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Why do you coach youth softball?

Jul 20, 2008
I got started 20 years ago when I opened my mouth during sign ups for my oldest son's first year of T-Ball. I volunteered to "help" with the team and ended up the head coach. I did that for five years until he lost interest in the game.

My youngest daughter wanted to play ball five years ago. Same situation, volunteered to help. Another coach and I were not happy with the Little League sanction and the rec program. We decided to put a tournament team together.

We wanted to teach these girls a certain way to play the game - work hard, try hard and be good winners and losers. Our motto is "respect all, fear none".

Coaching is rewarding to me. I guess I do it to give back and be a positive influence.

One of our players introduced me to her friend as "her coach". I wouldn't have been prouder if she introduced me as President of the United States.
May 9, 2008
Hartford, CT
Why I coach

I played softball as a catcher through the 70's.
All summer, weekends full of games ... made Varsity in my freshman year. Most stolen bases in my Senior year due to being smart as I was not the fastest runner on the team.
I had the ability to punch the ball through or over the infield so I got on base a lot. I think I only hit one triple in my entire time playing softball.
It was a simple game then!

I probably got started the same way as most...the league needed helpers. Especially at the younger ages as the attention span is quite short.
Started with girls T-ball with my DD who is now 12. I helped coach all of her teams. Then DD #2 started (now 10) and I helped on all of her teams.
I hoped that they would have as much fun playing as I did.

In the beginning it was fun, it great to see the girls come back and get a little better.

I was very content to be a helper.

After several years and experiencing a year in the Majors and Fall ball last year I noticed a trend.
Certain players were viewed as more superior than others. Some of those players were good, some were not. Some had a sister that was a good player, so it was assumed that they were also very skilled. Not always true.

Others were pretty good, but at some point they got branded as not very skilled and not much attention was given to them.

Self-fulfilling prophesy....the plants that get water, get better and grow, the thirsty ones don't improve enough to get noticed...eventually wither away.

It is a fairly typical small town ... standard politics of coaches playing their kids the most, coaches getting their kid on the All Star team. A lot of good people who put in a lot of time (in their defense) as well. They aren't awful people...but I don't think they see the results of their actions.

I volunteered to get enough girls to form a 10/11 team this year. I got lots of negative commentary about this one or that one. Turns out after a few days a concentrated practice, they actually proved themselves to be decent little players. I had no behavior or attention issues. They actually could catch a ball and if you showed them how to play a base and go down for a tag, they did it pretty well.

But the league is getting smaller as girls just aren't coming back. It can be "pooh poo'ed" by many.....but at some point there may not be enough of a league to provide a venue for those who really may go somewhere. It would also be sad not to have that for the girls who enjoy it simply bacause it is fun for them.

My reason for coaching at this time is to keep more girls coming back by giving them the equal attention they deserve.

At some point my reason may change...but that is where I am right now.
I am going to try to get back into coaching next season (with my daughter's team). I coached for seven years previously and stepped away for a little break. One thing I always really enjoyed was seeing a player improve over the course of a season. I also ALWAYS made a point of praising players (no matter whether they were on my team, on the opposing team, or a team I was just watching) when they made a great play or exhibited great effort. Coaching can be very rewarding and enjoyable.

By the way, Marc, I really love your websites and the resources you have. They are outstanding!

I have limited myself this season to doing the team's website: www.kcragefastpitch.com . I love doing pictures (or posting pics my wife takes). The team seems to enjoy it.
Jul 17, 2008
in the dugout
i had actually planned on not coaching until my daughter finished playing. i really disliked the way most coaches seamed to coach a team or even assemble a team just for their own daughters. i didn't want to fall into that catagory...

then, last season my daughter played for a wife and husband coaching combo. the wife is dedicated but her husband is big ol' do nothing. they had another assistant but he broke his collar bone and was down. i knew the lady coaching's husband wouldn't show up half the time and she would be stuck coaching all alone... so i volunteered to help. now i'm a coach...

then this past winter several parents talked me into starting a 18u travel team because three 18u teams from last year didn't field teams this year. i'm no head coach but i was smart enough to go out and get some really talented assistant coaches to help me. my dd could have played 16u again and hindsite being 20/20 i would probably go that route if i had it to do over.

my daughter can play 18u for two more summers but when she decides to retire her cleats i'm going to go back and start a 12u or 10u team and bring them up through the ranks. i'm amazed at what my 18u girls do not know even after playing years of high schiool ball. i'd like to start with some younger girls and teach them the basics.

i do enjoy coaching but it can be demanding and stressful...
Jul 17, 2008
Troy, Illinois

I'm trying not to coach my dd's team. I think there are many advantages for parents to coach their child. However, there are a lot of disadvantages as well for both parents and child. I have a long coaching history at the HS level including a few HS state championship teams. Therefore, the assumption always is that I'll coach her teams. Prior to each year, I approach my daughter, tell her that I don't want to coach and then ask her if she wants me to. She holds the deciding vote. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side but I'm seeing, more and more, the disadvantages of me coaching her team.
Jul 28, 2008
it feels good

why i ever started i couldnt tell you, but why i do it now is simple. our local LL is full of parents/coaches trying to prove to the community that they are the greatest. most times it is only so they can be in charge of what their own dd learns. i was chased out of LL for standing up to a tyrant coach, who just happened to be a board member, and a huge financial contributor. i was tired of the harsh demeanor she showed to everyone including the girls. she even told her own dd to stick her hand out into the strike zone to draw the walk, needed to win at all cost. felt bad for her dd, my own dd took her out for the remainder of the season. this started my LL decent. i look back now and know that everything happens for a reason. i found asa for my dd before the season was over.
as to why i love coaching its simple, i love watching a girl getting her first hit to get on base safe. some of those smiles are etched in my mind for ever.
the best compliment i ever recieved as a coach was when i moved to another town and 3 of the girls on my old team followed me just to be part of my new team..
May 5, 2008
Got started because I wanted to give the players I worked with the things that weren't given to me at their age. Things that I wished people had told me.

I also wanted them to enjoy the game as much as I did as a player which, for me, meant helping them become the best they could be and achieve as much as they could as players.

I wanted them to learn all those awesome life lessons I learned from playing softball.

That's why I started coaching...just so happened I mentioned to someone that I was thinking of coaching and that someone happened to know the coach I'm on staff with now. He told this coach I was looking to help out somewhere and the coach, who remembered me as a player, called me because he wanted to have me on board and the rest is history.

But that's why and how I got started...looking forward to seeing other responses.

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