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Need advice for my team.

Mar 4, 2009
We are a 12u rec team that also plays in travel tournements on the weekend.
We are in the rec championship game every year and do extremely well against tru travel teams in summer tournements. Well we are getting ready to start our season and it just seems like my girls no longer really care. My team captains and other good hitters are not even swinging the bat. They are all just watching great pitches go by. The other girls who aren't my best hitters used to at least swing at the good ones or get walked but they are now jumping out of the box on pitches that are not even close to them. We are very frustrated and are already at witts end. I was just wondering if anybody else has ran into this type of situation in years past that could give us some advice.
Jan 15, 2009
I think your discovering why many people leave Rec ball for travel. It's not just about playing at a higher level and playing more, it's about being with a group of kids that want to be there and are willing to make sacrifices to do so.

I've had good , bad, and sometimes great rec experiences with my kids, but regardless of the sex of the kids or the sport involved invariably what ends up being the largest factor in how good the experience is, is how many kids on the team really want to be there. I don't blame parents for forcing kids to play rec sports, their hoping that they will learn to enjoy it and I completely understand wanting your kids to be active. I would add that you should listen when your kid doesn't want to play a sport they have already been playing for several years. It's not just you that suffers by dragging them to practice kicking and screaming and watching them coast along with a poor attitude, it brings down the entire team. Find something new to get them interested in, if your going to force them to do something, force them to do something they've never tried before, at least there is a chance that they will find they like it after trying it.
May 22, 2008
NW Pennsylvania
Good post snocatz. I have had the same experience, & might add that there are always kids who just want to be part of the team- wear the cool uniform, be associated with the team & all that, although the idea of hard work, practice & actually contributing to the team never crosses their mind.
May 7, 2008
Travel ball players have great difficulty getting motivated without needing to rise to the challenge. My daughter hasn't played rec, but she has played middle school ball for two years. She was raised in a high level rec program and attends school with good players (due to rec), but a pathetic school division. One school had parents get angry because they thought the school provided gloves :( My daughter finds no enjoyment securing a win in the first half of the first inning. This year she flopped on my bed and said, "I wish I went out for track and field." I was beginning to think she was reconsidering her pursuits. School ball had started before travel. After she battled back in this weekends tournament with bases loaded to end the inning and dropped the ball on the mound looking fierce, I thought, there's my kid :) I later discovered her comment about track and field was an expression of her desire to make better use of the season to cross train for travel ball.
May 4, 2009
Don't accept it

I coach on an ASA team that has some good talent and has been pretty successful. Although still doing well, I had recently noticed a downturn in our play. It really came to light when we had a tournament that due to work, I could not make until late in the third game. During our first 2 pool play games we were up 8-2 (rival team) and 8-4, we ended up losing both games 9-8. I got to the field during the last 2 innings of the 3rd game and we were getting killed. As I walked up, the coach from our rival team that had beat us earlier in the day came up to me and said "your team needed you today". When I looked out on the field and the in the dug out, I seen a team that had no motivation or desire to be aggressive and win. After the game we gathered the team for our coaches talk and layed it on the line and it all went back to discipline.

At the begginning we enforced the rules of "no walking on the field", always being ready, and playing aggressive, but since we were successful and as time passed we slowly got away from "enforcing" the rules. We simply told the team it was no longer "acceptable". The next day they all knew what was expected. Once warm-ups started they had their gear ready, jogged to every station, anything that they had to say was yelled loud (ie... warm-up counts, answers to questions like are you going to be a hitter today, etc...). When we walked to the dugout they all walked in 2 by 2 formation with their heads up, and when they went to their positions on the field they jogged. Additionally, every player knew not to sit on "my" bench during the game, their place was up by the fence cheering on their team mates. When I felt a player did not try hard enough to make a play on a ball or looked at a strike, I simply yelled out to them "that's one, no more".

We ended up coming back from the bottom seed and winning the entire tournament. The batting order was the same, positions were the same, the only thing that had changed is that "we were no longer accepting it". Since then we have enforced good and aggressive behavior by penalizing them for failure to comply. I am currently a 19 year military man and can tell you that discipline works. It is tough at first, but once everyone knows what is expected it becomes second nature.

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