“The Baffled Parent’s Guide to Coaching Youth Softball” is written with the coach stepping on the field for the first time in mind. It covers such topics as establishing one’s identity as coach, an overview of Softball’s basics, planning the season, how to teach Softball’s essential skills, how to conduct a practice, and dealing with parents and gender issues. It also includes a Drill Section that offers various drills for warm-ups, defensive fundamentals, and batting stations.
As much as I like Jacquie Joseph as an author, I was disappointed in this book overall. There is little here that is not covered by other books, and in fact most of the topics discussed are covered better in various other books. For example, there are only three paragraphs dedicated to the difference between coaching boys and girls and they only include generalities. Also, the chapter on dealing with parents is only two written pages long!
The final three chapters of the book are dedicated to basic warm up, defensive, and batting drills. Though the book is written with the beginner coach teaching beginning players as its audience, there are a sprinkling of intermediate and advanced drills that seem out of place in this book. Also, there is no Drill Finder Matrix to help a coach quickly find an appropriate drill, which is surprising to me because Jacquie Joseph has written a very good drill book that includes one of the best Drill Finders I have seen. Perhaps she did not include a Drill Finder because there are only a total of 28 warm up, 12 defensive, and 10 batting drills listed.
There are some positives to draw from “The Baffled Parent’s Guide to Coaching Youth Softball”. The “Softball in a Nutshell” chapter is a very good primer for the coach or parent who is completely unfamiliar with the sport. Also, each chapter has a Question and Answer section that includes some good information. It has a call-out box that ranks positions in the order of the skill required to play it, something I have not seen presented elsewhere.
Unfortunately, though, the information presented here is so basic and/or general overall that any coach will quickly outgrow the guidance after a couple of practices under his belt. I therefore would not recommend this book, even for a coach completely new to the game. There are better references out there for your library.
Instead, I recommend these books for the beginning coach: