This summer my oldest son has had the privilege of playing on a competitive baseball team, and with his new team, he gained some new teammates and coaches. The cool thing about new teammates and new coaches is there is a lot that can be learned from building team chemistry and determining the strengths and weaknesses of one another. Obviously, I enjoy hearing other coaches instruct my kiddos on the skills that I have tried to get them to work on for last couple of seasons, and then witnessing the kids actually trying those very techniques because somebody besides Coach Mom told them to do it. There is one dad on the team though that has introduced me to a different brand of coaching: Two-Word Coaching.
Tommy, the dad-coach, keeps his directions to the kids simple and usually only involves, you guessed it – two words. This may seem highly questionable, but let me tell you it can be very effective.
For example, as his son Will took the mound to pitch, Tommy barked, “Pitch strikes.”
Will proceeded to pitch 5 out of 9 pitches in the strike zone. (Pretty good for a first-year-in-the-league 10 year old.)
When Will was batting, Tommy grunted, “Little quicker,” and his son obligingly sped up his swing for a base hit.
Now don’t think Tommy’s two-word commands are limited to his son, the other kids are getting used to his brand of instruction as well. The more I listened; the more I was aware that Tommy wasn’t alone in taking advantage of this concise form of coaching. My awareness to this strategy heightened my recognition of just how often our terrific coaches employ its power, and the two-word coaching strategy has appealed to me even more.
Here are a few of the common two-word commands heard at most any game.
“Nice stop.” – for a solid catch or swatting down a hit by a defensive player
“Call it.” – Means, “Talk to each other, and let your teammates know you’ve got the ball.”
“Eat it.” – Means, “Hold the ball. Don’t try to throw out the baserunner (You probably won’t get them).”
“One more.” – This one has lots of meaning. It can infer, “Throw another strike,” “Get another out,” “All we need it one more hit,” or “One more game inning/game to win.”
“Charge it.” – Go to the ball and get that out. Don’t let it get away from you or the runner past you without hustling.
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