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Frustrated with DD's first year 14U team

Oct 15, 2013
339
18
Seattle, WA
Last night head coach wasn't at practice so it was just me and the other AC. To start practice the other AC told the team to go outside and run two laps around the facility as a team and to stick together. A few minutes later 3 of the girls come back. When we asked where the other girls were they said they didn't know. I walked all the way across the facility, about 60 yards to the front door. When I stick my head out I find the rest of the team congregated in the far end of the parking lot. I holler down to them and they come to me and try to come in the front door. I tell them no. I ask what they were doing and they don't have an answer. I tell them to run the two laps again. A half minute later or so I look across the practice facility and the back door is opening and the girls are coming through. It made me very angry. I started yelling, "No! No! No! Go back and finish your laps!". Which they did.

I'm completely frustrated with this team. There are several kids who are not coachable. I knew going in this team wasn't going to be that good; I can tolerate that, but the attitude, lack of effort and unwillingness to be coached is giving me fits. I thought maybe it was me. Maybe the girls just don't respect me, which is obvious, but we have a player from the UW who comes in and leads practice and they don't really listen to her either. It's shocking. I can tell she's frustrated at times too. Bewildered might be a better word. They don't listen to the head coach or other AC either. I'm finding myself in the position of always asking the girls to quite down and listen to coach, because the coach or other AC won't. I'm the one who always has to ride players to do what they're supposed to be doing and I don't like it.

The only positive out of all of this is my DD was one of the three that did the jog and came back in. In general she's been working hard even when others haven't. I haven't had to get on her at all.

Anyway, this team is making me into something I don't want to be, a yeller. I'm not sure if I should stick it out or not. I'm not sure I should keep my DD on the team. I floated the notion of changing teams to her and she did not say anything, but she did not protest.

Is this just how a first year 14U team is?
 
May 24, 2013
9,764
113
So Cal
My DD (2nd year 14U) has never been on a team with a bad work ethic. As friendships build over the course of time, they can sometimes get a little chatty and distracted while waiting their turn on a drill, but generally they've always worked hard when it's time to work hard.

For your situation, I might gather the team together, and approach it like this...

"Who likes playing softball?" (wait for hands to raise)

"Who wants to get better at playing softball?" (hands)

"Who wants to play college softball?" (hands)

"All of you say you like to play, and want to get better. All/most/some of you want to play college ball. Your coaches are here to help you on that journey, but we can't do the work for you. We can't just hand you the skills you need to get the next level. This is your game. You have to do the work. When a coach asks you to take a run, or go through a drill, or listen to him when he shares some game knowledge, and you do it with less than 100% effort, you're not cheating the coach, you're cheating yourself. You're also cheating the girls standing next to you right now. Every time you step on the field you have an opportunity to get better, one little step forward at a time. Every catch, every throw, every swing you take is an opportunity to get a little better. Our practice sessions give you a bunch of those opportunities. How you use those opportunities is all up to you. If you don't want to get better, that's up to you, too. However, this is a team sport. Your lack of skills because you didn't put in 100% effort to get better means you are now affecting the results of the team. If you want to fail on your own, maybe softball isn't the sport for you. Very soon, college scouts will be starting to look at you. They are looking at a lot more than just what you do on the field. They watch how you warm up. They watch how you act in the dugout. They watch how you react when you strikeout or make an error. They are looking for players who lift up their teammates, and will do anything to help their team. Being that kind of player and teammate starts on the practice field. It starts right here. Right now. Coaches don't expect you to be perfect, but we do expect you to give your best effort. We know what you are capable of, and we will push you to get even better because we think you can can. Because we really believe in you. We believe that each one of you can be a better ball player, and we are willing to put in our effort and share our knowledge to help you get better. Seeing you run around the parking lot doesn't make me happy. Running around the parking lot is just a few step on the road to becoming a better player. Seeing you become the best player you can be makes me happy. Seeing YOU have the success YOU want playing a game YOU love makes me happy. This is YOUR journey. It's time to ask yourself...How good do I want to be, and what am I willing to do to get there? It's up to you. For those that want to get better, we are here to help you."



EDIT: My experience with my DD's teams (12U and above) is all TB with girls who generally have college softball dreams. This might be very different than your experience.
 
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Oct 15, 2013
339
18
Seattle, WA
is this a D team?

:cool:
Perhaps. Part of the problem is that many of the girls are new to select, coming from a Little League all star team that had a good run in the spring. They bring a rec league attitude. I’ve asked the coach to ask them if they know the minimum playing time rules for select, but he hasn’t done it yet.
 
May 17, 2012
1,930
48
Forget the running next time, use dynamic warmups instead.

If you do run, run with them next time. Lead by example.
 
Oct 2, 2011
3,160
83
Florida
Is this just how a first year 14U team is?
Nope.

It just sounds like they don't really want to play softball, or at least don't want to make the commitment to softball at the level you expect the team to be.

If there are some that do, then they will continue and the others probably wont. Nothing wrong with either of these things - I know it is tough being on the 'wrong' type of team, but it is just a season and then you see what is next.

We often see this in girls on the way out and especially around 14U.


Why exactly were they at the far end of the facility again?
 
Jun 11, 2012
393
28
I think it’s time for a team meeting with players and parents to go over the expectations of the team. Expectations for practice, games, tournaments, what you want from players, parents etc.
every team DD ever played for has had something like this. This year her college coach send an email to the players with her expectations and the parent liaison sent one to the parents with do’s and don’ts
 

Strike2

Allergic to BS
Nov 14, 2014
672
28
Is this just how a first year 14U team is?
Nope...not every team, but I assure you that every team has its knuckleheads. You just seem to be at knucklehead critical mass. Their attitude will come back to bite them in a big way on the field, and the team might not be together for very long. Most teenagers are barbarians who must be civilized, and it usually takes a firm hand.

Being an AC is like being the Vice President. You're only as important as the President (head coach) makes you.

Ideally, the head coach is a strong leader who actively empowers his ACs and backs them when they hold players accountable for bad behavior. Those teams have few discipline and attitude problems and with the right talent and teaching, perform extremely well.

If the head coach is a strong personality but doesn't really empower the ACs, the players will listen when HC threatens the bench and the cut, but they'll typically ignore the ACs. These teams are often up and down...the head coach can't be everywhere and see everything. The ACs have no real power to do anything beyond yelling at recalcitrant players, which alienates some portion of the team from the AC and eventually draws fire from a parent.

If the head coach is NOT a strong personality, a good number of players won't listen to anyone because there are no consequences. These teams usually suck.
 
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Nov 29, 2009
2,802
48
Anyway, this team is making me into something I don't want to be, a yeller. I'm not sure if I should stick it out or not. I'm not sure I should keep my DD on the team. I floated the notion of changing teams to her and she did not say anything, but she did not protest.

Is this just how a first year 14U team is?

What it sounds like is you have a ring leader on the team who has very good social skills and can get the others to follow her lead. Figure out who she is and deal with her first. If it takes removing her from the team you'll be ahead by subtraction.
 
Oct 3, 2011
2,815
0
Right Here For Now
Nope.

It just sounds like they don't really want to play softball, or at least don't want to make the commitment to softball at the level you expect the team to be.

If there are some that do, then they will continue and the others probably wont. Nothing wrong with either of these things - I know it is tough being on the 'wrong' type of team, but it is just a season and then you see what is next.

We often see this in girls on the way out and especially around 14U.


Why exactly were they at the far end of the facility again?

The quickest way to find that out is to find the absolute best/Gold/ Elite team in the area and ask for a scrimmage. Once they get their butts handed to them, you tell them if you want to be that good, then this is what it's going to take and then, you layout the plan and what's necessary to achieve that, i.e. hard work, practicing at home 5-6 hours a week, hitting 650 balls into the Bownet every week, etc. etc. If they don't want to do it, then tell them to quit or find another team. Losing 30-0 usually makes the point rather easily as to what's required and separates the wheat from the chaff by 14U. JMO
 
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