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       Hey coaches, now is the time to develop your coaching skills so that you are ready for a great spring/summer season. Coach development is one of the key focus areas for our league in the 2017 season. Make a commitment to improve your fastpitch knowledge to help yourself, your players, and the league.  CAA is always looking for volunteers to coach. We know this is a learning process, and you don't need to be an expert to coach. We also host coaches clinics where we encourage all parents to attend. 
     A new requirement this year for all coaches is the concussion awareness training.  Minn State Law requires the training and it must be completed prior to the start of the softball season.  Coaches must complete the on-line CDC Heads Up Online Course and provide a copy of the completion certificate to the league.

     We strongly encourage softball coaching training for all coaches and as an official Little League organization CAA has access to the Little League coach resource center.  All new coaches need to enroll in the resource center to gain access to the valuable information.  In addition, all coaches must attend the CAA Softball coaching clinic each spring.  CAA strongly encourages all of our travel softball coaches to become ASA ACE Certified, it is an ASA requirement for one coach in the dugout to be ASA ACE certified.

CAA How to Request a Field 

- Activities for self-paced study
- - - ASA Softball ACE coaching certification
- - - Little League Coach Resource Center: Your LittleLeagueCoach.org Authorization Code: NC2010
- - - Fast Sports Girls Fastpitch
- - - National Youth Sports Coaches Association

- - - Kids Sports Network Softball Coaching Resources

- Local Coach Clinics

- - - 2017 National Softball Coaches Clinc, Jan 13-14, 2017

- Recommended softball coaching books
- - - Winning Softball Drills: A Complete Drill Book for Coaches

The goal of our coaches is to develop the softball skills of all players and to care deeply about instilling a Mastery approach in their athletes, which will help them win throughout their lives.  A simple way to remember the three keys to the Mastery approach is the acronym, ELM, where ELM stands for Effort, Learning, and Mistakes:

     Effort - always give 100%

     Learning - improve constantly as you gain more knowledge

     Mistakes are OK - mistakes are how we learn.

  Honoring the Game.  At the start of the season, let your players know you want to coach a team that Honors the Game.  Honoring the Game means that your team will have respect for the ROOTS of the game.

     Rules - We refuse to bend/break the rules to win.

     Opponents - We value and recognize that a worthy opponent brings out our best, and we take a "fierce and friendly" attitude into competition.

     Officials - We respect officials even when we disagree with them.

     Teammates - We never do anything to embarrass our team (on or off the field).

     Self - We live up to our standards of Honoring the Game, even when others don't.

 Forms For Coaches

1. Medical Release Form

2. Volunteer Application

3. Player rotation tool

4. Pitch count tool
5. 3CV In-house Rules

Practice Tips

(source is the ACE Coaching Certification Manual)

Practice doesn't make perfect, it makes permanent.  Perfect practice makes perfect!

Practice is the most important part of any team's season - even more important than games.  You will practice anywhere from two to five times more often than you play games, so what you do with your practice time is crucial to your team's success.

PLAN YOUR PRACTICES.  One of the most important things you can do as a coach is to plan your practices.  Planning is critical to successful teaching and coaching.  If your practices are unorganized you will waste valuable practice time and your players will get frustrated and become inattentive.  Use your time wisely.  Try not to plan your practice in the car on the way to practice.  Communicate (talk or email) with your assistant coaches prior to practice and discuss your practice plan.  Use their input to create a good plan.  Take the time beforehand to organize your thoughts an dput them on paper with goals and time-lines.  Your team will greatly benefit from a well thought out, organized practice plan.

GOAL SETTING.  Depending on what age and skill level you are coaching, you will have different goals for the season and for each practice.  If you are coaching young players, say 10 and under, your goals should focus on teaching them how to properly perform basic skills.  For example:

     How to throw overhand, How to catch a thrown ball, How to catch a fly ball, How to field a ground ball, Correct fundamentals of hitting, or even the sequence of running around the bases.

If you are coaching older players who have good basic skills, your goals for the season or practice may be:

     How to sacrifice bunt, How to slide correctly, How to steal bases, How to pitch, Concepts of offense and defense

You should spend most of your time doing and less of your time talking.  It all comes down to the fact that kids want to "do" and adults want to "talk".  Get your players active.  It is a common feeling that, "My players aren't paying attention at practice".  Have them do a lot of different drills, and don't spend a lot of time on each drill.

Effective Use of Time.  A common technique is to divide your practice into major sections of time.  For example, if you have a 90 minute practice, then have three major 30 minute sets of activity.  Divide your players up into groups.  For example, if you are practicing a baserunning drill with 15 players, try not to have all 15 in one line because this creates a lot of standing around.  Instead, break this line up into three lines of five players.  Put all coaches to work running a station in a different area of the field: outfield, infield, sideline, etc.  Remember, everyone does not have to be doing the same thing at the same time.

Here is a sample practice plan

1. Warm-up/Stretch.  Players jog as a group around the field then meet at the home plate to stretch. Players use this time to socialize and get ready for the practice.

2. Individual defensive fundamentals.  Throwing, ground balls, fly balls.  Each coach takes 3-5 players and works with them in a line.  Coach hits a ground ball to them and the player throws the ball back to the coach.

3. Team defense fundamentals.  bunt defense, plays to first, outfield communication, backing up plays.  Each coach takes 3-5 players, a group in the outfield and a group in the infield.  Rotate after 15 minutes

4. Batting practice.  Stations for soft toss, hitting off T, and live pitching.  Do not simply put players in the infield and take batting practice one at a time (too much standing around).  Instead, create several stations with different activities at each station.  Keep everyone busy.

5. Pitchers work drills in groups of 2 or 3 with a coach

6. Group work.  mini-game or team scrimmage, group dynamics in a team situation, MAKE IT FUN!!

7. Warm down and stretch

Home Field Pre and Post Game Team Responsibilities
1.   Dugouts must be swept/raked after game and all trash picked up and thrown away
2.   Field bleachers/seating area must be cleaned of all sunflower seeds, peanuts and any trash
3.   Infield, home plate and base lines must be raked after the game
4.   Infield and baselines must be swept placing clay off grass.  Sweep the dirt off the boarder grass area.
5.   Pitcher's circle must be watered and tamped firm for next game (if water is available)(especially the high school stadiums)
6.   Coaches remove the softball pitcher's plate and rake area to flatten out the field around the pitcher's plate area
7.   No cleats in the high school stands
8.   In event of double header, first game must clean after themselves before next game can begin
8.   Absolutely no soft toss against the fences