One of the things that I don’t think people do enough of is CELEBRATE. At work, in business, in sports and especially in youth sports.
Last week I had the honor and blessing to coach a special group of 12 and under girls’ softball team to a championship in our final tournament of the fall season. Being that we are a travel team where everyone is not required to play, but play time is based on performance I still have parents upset if their kid isn’t playing every inning. Play time is decided by the coaches?
I continue to be amazed by what I see and hear from parents of 12 and under softball players especially if their . But I get it, when it is new to families and you hear stories from others about how to get recruited, what they were promised(most are not true) and about what they are doing I can see how it can be confusing for parents.
So here are suggestions for parents:
- Remember, it is only 12 and under softball sit back and enjoy the ride.
- Pick transformational coaches over play time and transactional coaches.
- Run from coaches who guarantee you play time or a position.
- Ask your coaches these four questions and listen to their answers:
- 1.Why do you coach? 2. Why do you coach the way you coach? 3. How does it feel to be coached by you? 4. How do you define success?
- Never keep score of how other kids on the team are playing to justify why your kid should be playing, this will drive you crazy.
- Teach your kid how to ask about play time, it is better if it comes from the player.
- Make sure your kid has dreams and goals that are written.
- Keep in mind, we are always looking for better players, not just better pitching.
- Be caring in your feedback, but always be honest with your kid about their play.
- Ask your kid after every practice or game, what did they learn.
I wanted to share a recruiting story for all of the parents who are concerned about their kid not playing enough to get a scholarship. Two years ago when I was coaching at the 18 gold level a coach that I know really well from a division one softball program called me the night before we were going to Huntington Beach for a showcase. The coach wanted to know if I had an outfielder, not a converted infielder but a true outfielder. At that time, we had 10 of our 12 kids committed to schools like Cal, ASU, North Carolina State and Oregon. I told the coach we had one really good outfielder who was a senior that started the recruiting process late and that was why she was still uncommitted. The next day the coach came by the field and wanted to see her so we immediately put her on deck to hit. The player got a hit, stole a base and the next inning made a great catch in the outfield. The next inning the coach came up to the dugout and said she needed to eave but if there was any way to see the kid bat again she would appreciate it. So we put the outfielder back up immediately and she got another hit. Two at bats and one inning on defense later the kid has just finished her first year at that university on a softball scholarship.
The game of softball is a game of failure, so instead of stressing out, worrying about things you can’t control. CELEBRATE