, and allows each team member the opportunity to catch 10 balls (alternating hands in the process).
At the end of the drill, the player with the most catches is dog-piled by her teammates. This is not a typical MaxBP drill, but Coach Coutts explained that it does improve his players’ hand-eye coordination, while allowing the girls to bond and build chemistry. Further proof that the number of practice possibilities out there are only limited to one’s imagination.
Don’t let a lack of coaching experience or limited playing time define you as a coach. Take advantage of available resources and develop a practice routine that will benefit your team and its players. If you’re a coach with a lot of experience and success, consider implementing some new methods that your players will enjoy and will promote growth. There are plenty of resources on the internet, including the MaxBP website. Subscribe to the MaxBP email, blog or simply visit MaxBP.com for new material on a daily basis!