If you Google “softball player development,” you’re going to come across thousands of articles from blogs, media outlets, facilities, organizations and companies that all have different philosophies, tips, tricks, you name it… on the subject.
Naturally, every coach wants to have the best players on their team. Whether you’re starting a stud freshman or a seasoned senior, helping each player reach their full potential should be a priority for any good collegiate coach.
The sport of softball brings a unique challenge to the player development mix because it is a sport where skill uniqueness is rewarded. Players come in all shapes, sizes, strengths and abilities. Your 6′ power hitter 1st baseman has a different skillset than your quick-footed 5’2″ slapper shortstop. The same goes for your pitcher that throws gas compared to your pitcher that throws slower with more movement.
So how can you take your coaching philosophy, style, whatever you want to call it, and individually apply it to help these different players become the best they can be?
Using Data for Softball Player Development
Most (if not all) college softball coaches always have the following on their minds:
- Player development
- Winning (of course)
These three facets of coaching directly impact each other. Without a solid recruiting strategy, it becomes harder to sign the talent you want to develop to produce a winning season. Season after season, the cycle will continue.
It’s the coaches that are collecting, analyzing and applying data to their softball player development programs that are excelling at all three.
Rapsodo Softball Coordinator Kristen Drage sat down with Samantha Ricketts (Head Coach, Mississippi State), JT Gasso (Assistant Coach, University of Oklahoma) and Lance McMahon (Assistant Coach, University of Illinois) to discuss the current stage of recruiting and how they utilize Rapsodo technology and data in their player development programs.
The group covered all facets of player development – from identifying when pitchers need rest, to how different types of hitters can create goals specific to them – all based off Rapsodo data. They also discussed how they are able to apply individualized training to each player based on their skillsets, strengths and areas in need of improvement.
Using Technology to Improve Coaching Tactics
Technology like Rapsodo can be used for more than player development. Our customers have found that it actually has helped them develop the way they coach.
“For me… Technology has definitely helped hold me accountable. I think moving forward, technology and data will help coaches create better relationships with their players and help them with their development because there will be no guesswork to coaching.” – JT Gasso
It’s understandable that some coaches are weary of integrating data into their programs because of misconceptions that once you get buried in the numbers, you begin to lose sight of the actual game. Lance had the same idea when he started using Rapsodo just last season:
“Don’t let [data] be the end-all be-all. Let data enhance your kids’ ability and remember that the trajectory they’re on is more important than where they are at.” – Lance McMahon
The best part about collecting player data is as a coach, you can decide how you want to use it – whether its to improve specific metrics for individual players, or check your own style when it comes player development.
Check out the full Rapsodo Softball Player Development webinar here!
For more information on how Rapsodo data can help you effectively recruit and develop players, visit www.rapsodo.com/softball.