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How to avoid the unnecessary drama

May 6, 2015
Drama isn't isolated to TB. Rec ball has drama, too.

Youth sports* of all types, and at all levels, breeds drama. The OP presents an example of the common issue - parents who think their kid should be getting more than what they are getting.

* "Sports", in this case would include pretty much any activity where there is competition of any type.. "My Suzy should have had the lead role. She's a way better actress than Sally."
very true, my lame attempt at humor.
Apr 20, 2018
If you cant find teams you can compete with then maybe you guys dont have the talent. A good manager/coach should be able to find freindlies that you can win games. I would not keep my DD on a team that cant win any games. Thats not developing. That is humiliating and will suck the life out of the team. It is probably the higher skilled players parents that are complaining the most
Jun 4, 2019
For the most part, all TB players come from rec, so it’s very possible to take a team of 10U rec players and win games with them. Lets be serious about this sport for a second- it’s mostly about pitching. You could have a team of very average 10 yr olds and win 60% of your games if you have 1-2 decent pitchers. I see it almost every tournament at that age group.

It’s one of this things I would change about softball if I was king, lol. Too heavy on pitching. Even if you invest time in developing a young pitcher, their parents will get talked into leaving and leave the whole team behind. Especially if she comes from a rec program. It’s a me first society in a team sport. Tough combo.

I wouldn’t take the team falling apart too personally. I know easier said than done, but it’s what TB is. My HS level girls go from team to team and none stay for long. I sometimes feel sad when I hear the stories, but it’s what they grew up with, so they are used to it.
Feb 21, 2017
It is great your DH took on coaching, it can rewarding too so don't lose heart. My kids are all older and I have seen much of this before. There is great stuff in this post and @EricF particularly nailed it with his list.

I suggest you take stock of your overall objectives. If you want to play some better competition but still have fun and not too serious you can always move up an age group in your rec league. If your want your players to really get better and don't mind the road bumps then TB will work as long as you focus on the long play (being better in 1-2 seasons).

Communication with parents and outlining objectives is the main issue. Being a good rec team means nothing (unless you have exceptional pitching) as there are often mechanisms (like run limits in an inning) that don't exist in TB. This makes it so you can win all your rec games still giving up 10 runs because you didn't hit the run limit a few times. In travel the girls must know how to throw and catch because those errors which lead to free runs are limited in rec. In TB the errors make an inning fall apart quickly and suddenly you have 10 runs in one inning. Like I said if you are going to stick with TB then outline objectives and realistic goals. Families willing to stay based on them you keep, but don't try and convince anyone, it won't work out.

For what it is worth I see parents who get all jacked up at 18U Showcase with drop dead times be all about winning....we don't even play a full game and everyone freely subs....
Oct 4, 2018
That's what I guessed.

Some stuff I've learned in our journey (DD moved from rec to TB in 10U, and is currently playing on a high-level 16U TB team. I also spent a few years as a TB team coach.)...

- If people don't want to stay, don't try to make them. Those people will only make life more uncomfortable for everyone else.
- ESPECIALLY at younger ages, parents (and coaches) who put winning games above player development are idiots. It's not uncommon for the kids of these parents to quickly end up riding the bench on a team that wins a lot...and then end up complaining about playing time (see the pattern?)
- Moving up to a new age group in the fall is always rough for 10U and 12U. It gets made worse by teams who don't move up when they should in order to score plastic trophies. Don't judge the competitive level of your team until after Jan 1, when the older teams are finally forced to play their age. Also, the lumps your players take now will only make them better in 2020.
- If I was the HC, and parents told me that their kid would keep coming to practices, but wouldn't be playing games, I would let them know that they didn't need to come to practices any more, either. Focus on developing the players who are committed to your program.
- I've seen it at least a dozen times, from 10U to 14U...Rec ball team has a good all-star experience, and wants to stay together and play in the exiting world of "travel ball". It's going to be great! Our kids are awesome! Its a shock to find that they are regularly getting curb-stomped by teams full of players who have more experience and more skills. There are parents whose egos can't handle it, so they blame someone (usually the coach), try to suck others into their drama, and leave ugly. However, if you stay true to your team, focus on development, your team will be doing some stomping next fall as the next batch of rec teams tries to make the TB move.

EDIT: A couple more things...
- Not one future college coach will care about what tournament any kid won in 10U or 12U. Even if it was a National Championship.
- The ONLY true loyalty in TB is a parent to what they think is best for their kid. In related news...some parents are delusional.
Exactly this.

Much like the experience of your husband and thousands of others, we took our Rec team core and added it to other Rec teams to form an All-Star Team. After a successful Spring & Summer, we took the core of that All-Star team and made them a Travel team.

That's common. As is the fact that we coaches had experience, but not with Travel.

Also common, as Eric says, is you then play tough competition and parents used to winning start seeing Darling Darlene losing games. Often.

You have two types of parents. Those who understand and are ok with losing, because:
1) They have common sense, perspective, and aren't idiots
2) They were told by the coaches that we're moving to a level of play where we will lose games

and the type who can't accept that Darling Darlene is losing.

Let them go. "Honoring their commitment to November"? Puuulease! Get out. Now. Leave. How honorable of them to stick it out another few weeks (but not play games). Kick them off now. A commitment is a full year, not a few weeks. And a commitment is to do everything with the team, not pick and choose.

Coaching softball has been a complete joy.*

*Except for the parents, who suck. God, they suck.

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