Rewards of Coaching for Alan Sheinwald
Alan Sheinwald has spent many years volunteering as a softball coach for mentally and physically disabled adults in his community. He has learned the ins-and-outs of many coaching techniques and strategies that help him bring the team together to both work hard and have fun.
Many athletes have said that they learned some of their most valuable life lessons on an athletic field. A coach can make or break the spirit of an athlete. For those teaching youngsters or newcomers to the game of softball, you have to begin with the basics: how to hold the bat, how to throw the ball, and how to catch the ball.
Teaching the “rules” of the game is important, but so is teamwork and sportsmanship. You will face many challenges when you coaching. You will have to talk to your team on their level and make the lessons understandable and comprehensive in a way that works for them.
Practice is just that, practice. A time to learn new things and to prefect other things. You must demonstrate the plays that you want the players to learn. While volunteering, Alan Sheinwald has found that simply telling players what to do often isn’t enough. The players need to understand why and make connections to something that they already know. This way, plays and batting motions become routine with muscle memory and mental memory.
Softball has many strategies to the game. When you coach, you have to explain these strategies and why they are important. You want to teach the players to think for themselves and decide what strategy would work at a moment’s notice. The game can change quickly and the players need to be prepared to react.
Teaching the 1-2-3 drill will help your infield with decision making skills and reaction time. Any doubt in either could cost a run. A ball hit to the shortstop should be caught a relayed to second base, who in turn throws it to first base and then back to the pitcher. You will need to repeat this drill with each member of the infield in many different situations. As you hit the ball, you shout where the runners are. For example, if you hit the ball toward third base and yell that the runner is on first and another one is coming home, the third baseman needs have the ability to quickly decide which runner to get out first and where to know where to throw the ball.
As for the outfield, you need to explain where each one is to throw the ball after a catch. If the outfielder holds on to the ball too long, a runner can tag and proceed to the next base. Also, the idea of “calling” the ball, meaning that the person who is going to catch the ball yells so that the others will back off and you will not have a collision where no one catches the ball. Even Major League players still make this mistake on occasion.
With any sport that you are coaching, it is important to always be positive and focus on fun. For Alan Sheinwald, seeing his players enjoy themselves, improve their skills, and share their love for the game is a priceless and endlessly rewarding opportunity.