Coaching Cues: We Can Do Better

Coaching Cues: We Can Do Better

It’s not that cues are bad. We use them because they are quick and easy. However just using cues can be extremely dangerous with our players. Here are some simple tips to make sure you’re getting the results you’re after.

Choose your cue and terminology wisely:

Our first job as coaches is to first make sure we are using the right cues to get the results we’re looking for. Let me give you an example…

Most coaches use the cue “stay back” when working with hitters on hitting off-speed pitches. While every coach who uses that saying might have a different definition, most of the players that I’ve worked with associate staying back with keeping your weight back. But is that what really happens? In short…no. So as coaches it’s our job to assess the terminology and verbiage that we use to make sure it’s aligns with what we really want to happen.

If you’re curious as to what really happens when players adjust to an off-speed pitch click here.

Get on the same page:

The next step is to get the players to understand each cue. We can’t just assume that our players know what we mean. I can’t tell you how many players I’ve worked with who say their coach told them to do XYZ. And when I ask them what XYZ means and how to accomplish it they have no idea. Again, we can do better.

Remember that players learn in different ways. Some players prefer to listen to a coach explain it, some need to see it and others need to feel it. So when you do explain the concept or adjustment be sure to use all three methods.

Give them a reason why:

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.” Simon Sinek
Inspire change in your players by telling them how it’s going to help and how they are going to benefit from making that adjustment. It’s a whole lot easier to make a change when you understand the reason for the change.

Check for understanding:

Don’t just ask your players if they understand. Most kids will just say yes in an attempt to please you. Instead, ASK them to explain it back to you and then have them teach it to another player.

It’s about the journey:

Give them a road map. Now that you’ve told them what you want them to do, they understand it, help them with a direction. I used the word “help” on purpose. As teachers our job is to guide learning. Continue to motivate players and monitor their progress. Making a change or working on something isn’t easy. Go on the journey with them. It’s always their journey but it’s our job to be there every step of the way.

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