Winning an Inning
By David Jacobson
Positive Coaching Alliance
There comes a point in certain games where it is pretty clear your team will not end up on top on the scoreboard. Instead of despairing and letting your players despair, try winning an inning.
Here is what you might tell your players: “It’s too bad we’ve fallen this far behind, but there is still a lot to gain from this game. We can still learn a lot and have fun, and one of the lessons I want you to take away from Little League is to never give up. So, let’s just focus on winning this inning.”
Reframing the contest for your players this way should take their minds off the game score. Rather than feeling down or overwhelmed by the seemingly impossible task of coming back from a big deficit, your players may relax and perform better. They’ll stop trying to hit a “five-run homer.”
With a fresh, realistic goal their hopes will rise. If they win the inning, that will boost their confidence…perhaps enough to help them win the next inning, too. Win enough innings and the scoreboard at the end of the game may look better than anyone on your team could have imagined.
Either way, after the game you should have the opportunity to tell your players, “I’m proud of the way we persisted today. I’m glad we focused on winning an inning. Let’s try that from the start of our next game, and maybe we can stay nice and relaxed, and play as well as we’re capable.”
For more ideas on getting the most out of your players while teaching life lessons, take the Little League Double-Goal Coach® Course at http://shopping.positivecoach.org/Little-League-DGC, and for a video that explains Double-Goal Coaching in more detail, visit http://www.littleleague.org/pca.