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Coaches' Corner

 

2017 Coach Orientation Meetings

Grade 1/2 - 7:00 - 9:00 pm, March 21st, Mackenzie Center, 1337 Centre St (parking lot entrance on Crescent Avenue)
Grade 3/4 - 7:00 - 9:00 pm, March 23rd, Mackenzie Center, 1337 Centre St (parking lot entrance on Crescent Avenue)
Grade 5-7 - 6:45 - 8:45 pm,  April 6th, Mackenzie Center, 1337 Centre St  (parking lot entrance on Crescent Avenue)

– All coaches must attend their grade orientation meeting in which division rules, team equipment, and rosters will be distributed. At that time, coaches will meet their co-coaches and can begin to plan for the season.

 

CORI Policy and Procedure

The Board of Directors, all coaches, and any adult wishing to assist the coaches during the season must have a Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check conducted annually.

Please CLICK HERE to download a copy of the information required.

Even if you have coached or assisted in the past, you must submit the information and a photocopy of your driver's license to Doug Clott at 22 Oakwood Road, Newtonville, MA 02460. You may also email the documents to Doug at doug@newtongirlssoftball.org.

 

How to use this site and other resources:

Coach Selection and Participation Guidelines

Coaching Tandems – The league will honor the request of two coaches who wish to pair-up as long as the following conditions are met:

  • Their daughters select each other as their “pair me with” player.
  • Pairing these players does not create an uncompetitive team balance (e.g. placing two dominating pitchers on the same team).
  • The grade division has enough head coaches for each team.


Completion of CORI form – Coaches and all adults who choose to assist their team's coaches at practices and/or games must have a Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check conducted. For details CLICK HERE. CORI information should be submitted to Doug Clott via e-mail at or via U.S. mail to 22 Oakwood Road, Newtonville, MA 02460.
 

Practices

Field Selection – Team coaches will be asked to provide the league with their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice for practice fields and days, AFTER meeting with their team and determining the “best” practice day(s) for the most players and coaches. All requests will be given equal consideration, with the exception that older grades will receive preference for the bigger fields. Once field selection has been determined, coaches will notify players and families of practice time and location.

General – Team practices are a vital element of the NGS experience and should be taken seriously.  A player’s ability to develop the necessary skills to play well, appreciate the game, and improve her self-esteem is dependent upon the coaches’ commitment to planning and running excellent practices. Holding a short practice on the day of a game is not a substitute for a regularly scheduled practice on non-game days.  The best practices are planned ahead of time with a variety of activities to keep players engaged and interested.  A key indicator of an excellent practice is the number of times each player “touches the ball.”  Therefore running three or four skill-stations is much more instructive than devoting significant practice time to playing a scrimmage.

Consistent Terminology – Coaches are encouraged to use common terms when instructing softball skills such as hitting, throwing, and fielding.  Young players find it very frustrating and confusing when hearing two coaches using different words and approaches to describe the same action.

Practice Organization– The league provides a number of clinics before, during, and after the season. The league expects each coach to attend at least one general clinic and one pitching clinic per season. The league has many resources available to improve coach effectiveness (videos, books, hand-outs, mentors, etc.).  Please see below for links to forms and handouts including practice drills, basics skills overviews, and other instructional tools.?
 

Equipment

Player Uniforms and Equipment – Each player will receive a team uniform consisting of shirt, pants, socks, and visor (Grade 1/2). It is the player’s responsibility to provide a fielding glove and sneakers or rubber cleats.  Players are expected to wear their complete uniform to all games.

Team Equipment – Each team will receive a full complement of field equipment including softball bats, 3 infielders' face masks, catcher’s equipment (except grade 1/2), and batting helmets with chin straps. NGS's policy for providing batting helmets with cages is:
 

  • Grades 1/2: will receive 6 batting helmets with chin straps, all without cages.
  • Grades 3/4: will receive 5 batting helmets with chin straps without cages and 2 batting helmets with cages. Use of helmets with cages is encouraged but not required. Any team can receive additional helmets with cages through their grade commissioner.
  • Grades 5/7: will receive 6 helmets with cage and chin strap. All players must use an ASA approved cage with chin strap .

Equipment for Games – It is the responsibility of the home team to provide the “game equipment” which includes: game bases, pitching rubber, umpire equipment, measuring tape, and game ball.  Both teams must provide First Aid equipment.   Ice or bags of frozen corn, kept in a small cooler, must be brought to every game and practice.

Equipment Adjustments – Coaches should contact their commissioner if they need to exchange broken equipment or require a different size.
 

Game Preparation

Coaches: To maximize time, it is critical that head coaches prepare five-inning lineups before each game.
 
Parents:  Parents must notify the head coach the evening before a game if their child is unable to attend or will be late. It takes a great deal of effort to make a “fair” line-up for a five inning game and even more time to adjust it at the last minute due to a player unexpectedly not attending.  It is acceptable for a coach to reduce the playing time for players who repeatedly offend this guideline.

Pre-Game Meeting - Just prior to the start of the game, the opposing head coaches will meet at home plate with the umpire, to exchange batting orders with players’ name and uniform number. We place great importance on the ceremonial meeting as it signifies that the adults take the game seriously, displays the authority of the umpire, and expresses good will between coaches.  It also ensures that each coach presents a line-up to the other team's coach, thus avoiding any confusion regarding improper player assignments.

Pace of game - There are approximately 90-100 minutes to play a five-inning game. Should each team require five minutes to change from offense to defense, then 50 minutes or 50% of the playing time is spent not playing softball. To maintain an appropriate pace for the game, it is important that the coaches plan inning transitions effectively. This includes:
 

  • Determining defensive position assignments before the previous half-inning ends and announcing them immediately after the third out is made.
  • Anticipating the catcher assignment and ensuring that the catcher is dressed and ready to take warm-ups as the team is ready to take the field. Use use a courtesy runner for the catcher, as needed.
  • Limiting pitchers to five warm-up pitches from the rubber before the start of an inning.


Reporting Scores - Each head coach must notify their grade commissioner of the game’s final score within 36 hours of its completion.  Grade 3/4 and Grade 5/7 coaches must also report who pitched and for how many innings.

Pitching Management

Pitching Eligibility – Pitchers must demonstrate an ability to throw strikes more than 50% of the time in practice before being eligible to pitch in a game. This guideline should be communicated to pitchers and their parents before the start of the season. Allowing players to pitch who have not demonstrated sufficient accuracy dilutes the quality of the game for all players and often is not a positive experience for the inaccurate pitcher.

Pitching Motion – NGS runs clinics to teach windmill-style pitching from September through April each off-season. Windmill-style pitching in games is encouraged for those pitchers who have received instruction and practiced to meet the above accuracy threshold but others should feel comfortable pitching bowling-style to improve accuracy.

Walks/Hit Batter Limits – Each grade division has specific rules governing how many batters can walk and/or be hit by a pitch before the pitcher needs to be replaced. Please review your specific grade rules for details.

 

Game Postponement and Make-Up Games

Mutual Agreement for Postponement – Games are postponed only after the head coach from EACH team agrees to postpone.  If there is not an agreement, the game should be played as scheduled.  Opposing head coaches should stay in touch during the day of a game, knowing each other's schedule and preferred communication medium.

Postponement Timing – Coaches are urged to take careful consideration before deciding to postpone a game. Postponing a game for reasons other than inclement weather is strongly discouraged.  Experience has proven that it is better to play on your assigned day with only 5 or 6 players than to try and reschedule the game. NGS has a very limited spring season and there are few make-up field options other than Saturday.  New England weather conditions can change very quickly so coaches are advised to wait until 3:30 p.m. or later before making a final decision.

Notifying your Teams – If both teams agree to postpone, coaches must notify their respective team as quickly as possible.

Notifying Umpire Coordinator – The head coach of the home team is responsible for notifying the Umpire Coordinator, Susan Boyer, as quickly as possible by both email and phone call of a decision to postpone a game. If Susan does not hear from the home team coach, she will assume the game will be played as scheduled. Susan's email address is and her mobile phone number is 617-877-5583.

Make Up Games – Saturday is the designated day to play make-up games. The following schedule will be used for each division (Sunday is considered to be the first day of the week):

Grade 1/2 teams will make-up their first postponed game of the week on the following Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

Grade 3/4 teams will make-up their first postponed game of the week on the following Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

Grade 5/7 teams will make-up their first postponed game of the week on the following Saturday at 5:00 p.m.

Should two games in one week be postponed, the second game of the week can be re-scheduled by the team coaches with the support of the grade commissioner as to day, field, and umpire availability.
 

Roster and Coach Evaluation Forms

Each coach must fill out and return their player evaluation sheet at the end of the season.  This is our primary tool to create relatively even teams for the following year.  At the end of the season, parents will be asked to fill out a confidential on-line, coach evaluation.  The evaluation gives NGS leadership the necessary input to provide coaches with constructive feedback and to ensure that the league is aware of any potential problems.  The NGS President and Rec League Director keep player and coach evaluations strictly confidential.

ACE Certification

The Amateur Softball Association offers an excellent coaching certification program.  ACE is an acronym for Achieve, Certify, Educate.  The program has three levels and consists of video-based training followed by tests to confirm absorption of the material.  All NGS coaches are encouraged to complete Level 1.  It takes approximately an hour to complete and costs $25.  After completing the training, you will receive a certification card as well as a very helpful coaching manual that help you deliver consistent high quality instruction to players.  More information is available at the following web site: http://www.asasoftball.com/youth/certification.asp

Player Clinic Drills and Softball Skills Handouts

Additional Resources

Newton Girls Softball has a number of excellent instructional DVDs and books to help coaches develop confidence and drills to teach a wide range of skills to players of any age.  Just send Bill an e-mail at to check out a resource.

DVDs
USA Softball Instructional Series - Fundamentals of Pitching (3 Copies) (Tantisira)
USA Softball Instructional Series - Fundamentals of Hitting (3 Copies) (Shepherd)
USA Softball Instructional Series - Slapping and the Short Game (3 Copies)
USA Softball Instructional Series - Hitting Drills (3 Copies) (Shepherd)
USA Softball Instructional Series - Defensive Drills (2 Copies) (Shepherd)
Dynamic Pitching with Michele Smith - Beginner (Tantisira)
Dynamic Pitching with Michele Smith - Advanced
Hitting Mechanics with Sue Enquist  (2 Copies)
Advanced Hitting Mechanics with Sue Enquist
Sue Enquist Hitting Drills Vol. 1 - Building Strength, Balance and Speed
Fundamentals of Hitting Vol. 1 (3 Copies)

Books
Softball Skills & Drills - Garman (2 Copies)
The Softball Pitching Edge - Kempf (2 Copies)
Softball Steps to Success - Potter/Brockmeyer
Coaching Youth Softball - American Sport Education Program (2 Copies)
Defensive Softball Drills - Joseph (4 Copies)
Fastpitch Softball Fundamentals - Smith
Coaching Fastpitch Softball Successfully - Veroni