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What to do

Jul 16, 2008
1,478
48
Oregon
OK I need some advice here. I have coached a core group of girls (8) for the last 4 years 10U-12U.

I have 1 player that cannot seem to grasp anything (and I mean anything). Example: After 5 months she is the only girl on the team that still doesn't know the signs. She is consistently making the same mistakes over and over. I mean you can show her how to run from 2nd to 3rd if the ball is hit to the SS, and she will do it correctly, then wait a couple of days and it's like she has never seen or heard this before. She gets that "deer in the headlights" look and always says "I don't understand what I'm supposed to do"

Last night we were going over tagging up on flyballs to the outfield. She was in the second group of girls running (she was in LF during the first round). When it was her turn to run...yup she didn't tag and when I looked at her the same thing was said "I don't understand what I'm supposed to do". Now she saw 10 other girls doing the same drill.. yet she is always the one that just doesn't get it.

I'm almost at my wits end.... ANY helpful hints to get her not just to do things correctly but to remember them would be great.

I have talked to both her parents and the player about this, but it's just not getting any better, in fact, it has gotten worse.

The Head Coach sees this and her playing time has been pretty minimal because of it (this is not my DD) and I agree with the Head Coach on this issue.

We move up to 14U next year and I just don't see a place for her if she truely isn't getting the concept of Softball, but she is a great kid, and to top things off, she is an Honor Role student too so I'm at a loss as to why she doesn't understand.
 
Jul 17, 2008
488
0
Southern California
ASk her questions

Has anyone ever asked her why she likes to play softball?

I think someone needs to sit down and ask her why she chose softball as her sport?
Then be prepared to listen to her answer.
Once you have that information, you'll learn more about her motivation for playing.
A lot of girls are there for the social aspect more than the physical. They may not be popular at school, they may have troubles at home, what ever the reason they play softball purely for the social part of it. You may find out that's her reason for playing.
If she's happy sitting the bench you could maybe teach her to keep score or make her a dugout captain. That way she is still part of the team.

If she tells you she really loves softball and wants to be the best player she can be, then you could follow up with some softball questions.
Do you know the signs? Why not .
Do you understand what tagging up on a fly ball means?
If she cannot answer, ask her to explain why she is failing to grasp these skills that have been taught over and over if softball is her sport.
See what her answers are.

You can get a lot of information by asking questions in a calm
non-accusatory way.
 

Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
8,507
48
Tucson
I am betting that she is learning disabled. Maybe, like a form of Dyslexia. DD BF had it and you would never know by talking to him, but give him something to do that contains 3 directions and he was lost.

For example, "Go in the garage and you will see 3 buckets. I want you to take the blue one, not the red one, out to the pool." You would have lost him. If he knew where the buckets were and you asked him to go get one, he was alright.

I recently started playing SP. Our pitcher called me over and said "Amy, tell me where to throw the ball and tell me often." OK. So, on every play I am saying "You can toss home, if you get the ball." Or "Just throw the ball to one."

If I wanted to give your player a chance, I would stick close to her and explain everything over and over.

One of my pitching students is like this and her school teachers wouldn't take enough time with her. Her folks pulled her out of school in Feb. I can't teach her 2 things at once, which is rather difficult with pitching, but we are getting there. Sometimes, I have to have her put her glove down, when we are working with the ball hand, because she gets confused.
 
Jan 6, 2009
165
0
Texas
Kevin, I have a grandchild exactly like this. With my granddaughter, it is a learning disability. We found out from her dad, that he battled the same thing. However, he finished high school, has some knack for languages, and while he is mexican, he speaks japanese, italian , but not spanish. (he was in the service when he learned those languages). So, there is definitely something that can be done about it, my dd switched to part time and is spending tons of time teaching/coaching working with her.
 
Jul 16, 2008
1,478
48
Oregon
I would tend to agree with a learning disability, however this girl is a 4.0 student on the Honor Roll. That is what is so baffling to me.
 
Jan 6, 2009
165
0
Texas
Wow - that is baffling. We have a girl in our area who is one heck of a practice player, one of my coaches who had never seen her before video-ed her at one of our young kid team practices. He called me very impressed about her play - I said ' Bring the camera and video her - she is playing on the rec team'. In a game, blue says "Play Ball" and all you see is blonde hair and big blue eyes -she is lost immediately and spends the game imitating a deer on the highway in your headlights. Her folks hate me because "i dont give her a chance". Thats right. I dont.
 

Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
8,507
48
Tucson
I have known some very bright people that had "no common sense." Maybe it is the same thing, here.

I would have gotten rid of her, by now. Anyone that is not functioning can actually be a danger to my own kid. (Like wild throws, not sliding, not catching the ball, etc.)
 
Jan 15, 2009
585
0
There are different types of intelligence. I am sure there are athletes who understand fine nuances of their game who couldn't add 2 + 2 even with a calculator.

"IF" the issue is focus. Bench time is an appropriate method of dealing with that, but is it being expressly pointed out to her that it is her "mental" mistakes that are putting her on the bench, not her physical errors that she may feel are unavoidable.

Also what does bench mean?? If it means she still bats, then she might consider sitting the bench and batting relatively equal to playing LF and batting in that neither involves frequent action.

I saw a girl do a 180 degree turn around first year of HS ball. This kid was a space cadet in the outfield, but when being benched meant not batting, suddenly she couldn't wait to demonstrate how prepared she was in the outfield.

If your trying to improve her mental focus, tell her to put down her bat and glove and work through practice as a coach not a player. To me there is no better way to demonstrate mental grasp of something than to ask someone to teach what they are supposed to be learning to another player. Another thing I would do is if you have a third coach ask them to sit on the bench next to her and read every sign given by the 3rd base coach for every batter. BTW that's not a bad exercise for all players to solidify sign recognition.
 
Jul 16, 2008
1,478
48
Oregon
There are different types of intelligence. I am sure there are athletes who understand fine nuances of their game who couldn't add 2 + 2 even with a calculator.

"IF" the issue is focus. Bench time is an appropriate method of dealing with that, but is it being expressly pointed out to her that it is her "mental" mistakes that are putting her on the bench, not her physical errors that she may feel are unavoidable.

Also what does bench mean?? If it means she still bats, then she might consider sitting the bench and batting relatively equal to playing LF and batting in that neither involves frequent action.

I saw a girl do a 180 degree turn around first year of HS ball. This kid was a space cadet in the outfield, but when being benched meant not batting, suddenly she couldn't wait to demonstrate how prepared she was in the outfield.

If your trying to improve her mental focus, tell her to put down her bat and glove and work through practice as a coach not a player. To me there is no better way to demonstrate mental grasp of something than to ask someone to teach what they are supposed to be learning to another player. Another thing I would do is if you have a third coach ask them to sit on the bench next to her and read every sign given by the 3rd base coach for every batter. BTW that's not a bad exercise for all players to solidify sign recognition.
That is great.... we'll try this next practice
 

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