Get Better by Getting Smarter
When teaching baseball and softball, the coach needs to understand that players cannot retain massive doses of instruction at the onset. Experts have proven that an eight-year-old, on the average, has an eight-minute attention span. Using this as a starting point, you might think that as players get older, their attention span will increase by one minute for each year. Well, after many years of teaching & learning from the very best in the game, I can tell you that a 23-year-old has only an eight-minute attention span as well. Because of this information we began to get smarter.
Point out that there is no sense in rushing players to a live batting practice or infield if the players have not mastered the fundamental skills to execute the full skill properly. If this happens it is guaranteed that both coaches & players will just become frustrated. Additionally, once the time comes for live execution of a fundamental and the players skills break down, STOP the live activity and return to drills on the fundamental.
INSTRUCT, DRILL, COMPETE
This is the perfect outline to teach the fundamentals of baseball and softball.
1. Instruct for 5 Minutes
A coach (teacher of the game) should not spend more than five minutes on instructing a singular part of a fundamental or team situation. Also, while giving the information, the coach should also act out the material while presenting it. Like the old adage says, “monkey see, monkey do.”
2. Drill for 10 Minutes
After you have taught the material, it is time for your players to execute the fundamental. A drill should be incorporated for proper muscle memory execution. It is during this drill that instruction should be at its height. The drill should be snappy and fun with plenty of action.
3. Compete for 5 Minutes
As soon as the drill has been completed it is time for competition. Pressure practice is the key to learning how to win. Teaching your players how to execute under the pressure of competition not only helps them prepare for their next game, but also helps them mature in life. Confidence in doing the right thing under practice pressure makes game situations easier during the season when the heat is turned up.
Twenty minutes of learning, getting smarter and having fun is all it takes to get better. It is a concentrated time for the utmost in concentration. Counteract your players’ inability to be attentive by giving them little bits of great information they can absorb in the Instruct, Drill, Compete 20-minute plan.