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Commitment issues/overextended kids

Apr 6, 2019
1
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Coaches,

I'm brand new to this forum and I thank you in advance for any advice or opinions. I am coaching a 10U rec team in upstate NY and I have a situation I could use some advice on. I have a few kids on my team with commitments outside of softball (dance, chorus, etc). Am I wrong to expect commitment from the girls on my team? I have already had parents messaging me about Suzy will have to miss practice on this day for reason X and Jill will miss this day Y reason...I made a comment at my first practice about how the kids that show up every day and put in the work are the ones that are going to get the most game time. I don't see it as fair for a full time participant to have to give up game time for part timers who think other activities are more important. I had a parent approach me at a school function just today trying to convince me (with his 20+ years of coaching experience) that I can't punish kids for missing practice because they don't have a choice in the matter. As if little Suzy didn't ask to sign up for dance and then two weeks later ask to sign up for softball.

I am asking if I am in the wrong by expecting the girls on my roster to be committed to the team and show up for all practices and games and to reduce playing time for those girls that are not committed to the team.

Thanks.
 
Jul 31, 2013
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Keep in mind, not starting a kid who didn't come to practice doesn't have to be punishment. If the parents or player asked why little Suzy didn't start, the simple answer is because little Betty was at practice and is more prepared for the position.
 
Apr 30, 2018
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It is a hard call for rec ball. I like Josh's take on it. Word it that playing time is a reward for the girls putting in the effort. Makes it a little easier if you have a couple of girls that are missing practice. Depending on how many you have, you can have the girls that are missing some practices split playing time. I would make sure you have the backing of the person in charge of your league just in case the parents start complaining. I would make sure you show no preference at practice though, just at games.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 
Jun 11, 2012
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While I understand your point I also see the point of the parents.
DD was often over scheduled when she was younger, not really by choice but sometimes activities overlap and we had to prioritize.
When we had to chose it usually went like this- school first, travel or competition next and rec third.
At 10U our program gave pretty close to equal playing time regardless of ability so even if she didn’t start she’d still play.

And at 10u it’s not usually the child’s choice. I know DD would have chosen softball over anything else but a travel soccer makeup playoff game would take priority and while we tried to get to both sometimes that couldn’t happen
 
Apr 6, 2019
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Most 10U leagues have rules that everybody bats and everybody must play certain innings on defense.

I think the farthest I would go would be to say that players who tend to make all practices will tend to bat higher up in the order and play the "better" positions (ie. infield) more often. You're not "punishing" anybody, but "rewarding" the players who do make most of the practices.
 
Apr 20, 2015
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I agree with this. Its rec league. Its supposed to be for fun and development. So yes I think to expect the kind of commitment required for travel is wrong. Lighten up and have fun. They're babies in this game and so are their parents.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 
Dec 2, 2013
901
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Texas
This is rec ball. What do you do if the kid that misses a lot is your stud pitcher? All the kids should get somewhat equal playing time for the most part in rec league. You should be batting the order. In the field you should be moving the kids around to different positions. Have your inning by inning lineup ready to go. You never know what kid is going to develop and which ones stagnate. I just saw picture of a girl that pitched on my DD's 16u team that is playing catcher in college. Never would have seen that coming. Regardless, the kids shouldn't be sitting the bench because they have other activities going on. Are they less prepared...maybe. Your job as a 10U coach is to teach the game, develop the skills to play the game and teach them to love the game so they come back next year. Oh, and don't forget ice cream treats after practices and games.
 
Jul 14, 2018
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Here's a handy little chart I used in the younger rec levels. Figure out your rotations before you get to the game. Write it in pencil so you can swap out the kids that don't show up. It's a handy reference to see who played where as the season moves along so that everyone gets a chance to play in different spots. If (when) any parents complain about playing time or positions, just show them your clipboard of charts and tell them that everyone is getting equal playing time.
 

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Jan 5, 2018
154
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PNW
Here's a handy little chart I used in the younger rec levels. Figure out your rotations before you get to the game. Write it in pencil so you can swap out the kids that don't show up. It's a handy reference to see who played where as the season moves along so that everyone gets a chance to play in different spots. If (when) any parents complain about playing time or positions, just show them your clipboard of charts and tell them that everyone is getting equal playing time.
This chart is awesome. When I coached Tball I used a spread sheet for each game...until I found a chart like this.

As recommended move kids to different positions. In rec always bat the roster. Move your last batter to lead off the next game etc.

The kids are awesome but the parents are wild cards.

When my DD first started in baseball playing tBall at 5. I had a mom email me asking if her son (first child) was going to be playing on Saturday. His grandparents were coming into town and if he wasn't going to be playing they WERE NOT coming to the game.

We played all 10 players in the field so no one sat on bench. Fortunately I had saved my excel spreadsheet of who played what positions by inning by game and the batting order for each game. Even though explained at our first parent meeting as well as introduction letter, I sent a nice email back telling her we always bat the roster, every player will play multiple positions and have opportunities at each position. I shared with her where her son played in each game. And left her with a note of how great her son is to have on the team, (He was), and what a great job he's doing at practice learning new skills and being a great teammate.

Didn't hear back from the mom...but Dad approached me next game. Thanked me for the email, sheepishly said...sports is new to my wife...told me it wouldn't happen again and that they were thrilled with their son and his team.

Sometimes having the lineup/position info can avoid a lot of unnecessary consternation.

Still today on our TB team I keep our lineups and positions played by inning. I track our innings played vs innings available to play. I'm looking to make sure my players are seeing the field a minimum of 50% of the time and ideally closer to 75%.

In rec league we made sure no one sat no more than 2 innings a game when playing a 6 inning game.
 

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