I have been around the game long enough to know when I meet a coach who is going to be amazing.  When I meet another pitching coach, a great travel coach, or a great high school coach, there is something very different about them.  Their eyes light up when they talk about the game.  They can’t get enough.  They are constantly finding new ways, not only to improve their players, but to improve themselves.  So let’s talk about how YOU can identify an elite coach OR work at becoming one yourself. 

*Great coaches expect more from their players whereas average coaches don’t see the same potential. All of the great coaches that I have met hold their athletes to very high standards. As a result, those athletes meet or exceed their coach’s expectations. Great coaches make players want to better themselves.

*Great coaches are disciplined themselves and expect the same from their athletes. Average coaches are often disorganized themselves and therefore have difficulty getting their players to fall in line. Great coaches set clear boundaries and rules for players to follow, but they also uphold those rules themselves.

*Great coaches weren’t necessarily great players, but rather, they are the ones who sought to become GREAT TEACHERS. Average coaches don’t think much about how to convey information. Learning to teach is not necessary something that comes easily to athletes. Working with different learning styles can be challenging. Coaches who dedicate the time to do this are on the road to becoming extraordinary.

 *Great coaches seek mentors and average coaches wouldn’t even think to ask.  What I find amazing about where softball is right now is the fact that the best players, coaches, and trainers are accessible and willing to help others strictly because they recognize a person who really wants to improve.  So many times over the years I have sought out people whom I know have produced amazing results in their players and have asked if I could shadow or mentor them for a little while.  Every single person I have asked has agreed to let me learn from them!  Those who were extremely busy simply answered my questions via phone or email.  Life-long friendships have even developed this way.   Any coach can learn from the best if they are simply willing to put in the time 

Great coaches can’t wait to get on the field, and average coaches treat coaching like an office job.   Any time I get in a conversation about pitching I am amazed at how quickly the time goes. I love watching slow-motion footage.  I love seeing my athletes react when they master something they have been working on for a while. It gives me joy and purpose.   Great coaches can’t wait to work with their players.   They would do it even if they weren’t getting paid 

*Elite coaches are lifelong students of the game, whereas average coaches take outdated information and try to apply it to everyone.  Let me explain: the game is constantly evolving. Coaches either learn to evolve with it or they blame their lack of success on their players.  If an elite coach has already learned as much as he or she can about the technical aspects of the game, that coach then starts learning about the mental side. Or that coach starts learning about nutrition and how it affects her players.  Coaches who refuse to be coached are hypocrites, as my good friend Lisa says.  If you want to either be the best coach you can be, or play for the best coach, know that the best are not just looking for their players to improve, they are constantly improving themselves. This can be tough because there aren’t a lot of educational events out there designed for coaches, but fortunately, there is one such event coming up in November!!!

Coaches can learn about pitching from Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and ESPN Analyst Michele Smith and other amazing experts coming together to create this one-of-a-kind learning opportunity. For more information, click here to sign up or get more information.

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