An informal meeting was held between all the Birmingham Bobcats coaches in January 2012. Those in attendance included Quentin Young (Head Coach), Meg Gallahan (Assistant Coach), Sapin Patel (Assistant Coach), Kate Page-Smith (Assistant Coach) and Will Lintern (BSUK). The main aim of the meeting was to bring the coaches together to establish a coaching team. Other subsidiary aims were to establish the coaches’ aims and goals for the season to inform the next committee meeting and to start developing a standardised coaching base. Below is a summary of the outcomes:
Overall Goals for 2012:
· Establish at least two teams at the end of the season.
· Recruit more players, especially women
· Keep players interested and challenged
· Enhance skills development – with emphasis on female training
· Establish a standardised and consistent coaching base and knowledge
· Establish a balance between competitive vs. social
· Maintain a safe, successful environment
What can the Coaches do to achieve these goals?
· According to Will, research has shown that the main reason for players either remaining or leaving a club is the coach. Coaches must therefore respect the players and be professional at all times – further discussion needed at next meeting.
· Manage players’ expectations. By suitably managing players’ expectations they are less likely to be overlooked and should not become disgruntled.
· Hold regular coaches meetings to prioritise skills, discuss practice plans, and maintain a consistent standardised approach.
· Do not let players be swallowed up or ignored during general training or game situations. No player should hide behind the team or be considered a lost cause.
· Focused, specialist training – beginners, advanced, female etc. Meg was very keen for women only training, Quentin also promoted advanced players’ training. Kate was concerned that this may cause fractions in the team. The Bobcats must remain an inclusive team open to all and therefore their training should not be segregated on a regular basis due to gender or skill. It was proposed that a series of specific training sessions suitable for all is the ideal and these sessions should not be overshadowed by one overriding session.
· Intra-club league – this was put forward by Will and needs further discussion.
What can the Club do?
· Exit poll to identify why people have left the team. Kate has made a start on this and has reported the results to the Committee.
· Equipment – main pieces of equipment included a batting net and more balls. This will enable parallel coaching sessions.
· Funding – seek funding for equipment, tournaments, venues etc.
· Venues – purpose built field is a future goal, free venues for training.
· Advertising/marketing to recruit new players – provide larger talent pool, especially women.
Any other business:
· Meg is concerned about the amount of tournaments on the softball calendar. She pointed out the amount of additional tournaments the team enter is dependent on how many women we can recruit. Kate is assured we will be able to recruit more women through advertising.
· Any additional teams (i.e. single sex teams) should always come second to co-ed main team in all respects – training, dates, cost, players.