I am the Head Coach of a 10U team. The girls all have different experience levels -- from four years to none. The league I coach in has a position of Team Manager that must be female. This is my first year with this league and was under the impression that the Manager was a team mom, responsible for safety, communication, etc. In our pre-season meeting she told the coaches (both first time in this league) that she would leave softball to us and support our decisions. The league is "non-competitive" until the end of season tournament, score is kept, but not standings.
We have had seven games (2-3-2), one scrimmage, three sessions in a batting cage, and four practices on a field, which have been 75-90 minutes long.
After the last game she informed that she isn't happy with the girls' progress, defensively, and she would be taking over batting order, practice plans, and defensive assignments. She will also be finding someone to mentor me as a coach.
Her main gripes are:
- Some players are batting more than others, so she wants to use the same batting order all season.
- I am "pigeonholing players" by not letting them play every position.
- They don't know where to throw the ball when it comes to them.
- I had the girls play "pepper" 3/4 swing with whiffle balls before the last game. (I was the only coach on the field, so couldn't do our typical warm up.)
- I don't "coach enough" during games.
My counter arguments are:
- The teams we play maximize their batting order and we have players who are scared of getting hit.
- I think we should let the girls develop confidence and not set them up to fail. If a girl can't throw from third to first, she shouldn't play third until her arm is stronger. If a girl can't catch, she shouldn't play first until she has learned to catch. Every girl who wants to pitch has pitched (except for my daughter) and no one hasn't been allowed to play a position they want to try.
- They will have a better chance of learning how to react in game situations by only learning two or three positions. (Everyone plays outfield and infield in every game)
- I let them know where to throw, how many outs, "two strikes, anything close," and explain situations, that kind of thing. I don't coach technique during games. The girls have enough to think about without someone telling her what to do with her elbow.
As far as the mentor thing goes. I have a minor in athletic coaching, and coaching certifications from two different groups, I have coached for twenty years (baseball, football, volleyball, and softball) from YMCA to High School Varsity and my assistant coach has been coaching softball for five years.
My questions are:
What would you do?
Is it even ethical to put players in positions that they aren't ready to handle?
What kind of improvement can, realistically be expected in the amount of time we've had?