One of the challenges Little League coaches face is to try to run high-energy, fun practices, and still set time aside to work with each individual player on your team. Parents and players want both to happen, but this is difficult to do, especially when you are running the practice on your own. Here is how I approach the challenge.
During the scheduled practice time my focus was on keeping all of the players active by teaching skills, running fun drills and competing together in one group. This was a time for us to work together as a team.
At the end of each practice or game I would meet with the team and invite a small group of 2-3 players to come to the next practice 15-20 minutes early.
For example, I may want to work with the three players who are playing first base on my team. In their pre-practice time, I completely focus on their individual needs; teaching the roles and responsibilities, the foot work and the throws a first baseman needs to make.
The next practice, I may work with 2-3 players who are really struggling on hitting and the next pre-practice with the catchers on my team. At times, I may just invite one player to come early and spend the complete pre-practice tutoring time with him or her. My plan over four or five practices is to invite each player to come early for an individual session. Coaches, it is important to do this with everyone on your team, from the “Little Als” (weaker players) to the “Big Als.” (stronger players).
My parents were happy because their son was getting individual help and attention from me. The players loved it because they got to learn something new or received extra help on a skill they were struggling with. I liked it because I could give each individual player my complete attention without having to worry about what the rest of the team might be doing on the field. This approach also helped me develop a closer coach-player relationship with each of the members on my team.
Give pre-practice tutoring a try. I know it will make a difference.
For al and AL