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When to be a pest

Apr 28, 2019
1,221
83
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 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?
[/UOTE]
It’s a fine line between encouraging and pushing. My girls currently play 3 sports so year round softball is tough.
I let the girls know whenever they want to practice I will make myself available. I also leave a net set-up on the back patio under the deck with a bucket of balls if they get the urge to pitch or hit.
Most days they have other sports practice, homework, or social obligations they are committed to. The softball practice window is very small in the offseason so you gotta try and do what you can when you can.
I try not to push but I will give them reminders like if you want to be the ace this year you need to put your time in and work hard.
Or if you want to make Varsity as a freshman you better start practicing sooner rather than later.
I just let them know I’m aware of where their loyalties lie and where there focus/energy goes.
The ball is in their court as to when and how much time they want to devote to softball outside of team practices.
 
Apr 16, 2010
865
28
Alabama
We didn't push. I explained to mine the investment of time and money that TB took from our family. If she expected that commitment to continue she had to do her part. If she failed to live up to her end of the bargain we would let her play but we wouldn't play for a team that travels nationally and plays in large showcases because it would be a waste.
 
Apr 20, 2018
1,664
113
SoCal
We didn't push. I explained to mine the investment of time and money that TB took from our family. If she expected that commitment to continue she had to do her part. If she failed to live up to her end of the bargain we would let her play but we wouldn't play for a team that travels nationally and plays in large showcases because it would be a waste.
The other side to this coin is parents who have the time and money and think that should make it happen. Then get disappointed when there DD does not improve much. Dont think because you cough up monthly dues and pay for private hitting lessons your DD is going to be good. First of all, you could be taking your DD to a hitting instructor that is stuck in 1977 and is doing nothing to help. But oh yeah his DD played D-1 in 1983 so he has to be good , right? NO! It is my observation that the best players 'generally' have a parent (usually dad) that helps in their DD development. Attends practice and hitting lessons, ask questions, understands mechanics, plays catch, has bownet in backyard and is invested. Oh yeah and knows what DFP is!
 
Oct 15, 2013
400
28
Seattle, WA
I wish there was a secret formula. Maybe there is, but I don't know it.

My oldest, 16YO, plays 2nd, pretty much refused to take any hitting lessons for the last three years. It's really starting to show. I just started making her go to lessons on Sunday morning and she's enjoying it, I think. It helps that a good friend goes with her now. I think it also helps that she has a goal in mind - hitting it over the fence, something she's come close to doing a few times, but hasn't done. We made a deal before she agreed to play for her current team that she would put in extra work. Whenever I asked her if she wanted to go to a lesson she would say no. I got tired of it and just told her she was going to go to lessons. As I said, I think she actually likes it now. Still, I have yet to see her work outside of lessons or practice.

Last year about this time I made her play for her high school team (she was a freshman) because I wanted her to participate in at least one school activity, which she had not done yet, and because other softball families had spoken up on her behalf about getting her into the school even though we had applied way past the deadline. She had a big fit, said she hated softball didn't want to play...she played and she loved it - from day one.

DD2 is 14. I make her do more. She goes to lessons, has a great time, but still complains about having to do it the next time. Last week she had a hitting lesson with Kaija Gibson, 1st base for Washington followed by a fielding lesson with Kaija, Sis Bates (SS), and Taryn Atlee (2nd) along with two other players from her club. It was fantastic, especially the fielding part. She told me how fun it was. But this week? She's complaining that she's scheduled to do it all again tonight. I predict she'll go and love it.

Honestly, I don't know what I'm doing. It seems like sometimes a push is needed and is even appreciated. Other times I worry that maybe I harmed my oldest DD's love for the game. Other times I think if I had not let her slack on hitting lessons, she'd be much more successful at the plate and enjoy the game more.
 
Apr 16, 2010
865
28
Alabama
The other side to this coin is parents who have the time and money and think that should make it happen. Then get disappointed when there DD does not improve much. Dont think because you cough up monthly dues and pay for private hitting lessons your DD is going to be good. First of all, you could be taking your DD to a hitting instructor that is stuck in 1977 and is doing nothing to help. But oh yeah his DD played D-1 in 1983 so he has to be good , right? NO! It is my observation that the best players 'generally' have a parent (usually dad) that helps in their DD development. Attends practice and hitting lessons, ask questions, understands mechanics, plays catch, has bownet in backyard and is invested. Oh yeah and knows what DFP is!
I agree but my point was if the DD is not invested on her own there is nothing the parent can do.
 

RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
1,145
113
California
Its hard to understand/differentiate what goals are when we get to do something and the cost is nothing.



Skin in the game creates learning responsibilty.
Or
Where does entitlement come from?

Some families (many) have to ask how much $$$$$$ can they keep paying for a child that isnt putting in the work.
How much time ( literally hours) does a parent have to work to pay for softball.?
At a certain point. Options are stop travel ball. Do high school and thats it.
 
Last edited:
Jun 6, 2016
1,072
83
Chicago
Almost all of the players I've had who have improved the most (not necessarily the best) are ones with parents who I know at least keep the girls accountable. I don't know where exactly one crosses the line from good parenting/making your kids do things to being an overbearing parent. I think that's probably different for every kid. But I'm certain that the kids will be better off with at least some nudging from time to time.

I also have had a few girls who haven't come close to reaching their potential. They all have parents who couldn't care less. In some cases, I've had the girl for 3-4 years and I've never even met the parents, and I know for a fact they consider softball -- and probably any other extracurricular passion -- to be a burden more than anything.
 
Feb 10, 2018
149
43
NoVA
The other side to this coin is parents who have the time and money and think that should make it happen. Then get disappointed when there DD does not improve much. Dont think because you cough up monthly dues and pay for private hitting lessons your DD is going to be good. First of all, you could be taking your DD to a hitting instructor that is stuck in 1977 and is doing nothing to help. But oh yeah his DD played D-1 in 1983 so he has to be good , right? NO! It is my observation that the best players 'generally' have a parent (usually dad) that helps in their DD development. Attends practice and hitting lessons, ask questions, understands mechanics, plays catch, has bownet in backyard and is invested. Oh yeah and knows what DFP is!
My DD and I were coming back from battery practice the other night and were having a conversation about the progress the girls were making and pitching mechanics. OK, it was mostly me having this conversation with myself with her trapped in the truck and pretending to listen. It was interesting to me that the pitchers with the best mechanics (including our former ace that left this past season for another team) were the ones who did not regularly see paid pitching coaches. The two that see and have seen their pitching instructors the longest and most regularly are a mess, including one that probably either needs to quit pitching or completely start over. It's a very small sample size, of course, but the girls whose dads have invested the most time to learn about pitching and regularly sit on a bucket have the soundest mechanics and throw the best. I have definitely seen this phenomenon with hitting too--parents outsource instruction and the girl literally hits worse before she went to the hitting instructor who played one year of minor league baseball 20 years ago. I am no genius and I see it. What I don't get is why the parents don't and then keep shelling out money to someone who isn't helping their DD at all and, in fact, is actually hurting her. Crazy.
 
Jun 8, 2016
6,400
113
My DD and I were coming back from battery practice the other night and were having a conversation about the progress the girls were making and pitching mechanics. OK, it was mostly me having this conversation with myself with her trapped in the truck and pretending to listen. It was interesting to me that the pitchers with the best mechanics (including our former ace that left this past season for another team) were the ones who did not regularly see paid pitching coaches. The two that see and have seen their pitching instructors the longest and most regularly are a mess, including one that probably either needs to quit pitching or completely start over. It's a very small sample size, of course, but the girls whose dads have invested the most time to learn about pitching and regularly sit on a bucket have the soundest mechanics and throw the best. I have definitely seen this phenomenon with hitting too--parents outsource instruction and the girl literally hits worse before she went to the hitting instructor who played one year of minor league baseball 20 years ago. I am no genius and I see it. What I don't get is why the parents don't and then keep shelling out money to someone who isn't helping their DD at all and, in fact, is actually hurting her. Crazy.
Taking lessons once a week and doing nothing else the rest of the week isn't going to do much for 99% of the population.
 
Jul 14, 2018
468
63
Thanks, everyone, for the thoughtful responses. Keep 'em coming!

Obviously, everyone needs to take an approach that fits their daughter's personality. DD has been playing softball year-round since she was 8 years old, so I'm always on the lookout for the dreaded burn-out. It's a tough balancing act, to be sure.
 
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