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When to be a pest

Jul 14, 2018
There's been some good discussion on here lately about allowing our kids to find their own path. In particular, this post resonated with me:

I see a bunch of 19 YO kids in my classes that have had their parents micromanage their lives and it isn't pretty...

In some cases it is ok for parents to allow their children to makes mistakes...
I didn't want to detour that thread so a I started a new one.

DD is 13, and a pitcher. Right now, she has practice two days a week and lessons on a third day. That's about eight hours of softball per week, plus an additional four hours of travel time. It's a lot, but she still enjoys it. Last fall, we got a personalized workout routine for her that she's supposed to be doing three days a week. It slots in nicely between her practice days.

The problem is, she's just not doing it. She understands that it's going to make her better, but on those days when she has no other obligations she just wants to get her homework done and then crawl into bed and watch Netflix. I ask her about it periodically, but I've stopped short of demanding that she do it. I don't want softball to become a chore.

Part of me wants to let her find her way. She's the #1 pitcher on her team now, but I know the other girls are busting their butts to get more circle time. Complacency is not a character trait that I want to encourage, but I also feel like she has to lose ground in order to find her own motivation. I also know that long hours of training will be required if she wants to get to the next level.

So fellow parents: have you had to help your daughter navigate that transition from natural talent to acquired talent? Did you push too hard or not hard enough?
Jun 8, 2016
So fellow parents: have you had to help your daughter navigate that transition from natural talent to acquired talent? Did you push too hard or not hard enough?
The biggest issue with my kid is she wants to be perfect with every swing, every throw, every GB, every jumpshot. I tell her it is fine to have that attitude but when the inevitable fail does occur you have to learn from it and move on. I am an expert at what not doing this does to you in sports..

With regards to external vs internal motivation, I think there is an age where the parents have to let go. At the younger ages imo it is ok to ask if they want to go work, etc. but at some point a child has to take ownership of their journey. For me I think that was around 12 or 13 YO. With my 10 YO DD the only thing I tell her is that all of the ability in the world won't guarantee you anything and
it has to be you who wants to improve. Doesn't matter if Dad/Mom/Grandpa/Coach wants it for you. It has to be you that wants it.
I also tell her that is fine if you don't but that whatever you choose to do you should try and be the best you can at that activity.

That said, my comment you quoted was more in regards to parents keeping their kids from exploring "unsafe" situations where the chance of failing was non-negligible, whether that be to play for a team where there is a chance where they might not be the #1 SS, take a course where an A is not guaranteed, etc., etc.


Allergic to BS
Nov 14, 2014
Kids are the embodiment of Newton's three laws of motion...particularly the 1st and 3rd.

The natural state for most teenagers is to lie still in bed or on the couch. That includes many motivated and high-achieving ones. Sometimes, they just need a break, but there are times when they need to be pushed a bit. At some point, a discussion of the cost and effort to put her in a position to succeed may be necessary. Maybe she's happy where she is, but she needs to understand that others will eventually pass her by. IF she's OK with that, then perhaps a reevaluation on your part of how much money and effort you'll put into her softball career is warranted.

DD rarely has to be cajoled into practicing hitting or fielding, which she enjoys. However, she sometimes doesn't want to do the running and weight training that will not only make her stronger, but also reduce the chance of injury. That's where we have a conversation about remaining competitive with those who are doing those things. If she wants to outperform enough of her team mates to stay off the bench, and be effective on the field, there's a minimum of work that needs to be put in. I remind her of the more complacent peers who are no longer playing because they can't compete.

The game does nothing but get harder as the kids move up in age. The easy outs, fielding errors, and meatball pitchers are steadily whittled away. By 18U, only those who will play college ball or just really love playing (not always the same people) remain.
Nov 29, 2009
If your DD is a pitcher she needs to be working on her pitching 4 days a week. She is heading into the make or break age level with regards to softball. At 14U is when the serious players usually develop the drive to be better and the players with a lesser drive fall to the side and quit.

At this point it's OK to push. Kids can be lazy by nature. She needs to get into the habit of working on her pitching. When my DD didn't want to go and work I would simply tell her "That's fine. It's not me who's going to go out there and suck." For her, the fear of failing was enough to motivate her to get out there and work. As she got older the working became habit and she was much, much more inclined to go out and work. Especially when the competition level she was playing against increased substantially.

You know she's there when she tells her friends she'll meet them after practicing her pitching.
Jun 8, 2016
As she got older the working became habit and she was much, much more inclined to go out and work. Especially when the competition level she was playing against increased substantially.

You know she's there when she tells her friends she'll meet them after practicing her pitching.
Bold is very true and why I think a bit of a push at the younger ages is not bad. At some point working hard to get better (at something) becomes part of who they are as a person. It is not different then when successful people mention that watching their father/mother work hard every day growing up every day instilled a sense of hard work in them. You hear that all the time.
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Aug 24, 2018
My DD is also 13 and has only been pitching for a little over a year. A member on her told me to have her read Chop Wood Carry Water by Joshua Medcalf. I bought it, read it and fell in love with it. I forced all of my kids to read it last summer. DD told me it was the dumbest, most boring book she had ever read and she didn't understand any of it. When she sat down to do her summer writing on "her" choice book, it was amazing the lessons she pulled out of it. “Everyone wants to be great, until it’s time to do what greatness requires.” , "the rough side of the mountain will actually prepare you for life much better than the smooth side"

I'm not saying Zen quotes will get her off of Netflix, but she wants to be great and has been driven by the lessons learned in this book. It doesn't hurt that I use some if it against her when she doesn't want to practice. I've dropped my share of "doing nothing is still a choice" but it won't make you better.

At this point in the "off"-season, I am forcing her to take a day off to recover. She pitches 4 or 5 days a week, goes to the gym 3 days, has 5 hours of team practice and does crossfit with the team.

I don't want this to sound like bragging. The point of my post is that the motivation needs to come from inside DD. I never thought a book would change it, but it did. At our DDs age, most of their friends are not working out on their own for 7 hours a week

She has never been a #1 pitcher, so maybe there is more motivation always chasing someone.
Nov 8, 2018
Yeah I’ve been there and am still in the thick of it.
For me I have to walk the right rope. Push enough to get more out of her but not so much she hates me or the game.
I write up her workouts, plan her training schedule, pitching schedule, what is to be done each day. Let her know why she is to do it and how it will help.
What that ends up being is about 60-80% of what I expect. At the end of the day it’s her career. Her life. I will guide her. I will push her but I still have to remember she’s my daughter and I’m her father and that’s way more important.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Apr 20, 2018
DD is on a team (12u) with no mid week practice. Geographically challenged. Found her a killer little gym close to the house where she works out Monday and Wed. (50 minutes) She likes it and will often remind me, "right after volleyball I gotta go to work out- bring me a protein bar, please." I am blessed, she likes it. We practice for around 30 minutes twice a week at a local park. Usually just me and her. Get a lot a reps in in 30 minutes. She makes me take GBs too! Have to hear her yelling at me,"gotta stay down - come on dad - move thru the ball - set your feet before you throw." It is a small sacrifice to make to keep it fun and keep her happy.
Mar 28, 2014
At this time I have talked to enough parents to know that the 8-18 year old girl with an undying passion for softball that will practice every day for 2 hours without being prompted is an outlier. She's out there, but she is in extremely short supply, so if your DD is like 99% of us and not one of them, you're not alone. Push them enough to get them going and then let them take it from there. That's how it is with my DD. Rarely does she initiate the practice but after I do, she is fine with it and will work as long as required.

These girls mature at different speeds. I'm not convinced that many of them under 20 are mature enough to understand the direct relationship between hard work and success. Hell I wasn't. They have it so easy these days, I don't really see how they could. :)
Jul 16, 2018
This is something I struggle with my DD on. Her situation is very different in that it's not that she didn't want to work, but felt like there wasn't much of a point if she wasn't able to join a team. So largely - on her way out as is. She is a cheerleader and the schedule is very busy. We haven't been able to find a team that will work with her and allows her to play.

Fast forward to this year (the above was 2 years ago) she decides to play again. She wanted to play on a friend's team that would have been strictly for fun. Just playing to be out there but not much development. On a whim, we found the team that she eventually joined and you can see the wheels turning.

I won't go on about what we weren't getting before because why cry over spilled milk.
What we do have now is a first-class coaching tree that involves current and former collegiate softball players as well as from MLB players and coaches.

She's 12. They tell us what we need to know and that's it. They are open to me asking "What can I do at home" and each practice they speak with each girl on specific homework they have to do. Her brand new bat came in the mail on Friday (32/22 2019 Louisville lxt - thanks for asking) and hasn't stopped swinging it since. And this is after also traveling over the weekend for a cheer competition. Right in the door and bat is in hands.

All I know is, I mention it to her but it helps to have her coaches do more the reinforcing. Even with coaching its all about approach.

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