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General Expectations

 

Below are general guidelines to consider for SGSA coaches, players and parents. Some are broken down by age group, since different rules and skills are learned as players grow. This document is intended to give a detailed understanding of how SGSA plans to enable growth at all levels and to be utilized as a reference/tool for coaches. As always, there will be exceptions and best judgment should be applied.

 

Coaches

SGSA coaching staff are all volunteer positions. Being selected and accepting a coaching position is a great responsibility that should not be taken lightly. The Head Coach position, in particular, requires a balance of leadership and organization. Communication within the coaching team, understanding the experience of the selected coaching staff, and the level at which play will happen, should all be considered when preparing a successful plan for development of the players and goals for the season.

Coaches should plan to communicate at the beginning, as well as throughout the season to set realistic expectations for both parents and players by reviewing the code of conduct which addresses behavior.

 

Practices and Game time

Play during a game is time to focus for both players and coaches. The players are expected to apply what is learned at practices and the coaches are expected to focus on instruction.

 

Sharing the bench is part of the game and is important in girls’ softball. Bench time can be down time from an intense situation or gear up time. Coach interaction during bench time should be used as a learning opportunity is highly encouraged.

 

As players progress, it is important they try different positions for the overall grasp of the game. Ultimately, the coaching staff makes determinations, but as players master a position, rotating them to another to master helps keep the engagement level up and is highly recommended. Some players will progress faster and it may seem that they have more opportunity, but again, these decisions are based on the ability of the player.

 

During games, if there is a significant gap of score, utlilize that time to swap less experienced players to into new positions for growth and opportunity with consideration to their ability and safety. Timeouts called by either team are an excellent time for teachable moments and instruction!

 

Practice recommendations

·         Warm up: is highly imperative to foster both healthy habits for players and team work at every practice and game. Team exercises should be integrated here. This is a great way for players to bond.

·         Stations: this is where differentiation of skills can occur; multiple stations during practice help to work through all skills needed in a game. (i.e.: batting, throwing, fielding, etc.)

·         Drills: whether within stations or in addition to, drills are very skill specific. Drills should be selected by the coaching staff to grow or maintain a particular skill dependent upon the team’s needs.

·         Pitching & Catching: Independent practice reinforces these skills that are key in every game. Drills and stations are encouraged. All players who are interested in growing in these areas, must understand that commitment and additional practice outside of regular times will make them a stronger player. (Players and coaches may seek outside counsel as to their specific skill-building in this area.)

 

 

By-the-level guidelines

 

Parent Expectations: Positive parent assistance is encouraged, especially during practices and developing the players’ skills outside of SGSA activities. Coaching staff should have open communication about girls’ strengths opportunities for growth.

 

Girls: Teaching and reinforcing healthy player habits and fundamental softball skills; understanding rules of the game as the can change with each level; Learning positions and willingness to try new skills; All girls share bench time and rotate, as manageable for positions. Coaches stress positive attitude and effort from all players. Code of Conduct and Zero Tolerance Code of Ethics must be abided by at all times.

 

8U:

·         Coach Pitch and girls are learning fielding at this level.

 

10U:

·         Beginning to focus on set of positions means that more consistency with positions may likely occur. Players are at various levels, so each player will be evaluated and moved around per the coaching staff.

·         Players start live pitching; pitching and hitting in game-like situations are encouraged during practice.

·         Learning sliding and bunting

·         Pitching and Catching should be more focused for players that have interest and ability.

·         Batting order should be adjusted as coaches concur (based on improvements, etc.)

 

12U:

·         Mastery of a set of positions;

·         Live pitching and hitting in game-like situations are strongly encouraged during practice

·         Mastering sliding and bunting.

·         Pitching and Catching should be more focused for players that have interest and ability.

·         Batting order should be adjusted as coaches concur (based on improvements, etc.)

 

14U:

·         Additional rules of the game at this level;

·         Set positions at this level based on player ability (2-3 positions are suggested from high school coaches and tournament teams.)

·         Live pitching and hitting in game-like situations during practice

·         Pitching and Catching are more focused for players that have interest and ability.

·         Batting order should be adjusted as coaches concur (based on improvements, etc.)

 

Tournament Opportunities: Expectations

 

We always put a significant emphasis on having fun! It is important to remember that as our girls are still learning fundamental skills, Tournaments will focus on team’s advancement of overall performance and competitiveness.  There is no “minimum play” guideline.  While all players will have an opportunity to play there will be games where the coaches make decisions not to play everyone based upon specific circumstances.  It is the coach's intent to maximize the involvement of all girls, but it is unlikely that playing time will be distributed exactly equal.  It is important to understand this. Playing time will be dictated based upon effort, attendance, commitment, attitude and ability.