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Are there any TEAMS left?

Nov 16, 2015
9
3
My 14U daughter is entering high school next year. She has played rec and travel softball, and club ball 10u through 14u. Stayed on one team for three years and then when that fell apart moved to another team with half of the girls. As a parent, I would say these were all primarily positive experiences -- one year with a dud coach, but overall good playing time, good level of competition, good skill development, etc. Relatively little drama.

I noticed however this year that she started seeming a little burnt out. Didn't seem to look forward to practices or tournaments, was happy when a school conflict presented itself, etc. She plays more than one sport, so I thought maybe it was softball that was fading away for her. After probing a little, I finally discovered the issue. She wants to play for a TEAM.

I never really thought about it, but while we all want to win on Sunday, the teams she has played for have been very individually focused. Each kid and parent there for their individual development, reps, experience. We are all friendly and cheer each other on, but it's just not a team. And then when I think about it further, I realize that this has been the case for my daughter most of the time in softball. It has not been the case in her other sports, though admittedly she hasn't been playing those sports at the same high level -- I am sure if you get high enough up the ladder in any of these sports, the same thing happens.

I am hoping high school will be different. But I have a hard time seeing how club softball could be more team oriented in 18u and 16u. At that point players are there thinking mostly about college, which means even less team oriented? She has considered playing in college, but honestly, this 'team' issue is so big for her that I think she wants to pull the plug on club (or maybe all!) softball altogether and at long last I finally get it.

Is this really what it is? Is it the era? Is she just on the wrong team? In my day we didn't care what position we played or even if we played. We just wanted our crew to win. It's what I remember most and miss most about playing. I hope that hasn't disappeared, because that might mean the end of this sport for my daughter.
 
Mar 28, 2014
166
28
Creating a "team" atmosphere is up to the coach. Do your due diligence when selecting what team to tryout for. Make sure that creating a culture of teamwork is high on the coach's priority list. They are out there. So are the ones only interested in collecting a paycheck. Up to you to filter those out.
 
Oct 4, 2018
500
43
We try very, very hard to make it a team. We talk about TEAM, we practice teamwork.

The girls love one another and love softball. It's really awesome to see. I already get sad thinking it will end someday.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,854
63
Dallas, Texas
Is this really what it is? Is it the era? Is she just on the wrong team? In my day we didn't care what position we played or even if we played. We just wanted our crew to win. It's what I remember most and miss most about playing. I hope that hasn't disappeared, because that might mean the end of this sport for my daughter.
Yes, that the way it really is. No, it is not the era.

Your DD is playing high level sports. At that level, it is about loving the game and pushing yourself. The whole "I love my team and my coach" is crap. It is sports mythology.

(A player does need to respect and appreciate her teammates.)

Your DD isn't "burning out". She is understanding high level sports. It is being realistic. A thinking, intelligent human being could say, "This is too much work for too little reward. Bye."

If a kid doesn't love the game, she should quit. It really is that simple.

(The traditional sports interview is to never take credit for what you did and always say "it was the team". Q: You struck out all 21 batters that game. Why were you on fire? A: Aw, shucks, I didn't do anything. It was my catcher...she called a great game. And, I could have done anything without my coach patting me on the back between innings. )

In my day we didn't care what position we played or even if we played.
Wow...what day are you talking about? I'm pretty sure "my day" was farther back than "your day", and I, like everyone on my team, wanted to play every second of every game.
 
Last edited:

J.Galt

Banned
Feb 8, 2019
135
28
Depending on how far apart the players live and how many are on the squad, being a team can be difficult. The DDs team has 16 girls from 120 mile area and they rarely practice together, never during the week. To get a team feel they stay in rooms together, without their parents, when the team travels, go to movies together, escape rooms together, beach parties and anything else the coaches and managers can put together to build a team feeling
 
Nov 16, 2015
9
3
Wow...what day are you talking about? I'm pretty sure "my day" was farther back than "your day", and I, like everyone on my team, wanted to play every second of every game.
Well maybe it is different for boys. But as a girl/woman, my teams in high school (yes, old enough to be a three sport athlete -- also an extinct creature) and even my D1 team in college was all about winning as a team. I remember our star point guard being on the bench during a huge comeback. Coach turned to put her in the game and she said, "Coach, they are on fire. Don't change a thing."

Or maybe that answers my question -- perhaps club sports have lost their way. I think that if the love of an abstract 'game' has to take precedence over the profound satisfaction that comes from working with others to meet a common goal, then we really have thrown out all the long term rewards that playing sports provides. Those same values -- putting the goals of the team above personal gain -- are definitely what we look for in the classroom and the board room. If what you describe is true -- that these athletes care more about individual gain and performance than team goals and that is what is expected or even preferred -- Well then I probably would encourage my daughter to hang it up. And I would *never* hire a former athlete again. I sure hope that is not the case.
 
Apr 28, 2019
334
28
Yes, that the way it really is. No, it is not the era.

Your DD is playing high level sports. At that level, it is about loving the game and pushing yourself. The whole "I love my team and my coach" is crap. It is sports mythology.

(A player does need to respect and appreciate her teammates.)

Your DD isn't "burning out". She is understanding high level sports. It is being realistic. A thinking, intelligent human being could say, "This is too much work for too little reward. Bye."

If a kid doesn't love the game, she should quit. It really is that simple.

(The traditional sports interview is to never take credit for what you did and always say "it was the team". Q: You struck out all 21 batters that game. Why were you on fire? A: Aw, shucks, I didn't do anything. It was my catcher...she called a great game. And, I could have done anything without my coach patting me on the back between innings. )



Wow...what day are you talking about? I'm pretty sure "my day" was farther back than "your day", and I, like everyone on my team, wanted to play every second of every game.
The team atmosphere is promoted by the coach and reinforced by team captains. I don’t care what level you play at you need team captains to police the team and lead by example
The captains should be good players who know the game. They should also be inclusive and treat teammates with respect. There main function is to promote team unity and provide leadership.
At the higher levels there is a lot of focus put on individual performances and winning. That’s just the way it is. There needs to be respect and admiration between teammates not jealousy & spite!!!
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,854
63
Dallas, Texas
Well maybe it is different for boys. But as a girl/woman, my teams in high school (yes, old enough to be a three sport athlete -- also an extinct creature) and even my D1 team in college was all about winning as a team. I remember our star point guard being on the bench during a huge comeback. Coach turned to put her in the game and she said, "Coach, they are on fire. Don't change a thing."
Of course you have to win as a team...but, the team is made of individuals. The individuals need exceptional skills. Those skills are developed, for the most part, alone in a gym or on some backlot taking groundballs.

My DD#1 played D1 softball. DD#3 lettered in four sports (softball/tennis/basketball/track). She played D3 hoops, and won a national championship.

I'm not sure where you played, but in my DDs' softball/hoops world, the coaches pit players against other in a survival of the fittest. Every practice, the players tried to beat out the other players. Every summer, the coaches looked for new players to replace players already on his team.

So, your teammate was happy when she went from 30 minutes a game to 5 minutes? You never saw a teammate lose her scholarship because the coach found someone better?

Those same values -- putting the goals of the team above personal gain -- are definitely what we look for in the classroom and the board room.
You've been hitting the kool-aid a little too hard.

It is a Darwinian world.

The classroom? Schools have this thing called "class rank". The kids at the top get money (AKA scholarships) and the kids at the bottom don't. Making better grades than your classmates means you can get more money when you graduate...you get paid more.

The boardroom? The highest bonus goes to the CEO. The next highest goes to the COO. The next highest goes to the CFO, and then the CLO. The people in the boardroom are all about making as much money as possible.

The coaches get a bonus when "the team" wins a conference championship. So, is the coach working for the team or herself?
 

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