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3 Off-Field Reasons for Offseason Training

By David Jacobson, Positive Coaching Alliance

After having some much-needed time off, holding player clinics during the offseason provide great opportunities for players to prepare for the next season. But perhaps more importantly than working on fundamentals, bringing players together at batting cages or a gym during the offseason can also have a tremendously beneficial effect on everyone’s overall experience. Here are three ways that happens:

Players get to know each other. During the season, players may only get to know their own teammates. But in the offseason there is little or no need for that. Players feel freer to mingle with each other outside the constraints of team. New friendships are often made, and chemistry can develop between players who may wind up on the same team next season. Coaches may notice and decide to draft differently based on the chemistry they see emerging among certain combinations of players.

Perhaps most important, players are more likely to gain respect for each other. That can mean a world of good in terms of the way they treat each other and exhibit sportsmanship on the field the next season.

Coaches get to know each other. Outside the bounds of competition, coaches are more likely to cooperate with each other on developing all the players who attend the workouts or training sessions. That not only benefits players, who may gain from attention from multiple coaches, but it also may give rise to new combinations of coaching staffs next season.

If those new combinations enjoy working together and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, that can make for overall better coaching for all the teams in your league. And, similar to players who bond in the offseason and exhibit new-found respect for each other the next season, coaches also may up their levels of sportsmanship, looking back on good times spent working side-by-side with their opposing coaches during the offseason.

Coaches and players get to know each other. Informal offseason work gives coaches the chance to realize how impactful they can be to certain players whom they’ve never had on their teams. As a coach, if you see in the offseason that you connected with a certain player, you may know whom to draft.

Likewise, players may realize how much they benefit from working with certain coaches and can let those coaches know they would want to play for them. Those sorts of realizations and the player-coach combinations they yield can result in great player development during the next season, plus more players, coaches, parents, and league administrators enjoying a positive, fulfilling experience.

Additional free resources from PCA are available at www.PCADevZone.org. For more ideas on getting the most out of your players while teaching life lessons, take the full-length Little League Double-Goal Coach® Course at http://shopping.positivecoach.org/Little-League-DGC, or free Little League Double-Goal Coach® Quick Course at http://www.littleleague.org/pca.