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Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays


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Posted 05 May 2004 - 11:45 AM

Help! This is my second year coaching girls fastpitch. I am having trouble keeping 11 ten&eleven year old girls focused. I thought that after our first game of the season they would get more it to it. Instead they were less motivated at the game then at the previous practices. I do not like to yell but I feel like every practice I am having to yell louder and louder.
I have a hard time trying to explain new rules/drills to the girls because they will start talking over me. I feel like I am constantly reminding them to pay attention and to be quiet while I am talking. I have been making then run more and more lately when they are not listening but I feel like this is a negative approach.
I am normally pretty patient but I am getting very frustrated. Any suggestions?

#2 hollad6636



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Posted 07 May 2004 - 08:03 AM


The 11/12 year olds are a tough group to begin with. They think they know everything and are better than they really are and in addition they don't like to hear constructive criticism. I would have a problem making them run. I would also not hesitate to single people out. In other words if three girls are talking three girls run, not the whole team. Remove the ones who are distracting the team from the discussion and finish the discussion with the ones who are paying attention.

Continue with the drill and take the offenders to the side and again try to explain to them what you are trying to accomplish with the drill. Take your time and hold them out of the drill for awhile. Let them know that they are not being fair to themselves or to the team by being disrespectful and distracting the team while you are talking.

Motivating young athletes can be tough regardless of age. Each player has a different reason for playing the sport; spending time with friends, love of the sport and parental pressure can all be reasons that the child is playing the sport.

Understanding why each child is playing is a critical first step towards helping a child to have the best possible experience. You must gain their trust and respect. Remember that you are coaching young people not machines. Show interest in each child as an individual regardless of their skill level. Set some short term goals for each child that they have the ability to accomplish. Give them opportunites to succeed.

Create a positive practice environment, one that focuses on what the athlete is doing right rather than what they are doing wrong. The athlete should not be affraid to make mistakes. Help them to understand that people who don't make mistakes are people who are not trying very hard and don't care about becoming a better athlete. Let the team know that they can help motivate each other. The team should provide positive support to those players who are struggling. Each player has a responsibility to the team and should share in the short-term goals of improving attitudes and basic skills. If a player is constantly put in a situation where they can not stand out, then their motivation will be suppressed.

Good luck!


#3 Saugussoftball


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Posted 10 June 2004 - 09:00 PM

I sympathisize with you, but I have to say, I think I have hit on someting realy good.and easy!.....I "critique" each and every practice and game...Each girl gets a
really positive message and if, need be, a "critique"...This is sent via e-mai to the parents, not the girls, e-mail....I make sure I highlight the team's cohesivness and the friendships being formed..but....if someone is being a distraction, it's very kindly known to all via a group e-mail...........it works, it's not an in yur face..it works.

#4 ctcoach



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Posted 21 March 2006 - 07:23 AM

A tactic that you might also want to employ is instead of running when you notice they are not paying attention just simply stop talking and walk away for a minute. This will allow the girls who want learn and play to shut those girls up for you and you might also find out who your leaders are and who really wants to play, and allow the team to realize that if they don't listen they don't play period.It may not be the best solution but it certainly worked for my little league and also might help the girls in finding unity amongst themselves and maybe make your job easier.GOOD LUCK COACH and don't get discouraged I think every coach has had to battle this problem to some degree at some point of thier career.It's more common than you think.

#5 Riverdog



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Posted 21 March 2006 - 11:16 PM

Getting kids to focus is tough. If it's any consolation, it doesn't get a whole lot better as they get older. The fact is that they are engaged in sports for the social atmosphere, for peer acceptance and because mom or dad has made them.
You need to find ways to entertain them. Sounds goofy but that's the reality of it. You have to have games in their practices that are fun to do. You have to set up some sort of competition that they can get excited about.
There's nothing wrong with running them but why not make it a competition:
- put 3 balls on the pitcher's rubber and have a coach at 2B
- each player in turn has to run from home plate to the rubber, pick up one ball and throw it to 2B
- after the throw the run back to home, touch the plate and repeat the trip to the pitcher's rubber
- time the event from the moment they start running until they cross the plate after the last throw.
- record the times.
- cheering the runner is mandatory
I have done this drill (usually with 4 or 5 balls) with several different age groups. They usually have a blast and forget very quickly that it's supposed to be a punishment.

Remember that these kids need something new to be happening at least every 10 - 15 minutes or they'll get bored.

#6 Softball Tan

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 09:19 AM

Welcome to the world of coaching kids!! Your biggest battle is going to be to keep them focused. I coach two teams ranging in age from 9-16...by far the younger ones are the easiest to coach in terms of keeping them present & motivated. However Riverdog hit the nail on the head...you have Got to keep practice moving and planning your drills, so that no one is just standing around. For example...when I am working on batting and infield with one group...my assistant coach has a group in the outfield hitting pop flies to them. If someone is causing a disruption..they are warned once...the second time they are sent to the dug-out and after a bit, I will go talk to them...the third time, they're running...the fourth time they, their parents, and I are having a conversation. This is not started over at each practice...it is carried forward through the season. Your first year will be the hardest...after my first three practices, I was ready to hang it up...however we hung tough with our rules and the last several years have been a joy. You are the boss and the girls need to know and respect that. They soon learn that if everyone is paying attention, practice can be a fun experience for everyone. Good Luck!!

Edited by Softball Tan, 27 May 2006 - 09:19 AM.

#7 G2G



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Posted 07 August 2008 - 01:18 PM

When I started coaching softball Coach Candrea gave me a great piece of advice, "Boys need to play good to feel good, and Girls need to feel good to play good." I have used that theory and it has payed off for me. Good Luck
Scott Miller