Our approach is based on Game Sense and the CHANGE IT approach.
What is the Game Sense approach?
The Game Sense approach uses games rather than drills to introduce the skills and tactics of a particular sport or physical activity.
Why use the Game Sense approach?
Softball Batter Up utilises the Game Sense approach to provide all participants with a positive softball experience. It creates a fun and inclusive environment allowing participants of all abilities to have an engaging, positive and successful experience.
Competitive softball is a complex, highly skilled sport which can be difficult for learners to comprehend. It can be quite intimidating for beginners, particularly if there are varying levels of experience within the group.
By using a Game Sense approach combined with fun activities, the coach can introduce some of the fundamental skills of softball (eg throwing, catching, hitting and running) in a non-threatening yet engaging environment.
The Game Sense approach is underpinned by the following concepts:
- The game is the focus – The coach enables participants to develop sporting skills and tactics by playing fun games
- The coach is the facilitator – Rather than direct participants how to perform skills, the coach acts as a facilitator and sets challenges for the participants to find solutions through games
- Discrete coaching – Participants are coached discretely, allowing games to continue where possible. This creates an encouraging and supportive environment that will build participants’ confidence and self-esteem
- Ask the participants – Engaging participants and increasing participation, coaches can ask the participant questions about how they think the game can be modified to make it easier or more challenging
- Making changes – Game variation to create fun, safe, inclusive environments and modifications to challenge participants
When observing the game being played, and player involvement and responses, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the game safe and fun?
- Are all players engaged in the game?
- Is the objective of the game being achieved?
- Are all the players being included?
- Is participation being maximised?
- Is the game appropriate to the ability level of each player?
- Are all the players being challenged?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, then CHANGE IT.
Games or activities can be changed in the following ways:
- Deciding when to direct activities and when to ask the players
- Knowing when to provide discrete instruction and when to ‘just let the kids play’
- The use of player questions is a valuable strategy to engage the players themselves in changing the activity to increase participation, and to make the activity more or less challenging.
How you score to win
- Introduce zones for batting or target games.
Area (Playing area)
- Make the playing area smaller or larger; alter distance to targets.
Number of players
- Consider different team sizes to keep all players active. Have several games of 2 v 2 or, if focussing on defensive skills, change to 3 v 2 or 2 v 1 etc.
- Allow 2 bounces before catching or stopping the ball or introduce a no-go zone.
- Use a larger or softer ball; no bat or foam bat, bins or markers for targets.
- Modify the game to maximise the involvement from all players. Ask the players how to change the game.
- Reduce or extend the time to perform actions; change the number of passes within a time limit, vary the length of time a player can hold the ball.