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Thread: Frustrated with DD's first year 14U team

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    Softball Junkie Elk Grove Hurricane's Avatar
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    Lobster, that came off harsher than I intended, and I am sorry for that. The emotions are still a little raw right now, as I'm not sure when (or if) she gets back on the dirt. I saw a lot this year that I didn't like and I'm feeling a little guilty that I didn't provide more comfort, I honestly thought the tough it out and finish the season approach was the right one. Who knows, a little time off might be the right perspective. One piece of advice that I learned the hard way (hoping the coaches learned this as well) that is not related to anything you do: when you make the consequences of errors, taking a third strike, not performing a drill perfectly, etc. so punitive that the kids fear screwing up in your presence, you're never going to get their best efforts or their best performance. Let them laugh at mistakes, this isn't a damned military operation where we are defending against hostile enemies, it's a game.

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    Certified softball maniac canyonjoe's Avatar
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    Building teamwork takes time. While it's awful that 11 stayed behind I also blame the 3 that didn't know where there teammates were. If they came back and said we tried to get them to move but they wouldn't I'm fine, but when you ask them to stay together it's for a purpose.

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    I can talk softball all day uncdrew's Avatar
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    For our 10U team we dealt with it by making them do laps/burpees for strikeouts looking and we'd do the same for their hits.

    Turned a team that whiffed a lot into a coaching staff that's in better shape.

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    Certified softball maniac YOCOACH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elk Grove Hurricane View Post
    Lobster, that came off harsher than I intended, and I am sorry for that. The emotions are still a little raw right now, as I'm not sure when (or if) she gets back on the dirt. I saw a lot this year that I didn't like and I'm feeling a little guilty that I didn't provide more comfort, I honestly thought the tough it out and finish the season approach was the right one. Who knows, a little time off might be the right perspective. One piece of advice that I learned the hard way (hoping the coaches learned this as well) that is not related to anything you do: when you make the consequences of errors, taking a third strike, not performing a drill perfectly, etc. so punitive that the kids fear screwing up in your presence, you're never going to get their best efforts or their best performance. Let them laugh at mistakes, this isn't a damned military operation where we are defending against hostile enemies, it's a game.
    While I agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly, I have to disagree with it given certain circumstances. For instance, last year, I had a TB team that was comprised of mostly rec ball players and TB players. The TB players and parents had moved up from 10U while the other players had moved up from rec ball. All, and when I say all, I mean ALL of the players and their parents still had that rec ball mentality. I told everybody that I was putting almost "draconian" measures into place. In other words, the players that hit the best during pool play would be starting on Sundays during bracket play. The pitchers that had the lowest number of walks, wild pitches and ERA's would be starting and pitching on Sunday. The catchers that had the fewest wild pitches that got by them and had the most outs would start on Sunday. When a player had 2 errors in a row they were pulled. When a Pitcher had more than 3 walks, they were pulled. At the start of the season, we were losing 28-0, 25-1 and 19-3. By the end of that season, we were losing 9-5 8-7 and won more than our fair share. It was a wake-up call for everyone but our coaching staff made a difference whether the parents or players liked it or not. The parents thought I was too hard on the girls. However, every single one of those girls responded in a positive way and vastly improved because of it. They didn't like sitting on the bench. At the end of the year, many moved on but the ones that stuck with me will be with me for awhile. Both the parents and players realized although it may be just a game, if their DD wants to play at the next level, it takes a lot of discipline and that starts at a young age. Sometimes it comes from internal pressures by the players themselves, sometimes it comes from external pressures ( coaches, parents) wanting them to be the best they can and more often than not, it comes from a combination of both. Without proper guidance, many true athletes fail to achieve their greatness.


    I have a girl right now on my 12U team that could easily be a major D1 Catcher. She has the arm, athleticism, drive, heart, brains and work ethic. What she's missing is technique, mechanics and game experience. At last practice, I had her playing SS for practice. She had 3 errors in a row and I told her each time what she did wrong. After the third one, I gave the bat to my Co-HC and had him continue on with the practice while I called her aside.


    She was sniffling as I approached her and she was about to cry. I asked her, "What's the most important thing about making an error?"


    She answered with several different things which, IMO were all wrong answers.


    I told her, "The most important thing about an error is to forget about it and make sure the next time the ball comes to you, you make the right choice and get the out. When one of our pitchers has a bad pitch, throws the ball over our catcher's head and the runners advance, the most important pitch for them is the next one. The one that caused all that havoc can't be taken back so now it's in the past and they can't do anything about it. All they can do is bear down and make sure the next pitch is a strike. An error is the same thing. I expect the same thing from you. Forget about it because the next play you can make is the most important. After that is over, the next one After that."

    I went on to tell her, "You have to understand something. You're too athletically gifted and have too much God given talent for me to give you a free pass on things. That means I plan on being harder on you and some others on this team simply because you need to be pushed harder to achieve the goals you, yourself have set for you. Don't take it personally, I just want you to be the absolute, best softball player you want to be for yourself. Not for me, but for you!"

    At the end of our little talk, she not only was smiling brightly, she quit with the self pity and rose far above our entire coaching staffs expectations for her. I see an extremely bright future for this girl!

    Sometimes it just takes an explanation of why a coach is pushing them so hard in order for them to understand and rise above themselves, let alone try harder to live up to their own expectations when they know others believe in them and expect the same if not more. A little belief, support and understanding can go a long way when it comes to athletes,
    Last edited by YOCOACH; 12-01-2018 at 07:34 AM. Reason: Grammar
    "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."~ Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

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    Checking out the clubhouse Quasimodo's Avatar
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    I have girls do enough of a jog to get loose. I do the most exhausting exercises at the end of practices. That includes stamina. Almost all of that training involves baserunning and baserunning sliding, as well as over the head fly-ball drills. Just jogging a mile is a waste of time when you can incorporate skills training.

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    Certified softball maniac Sparky Guy's Avatar
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    Just because I don't share every little facet of my SB life on here, doesn't mean I'm lying.
    C'mon... You know this is like a group meeting for AA. You have to share EVERYTHING!!!!!

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    Softball Junkie justanotherguy's Avatar
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    I don't understand why some people sign up just to "call out" other posters. If it's a convicted pedo coaching a group of kids, sure. Otherwise, has anyone done any harm to anyone either way?

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    Super Moderator sluggers's Avatar
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    Guys...I deleted all the personal Hatfields v. McCoys posts. It took me about 30 seconds.

    Please, no personal attacks. There are other softball boards where you can rant and rave to your heart's content. This is not one of them.
    Last edited by sluggers; 12-04-2018 at 11:05 AM.
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    Certified softball maniac YOCOACH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sluggers View Post
    Guys...I deleted all the personal Hatfields v. McCoys posts. It took me about 30 seconds.

    Please, no personal attacks. There are supposedly some other softball boards where you can rant and rave to your hearts content. This is not one of them.
    Like the new Avatar Ray!
    "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."~ Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

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    Always learning... Eric F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YOCOACH View Post
    I have a girl right now on my 12U team that could easily be a major D1 Catcher. She has the arm, athleticism, drive, heart, brains and work ethic. What she's missing is technique, mechanics and game experience. At last practice, I had her playing SS for practice. She had 3 errors in a row and I told her each time what she did wrong. After the third one, I gave the bat to my Co-HC and had him continue on with the practice while I called her aside.

    She was sniffling as I approached her and she was about to cry. I asked her, "What's the most important thing about making an error?"

    She answered with several different things which, IMO were all wrong answers.

    I told her, "The most important thing about an error is to forget about it and make sure the next time the ball comes to you, you make the right choice and get the out. When one of our pitchers has a bad pitch, throws the ball over our catcher's head and the runners advance, the most important pitch for them is the next one. The one that caused all that havoc can't be taken back so now it's in the past and they can't do anything about it. All they can do is bear down and make sure the next pitch is a strike. An error is the same thing. I expect the same thing from you. Forget about it because the next play you can make is the most important. After that is over, the next one After that."

    I went on to tell her, "You have to understand something. You're too athletically gifted and have too much God given talent for me to give you a free pass on things. That means I plan on being harder on you and some others on this team simply because you need to be pushed harder to achieve the goals you, yourself have set for you. Don't take it personally, I just want you to be the absolute, best softball player you want to be for yourself. Not for me, but for you!"

    At the end of our little talk, she not only was smiling brightly, she quit with the self pity and rose far above our entire coaching staffs expectations for her. I see an extremely bright future for this girl!

    Sometimes it just takes an explanation of why a coach is pushing them so hard in order for them to understand and rise above themselves, let alone try harder to live up to their own expectations when they know others believe in them and expect the same if not more. A little belief, support and understanding can go a long way when it comes to athletes,
    I love this!! Great job, Coach.
    A TB parent's life...Drive. Write checks. Eat tacos.

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