Welcome to Discuss Fastpitch

Your FREE Account is waiting to the Best Softball Community on the Web.

Register Log in

Playing To Win

May 9, 2008

I wanted some opinions regarding when playing to win becomes important. At what age and at what level of competition does it become the prime objective for a team. And what lengths are acceptable for attaining that goal.

I watched a 14u All-Star Tournament as a coach marginalized several players and would not accept any input from an assistant coach regarding the line up or on field decisions. Many of which were not in the best interest of the team and which actually caused the team to lose. Tears and hard feelings were the outcome.

When does the line get crossed in the pursuit of victory?
When does coaching to win become coaching to win at all costs? :eek:



May 7, 2008
Hi Pops.

I think it is all in how you look at it and how you are taught to think when it comes to your 'competitive nature'.

For myself at a very young age, it was not a case of having to win and doing everything possible to that end. What was grilled into my head at a very early age was this;


It was a case of flat out not wanting to feel like a loser, so we also adopted another one of those; ' I REFUSE TO LOSE! '. I probably had that attitude by the time I was 12 and kept it until I retired from competition as an adult.

It was passed along to the best teams I ever played for and it worked for us very well.

Winning Fast Pitch Softball



May 13, 2008

Well I guess its hard to put an age on this...but if winning wasn't imporant to be honest they wouldnt keep score? With that said, pool play and friendlies definately let the kids with less experience play so they can develop so when you have an injury or lose a kid you have one to step up and be able to contribute. But when it comes down to bracket play in my opinion the best play. If you don't do that what encourages the kids and their parents to work and get better? What keeps the better kids working hard to keep their spot? Every week someones spot should be on the line. Now if you are just playing rec ball I think the mind set changes, I can't really tell you as we have never played rec for any length of time.

I think kids have to work hard to get A's some harder then others, I think kids have to go to school to be considered present. I don't believe anything is just given to them because their parents pay the money or they just show up.

Parents have to be behind their kids, they have to work with them, they have to help them become better at their chosen sport. Just like we help them with homework!. If you are waiting on the coaches to improve them, they will be behind. Then you have to sit back and hope they have done enough...if not they need to work harder. I think its a great lesson for them. Of course I would hope they are playing because they want to and not because their parents want them to.

I can tell you I have a small business and I have never paid my employees for just showing up I wanted them to work for their money also.

I have had kids on both ends of the spectrum. One that had a great work ethic, works hard starts all the time. And then I had one that thought he was a stud, had no work ethic and rode the pine always.....they were both treated the same way. Always told if they wanted to play, they job was to make sure their name was in the starting lineup. I went and watched the bench warmer as much as I watched the starter.

I don't believe my daughter is naturally talented athlete, I do know she has a great work ethic and believes that working hard pays off. To look at her she is unassuming, bow legged, big footed, not really tall girl.......and inside is a heart of a lion!

Parents put your kids on a team that fits them. Don't put her on a team that is well above her playing abilities challenge them but don't intimidate them. Put them in a position to be successful it will take them a long way. As they get older raise the bar if they have the desire. If not sit back and enjoy them because they aren't with us very long. Don't make excuses, don't put them in a position they will lose their confidence because it won't benefit them to fit your model....don't just give it to them either. Make them work for it I promise they will appreciate it more.

This is my opinion for what it is worth.......you know what they say about opinions.


Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
IMHO, playing to win means how the team conducts itself on the field. Are they aggressive? Are they trying to make every out and score every run? Are they playing hard? Player selection is irrelevant to the issue of "playing to win".

You can "play to win" and you can also manage playing time. In 20+ years of coaching, I had only one parent complain to me about playing time. (The parent, by the way, was right.)

The fact is that most games are 15-2 blowouts, not 2-1 nail biters. And, usually, the coach knows what is going to happen before the game is played. Once a game gets out-of-hand one way or the other, a coach should immediately start using his other players.

What a coach should do:

(1) Develop every player as much as possible.
(2) Know before the game what each player can do and can't do.
(3) Have each player contribute to the game.
(4) Tell each player in front of the parents what the player did to contribute during the game. (Sometimes parents don't understand the game enough to appreciate what their child did.)
May 9, 2008
Hartford, CT

Sluggers wrote;

(Sometimes parents don't understand the game enough to appreciate what their child did.)

This is so true:
Although I do not feel as though coaches should have to "justify" their coaching choices, some may be helping if they explained more to parents.

I had a 10/11 ... Mom is said to be VERY difficult. This was a chubby kid...slow ...
consistent ground ball hitter that mostly resulted in her getting out, but very often advanced runners.
I also noticed that she was almost the only kid in the entire league who would back up anyone pretty much every time.

She was perfect for right field....I just explained to her Mom:
1. I had new 1st basemen
2. She was the only one that backed up like she was supposed to (was always there to get a missed ball from 2nd and 1st at practice.
3. She was good at deciding to throw to cutoff, 2nd or right o 1st for an out (which she did twice in two games)
3. I considered rightfieldto be a critical position and she wasn't being put there because I thought she was a poor player.

She really helped us there!

They were pleased with all and I had no issues with the parent at all.
I took the time to explain what I was doing and why and it seemed to relieve a lot of anxiety for many of the parents (9 of them were new to All Stars, 6 new to the Majors this season)

With the exception of my 1st baseman for the 2nd game...she was so nervous because no one ever put her in the infield, she actually threw up before the game. She did a good job!

Latest threads

Forum statistics

Latest member