In 2 weeks we are due to have our HS tryouts for softball. Over the past 5 years the number of softball players has diminished from low 40's (3 teams) down to mid to high 20's (2 teams). It used to be the girls who played fall (swim/track) or winter sports (basketball/volleyball) transitioned into softball. That is no longer the case. Basketball is particularly the sport of choice as some of the best athletes who in past years played softball immediately start practicing with AAU teams for spring/summer basketball tournaments as they see that as the path to a scholarship. Some go into soccer but their numbers are down also.
I understand that some kids need to pay more attention to schoolwork and so they only choose 1 sport. It also may be that softball which is a spring sport here is at the end of the school year and by this time they have had enough of practice for whatever else they had participated.
Since 2005 the program has been successful with numerous conference championships, regional and sectional victories, a state championship appearance in 5 years ago and a state championship 10 years ago. But following 2014 the numbers started to go down.
Yes I have looked inward to see if I am somehow contributing to this. Each summer I make it a point to go watch local tournaments of the HS players TB teams so they know we care about their progress and make sure I talk to the parents just to keep communication open so I don't think coaching is an issue and no parent has broached the subject even though I give them every opening.
With the TB HC's request, I have even begun working with two 10u teams when I can find the time to help keep kids into softball. Yet the HS numbers go down and the talent level of those who try out has slipped also.
Any suggestions on how I can make softball more relevant are welcome.