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DDs see no honor in being called up to varsity, and riding the bench-hear me out.

Mar 8, 2016
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When i agreed to coach my dd's 10u all star team my dw picked up a book on coaching softball at a yard sale. I read the forward and the first paragraph said the role of a good coach is to teach. My day job for over 15 years at the time was to teach 4th year veterinary students clinical medicine. That is when i realized i could apply the same principles to "teaching" softball that i did in my every day job. I didn't have to be the best softball coach but i had to try and make every girl better every practice. Also as i taught them everything i knew i had to go out and learn new things to teach them. That need is what drove me to find resources like this.
DD has been lucky to have some very high level d1 players as coaches and instructors. Some of these were good at teaching and others were not so good . In my dd's experience most high level young ex softball players had trouble relating to girls that did not have the same level of talent they had. Now one of the biggest challenges in my day job is to remember what it was like to be a student. I like to think i was never that "dumb" or that "bad" at something but truth is I am sure I was. I am sure with experience they will improve if they stick with it.
At the highest levels i am sure there is less teaching to do. At all other levels the coach is first and foremost a "teacher" who is trying accomplish a goal. There are a lot of people out there accomplishing that goal but there are also ones who come up short. I have always enjoyed reading cannonball's posts and learned a lot.

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Apr 28, 2019
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At the parents meeting before the season started the HC said there are freshmen (DDs) who should be playing varsity and upperclassman who should be playing JV, then said he is playing all of his returning players from last year. For the third game of the varsity season he called them up and the rode the bench, watching girls who are clearly weaker than them play. There are two juniors and one senior who play travel ball, the rest are all girls who only play during school ball.

They see no value riding the bench. They say they would rather be home practicing with me. I told them they have to play the politics of the situation and do as the HC asks.

The AD said to me they should be honored to be called up to varsity. One DD is playing on a showcase team this summer, and this weak varsity team means nothing to her. The best case scenario the varsity team is going to be one-and-done in the playoffs.

Am I doing something wrong that DDs see no honor is being called up to varsity?
I would say your doing something wrong. To not react and stand-up for your players is just as bad as losing your temper in a negative way.
I understand rewarding loyalty to a certain degree but the best players should always be on the field.
I could see maybe starting an older girl for an inning and then pulling her for the better player. That way the older girl can say she is a starter and kind of save face.
You must advocate for your kids. Why have them on a team where they don’t feel they are getting a chance to contribute and grow as a player.
As much as I hate to say it maybe have your girls skip HS ball and watch the team struggle with inferior talent.
The object of sports is to play hard, learn life lessons, grow as a team and ultimately win as many games as possible.
If a coach is willing to accept losing by not playing his best players he has no business being a coach at the HS level. He should stick to low level Rec ball.
 
Mar 10, 2016
574
28
Pennsylvania
At the parents meeting before the season started the HC said there are freshmen (DDs) who should be playing varsity and upperclassman who should be playing JV, then said he is playing all of his returning players from last year. For the third game of the varsity season he called them up and the rode the bench, watching girls who are clearly weaker than them play. There are two juniors and one senior who plays travel ball, the rest are all girls who only play during school ball.

They see no value riding the bench. They say they would rather be home practicing with me. I told them they have to play the politics of the situation and do as the HC asks.

The AD said to me they should be honored to be called up to varsity. One DD is playing on a showcase team this summer, and this weak varsity team means nothing to her. The best case scenario the varsity team is going to be one-and-done in the playoffs.

Am I doing something wrong that DDs see no honor is being called up to varsity?
I was in the same boat that you mention, Bob about DD's that should be starting at the varsity level and upperclassmen that should be playing on the JV level. When I had gotten word that I had made varsity when I tried out as a freshman, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I was over the moon happy. On the JV team, I was a big fish in a small pond. I was the #1 pitcher on the team. After I made varsity, I was demoted to the #3 pitcher. Not because of ability...but because I was the new girl. I hadn't earned my time in the circle. Granted, I practiced. I worked hard. I was praised for what I was doing in practice...I was just too new to put out on the field in competition. I hadn't paid my dues as an old drawing teacher taught me when I was learning how to draw anime characters (it's still a hobby of mine when I have nothing else to do, I like to pick up my drawing pad and pencil and doodle making up new characters and stories). It's the same in softball...I had to pay my dues. I had to earn my spot to play although I made the team. As I was working at pitching and honing my skills and hoping for my time to play, an opportunity fell into my lap. Our catcher went down with an ACL tear. We had a girl (a first baseman) who could catch but her natural position was first base and coach wanted to keep her there and the JV catcher wasn't ready to play at the varsity level. With coaches seeing my work ethic, decided to give me a shot at it. Trust me it wasn't pretty. My whole journey is chronicled here. I never really sat on the bench again at the varsity level outside of injury (unless coach wanted to pull me in favor of someone else in a situation or wanted to give me a game off because of a matchup).

I tell that story because I know it's going to happen again as I start the next leg of my softball career. I have to pay my dues and earn my playing time as a catcher at the D3 college level. I'm good with this because it will make it all the sweeter when I do finally earn my playing time after having two catchers in front of me. I will probably see some playing time since I can play third as well.

They see no value in riding the bench. I saw a lot of value riding the bench when I was hurt. Granted it's frustrating as hell when you want to play...but your learning from watching someone who may be better than you or your still paying your dues and having to wait out the other girl's eligibility to play. It's not a crime to sit although it's frustrating to do so.
 
May 15, 2016
925
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They see no value in riding the bench. I saw a lot of value riding the bench when I was hurt. Granted it's frustrating as hell when you want to play...but your learning from watching someone who may be better than you or your still paying your dues and having to wait out the other girl's eligibility to play. It's not a crime to sit although it's frustrating to do so.
If the situation was one where they could learn watching the upperclassmen play that would be one thing, but they are not learning anything riding the bench. With only three of the starters playing for travel teams, and the rest play softball two months a year, the level of play is what they left a few years ago when they started moving up the travel team ladder.

I'm thinking about the idea of 'paying your dues'. If varsity is about allowing the older girls to play, simply because of seniority, then yes, sitting the bench is paying the dues. If varsity is about trying to field the best team a school can put together, then I think the metric of the dues would come from which girls practice three or four times a week, ten months a year.

Two years ago, when DD was playing sloppy, and was benched for a month and a half, I didn't complain to her TB coach. During that time she didn't deserve to be a starter. I waited for her to realize that she needed to get her act together and play better to become a starter again. That benching was probably the best thing that happened to her. It lit a fire in her that should couldn't rest on her laurels, and she has not stopped pushing herself since.
 
Mar 10, 2016
574
28
Pennsylvania
If the situation was one where they could learn watching the upperclassmen play that would be one thing, but they are not learning anything riding the bench. With only three of the starters playing for travel teams, and the rest play softball two months a year, the level of play is what they left a few years ago when they started moving up the travel team ladder.
I don't say this to sound condescending, Bob, but I'm of the belief that we can learn something even from someone we know we may be better than in whatever field of life that may be. I'll use my dad as an example. My dad is not great at cooking. When we fire up the grill, he makes amazing food off of it. I love his burgers, brats, steak, chicken and veggie packs. I was 12 and we were trying to make pizza since mom was working late and I was trying to help him make dinner. When we made those pizzas, he showed me the basics of making good pizza dough. He showed me the secret of giving the dough a second rise and everything else that goes into making a pizza. We forgot one little thing...we forgot to add another kind of cheese to the pizza. But even though we may have had a mini fail on the pizza, I still learned something from dad when it comes to cooking...and...we had fun doing so.

It's the same as your DD's with players that may not be as talented as they are even though the players with seniority are playing and they aren't. Those players may be able to give your DD's some tips and stuff from a perspective they have never looked at the position from. I know when I had started out playing in JV, there was a pitcher I knew I had better stuff than. But she knew things I didn't when it came to pitching. She taught me how to throw a drop ball over my 7th-grade year and she possessed a nasty drop ball for being a JV player. She was starting to teach me how to throw a rise ball when the season ended and she moved up to varsity. Even though I may have had a better fastball and a better change-up, she ended up teaching me a few things and I taught her a few things as well. That girl ended up being the one I ended up catching the most during my freshman and sophomore years of playing softball. Seeing her pitch from behind the plate gave me a different perspective of what she was doing and what she was teaching me all those years ago and what I helped teach her.

Maybe those girls have something to teach your DD's...but maybe your DD can teach them a few things as well to use on the softball field.

But them sitting may still be a product of having to pay their dues...but it could also be a product of politics or just that the coach wants to play the older girls figuring they would rather play the more experienced players.
 

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