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A Different Twist..."salvaging" a baaaad season!

Aug 7, 2008
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Okay, so I read all the posts about avoiding a bad season. But, let's say the horse is out of the barn and things aren't going well mid-season.... and the prospects aren't looking so good...

How do you save it? I'd like to hear from coaches who've actually had really a rough season at some point, few wins. Any of those here or have they all hung up the clipboard?

Thanks...
 
May 9, 2008
98
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Keep Working

Hi,

The first year that I coached my daughters middle school JV team we went 1 and 9 in the regular season. My daughter had just turned 10, in 5th grade, her first year of softball. We had two 6th graders the rest 5th. Most of the girls had never played and all the other coaches and I could do where teach fundamentals. We had three girls who could hit out of a roster of 12 all of whom had to be in the batting order by league rule. It was rough. Simple plays weren't made. Even bunting to get a hit was a lofty goal. We played against teams that were mainly 6th graders and we got hammered. The one victory was 10-9 against a team that was in the same boat as us.

We kept coaching and practicing as best we could over a two month period. I soft tossed tennis balls until my arm was sore. And we kept stressing fundamental, fundamentals, fundamentals. In a 10 team league only the top half of the teams qualified for the league tournament. The bottom half qualified for the Consolation bracket which was double elimination. I had my doubts about our ability to compete. I couldn't see them advancing and thought we'd have an early exit.

Well, guess what. Something clicked. Our first tournament game was against the only team we had beaten that year. We won again against them and advanced. The next game was tougher. It was against a team that had beaten us handily in the regular season. But our pitching and hitting came through and we won the second game. In fact we scored the maximum of 9 runs in one inning and they put the run rule into effect. We won 16 - 7. By the third game our confidence was high and we won that game as well.

One girl who was the smallest on our team and hadn't had a hit all year started producing. Even though it was just a contact dribbler that didn't even reach the pitchers circle it was something. We moved her into the number two position in the order. She went 6 for 8 over the next two games without getting the ball out of the infield.

Next stop the Consolation Championship game. It was on a Monday and the girls had time to think about it during the school day. The were nervous and some were uncertain. Even asking questions like "Do you think we can win?" I had to reassure them that all the hard work they had been doing was paying off and that even though the team we had to play had beaten us in the regular season. We had beaten them 16 -7 when we faced them in the tournament two days before and that we could do it now.

Well the both teams played hard, it was a tense back and forth battle. They scored first, we tied it up, then we made some clutch hits and with great base running and determination we came out on top 3 to 1. Wow! A team that had only 1 win and 9 losses in the regular season came alive at crunch time and won 4 consecutive games to win the Consolation Championship Tournament! What a joy ride. If I hadn't seen it and been a part of it I don't know if I could believe it. What a marvelous thing to be a part of.

The hard work and effort paid off. The girls learned skills and performed at a very high level in a very short time. That's the deal. You have to keep a positive attitude and never give up or give in. These young girls have a great capacity for learning. They just needed to be coached in the fundamentals, be given high expectations, and believed in. The best way to measure success is to measure their improvement. It doesn't always show up in the wins and losses column but it can.

Good luck with your team and don't ever quit.

Best Regards,

Pops
 

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