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DD wants to Succeed & Win too much, Looks like poor sportsmanship

Oct 21, 2016
Hi All. I hoping to run into some people who have had this problem with their DD before. My DD plays 12U on a competitive B team, and I am an assistant coach. She is one of the better players on the team, has hit in the 2-3 hole all year, and is the starting catcher. She wants to win and succeed so much that her disappointment in herself and the team losing begins to look like an attitude problem, and/or poor sportsmanship. Here are typical examples. She struck out twice in spots the team could have really used hits this past weekend and both times slumped into a corner crying in the dugout. With 2 outs in the bottom of the last inning down 5-1 she ripped a triple into the gap and came into 3rd where I was coaching elated. The next girl struck out and the game was over with her standing on 3rd and she was again somewhere between tears and being very mad. Other times it has been dropped 3rd strikes, pops dropped behind home, and bad throws to 2nd. These emotional knee jerk reactions of hers only typically last minutes and she snaps out of it and is back in the game, but sometimes they effect subsequent plays. It's as if she is simply overwhelmed by emotions and can't control her actions for short periods of time. During these few minutes of uncontrolled emotions she won't talk to anyone and has several times walked by teammates trying to high five her. She is never loud or yells, but it is simply to upset to talk or interact with anyone. The coaches in private even refer to her death stair that she has when she is mad, but they also love her drive to compete and win that comes with it. I have tried everything when this happens from being super positive and supportive, to getting upset with her actions, and everything in between. We can talk about them after the game and she knows her actions aren't appropriate, but she can't control it when it happens. Soon she will be on teams where I am not a coach or the coachs aren't other parents she has known, and I'm afraid they simply won't put up with it, no matter what she can do between the lines. I keep hoping it's a faze and she grows out of it, but she will 13 in less than 2 months.
May 20, 2016
My DD is a little younger but sometimes does the same thing. End of the day kids are kids, they are just figuring out emotions so logical discussions don't always fix things. My go to is "You can only control what you do" and if there is a problem we'll work on it in practice. It will be that way your entire playing career.

Mine is a pitcher so she gets real frustrated with bad defense but is learning to contain it.
Oct 11, 2010
Chicago, IL
I dislike crying. I do not think DD has ever cried at a SB game, car ride home is a different thing.

If a player is emotionally upset I tell them to take a walk, mixed results.
Jun 12, 2015
We've got a couple of those. Coach very matter of factly tells them you can't play while crying so they sit an inning. I think perhaps you'd do her a favor by not putting up with it now, so she can be prepared when dad's not her coach. JMO.
Jun 27, 2011
North Carolina
I wouldn't guilt her (ie, being a brat or a baby) or judge it in those terms. I would appeal to her competitive side. She cannot perform at her highest level until she learns to manage her emotions. And, her teammates will perform worse because they are affected by their teammates' emotions. They might fear her disapproval, or just get down on themselves because the mood/spirit of a team goes down when somebody is crying or pouting. Important lesson to learn. You have to teach her how important the mental game is if she wants to be a good player and to win.

And just as you reward players with playing time based on their hitting and fielding, do the same based on their ability to handle their emotions. Players who hit, field, pitch and handle their emotions and lift up their teammates are the most valuable to the team and therefore get to play more, bat higher, etc.
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Oct 30, 2014
The quicker she can grow out of this the better. Have conversations about ways to handle success and failure when she isn't emotional, talk through how her reactions affect her teammates. Hopefully if her competitive self understands this on a logical level she can begin working through moments when emotions take over.


Feb 18, 2016
Gotta agree with much that has been said here. One additional thing to consider is that if she is not able to redirect her negative emotions (or simply grow/mature out of it), it could have an impact if/when she is interested in playing in college. As we went through the recruiting process, we heard from many many coaches that they look very closely at a player's attitude when making recruiting decisions. They specifically watch for how a player reacts when something goes wrong - a strikeout, an error, etc.,...as well as how they react when a teammate does something wrong. Many otherwise talented girls have been crossed off of recruiting list because of this. They want tough competitors who don't like to lose, but who also realize that "failure" is a pretty big part of this game and are able to handle it in a positive way.

She cannot perform at her highest level until she learns to manage her emotions. And, her teammates will perform worse because they are affected by their teammates' emotions.
This times 100.
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Oct 21, 2016
Thanks to everyone for all the replies. It was a much better this weekend with only one emotional breakdown after she got picked off on 3rd base. She had an exceptionally good weekend at the plate going 9-15 on with only 1 K, and the team lost in extra innings of the championship game, so things generally went well. It's the weekends where she doesn't hit as well or the team has an early exit that are worse. Thanks again.
Feb 14, 2014
DD wants to Succeed & Win too much, Looks like poor sportsmanship

Dd10 has similar behaviors, although it was happening in basketball more than softball. I had tried it all-pep talks, ignoring, punishment (grounding). Then it occurred to me that I pay for points during All Star basketball season, and maybe I should start fining her for the bad attitude. So last year, I approached her with the idea. She agreed to it and said that I should fine her $1 each time she got emotional. I thought it was too much, so I only charged her $.50. At some point after each game, we would go over how many points she scored, and I'd ask her how many times she had a fit, then we'd settle up.

This year during basketball, we made it through regional and national tournaments without a single meltdown or tear. I had parents tell her how proud they were of her new attitude.

she's only ever emotional at herself. She's never lashed out at another teammate, or even talked bad about their performance. If so, I'd deal with it another way because I don't have any tolerance for that.

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