I have come across a very sticky situation on my 8u team this year, and I'm not quite sure how to deal with it. We have a girl that is playing softball for the first time, and she is actually showing a lot of potential. She has gone from standing watching balls that are four feet away from her go past, to actually fielding and attempting two throws for outs at our last game. She has hit in two games, once off the girl pitcher. Not bad improvment considering we are only four games into our season.
So here's the problem. This girl is shy, and her parents have recently gone through a nasty divorce. She has started feeling more comfortable with the other girls on the team, and started "coming out of her shell" so to speak. The parents on the other hand could really care less about softball. We(My wife is the team manager) have had to pick this girl up twice so she could attened games. Mom was too busy with a yardsale once, and moving in the new stepdad the other time. She just missed our last fielding practice because she was at dads pulling weeds to get ready for company.
My wife asked the mom to be kind of a team mom, be in the dugout to help out, thinking this might get her excited about her daughter playing.(Something about being in the dugout is so cool isn't it!?) Mom proceeded to text on her phone, or read.
The girl tells her parents she doesnt want to play softball anymore. She cries before games.(This is what they are telling me) I know the last time we picked her up before the game, she was outside throwing the ball with her older brother, with a big smile on her face. She climbed in the car and started doing cheers with my to DD's on the way to the game. This was a major improvment and I thought we were turning a corner here. At practice and the games she is smiles and having fun with the other girls. Then the weed incident happened, and now dad wants to talk about wether she should play softball at all.
This girl lacks self confidence. When she makes a good play I can see the gears turning and the smile on her face, which is pretty much the reason for playing at this age. IMOP dropping out of softball would be a bad choice for her. We are not the type of coaches that yell or criticize the girls when they make a mistake. We go with the teach soft, praise loud idea, and she has said to her parents that she was glad she wasnt on some of the other teams we played because the coaches were too "yelly".
I know that we are her softball coaches, not the family counseler. However I also know that if her parents could show the slightest bit of interest in what she was doing, she would gain some self cofidence and enjoy herself. Obviously I cant state this to her parents, but is there a way to make this point without overstepping?
Sorry so long, but I really feel this could be a major plus in this girls life, and I don't want to just give up on her.