SLOW DOWN TO GO FAST- written by Coach Mark (5:30pm - 7:00pm)
Last night the D-Troopers and I, with the help of my daughter Taylor (Get well soon Mattie!!), rolled up our sleeves and got to work! There is a phrase I have used quite a bit during my time at Dugout Dolls when working with players that sounds kinda funny and at first doesn’t make much sense, but when you take a minute and think, comes out loud and clear……...SLOW DOWN TO GO FAST!!
Coaches/Parents, how many times have you thought to yourself that the kids are simply "going through the motions?". You have taken the time to design a drill which will help with team weaknesses however you aren't getting the production out of it like you had hoped. Step back and emphasize that the point of drill work in not to be the first one done but rather to enforce good habits and proper muscle memory. To help reinforce skill progression, start embracing the thought of "SKILLS BEFORE SPEED".
Taylor said it first when I was explaining to the girls that the purpose of the Zig-Zag drill isn’t about how fast to get through it but rather how smoothly and accurately we perform. You see, it does no good to go after something with your hair on fire blasting through it as fast as you can. That is when mistakes can, and often do, happen. We are starting our lessons from the foundation of the game for a reason. If you create the muscle memory of proper throwing, fielding, and footwork you create muscle memory. And, just like tying your shoes, it becomes so easy that you don’t even think about it……...and that allows you to attack the game differently.
By slowing ourselves down at this point in our lessons and focusing on creating our consistent movements and actions, I guarantee you that in the end, each and every one of the D-Troopers will be able to attack the Zig-Zag faster and more accurately than they did last night!!
- Group 1 was a little smaller but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun and worked hard. We began working on footwork, learned the “alligator” position of ready ready, fielded some grounders, continued to work on throwing mechanics (thank you very much!), and started a new drill to focus on catching the ball. So much good stuff coming from the girls, I am proud of them all!!
-Group 2 was eight girls strong and we did similar things as Group 1 but got the Minions out (yellow cones) and did what I called the Zig-Zag agility drill. It stresses head-up movement, side steps, and backward movement as well. For being the first time through the drill I am very pleased with the effort and focus the girls put in!! We did identify that we have a bunch of work to do with catching……...and Coach Mark has a plan for next week!!
Slowing things down now and paying attention to detail(s) will pay off in the end with being faster, more accurate, and balanced defensive players!!
Have a great week, see you all next Wednesday, and remember……..DEFENSE WINS BALL GAMES!!
Simple isn't always easy- written by Coach Amber (7:00pm - 8:45pm)
Simple is often erroneously mistaken for easy. As we grow in knowledge we often forget the basics or foundational aspects of any given task. We think in order to be "the best" we need to challenge ourselves with hard and complicated tasks. We sabotage ourselves and our team when we don't pay attention and nurture the fundamental mechanics of the game.
It is probably a pretty odd sight to see our defense clinic ladies on the ground rolling balls. WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE WE DOING THIS FOR?!? cried one of our clinic participants. I replied with, getting back to the roots of success by reinforcing proper mechanics through isolation drills. Such a simple 2 minute warm up drill highlighted one of the most glaring weaknesses in our players as they come up through the game - they don't know how to properly perform basic drills. Did you know that Team USA spends the first 5 minutes of every practice rolling balls to each other , from their knees, without ever using a glove?
Coaches- set the tone by reinforcing the foundation fundamentals
In week 1 we explored adding fundamental drills to our warm-up in order to maximize practice efficiencies. By doing so, we are also reinforcing proper mechanics and building our muscle memory. The best way to accomplish this is by taking away the distracting variables and isolating muscle/mind movements.
From here you reintroduce variables in stages- we literally work from the ground up.
Spending the time on the front end to establish routine and disciplined mindset will open the doors for more effective practices with less mistakes. This will translate to game mode nicely. A well prepared athlete both physically and mentally will stand RESOLUTE in spite of the storm. Bringing us back to the theme of this years defense cohort “ The Anchor holds, in spite of the storm”
LEADERSHIP LESSON OF THE WEEK - Be an influencer
Mindset and body language influence our demeanor and other's perspectives. The kids were challenged to think about what they have to offer rather than what’s in it for me.
How is your body language and attitude influencing your interactions and performance?
Body language: Be open to receiving messages by changing your body language
When standing in line waiting for drills - ARE YOU PRESENT?