Today the insane Northeast Ohio snow kept two kids home, one was sick, one was traveling and one had a show choir gig she couldn't miss, so that left me with just five kids at my practice today. While I was initially skeptical it would be worth it, it ended up being a really awesome 90 minutes.
First off, I cut video of each kid doing their hitting approach, so I reviewed this with them individually. I also showed them a highlight clip from last year's team executing the swing offense. I think it made a world of difference in their opinion about it.
More importantly, this involved lots of repetition to work on the very hitting issues these five kids had. Even with my sub-standard setting (my setter was the sick one), they quickly began to fix their problems and started smacking the crap out of these balls. None of them, save for the one middle, had ever really hit 1 balls before. Now they can do it almost as if they had been doing it all of their lives.
What a great holiday gift that is. You could see it in their eyes that they were getting it, and they were thrilled. One of them in particular I feared might not buy into the swing offense, but there's no doubt in my mind now that she's hooked.
This is all because I was able to work with them more individually. You hate to use gym time like this, but when presented with a scenario where you have no choice, you can do it guilt-free. It was me, the five kids, and two of the moms in this giant three-court gym. We did lots of 1 balls, a couple of passing for distance drills, and I was able to really pay attention to each kid individually.
Today was one of those days that really make coaching rewarding. No matter what happens in the long run, knowing you're having an impact on these kids' development is the greatest feeling in the world. None of us may ever get rich by coaching, but that doesn't mean that we can't be a little selfish enjoying moments like that.