For Training and Conditioning, Try the Buddy System
By David Jacobson
Positive Coaching Alliance
For many Little Leaguers®, conditioning is a required “exercise,” that comes before they can have fun, enjoy the excitement of game-time, bask in the camaraderie of teammates, and pursue their sporting goals.
However, conditioning and training are critical to success on the field and contribute to the discipline, character and other positive attributes that also lead to off-field success. Therefore, it is important for Little League Double-Goal Coaches® to ensure their players are well conditioned. You can make that happen by conducting conditioning in a way that “Fills Emotional Tanks.”
Remember, the Positive Coaching Alliance principle of Filling Emotional Tanks likens a person’s “Emotional Tank” to a car’s gas tank: when it’s empty, we go nowhere; when it’s full we can go anywhere. One way to make sure your players’ tanks are full is to use the Buddy System.
Pair teammates off to train together and encourage each to support the other when they need it. Assigning one player to encourage another means it is more likely to happen, and both players are more likely to benefit from the conditioning.
Note that you should assign players to each other, not just let them choose a Buddy. Here’s why:
- You can pair players of similar physical capabilities so that they naturally compete and push each other. Otherwise, mismatched pairs may result in the better-conditioned athlete taking it easy and the lesser-conditioned athlete not even trying to keep up with his or her partner.
- You can help forge bonds between players that might not gravitate toward each other, which helps break up cliques and can create positive new interpersonal dynamics that help your team.
- You can present the occasional opportunity for players to pick their own Buddies as a special treat...one that may actually have your players looking forward to conditioning.