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"Me before Team" A downward spiral.

Ken Krause

Administrator
Admin
May 7, 2008
3,447
48
Mundelein, IL
Check out my post on my team from this past summer (IOMT Castaways) in the Ken's Softball Tips forum or on my blog. The team was selected specifically to avoid the types of issues you talk about. I knew every single kid on the team from before and set out what the goals of the team were before they even agreed to play. I only invited kids I thought would be on board with what we wanted to do.

I had a roster of 12, and never had to use a guest player except for one practice game in the beginning of the season. Sometimes we only had 9 girls, and one of those times we had to put a kid who was sick on the field, but most of the time we either had a full roster or only one missing.

It's entirely about character, which is something you can't see during tryouts. If you don't know the players ahead of time there's no way to predict how they will act, especially graduated seniors. How well did you know your 12 before putting the team together? Not saying there's a fault here, but if you want to avoid being in that frustrating situation again try to hand-pick girls you know want to play.
 
Jan 27, 2010
1,731
48
NJ
The larger orgs that I am familiar with want their seniors playing. When they leave the NE and go west they want to do well. Their records in CA and CO are their recruiting tools for the younger players. Plus if you don't do well you won't get invited to the better tourneys and fields. You can survive on your reputation for a year or two, maybe three or four but eventually you will become one of those teams that used to be good. We have a couple of those here too.

As for the deposit, it's not so much that it would keep someone on the team if they were determined to not play in the summer but it may offset having to fly someone in to have a full roster. I think it's mainly for those kids who aren't signed going into the senior year but could be by the end of fall. Why would their parents pony up the additional summer fees to travel all over the country if their kid was signed. Last, I believe tourney fees are due way in advance for some of the big ones to hold your spot.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,845
63
Dallas, Texas
I do not condone what the kids did. They should honor their commitments.

*BUT*, coaching post-HS, pre-college 18U girls is not for the faint of heart. (E.g., I was ACing an 18U team, and at the first tournament I walked up to the group between games, and the SS was making out with 3B.)

As Ken said, you have to screen the girls and determine their commitment level. You have to dig into their commitment. You also don't want to do much of a sales job to get the girl.

Some girls who may be "good" really don't love the game and don't really care whether they play or not. They have other things they want to do besides play softball. So, as a coach, you have to figure all of this out *before* the season.
 

02Crush

Way past gone
Aug 28, 2011
791
0
The Crazy Train
I would move down to a top end 12U team and slowly work back up the food chain again. It has been a while that you've been in 18U. It might be fun to see it through the eyes of 12U, 14U and 16U again.
 
Aug 29, 2013
34
0
I haven't read the full thread, but I'm passionate about being a true team player. I'm a grad student of sport psychology, and it's a topic Im considering for my thesis.

Have you ever considered explaining to the girls why putting the team before yourself is so important? Have you looked into teaching them about team cohesion and how beneficial it can be to a competing team? A lot of coaches out there, myself included, tend to leave out the "why" when teaching techniques or strategies. This important detail can be the difference between ingraining a skill into a player, and seeing a short term result.

I've written a blog on team cohesion, and think it can help players understand the importance of playing as one and supporting each other on and off the field. Check it out:
Team Cohesion… Do You Have What It Takes? | One Game, One Love.
 
Sep 14, 2011
768
18
Glendale, AZ
My belief is that the youth softball TB world has helped foster the "me first" attitude of the players.

TB at 18u and 16u has become more about getting kids recruited for college and showcasing then playing competitive softball. The emphasis for the kid is on demonstrating individual skills in a setting where the outcome of the game doesn't really matter. There are some exceptions, of course, but a majority of the kids don't see the need to keep playing hard and competing once they have signed on the dotted line.

Look up coach Mike Candrea's article on this subject published a little over a year ago.
 
Apr 9, 2012
366
0
I haven't read the full thread, but I'm passionate about being a true team player. I'm a grad student of sport psychology, and it's a topic Im considering for my thesis.

Have you ever considered explaining to the girls why putting the team before yourself is so important? Have you looked into teaching them about team cohesion and how beneficial it can be to a competing team? A lot of coaches out there, myself included, tend to leave out the "why" when teaching techniques or strategies. This important detail can be the difference between ingraining a skill into a player, and seeing a short term result.

I've written a blog on team cohesion, and think it can help players understand the importance of playing as one and supporting each other on and off the field. Check it out:
Team Cohesion… Do You Have What It Takes? | One Game, One Love.
Wonderful article. keep us posted on your progress with your thesis. It may help many future generations!
 
Jun 27, 2011
5,089
0
North Carolina
I haven't read the full thread, but I'm passionate about being a true team player. I'm a grad student of sport psychology, and it's a topic Im considering for my thesis.

Have you ever considered explaining to the girls why putting the team before yourself is so important? Have you looked into teaching them about team cohesion and how beneficial it can be to a competing team? A lot of coaches out there, myself included, tend to leave out the "why" when teaching techniques or strategies. This important detail can be the difference between ingraining a skill into a player, and seeing a short term result.

I've written a blog on team cohesion, and think it can help players understand the importance of playing as one and supporting each other on and off the field. Check it out:
Team Cohesion… Do You Have What It Takes? | One Game, One Love.
Good article. ...

I think it's pretty hard to teach total team commitment and sacrifice in travel ball for two reasons. One is because every player is a free agent and at some level must look out for herself. If she's not pitching enough, she's going to find a team that gives her that. It's life in travel ball - looking for the best deal. The second thing is that while team commitment and sacrifice are important to winning, just how important is winning? At younger ages, it's not as important as developing players, IMO. Most 10-year-olds want to win, but they don't want to win so badly that they're OK with not playing, or having another player brought in to take her place. Even as they get older, how important is winning to them? They play so many games, so many tournaments. They like to win, yes, but is it really that important?

I'm rambling a bit, but it is hard to teach the proper level of commitment, sacrifice, teamwork that is appropriate. I think a lot of adults have trouble sorting out the 'right thing to do' when it comes to commitment and teamwork.
 
Aug 29, 2013
34
0
Good article. ...

I think it's pretty hard to teach total team commitment and sacrifice in travel ball for two reasons. One is because every player is a free agent and at some level must look out for herself. If she's not pitching enough, she's going to find a team that gives her that. It's life in travel ball - looking for the best deal.
This is one of my biggest qualms with TB these days. There's no inter-squad competition anymore. Players used to have to flight and improve to acquire a starting role on a team. Now, kids just switch teams in order to get satisfactory playing time. So many teams have been started because someones' daughter wasn't starting. Now there are so many teams out there, that it's diluting the talent does exist. I was a player who played for one team my entire travel ball career, and I wasn't always a starter. I learned and developed from having to prove myself. I'm certain it has contributed to my work ethic and determination as an adult.

Research proves that team commitment and sacrifice are indicators of success (winning) but I'm not sure that's what should be focused on. Yes, winning is important. However, I think it comes as a natural by product if a coach focuses on truly developing his players physically and mentally. A coach should focus on instilling the right mentalities, like always giving your best effort. Instead of always trying to win. You will always win some and lose some in the game of softball, but what is most important is players develop the skills they need to succeed in life.
 

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