At last night's practice we had 30 or so girls there, as my travel organization routinely has multiple teams practicing together, and focused the evening on hitting with six separate hitting stations plus live, situational hitting on the diamond. I was at the whiffle ball station throwing each player 12-15 pitches while fighting off the pesky fall mosquitoes. Over the next couple of hours I must have thrown about 400 pitches and, yes...I am a little sore this morning as a result!
And just so you're all clear...I am paid the grand sum of nothing for doing this. Yes I, like so many thousands of dedicated men and women across the country, volunteer my time to coach because I enjoy teaching and helping these young ladies learn the game I love. I also have no daughter playing on the team.
|He was just pointing out the snack bar.|
As parents it is easy to sit back and judge or criticize the job coaches do. Certainly some coaches have more experience and more knowledge of the game than others, and yes, some coaches may appear to favor their own daughters a tad. However, without the countless hours that these coaches put into the game and your athlete there would be no games and no softball.
And for the record, coaching is not easy...particularly at a travel level when parents are paying a decent sum of money each month for their daughter's participation. Like I used to say when I was a member of my daughter's recreational league board, "If you're not happy with the coaching then volunteer yourself." At the travel level your daughter hopefully has more professional coaches that legitimately know more than you do about the game and how to teach it.
Believe me, every coach in every corner of the country wants the very best for each of his or her players. However, fastpitch softball is a numbers game and as coaches we must be mindful of the stats and play kids accordingly. There is a girl on my fall team who is a tremendous athlete yet batting only .120. She hit well over .300 last spring/summer but is having a tough time this fall. She is certainly trying too hard and some of her frustration is showing up in her defense. As a coach should I stick with her based on what she did last season and what I know she is capable of doing? I'll let you make that call. It is not an easy one for sure.
The bottom line from me on this rainy morning in sunny San Diego is a big shout out to all of you who give your time so willingly to coach these great young athletes. Thank you for helping the great sport of fastpitch softball to grow so quickly in recent years across America, while in the process giving so many young ladies the opportunity to both play the game as well as learn to enduring life lessons fastpitch softball teaches them!
For those of you who are not coaches or don't coach anymore please support your athlete's coaches and recognize that they are doing the best they can to juggle 12-16 players every game and practice. Fastpitch softball is a tough game for everyone involved. It is a game of infinite variables and bounces. Every coach makes mistakes, so please don't bad mouth them to other parents or worse to your athlete. As it is with your athlete I would suggest you applaud the coaches' effort and not the outcome.
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