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A high school softball coach manages and motivates her team during practices and games. In many cases, however, this is only part of her job. She is usually also responsible for selecting team members via tryouts before the season begins. Further, she may be required to organize fundraising drives and petition her employer for new equipment and uniforms. Finally, she must travel with her team to away games and tournaments, and may be responsible for arranging transport, accommodation, and supervision for out-of-town games.
Prior to the start of the season — which generally extends over a school’s spring semester — a high school softball coach must run tryouts to select her team members. During tryouts she normally puts potential players through a number of drills, observing their ability to bat, pitch, run bases, and field the ball. These tryouts may run over a period of several days, with the coach eliminating unfit players at the end of each session until a team has been established.
The next task for the high school softball coach is conditioning her team at preseason practice sessions. Depending on the school’s budget, she may have assistant coaches to help her as practices get under way or she may have to work solo. During this period, her primary concerns will likely be determining her players’ strengths and then assigning positions, running endurance drills to improve the team’s physical fitness, teaching team members about strategy, and conducting scrimmage games to allow players to get comfortable with each other on the field.
Once the season has begun, the high school softball coach must oversee all practices and games. She must schedule practices and use them as an opportunity to improve players’ techniques and rehearse new strategies. When the team has a game, she must create a batting order and then monitor the game closely, offering players advice, maintaining their motivation, and replacing fatigued team members when necessary.
Often, a high school softball coach is also responsible for organizing fundraising drives, the proceeds of which may be used to pay for team transport, uniforms, and so forth. She may help her team arrange fundraising events like car washes or bake sales. In addition, she may petition the athletic department at her school to request funding for team needs, such as new equipment.
Another typical duty of the high school softball coach is traveling with her team to all away games. She may also be required to arrange for team transport to away games, hiring a bus service or helping organize a car pool. In the case of overnight stays, which are common when the team has traveled to a tournament, the coach may be in charge of booking accommodation and attending to check-in and check-out. During these overnight stays, she will likely also need to act as a chaperone, making sure her players are behaving in a responsible manner.
It should be noted that during the softball season, coaching requires a significant time commitment. Most high school-level coaches work full time, often as teachers at the school for which they coach. In addition to these full-time jobs, they must then give up evening and weekend hours to their coaching responsibilities.
My daughter attends a small school where the coaching positions are filled by teachers, often on a rotating basis. Her last coach had no experience as a softball coach, but she was still able to help the girls improve as softball players.
The coach showed them videos that demonstrated the correct stances for fielding and batting, and she took the team to softball camps where they learned from experienced softball coaches and players.
After learning that my niece's high school was having a difficult time finding someone to coach the softball team, I volunteered for the position. I was surprised to learn that I spent considerably more hours getting everything in place so we could play than I spent actually coaching the girls and teaching them the right way to play the game.
Of course, every position is different, but for me, coaching high school softball was more about scheduling, transportation, field maintenance, interaction with parents and other duties that didn't involve the game directly.
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