You have been given 18 lesson plans, but you will realize that some activities may work better than others. We encourage you to be creative – combine some of the plans, create your own name for activities or create your own plan based on the activities that you feel are most effective. Even have the players choose the activities as it’s all about their enjoyment. Blank printable lesson plans can be found at softball.ca.
Some coaches prefer to run the program in stations as opposed to one drill after another. If you have enough volunteers this may work well for your groups.
All lesson plans do require some advance preparation. The following check list will prepare you to run a successful session:
- Review the upcoming Lesson Plan prior to the session.
- Review the upcoming Lesson Plan prior to the session.
- Become comfortable with how to set up and run each activity (visualize).
- Consult the Softball Skills section to review how to teach the skill.
- Practice the skill at home (in front of a mirror) to be sure you are comfortable teaching it.
- Check to ensure that you have all the necessary equipment for the activities in the upcoming lesson plan.
- Arrive at the diamond 15 minutes early to ensure the field is safe and discuss the role each coach or adult helper will play during the session. You may also want to use this time to orientate adult helpers (parents/older siblings).
Note: The following points are guidelines only. Please feel free to modify these guidelines or to develop your own as dictated by the needs of your association.
Length of Season
- Typically, the softball season for 4-5-year olds is 8-10 weeks with 2 sessions a week.
- In areas where diamond time and volunteer commitment are at a premium, one session a week over the course of 8-10 weeks is enough.
LENGTH OF SESSION
- 1 hour (maximum) per session.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS
- No more than 12 players on each team. It is recommended to have 10 players or less if possible. This can be adjusted if you are working with a station-based program.
NUMBER OF ADULT HELPERS
- 6 or more adult helpers (parents or family members) are required for each session.
- Should have one adult for every two players. It is important to remind parents why their participation is so important. Support for this can be found at softball.ca.
- While the use of a softball diamond is suggested, an open field can also be used. Most if not all the activities found here can be modified to be played in any safe open area.
- The number of diamonds used will depend on the resources of the association and the number of participants registered.
- The coach is provided with 18 lesson plans to take them through a typical softball season (i.e. a nine-week season with 2 sessions per week).
- Each lesson plan involves activities that will teach the players the basic skills of Softball through different activities that also incorporate fundamental movement skills which are critical at this stage of development.
- Coaches are offered suggestions on how to modify an activity to suit the player’s ability level – not all players will develop skills at the same time. It is important to recognize this to ensure each child has a positive first experience with softball.
- The coach has great flexibility in following or changing the lesson plans to ensure the most FUN and ACTIVITY for their players. If an activity is not working or engaging 80% of the players, move on to a new one. It is more important to keep the kids engaged and having fun.
- The total time for the warm up and main activities portion of the session is 40 minutes.
- Dependent on numbers, the team would then scrimmage against each other for the next 20 minutes using one of the lead up games provided.
- Within the first 5 lesson plans the basic skill mechanics are broken down. It will be important to review these prior to the lesson as there are several steps to become familiar with.
- Each of the basic mechanics activities also include a teaching progression. You can reference back to these in future activities as needed.
END OF SEASON
- It is strongly recommended that the Association organize a “FUN DAY” at the end of the season for the participants of the Timbits Softball Program. This manual provides some suggestions and examples of what a FUN DAY could look like. The overall goal is to celebrate each child’s participation in the pro-gram and create a fun and positive environment for all players.
Softball Canada’s Athlete Development Matrix provides information on the Long-Term Player Development stages of the Timbits Softball Pro-gram. It describes what can be expected at this stage of development and what skills should be encouraged and what a child’s participation should include. Some of the highlights for the Active Start stage are:
- Create a safe a stimulating environment with minimal adult interference where a child’s love of being physically active for a life time can be developed.
- Use a wide range of equipment and regularly rotate for variety and experience.
- Emphasize fundamental movement skills, agility, balance, coordination & speed.
- Be patient and understand that children will master fundamental movement skills at different rates.
- Most of all keep it FUN and ensure children enjoy being physic-ally active with friends and family.
The Timbits Softball Program is appropriate at this stage as it has a focus on fundamental movement skills development but with a softball flavor.
For more information on this and all the stages of development visit softball.ca to download the Athlete Development Matrix.