The Key to Coaching Hitting – Developing Trust
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The first goal of the hitting coach is attaining the hitter’s trust. This is not always an easy task and is even tougher when the player is your child. Furthermore, players hear from so many sources on what is wrong and what to do that they are often overwhelmed. Following are the keys to developing the necessary trust in you the coach.
- Give the hitter some time to get their timing and to feel comfortable in the batter’s box before critiquing their actions.
- Allow the player to fail a little, as that will give you a better chance of them listening to suggestions.
- When you see a good hit or even a good swing, mention it with an enthusiastic voice. This will be the start of a good relationship.
- Remember, the first few minutes together are the key and a time when first impressions mean everything.
- Start with a positive before suggesting they try something.Once you feel like you have a grasp of what the hitter needs to work on then start with some positive words like “That wasn’t bad, now let’s try this“ or “good job, I like the way you did such and such, now let’s try this” or even “that was much better than last time, now let’s move on to this” or I can see you’ve been working on what we talked about last time , now let’s try this.“
- Use a matter of fact voice when giving advice and an enthusiastic one on good hits and any noticeable improvement.
- Do your best to describe the action and not the player. Things like “your swing was not there today” or your “timing was off a little” or “it was just one of those days” is much better than saying “you are never going to hit like that” or” you better practice more.”
- Give the Why for What You Ask the Hitter to Do. It is also important to give the reason why you want the player to try something new or why you want him to work on a certain drill. The hitter may not fully comprehend the why but when they see some better results after trying it, they will understand more. Keep the “why” simple.
- Talk as if a Team. I try to always say, “We will get it,” which shows ownership of their hitting as well. That’s important for kids to hear that you are a team and it is not just on him or her.Expecting young hitters to be able to figure out their mistakes and make changes on their own is an overwhelming feeling for the young player.
- Immediately after a game is not the time to start telling a player or your child what he was doing wrong. Try to wait for a later time when the disappointment has worn off or it is a less emotional time. Remember, by waiting to discuss their hitting, you will begin to gain the players trust and enjoy each other’s time together much more.
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