As a coach I play games that is competitive. Challege them and have fun.
At a certain age they have to realize that winning is important, but having fun while you are playing, but still take it seriously makes winning a great experience.
Striving to be the best team on the field, on any given day can and should in it's self be fun. Winning is important! if it were not, we wouldn't keep score. Having fun is also important. If it's not fun, why would they play at all. I have seen teams that almost always win, and yet the players don't seem to be having a very good time. I have seen teams that do not win often and yet seem to really enjoy themselves. I think that coaches should try and make practice fun. If it's fun, they will want to practice more and they will practice with more intensity. This will lead to player improvement and that might lead to more "W's"
Try competitive drills, time drills, team drills and the like. Also set the girls up to fail...by that I mean show them that winning is definitely worth working for and that it's definitely feels better than losing (an example would be letting a runner start at half way to get to second for a double play challenge. Change the teams too, a lot of kids choose their own partners...so rotate make sure that the best kids aren't always together and/or that the same teams don't win every time.
The fun part comes when they think about it later and that they won one...or two with a different set of team mates. The skills should be in short spurts, only play for a short period of time. The drills I found that help the fun factor are tag with helmets (which helps agility). The kids like seeing who throws the farthest which shows you who your best outfielders might be or who throws most accurately...same kind of deal.
I won't always make my practices all softball they could play soccer for conditioning maybe or a field trip to a college game (they're very very inexpensive to get into comparatively speaking); checking with the school to see if they have an autograph time before or after the games...it's all about making them feel good about softball and themselves.
Great answers so far. Another thing I like to do is test...do "challenges" with them where there is a measurable "score." Test them and record their score...then test them again later in a few weeks. Players are motivated by seeing themselves get better. They are challenged by that and usually enjoy the challenge.
Even if it's something like time down the line to first. I find players put forth more effort and enjoy it more when they know I'm timing. Then knowing that we'll do it again later pushes them to constantly try to get better.
There are a number of ways you can "test" different softball skills so that it's fun for players, they can see themselves improve, and they have a more tangible reason to push in practice in between "tests."
But yes, playing games and having competitions in practice is also great. It helps players raise their efforts to another level, it adds game-like pressure to their practices which makes performance in games easier, and it improve their skills all at the same time without you having to constantly "be on their back" to try hard or to do better.
Appeal to the pride of the child... be better than the rest through practice, dedication, and teamwork.. be known as the most dedicated player on the most dedicated team, and you will be a winner, regardless of the final score.
Add different drills, and make it competitive and challenging in practice.
You as a coach will get the best out of kids when the game is fun.
Win or lose as long as you give it your all every game, you are a winner.
Go get'em Coach!
The 3 things most youth athletes want out of sports are: to know that they are getting better, to know that their coach cares for them, and most importantly, to have fun. Yes, striving to win is an important part of sports, and you can teach your kids this by using "the games approach" to coaching. Check it out on-line for its methods.
I would take them to a good ASA tournament or college game to see what could lie ahead for them in softball. Then play games that could help improve their skills. When I was in 12u, my coaches said that if we run rule a team then we get icecream!
avoid yelling a lot and even when the kids mess up just keep that motivated and tell them to keep practicing add some fun games to practice that will make them keep coming but it will also make them work hard htis is coming from kid experiece on sports teams good luck
Well my experience has been with girls, and there are many things that you have to do to motivate depending on the team. #1 dont point out bad things, tell them what you want from them and point out the good things they do, #2 let them know when they work hard it pays off, #3 team building- look at making practice fun don't always work on softball, take em somewhere else and do volleyball or basketball or dodgeball Make it fun when girls have fun they work harder. Always take in knowledge from every where you can you will never be able to learn enough and there is always a great idea out there just open your eyes and ears to everyone you can. Talk to other coaches they are always willing to help. There is no majic solution, your relationship has to be stern yet fun, confidence in your practice builds confidence in your team, always plan your practices, no down time always moving.
you have to have good drills and oush them during practice but then after you are done play a game or joke around durning the drills but not to much because then they wont practice...and the people that say its not fun those are the people that dont want to be there
as my age i lik competitive things not just drills ..so make lik a relay race or a challenge wher the team that doesnt win has to run a couple laps that always makes me try harder..it is also good to make even teams so the kids dont get upset.
have a big prize for most valueable player of THAT game but don't leave anyone out still have smaller prizes for everyone else...That's what i would do and I am only 12 and i play with the age group of 12-19.....
my softball coach taugt us drill and we won the championship by using this drill we had and the game was even if we did lose a game bbecause of the drill the drill is the doulbe play awesomenex. you do is tell the m each to line up and you give them positions like the first person is catcher and the second player 1st base and so on along the positions and when you run out of players the other players become the batters and every time the batters bat the feilders switch positionsand after a few times the catcher becomes the batter and so on.
Remember, kids will be kids and there will be a certain amount of horseplay. Try to keep it at a minimum without being too harsh or demanding. Be sure you have their attention during initial instruction but let them loose afterwards, just guide carefully them along the way. Be patient, be kind, be consistent, be loud and clear without sounding angry or frustrated. Show the kids you're as happy to be there as they are. If you're having fun, they'll have fun.