Softball Coaching Tips - The Funnel Approach Whether youre working with a team or an individual, many fastpitch softball coachesstruggle with where to start. Theres so much to learn in our game that it can be quiteoverwhelming. This is where coaches can take a cue from the business world — in particular the"funnel" approach used in sales. Most sales organizations have it down to a science. They knowthat if theyre going to close X number of sales, they need to X number of customers to come tothe website, which means they need their promotional efforts to reach X number of people intotal. In the case of coaching, it works this way. Start with the big things, get those happeningfirst, and then work your way down into the details. Now, that may seem rather obvious butyoud be surprised how many coaches try to get to the detail parts too quickly — or try to teacheverything about a skill at once. What usually happens is the player becomes so overwhelmed byinformation that she doesnt learn much of anything. Lets take hitting as a good example. As youve no doubt seen on the Discuss FastpitchForum, those who get into hitting often really get into it. They will spend hundreds of hours ormore looking at video of top-level players and analyzing everything down to the way theireyebrows twitch when theyre waiting on the pitch. Thats fine as an intellectual pursuit. Wherethe problem comes in is when they try to impart all that vast knowledge to their players. If theydont prioritize in a way that creates success for the player, its likely that the player will becomefrustrated and simply give up. In hitting, as in all athletic skills, there are some core things thathave to be in place, and then there are nuances that build on those core things. For example,keeping the hands up rather than dropping/looping them is a pretty important skill and needs tobe a priority. The exact angle of the bat at a particular point in the swing, on the other hand, ismore of a nuance. Its something to work on further down in the funnel. The funnel doesnt just apply to skills, either. It can also be used in teaching the gameitself. Understanding when to tag up and when to run is a core skill that can make the differencebetween winning and losing a lot of games. Learning to steal a base on a changeup or a ball inthe dirt, while valuable, is more of a nuance that can come later. Again, theres a lot to learn inour sport. Trying to take in too much at once is like trying to drink out of a firehose.Remember the funnel approach — start with the core things then move into finer and finer areaswhen your players are ready for them. Youll find it works out better for everyone.Anyway, thats the way I see it.