2012 Fall Coaches Clipboard

November 12, 2012

Toronto, ON

2012 Fall Coaches Clipboard

The Coach's Clipboard for Fall 2012.
Is this email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.
The Coach's Clipboard
Welcome to this edition of Softball Ontario’s Coaches Clipboard. We hoped that everyone who was involved in coaching softball in Ontario had a very happy and rewarding 2012.
This edition we take a look at some of the initiatives to improve softball coaches. Enjoy!

Here's a Drill for You!
By Dave Mahaffey, Softball Ontario Coaches Committee Member

There are hundreds of softball drills that you can run in a practice and they cover every aspect of the game. But my favorite drill of all time to get your players to continuously handle the ball over and over again that produces real game like situations is called Follow Your Throw. All you require is a minimum of 3 players P1, P2 and P3, with 2 players P1 with the ball and P3 standing about 5ft/1.5m behind P1, P2 stands about 35 ft/10m away. The drill starts with P1 running full speed towards P2 pumping the the ball like they were going to throw it to P2 when they get within about 15ft/4.5m P1 throws the ball to P2. P2 receives the throw then takes off back towards P3 and P1 takes the spot of P2 in the rotation. P2 does exactly what P1 did only now in the opposite direction making the throw to P3. P3 then continues the rotation back towards P1 and on and on it goes.
So why is this such a great drill for the players:

  • For younger players they must handle the ball over and over again for them to improve
  • It simulates game pressure, there is no time to rest,  my partner will be heading back at me in about 5 seconds
  • This drill teaches them to develop soft hands to receive the ball and fast hands to get rid of the ball quickly and accurately
  • Great warm up drill,  no stress put on the arm because we are not throwing at long distance (more exciting than a lap around the field)

So Why is this such a great teaching drill for coaches?

  • If this is your first practice you will immediately see who your better athletes are by just standing there and observing them
  • Make your players do this over and over,  have them focus on receiving the ball with two hands (Keep telling them over and over TWO HANDS).  If you don't get two hands make them take their gloves off
  • Make your players make good throws from short distances then as they progress you can lengthen out the distance (Keep telling them give him/her a good ball to handle)
  • Yours players are learning the very difficult run down situation without you having to teach the rundown (make the throw and follow the throw to the bag because that runner may be coming back in your direction shortly)
  • As they develop,  modify the drill so they make the throw right away after the ball has been caught and then they follow the throw to the bag, again TWO HANDS at all times and give the receiver a good ball to handle
  • Teach them to get into the throw as they see the ball released coming at them so that they can make the catch and get rid of the ball quickly.   Emphasize move your feet into the throw so you can catch and release quickly 
  • You can add more players and lengthen out the distance to each line as required
  • You can group your players easily into ability (some times it's good to have a good player throwing to a poor player so they are getting good balls to handle because we want them to improve)  

Remember, don't be afraid to modify the drill,  add more players if needed.  They will get tired from the running,  and shorten or lengthen the distance as required.

Coaches are Human
Scott Searle, Softball Ontario Coaches Committee Member

Coaches are busy people. While their primary job might be teaching technical skills for their sport, we know that coaches at any level are also; chauffeurs, nutritionists, first aid specialists, chefs, amateur psychologists, and field maintenance people.  And we make mistakes.  We all make mistakes.  Anyone who is not making a mistake is either a liar or someone who is so cautious they are ineffective.  How we deal with our mistakes is what separates coaches with credibility from those without.

Coaches have 2 choices after making a mistake. They can rationalize, justify, or explain away their decision and hope nobody notices.  Or, they can admit their error, deal with the circumstances that led to it, and enjoy the improved rapport and confidence of the athletes they work with. Coaches want what is best for the athletes in their care, and some coaches are likely reluctant to admit a mistake to avoid losing face or credibility.  However, in almost every case the opposite is true.  People recognize how difficult it is to admit you are wrong, and have great respect for those who do it.

The best advice I ever received as a coach was from Gil Read.  When I first started coaching he said:  ”If you are working hard, you are going to screw up.  The smartest people are the ones, who, when they screw up say ‘I’m sorry, what can I do to make this better”? All of us are going to screw up, let's be confident enough, and trust others enough to admit when we do.

NCCP Parents
By Joe Bennedetti, Softball Ontario Learning Facilitator

Coaches must embrace the challenge of communicating clearly the roles of parents and coaches so the team can derive the benefits of strong parental involvement. Their leadership in this task, along with advanced planning will be the keys to their success in this all important endeavour.

The New NCCP has some excellent tips on how to develop positive relationships with parents, and include appendices with a sample introductory letter, and Parent Questionnaire found at . The CAC strongly recommends a coaches – parents only meeting, with an agenda, and a question and answer period at the beginning of the year to start the communication process early and on a positive note. A comprehensive list of expectations and responsibilities of coaches, parents and players can be created after the meeting and distributed to all concerned

Good coaches know that they are responsible that everything gets done with respect to the needs of the team. Of course they also realize that they can’t do everything, nor should they even try.  Some coaches make the mistake of being really busy doing unimportant things.  Good coaches coach, and good parents take on other responsibilities and tasks to allow the coach to coach.

As a community soccer coach of my son’s six and under team, I read that on game day I was required to put up my own net. This involved going to a storage container, having the right key!, carrying the net, Velcro strips, and spikes, to the goal, then having a ladder and  hammer and four arms to do the job. If I was lucky I could accomplish this task before the scheduled start of the game if I took the afternoon off work. One day I asked my father, a real soccer fan, if he thought the Manchester United coach, or the AC Milan coach, put up their own nets? He assured me he did not think that was the case. That was the last time I put up a net. A schedule and sign up form was created and the parents were asked to help; and they did, allowing me to coach - greet the players, warm them up, and have a team meeting and cheer before kick off.

Coaches must learn to ask, delegate, direct, motivate and follow-up to make sure the job gets done, so they can prioritize their coaching duties. Ask the parents what they can do, what they would like to do. Some have lots of time, some a few extra bucks, some have a pool in their backyards, some have good connections, but all will be able to contribute in some way.

Following is a list of ways Parents can make a positive contribution to the sport environment:

  • Properly equip your child
  • Assure punctuality of your child
  • Attend games and practices and cheer the team on
  • Bring/provide nutritious food and refreshments
  • Provide sponsorships or help fundraise
  • Buy in to the coach’s philosophy
  • Assist in facility and equipment setup and takedown
  • Host a pool party
  • Carpool
  • Respect the 24-hour rule,  written feedback and/or constructive criticism
  • Be the team mascot
  • Research and get quotes for new equipment or resources
  • Practice at home with your child
  • Educate yourself about the sport, its rules, organizational structure etc.
  • Remember how the coaches take their coffee or their  preferred adult beverage
  • Scout opponents before key competitions
  • Video games and practices when requested
  • Be relaxed about apparent chaos at practice
  • Accept an administrative task: treasurer, media liaison, scorekeeper/statistician etc

Coaches can promise their parents one thing; "The more they get involved with the team the more fun they will have".

Some coaches, usually those with little or no experience, actually choose to ignore the parents, acting as if they don’t exist. They do so at their own peril.

Parents truly make the difference. Of course every year you get a different and unique group of parents. Some years you get extremely lucky and have a great group of families; they enjoy each others company and are a huge support to the team. Other years – that’s not exactly the case, but still, with strong leadership and proper planning you can make the best of any situation.

As the coach, you can be that leader, enabling your parents to make a significant contribution ensuring this season will be truly memorable for all the right reasons.


Aboriginal Coaching Modules
Location: North York, Ontario
Address: 3 Concorde Gate, Board Room #1 (Dr.Gene Sutton)
December 15, 2012
Fee: $20

The Aboriginal Sport & Wellness Council of Ontario is hosting an Aboriginal Coaching Modules (ACM) workshop. The ACM is an essential resource to those that work with, coach, and/or supervise Aboriginal youth. This one day workshop will provide leaders with a greater understanding of coaching through an Aboriginal lens, which will assist leaders to motivate, inspire, and lead Aboriginal peoples in sport, recreation, and physical activity. Importantly, all
coaches and volunteers interested in participating at NAIG must be certified in the ACM.

The ACM was developed as a supplement to the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) in order to:

  • provide culturally relevant courses for Aboriginal coaches and athletes;
  • increase the accessibility of the NCCP to Aboriginal coaches;
  • increase the capacity of non-Aboriginal coaches to coach Aboriginal peoples;
  • improve the quality of the sport experience for Aboriginal athletes;
  • increase the number of Aboriginal certified coaches;
  • improve the understanding of the application of Aboriginal cultures in sport and coaching;
  • provide the Canadian Sport System with access to traditional Aboriginal knowledge

The Aboriginal Coaching Modules is comprised of three sections:

1) A Holistic Approach to Coaching

2) Dealing with Racism in Sport

3) Lifestyles, Health, and Nutrition

A light breakfast and lunch will be provided. To register, or for more information, please contact Vanessa Lodge at <A href="" data-mce-href=""></A> or by phone at 416-479-0928 ext 102.

* Space is limited, so please register early.

Softball Ontario Learning Facilitators gathered in Toronto to sharpen their Skills
Over 20 Softball Ontario Learning Facilitators from different regions of Ontario gathered at the home of Softball Ontario, the Sport Alliance Ontario building in Toronto, ON the last November.   Topics for this weekend included:  Ice Breakers, an overview  of Softball Canada’s Long Term Player Development Model and PWSA’s Colour Your Dream program, how to instructor technical skills, First Aid Kits and Emergency Action Plans, Competition-Introduction, Softball On-Field Evaluation clinic and much more.  The Softball Ontario Coaching Committee took a different approach to the delivery of preparation for Softball Ontario’s National Coaching Certification program by empowering different Learning Facilitators and allowing them to demonstrate their techniques and styles.  It was a very productive weekend for all of those in attendance.   This weekend was possible thanks to the Quest for Gold Program and the Coaches Association of Ontario.  A call for applications for Softball Ontario’s Learning Facilitators will be made shortly.  Learning Facilitators will be recruited to assist with the deliverly of  Softball Ontario Coaches Program which includes NCCP clinics and/or a Beyond the NCCP workshops.  If you are interested in becoming a Learning Facilitator for Softball Ontario, please contact Steph Sutton via email at or 416-426-7150 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 416-426-7150 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Softball Ontario SAFE Awards- What it means to a Coach?
Ken Naylor, Softball Ontario's Coaches Committee Member and Participation Committee Member

In 2010 Softball Ontario launched the Softball Association Fundamental Excellence (SAFE) Star program. The program is designed to promote best practices in softball association management and administration. It is a quality assurance program that awards softball associations with a star rating from 1 to 4 based on a series of standards in four categories or Pillars of Excellence:

Organizational Development refers to the administrative aspects of a Softball Association, including insurance, a Board of Directors, Annual General Meetings, and much more. Successful Softball Associations can offer better programming because their goals are clear and their efforts are focused.

Volunteer Development is the way an Association works with their volunteers - including Board Members, Coaches, Umpires and Scorekeepers. Successful Associations make a volunteer’s job easier resulting in higher overall satisfaction from both the volunteers and from all other members of the Association.

Long Term Player Development represents a systematic and integrated approach to developing players by identifying appropriate levels of training and competition at each stage. Associations who adopt LTPD help to introduce more players to softball and encourage them to stay in the game for a lifetime.

Softball Ontario Participation ~ Softball Associations who do not have a connection to the provincial governing body for softball will not have access to all of the benefits provided by Softball Ontario. By connecting with Softball Ontario, you can ensure that they have access to the most up-to-date resources and benefits available.

To date 64 softball association have applied for a SAFE Star rating. Of these, 24 have already or are about to receive their SAFE Star rating.  Feedback from all local associations has been extremely positive.
So, what does this mean to you as a Coach? There are several areas within the Pillars of Excellence that promote best practices of interest to Coaches. However, the first thing is as a volunteer in a SAFE Star rated association, you are assured that the association has met a level quality to earn the rating. Through the act of simply applying for a rating it is clear that the association cares about the quality of their programs and is taking an active interest in improving.

An association that is rated well in Organizational Development has a set of governance instruments in place. These may include an established and documented set of operating policies and procedures. As a coach it is important to know these policies and understand the procedures for dealing with the association administration.  The association also may have a Code of Conduct for players, parents, volunteers and coaches.  This code will help the coach establish clear team rules and help define your own conduct.

A commitment to volunteer development means that you can expect that coach training is important within your association.  It also implies that your efforts and contributions will be supported and recognized.  It may also mean that others involved in the game or association are trained. This makes the roles of a coach easier to fill. For example if all of the umpires are adequately trained then the games will run much smoother.
As the principles of Long Term Player Development (LTPD) continue to be implemented the expectations and role of the coach will change. It will be reassuring to the coach that the association is committed to the principles and will support the coach through this evolution. A commitment to LTPD ensures that coaches can expect to be trained for the appropriate level in accordance with the recommendations of the LTPD.

These are just some of the benefits for coaches belonging to an association that has “fundamental excellence” qualities. So ask your association if they have applied and if not, then get them involved. As a coach and likely as a parent you want to know that you’re dealing with a quality organization.


Baseball Quotes that would work for Softball
Here are some samples of great Baseball quotes that could easily be adapted to the great game of Softball:
1.  "I don’t want to play golf. When I hit a ball, I want someone else to go chase it.” Roger Hornsby (Baseball Manager)
2.  “If God let you hit a home run last time up, then who struck you out the time before that?” Sparky Anderson (Baseball Manager)
3.  "Nobody ever said, ‘Work ball!’ They say, ‘Play ball!’ To me, that means having fun.” Willie Stargell (Former Baseball Player)
4.  “It's what you learn after you know it is all that counts.” Earl Weaver (Baseball Manager)
5.  “There’s nothing mysterious about winning. It’s a matter of executing the fundamentals.” Cal Ripken (Former Baseball Player)
6.  “If there’s one pitch you keep swinging at and missing, stop swinging at it.” Yogi Berra
7.  “The only thing I ever thought about was to be as good as I could. I never thought about being the greatest baseball player or anything, just to be as good as I could.” Hank Aaron (Baseball Player)
8.  "The trick is to realize that after giving your best, there’s nothing more to give.” Sparky Anderson (Baseball Manager)
9.  “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.” Yogi Berra
10.  “What you lack in talent,  can be made up with desire, hustle, and giving 110 percent all the time.” Don Zimmer (Baseball Manager)
 Canada’s Coaches Guides- U12, U14 and U16

Softball Canada created the Coaches Guide series to increase the knowledge of coaches and improve the development of players.  The information in each guide is based on Softball Canada’s Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) model ensuring it is both age and stage appropriate.

Each guide contains a season’s worth of practice plans divided into 4 training phases with each phase having its own objectives and outcomes and will assist softball coaches with the critical skill developing and conducting sequential, well organized practices.  The practice plans are laid out in a manner that is very easy to follow and work with.  Each drill is described in detail including a list of equipment that is required and a time limit to ensure that the practice is kept on track.  The coach can use the information is the Key Teaching Point section of the guide to ensure the players are not simply doing the drills but are instead “learning the skills and game”.  Each drill also contains a clearly illustrated diagram to allow for easy understanding of the drills.  Beyond these valuable practice plans, these guides certain contain sections on practice planning, dynamic warm-up routines, cool-down routines, and key teaching points for each skill.  This fantastic new resource means that age-appropriate practices and information are now at the fingers of every softball coach in Canada.

If you are beginner coach, you can simply follow the practice plans as they are laid out and rest assured your players and team will improve the skills prioritized for their age category and rest assured your players and team will improve the skills prioritized for their age category and LTPD stage over the course of the season.  If you are an experienced coach, you can use these practice plan as a guideline and modify them to meet the individual needs of your players and teams.

Here is the link for the order form if you are interested in purchasing a Softball Canada’s Coaches Guide:
Softball Canada Coaches Guides U12, U14 and U16 Order Form

Make sure that you have one of the most important pieces of equipment for your softball season!
Softball Ontario

Interesting Facts

Softball Ontario trained over 300 softball Coaches in 2012.


Feel free to contact Softball Ontario with any questions or comments you may have about upcoming opportunities. We would be happy to assist you! Email your questions to

Programs & Services

Softball Ontario

About us: Softball Ontario is the governing body
for the sport of softball in Ontario. Our goal is to promote and develop the sport of softball for its athletes, officials and volunteers by providing programs and services at all levels of competitions.
connect with me!

Contact Us

Softball Ontario
3 Concorde Gate
Toronto, ON
M3C 3N7
Phone: (416) 426-7150 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE (416) 426-7150 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: (416) 426-7368

Quest for Gold

Quest for Gold Bursary Program for Softball Coaches

Softball Ontario is pleased to share an exciting opportunity for Softball Coaches to have their Coach Education funded by the Quest for Gold (Q4G) Enhanced Coaching Program.  The Quest for Gold Enhanced Coaching Program recognizes coaches have out-of-pocket expenses for many things.  Coaches who wish to continue their training and education, or increase their knowledge and certification, can directly benefit from this bursary program.

The Quest for Gold program provides an education bursary for higher levels of professional development and training.  Up to 70% of course registration fees will be reimbursed for Ontario resident coaches who pass and complete coursework.

Q4G Bursaries can be applied by softball Coaches in any of the following:

  • National Coaching Certification Program- Competition-Introduction, Softball (What to Coach, How to Coach and the On-Field Evaluation)
  • National Coaching Certification Program- Level 3 Theory (Multi-sport)
  • National Coaching Certification Program- Level 3 Technical Softball
  • National Coaching Certification Program- Competition-Development (Multi-Sport)
  • National Coaching Institute-National Coaching Certification Program Level 4 and Level 5)
  • Enhanced Coaching Level (3/4/5)

Please note that there are different pre-requisites and application for NCCP courses, the NCI and the Enhanced Coaching.

Softball Coaches are also eligible for travel subsidy under the Quest for Gold Enhanced Funding.  Softball Coaches can apply up to a maximum of $200.00 and must travel more than 100 km each way to attend the NCCP training.

The total allocation for Coach Bursaries for April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 is $100,000. To qualify for this funding opportunity the NCCP clinic you attended must fall between these dates.  Applications for course preceding these dates will not be considered.

For more information about each of the above programs or to download the bursary applications, travel subsidy, please visit the Coaching Association of Ontario website at

For general information about Softball Ontario’s Coaches Program, please visit the Softball Ontario website at or contact Stephanie Sutton via email at or 416-426-7150 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 416-426-7150 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.