Softball Coaching Tips - The Funnel Approach - Understanding when to tag up and when to run is a core skill that can make the difference between winning and losing a lot of games. Learning to steal a base on a changeup or a ball in the dirt, while valuable, is more of a nuance that can come later.
Whether you're working with a
team or an individual, many fastpitch softball coaches struggle with where to
start. There's so much to learn in our game that it can be quite overwhelming. This
is where coaches can take a cue from the business world — in particular the
"funnel" approach used in sales. Most sales organizations have it
down to a science. They know that if they're going to close X number of sales,
they need to X number of customers to come to the website, which means they
need their promotional efforts to reach X number of people in total.
coaching, it works this way. Start with the
big things, get those happening first, and then work your way down into the
details. Now, that may seem rather obvious but you'd be surprised how many
coaches try to get to the detail parts too quickly — or try to teach everything
about a skill at once. What usually happens is the player becomes so
overwhelmed by information that she doesn't learn much of anything.
hitting as a good example. As you've no doubt seen on the
Discuss Fastpitch Forum, those who get into
hitting often really get into it. They will spend hundreds of hours or more
looking at video of top-level players and analyzing everything down to the way
their eyebrows twitch when they're waiting on the pitch. That's fine as an intellectual
pursuit. Where the problem comes in is when they try to impart all that vast
knowledge to their players. If they don't prioritize in a way that creates
success for the player, it's likely that the player will become frustrated and
simply give up. In hitting, as in all athletic skills, there are some core
things that have to be in place, and then there are nuances that build on those
core things. For example, keeping the hands up rather than dropping/looping
them is a pretty important skill and needs to be a priority. The exact angle of
the bat at a particular point in the swing, on the other hand, is more of a
nuance. It's something to work on further down in the funnel.
doesn't just apply to skills, either. It can also be used in teaching the game
itself. Understanding when to tag up and when to run is a core skill that can
make the difference between winning and losing a lot of games. Learning to
steal a base on a changeup or a ball in the dirt, while valuable, is more of a
nuance that can come later. Again, there's a lot to learn in our sport. Trying
to take in too much at once is like trying to drink out of a firehose.
Remember the funnel approach — start
with the core things then move into finer and finer areas when your players are
ready for them. You'll find it works out better for everyone.
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