Whilst it is important for the softball coach to be able to demonstrate and teach junior players the fundamental skills of softball, it is also important to incorporate games and mini strategies through the provision of drills and modified games into the training program.
The Game Sense approach places the game centrally in the coaching session, rather than at the end. Skill development is not forgotten but is incorporated into the game situation. If a player is not experiencing success, the coach can point out other ways the player might try. Traditionally, if a child was seen to be performing a skill incorrectly, the whole group stopped and the player was singled out and used as an example of what not to do. With the Game Sense approach, the player receives individual instruction, which does not single them out as all the other groups continue with the game.
This approach develops skills by capitalising on opportunities which arise in a minor game environment. By doing this, players are not only learning sport skills used in the game but are learning many other important Game Sense concepts such as:
- Decision making – ‘Where is the open space?’
- Risk taking – ‘Should I throw or hold the ball?’
- Problem solving – ‘How can I slide to evade my opponent?’
- Thoughts about time and space properties – ‘Can I score now?’
- Perception – ‘Where am I in relation to others?’
- Tactics and strategies – ‘Will I fake a throw?’