skip navigation

Candrea on Coaching


Being a Responsible Coach

Header3

On behalf of the Amateur Softball Association, welcome to the August issue of the ACE Coach monthly email from ASA Director of Coaching Education and two-time Olympic Coach Mike Candrea: Candrea on Coaching. As a youth sports coach, you naturally want to prepare your team to win as many games as possible, and as a Responsible Coach, you want to prepare your players to win off the field, too. The Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports program is proud to bring you this series in which Coach Candrea will provide you with coaching tips and resources that you can use for the betterment of your youth softball team.

August 18, 2009
Volume I, Issue 8

 

Being a Responsible Coach

It is mind boggling to think about the number of people we have given the title of “coach” to over the years in the various levels of sports. Coaching a team can be a life changing experience for any parent who has a child in youth sports, or sports enthusiast and an even greater experience for the many young people they touch through the trials and tribulations of a sport season. There have been many outstanding coaches who have given the time, energy, expertise and leadership that have made a tremendous impact on the development of our youth. What a great opportunity and responsibility we have to influence so many young people during a time in their development as athletes and, more importantly, as people. Some of my most influential mentors who helped shape me into who I am today were coaches throughout my youth.

We cannot argue that the foundation of our character is built by our own parents, although for many young people, it is their coaches that provide them with the moments and experiences that ultimately make a difference in their development as adults. I can look back today at the coaches that I had in elementary school, Little League, high school, and other various leagues that I participated in up through my college career. I can remember every name, and more importantly, what kind of influence they had on my life. That is a very powerful statement and it proves the point that Responsible Coaching can have a tremendous influence in shaping the character of our youth. I was influenced so well that I chose to coach as a profession. To this day, I continue to thank the coaches in my life for the guidance, discipline, encouragement and knowledge they’ve instilled in me over the years.

When we make the choice of becoming a coach, it is imperative that we understand some simple guidelines that have been proven over the years to provide the proper environment for our youth to develop their athletic skills, but more importantly, the skills they will need to be successful in life. These principles are the foundation of the Responsible Coaching coursework on ResponsibleSports.com.

Coaching is a privilege and great coaches have to wear many hats. The most successful coaches have the teaching skills of an educator, the training expertise of a physiologist, the administrative leadership of a business executive and the counseling wisdom of a psychologist. But the most important role you play in youth sports is to teach character. Coaching for character is helping your players know the right thing to do and then helping them to do it right!

Guidelines to coaches for teaching character:

1.) Respectful

  • Of the game and to its rules and traditions
  • Of your opponents
  • Of the officials
  • In victory and defeat

Responsible Coaches conduct themselves by a code, which Responsible Sports and Positive Coaching Alliance call "Honoring the Game." To remember the components of this code, remind yourself and your players that Honoring the Game means respecting the sport's ROOTS. The acronym ROOTS helps remind us that we must respect Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates, and Self. Learn more about Honoring the Game and ROOTS.


2.) Responsible

  • Prepare yourself to do your best
  • Be punctual for practices and games
  • Be self-disciplined
  • Be cooperative with your teammates

Our society tends to put scoreboard results ahead of everything else. Responsible Coaches care about the scoreboard, but they care even more deeply about instilling a "Mastery Approach" in their athletes. A simple way to remember the three keys to the Mastery Approach is another Responsible Sports and Positive Coaching Alliance acronym, ELM, where ELM stands for Effort, Learning and M istakes.


3.) Caring

  • Help your teammates play better
  • Support teammates – Encourage vs. Discourage!
  • Be generous with praises; stingy with criticism
  • Play for the team, not yourself

Responsible Coaches keep players' “Emotional Tanks” full. Responsible Sports and Positive Coaching Alliance refer to a person's “Emotional Tank” like a car's gas tank. When it's full we can go anywhere we want to, when it's empty we can't go at all. Players with full “Emotional Tanks” give Responsible Coaches some distinct advantages like being more coachable, more optimistic and better able to handle adversity. See a youth softball coach in action with her team as the players fill the “Emotional Tanks” of their teammates in the video “ Softball Buddy System.”


4.) Honest

  • Play by the spirit of the rules
  • Be loyal to your team
  • Make good choices on and off the field
  • Admit to your own mistakes

Jessica Mendoza talks about how she learned to overcome mistakes as a youth softball player and how her softball lessons have carried over into life lessons in the video “Handling a Mistake.”


5.) Be Fair

  • Treat other players as you wish to be treated
  • Be fair to all players, including those who are different
  • Give all players an opportunity to grow & succeed
  • Play to win within the rules

In Coach Candrea’s “Player Development” video, he talks about getting kids to understand how to handle failure, and how that moves right into teachable life-long lessons.


6.) Be a Good Citizen

  • Be a good role model
  • Strive for excellence
  • Give back to softball
  • Encourage teammates to be good citizens

One way to demonstrate to your players to strive for excellence and how to act as good citizens is by Coaching Beyond the X’s and O’s. Responsible Coaches, beyond the X's and O's, teach athletes life lessons in persistence, teamwork, sacrifice, effort, empathy, discipline, leadership and overcoming adversity.

Until next month,

Candrea
Coach Candrea

ASA & USA Softball News

The 2009 USA Softball National Coaching School presented by Liberty Mutual is Nov. 20-22 at the Robert Livermore Community Center in Livermore, Calif. The cost of the school is $175 per-coach but individuals who have their application postmarked by Sept. 1 will receive a discounted rate of $150. Deadline for registration is Oct. 30, if all 250 spots are not filled prior.
 

School instructors include current and former members of the USA Softball National Team staff including former Head Coach Mike Candrea, 2009 Head Coach Jay Miller and 2009 Assistant Coach Ken Eriksen. Among the instructional topics are hitting, pitching, catching, in fielding, out fielding and responsible coaching.

Register today. >


ASA Softball is proud to partner with Liberty Mutual Insurance to bring the youth softball community the Responsible SportsTM program, dedicated to championing and celebrating responsibility in youth sports. We believe that some of the most influential individuals in young people's lives are parents and coaches. Visit ResponsibleSports.com to learn more.

BandS_Bottom
 

This email was sent by: ASA/USA Softball
2801 NE 50th Street Oklahoma City, OK, 73111, USA

Organizing Your Practice Sessions Part II

Header3

On behalf of the Amateur Softball Association, welcome to the October issue of the ACE Coach monthly email from ASA Director of Coaching Education and two-time Olympic Coach Mike Candrea: Candrea on Coaching. As a youth sports coach, you naturally want to prepare your team to win as many games as possible, and as a Responsible Coach, you want to prepare your players to win off the field, too. The Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports program is proud to bring you this series in which Coach Candrea will provide you with coaching tips and resources that you can use for the betterment of your youth softball team.

 

October 19, 2009
Volume I, Issue 10

 

Organizing Your Practice Sessions Part II

In last month’s article, I mentioned the use of checklists to help in planning your practices and discussed some of the essentials of a productive practice. This month I share with you a tool that I use to incorporate variety in my practice planning, while maintaining a productive flow.   

Coaches: Earn a $2,500 grant for your team!
The Fall 2009 Community Grants are open! Get your team involved! Register your team, then spread the word, but don’t wait the grant period ends on November 30th. Get started towards earning $2,500 today! >

Let’s take a look at the Offensive Checklist to see a variety of hitting drills that I use with my hitters.  I would always understand the purpose of the drill and the  part of the swing that it is used to fix or enhance the proper feeling.  Remember, drills are used in repetition to provide a feel for a particular movement or skill.  Drills must be done correctly to provide the proper muscle memory.

  • Short-game Skills
    1. Sac Bunt
    2. Drag Bunt
    3. Push Bunt
    4. Slap
    5. Fake/Fake

If you look at the Offensive Checklist , you’ll find a complete listing of base running, short game and hitting drills and skills.  For example, as I cover the essential skills under base running, I would check off those skills to make sure we have been thorough in our preparation.  The hitting area is not something that you need to check off with each drill, but is more of a resource for you to use in planning your hitting sessions with your players. We always use tee drills, toss drills and live batting practice in our practice sessions.  We do the vision training in our fall season and incorporate the strength and speed training in the weight room throughout the year.

 

In addition to preparing for practice with these planning checklists, another element for success is how you challenge your players each day to grow and get better, not only as players, but also as people. Listen to Coach Candrea talk about measuring effort and what he views are the only two things players need to be concerned about when showing up to the dimond. Watch Candrea>>
  • Base running
    1. Running through the bag
    2. Positioning for over-throw
    3. Walking back to bag/reaction to middle infielders
    4. Rules

Read the complete Offensive Checklist!

I use the Defensive Checklist as a resource in planning my practice session when working on team defense and individual skills.  You will notice that I have given you skills for each position that should be covered prior to the start of your season.  More importantly, these checklists are always a resource in my planning of practices and preparing my players and teams for competition. 

  • 1st & 3rd Defense
    1. Regular
    2. Jog half the way
    3. Ball four – break
    4. Squeeze/fake bunt

Read the complete Defensive Checklist!

As a coach, being preparing for practice is essential to provide your players the tools to win during games. What about beyond the diamond, after the game? Coaching Beyond the X’s and O’s will help you take advantage of the endless opportunities to teach life lessons that sports provide. Read how to create and recognize teachable moments. >>

Along with the two checklists I described above, I have also included the defensive checklist by team as well as the outfield checklist.


Read the complete Outfield Checklist!

Good luck! Until next month,

Candrea
Coach Candrea


ASA Softball is proud to partner with Liberty Mutual Insurance to bring the youth softball community the Responsible SportsTM program, dedicated to championing and celebrating responsibility in youth sports. We believe that some of the most influential individuals in young people's lives are parents and coaches. Visit ResponsibleSports.com to learn more.