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Frustrated with DD's first year 14U team

4 girl's dad

Finding my way
Apr 5, 2013
1,751
48
Back on the dirt
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?
I could have written this post for the most part, word for word, except our coach does come to all practices and is involved.

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
We did just that as well. We were down 14-0 before we finally hit the ball a few times to score 6. But it was too late.

It really made me question my desire to continue coaching them. Biggest issue for us is we are in a small market and not many players to choose from. We just joined an org in the fall and it has brought us a few players that are better but we are dying for pitching. The org has futures, gold and national teams (multiple of each actually) with about 5 pitchers on each team and we have 1. 2 total but 1 combined and some days neither can throw a strike to at least get the ball in play. Hoping we can get some players to join in the spring because as it is, there is no threat from the bench.

Sorry, nothing to add really except empathy.
 
Apr 28, 2014
1,100
48
My DD just left a team after summer that she had played with for 2 seasons. Great kids and super talented but 5-6 knuckle heads who would drag the team down. It started to get bad towards the end of the summer and at that point I knew it was time to go. I was on the bench and saw some things that I felt were waring signs that led me to have a conversation with DD and she made the choice to move up to 18s vs staying with her team that was moving to 16s. The 18s she is on now is not as talented as the 16's but they are collectively a much better team and win many more games than the 16s have this fall. The 18's are very academically focused and that is a super huge improvement in team dynamics.
I can tell you that in the summer I really wanted to pull the parents in and have at it but I thought about how I was at 14-15 and decided to hold off and let the parents figure it on their own. Parenting is just as important in building a softball player as coaching.
 
Last edited:
Jun 27, 2018
83
8
We just left a team at the end of the summer. I would say 2 real knuckleheads and a couple of followers. At Nationals down south in the heat, we were getting beat up on pretty badly and most of the team packed it in mentally. It doesn’t help when one of the knuckleheads says in the last game “I hope we lose so I can get more beach time.”


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Nov 29, 2009
2,781
38
We just left a team at the end of the summer. I would say 2 real knuckleheads and a couple of followers. At Nationals down south in the heat, we were getting beat up on pretty badly and most of the team packed it in mentally. It doesn’t help when one of the knuckleheads says in the last game “I hope we lose so I can get more beach time.”


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
DD had two girls like that on her 18U team. They were playing in CO at the Indy Tournament. The two girls had a severe case of boyfrienditis. The two of them were trying to convince the team to lose so they can go home early. The team did lose and the two of them immediately ran off to the airport to get their flights changed to the next available flight.

The team was playing in the final game of an ASA Gold qualifier. It was ITB and the team was down a run. One of the goofs happened to be the runner for ITB. She pulled a really bonehead base running mistake that ended up being the last out of the game. All the other girls on the team were upset with not being able to go to the Gold National. The two goofs were all smiles and talking about what they had planned the week of what would have been the tournament with their boyfriends. It was the first and only time I thought I saw a player deliberately do something to make a team lose.

And the real kicker. The base running goof had a full ride to a school. Called the coach up 10 days before she was due to arrive at school and told the coach she changed her mind and didn't want to play. Come to find out the goof's boyfriend was a grade behind her in HS and she didn't want to leave with him still being in HS.
 
Jun 27, 2018
83
8
DD had two girls like that on her 18U team. They were playing in CO at the Indy Tournament. The two girls had a severe case of boyfrienditis. The two of them were trying to convince the team to lose so they can go home early. The team did lose and the two of them immediately ran off to the airport to get their flights changed to the next available flight.

The team was playing in the final game of an ASA Gold qualifier. It was ITB and the team was down a run. One of the goofs happened to be the runner for ITB. She pulled a really bonehead base running mistake that ended up being the last out of the game. All the other girls on the team were upset with not being able to go to the Gold National. The two goofs were all smiles and talking about what they had planned the week of what would have been the tournament with their boyfriends. It was the first and only time I thought I saw a player deliberately do something to make a team lose.

And the real kicker. The base running goof had a full ride to a school. Called the coach up 10 days before she was due to arrive at school and told the coach she changed her mind and didn't want to play. Come to find out the goof's boyfriend was a grade behind her in HS and she didn't want to leave with him still being in HS.
That’s insane!!!!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Dec 2, 2013
909
28
Texas
And the real kicker. The base running goof had a full ride to a school. Called the coach up 10 days before she was due to arrive at school and told the coach she changed her mind and didn't want to play. Come to find out the goof's boyfriend was a grade behind her in HS and she didn't want to leave with him still being in HS.
I bet the parents were real happy about this.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,845
63
Dallas, Texas
It made me very angry.
...
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.
14YOA girls are going to try to take advantage of the situation and cut corners every chance they get. They are going to try to "push your buttons" and take advantage of the situation.

Getting angry at a bunch of 14YOA girls for being 14YOA girls seems a little odd.

There are ways to handle them, but getting angry isn't one of them.

Are you sure you're the right guy for this?

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.
No, *you* should not stick it out. You're a poor fit for the team. Bow out gracefully.

---
Part of the trick to coaching TB is to pick kids team you can coach. IMHO, the HC took some less than perfect players in order to fill out his roster. He had to have these extra kids or the team would fold.

This particular team can't be ran the way you want to run the team. If you were in charge, a bunch of kids would quit. And, that means the team would fold.

This doesn't mean you are a bad coach--this means that you and this particular group of kids don't mesh.

So, either bite your tongue and accept the situation or leave. You are *NOT* going to change the team dynamics.

One more thought--no team is perfect. You have to be flexible and adapt to the team, no the other way around.
 
Last edited:
Oct 15, 2013
335
18
Seattle, WA
Thank you for all your replies. Some good news, but first let me respond to a few points.

Eric F - That speech, or a version of it, has been given by the coach, me and a player from the University Of Washington who comes in and runs practice sometimes. It hasn't sunk in yet, but I haven't given up hope.

marriard - We practice at the far end of the facility, because it's very big (WWII airplane hangar) and we share it with another team. They use the "near end".

4 girls dad - Our coach is involved. He missed a practice because he was sick.

Now the good news. The practice that I mentioned above where the girls didn't return from running actually had a silver lining. The player from the UW who works with us had them throw with a partner and she made a bit of a competition out of it. Bad throw or drop and you're out. Everyone but winners do 10 push ups. Lo and behold those girls made good throws and when they didn't their partners made great efforts to catch the ball. We carried that on to our Sunday practice, implemented some consequences in our other drills and we had a great practice. The girls looked really sharp.

I did have tell the coach's daughter to not walk from point to point when following her throw a few times and when she didn't heed my instruction I interrupted the drill and called all the girls together and told them it's important to always hustle, it has to be a habit and it's not fair to all the girls who are hustling for one or two girls not to. We were good from there, fortunately.

Now, I'm not the biggest fan of negative consequences in order to get players to do what they need to do, but it often works.
 
Jun 29, 2013
578
18
Sounds like you're UW player/coach is onto something. Sluggers is right, these kids aren't going to just give you the effort you're looking for just because you asked or even because they should. They're all different, and this group probably isn't competing for PGF next year but that doesn't mean they're not good kids, good players, or uncoachable. You have to relate to them as they are, not as anyone thinks they should be. You can make them run laps to warm up, or try dynamic warmups like another poster suggested earlier which will probably work better. Whether they can run 10 laps or 0 laps isn't going to necessarily win you a game next year, just find something that interests them and accomplishes what you want.
We are leaving a team that coaches like it's still 1955, brutal discipline, negative reinforcement for everything, and insistence on criticizing everything done imperfectly for anyone not deemed irreplaceable. My kid no longer wants to play softball right now because of the shite she put up with for the fall season, and this is a kid who stayed with the same team because they worked harder than anyone else. My advice is don't push them so hard that the experience is miserable because you will make sure they don't play at the next level as they will hate the game. To paraphrase Dickens, as the Coach, you have the ability to make practice a joy or a toil. Try to make it a joy, the players will respond better.
 
Oct 15, 2013
335
18
Seattle, WA
We are leaving a team that coaches like it's still 1955, brutal discipline, negative reinforcement for everything, and insistence on criticizing everything done imperfectly for anyone not deemed irreplaceable. My kid no longer wants to play softball right now because of the shite she put up with for the fall season, and this is a kid who stayed with the same team because they worked harder than anyone else. My advice is don't push them so hard that the experience is miserable because you will make sure they don't play at the next level as they will hate the game. To paraphrase Dickens, as the Coach, you have the ability to make practice a joy or a toil. Try to make it a joy, the players will respond better.
Yeah, I would never let my girls play for coaches like that. I was very skeptical about travel ball when I first learned about; in my imagination all the coaches would be like that. I'm glad I'm wrong (it's only 50% - kidding).

I hope I don't give the wrong impression. I try to be all positive all the time, but sometimes I fail. Sometimes I fail big time. When I said above we implemented some consequences in our drills it was nothing draconian or harsh, just a few pushups for the person that made the error; it's really just enough to get their attention. The number of errors they made reduced greatly when we started doing it, so it wasn't much of an issue anyway.
 

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