3 Ways To Coach a Better Bullpen

Identifying Strengths
Positive Reinforcement
Ask the Right Questions
Final Thoughts

Positive Reinforcement

Positive Reinforcement 

One of the easiest things to do is observe and voice what went wrong when a pitcher makes a mistake.  Often, athletes know when they messed up and acknowledging it with them only continues to focus on the problem rather than seeking what went right and figuring out where it went wrong.  

Reinforcement comes from a standard that has already been set, you are reinforcing things that a player does right according to their standard of experience.  Your job as a coach is to hold a standard of processes needed to achieve individual progression.  Each player is different in how they react to criticism and this is where positive reinforcement comes in.  Some players need more of a coddle and one on one conversations, some players need a more strict tone and clear cut directions, getting to know your players as people will help you effectively communicate the message you want.  

Learning

Learning is a process that leads to change, which occurs as a result of experience and increases the potential for improved performance.  Learning is not something done to athletes, but rather something athletes do themselves.  Learning comes from a direct result of how athletes interpret and respond to their experiences.  If only the negative is brought to light by the coach, this could skew the interpretations that the athlete needs for growth and possibly not learn what they need to do.  If the athlete continues to make the same mistake over and over then he is not learning, the question from the coach should be why they are not learning. 

Nest Egg

Building rapport and trust with your pitchers is key for maximum influence.  This is best done by affirming the little things that an athlete does right.  If you continuously build an athlete up genuinely, when they do things right, it makes it easier for him to listen and trust you when an alteration or change needs to be addressed about what went wrong.  If all an athlete hears from the coach are things that they do wrong, then rapport and trust become difficult to establish, affecting one’s overall influence.  Build a nest egg of genuine affirmations for the one time you need to help make a definite change.