By Brian Gotta, President of CoachDeck
We’ve all been there. Running a practice with a swarm of kids and trying our best to make it fun and entertaining while still teaching good, solid fundamentals. It is commonly accepted that the longer kids stand in line and wait for turns, the less they learn, the more they fool around and the harder it is as a coach to keep them focused.
Here is what I’ve found will always turn an ordinary practice drill into something the kids do with eagerness and passion. Make it a game. Here’s what mean:
Many times I’ve walked past a practice and I’ve seen a coach, with 10 kids standing in centerfield, working on fly balls. One player steps out from the line, the coach hits a fly ball, the kid either catches it or not, then throws it back in. Nothing really wrong with that, but why not instead turn it into a competition? Divide them into two teams of five: Team A and Team B, (if they’re really young kids, give them name like squirrels and monkeys). Tell them that you will hit fly balls and every catch is worth one point for the team, and every good, one-hop throw in is worth another point. First team to 30 wins. Now, in exactly the same drill, all ten kids are competing, and when that score is 24-23 and the ball is in the air, they’re cheering and excited. And when the drill is over, they want to do it again.
But maybe most importantly, what you’ve also done by conducting the drill in this manner, is to simulate game competition. the next time one of those players has a fly ball hit to them in left field with a runner on third and one out, they’ve been there before. They’ve experienced the same pressure in a practice setting and thus, are more likely to perform. The same principles apply to shooting goals in soccer or practicing free-throws in basketball.
We’ve tried to build this coaching philosophy into CoachDeck. Beyond being a simple pack of 52 good, fundamental drills, each card has a unique, “Make it a Game,” feature that turns an ordinary drill into a fun and exciting competition kids will love.