How To Coach Players Of Mixed Skill Levels
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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.
"We have an 8u team with some all-stars and some girls first experiencing pitching. How do we best coach by bringing the young ones up to the level of the older girls? We do not want to lower the level of play of the more experienced girls. We want to be fair, win and have a lot of fun doing it."
PCA Response By Joe Scally, PCA Trainer-Chicago
Because you are coaching ages eight and under, it is fair to say that all of the players have a lot to learn about the sport. It is probably also fair to say that even the all-stars’ skills are unevenly developed, i.e. they are good at some things and need a lot of improvement in others.
Because kids at this age are continually developing mentally, emotionally and physically, and are doing so at varying rates, it is usual to have a team of kids with mixed levels of experience and skill. It is the coach’s job to help the players learn a team concept, learn basic fundamentals, and make progress as an individual.
At this age I think you are right to focus on having a lot of fun. This will keep the girls motivated, working hard, and learning new things. In turn, this will lead to them wanting to play next year. One of the great successes you can have as a coach is to have a team full of players who want to play the sport again next season.
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