Impatient Parents: Success is in the Journey

I decided to throw a little "zen" at you today as we start a new month. But don't worry...this is still a fastpitch softball post!

I was at our travel organizational coaches meeting this week for our eight teams and a common concern among the coaches was the parents who were constantly complaining about x, y, z. You know...questioning their daughter's playing time, their daughter's position, questioning the batting order (why "lesser" players were batting higher), questioning the coaches' strategic moves during a game, questioning pitch calls...

Our travel organization is among the best in the nation at creating champions and getting our girls athletic scholarships into big time universities, according to the Triple Crown Sports/USA Softball polls, and still some of our parents aren't happy.

The question our General Manager asks these parents when faced with criticism or complaint: "Is your daughter getting better?" Invariably the parent has to admit that she is.

You see mastery of a very difficult game like fastpitch softball takes time; it is a journey that cannot be completed overnight. For parents of athletes who are 10-14 years old, don't worry...there is still plenty of time for your daughter to develop her game and the right college coaches to find her. Being impatient about her development isn't the answer. In fact it is probably hindering her development through the added pressure she feels from you; not to mention alienating yourself with her coaches can't help her either.

To be fair to all parties concerned the first question you need to ask yourself, as objectively as possible, is whether or not your athlete is playing on the right team. Here are a few issues to consider:
  • Are the coaches qualified (not just their skill level but are the practices challenging and efficient)?
  • Does the coach possess a positive attitude that gets the most out of his/her players?
  • Is your athlete getting playing time (or is not showing clear sign of improvement)?
  • Is the team competitive with players that challenge each other to get better?
  • Does the team play in competitive tournaments against better teams?
Ultimately the team your athlete plays on must be a good fit with her skill level, her motivation for playing the game (and goals), and your "feel" for the big picture of her team and how you think she is progressing. My only suggestion is to be patient and not expect perfection or miracles tomorrow.

The bottom line is that if you truly believe your athlete is in the right place to further her softball development then chill! Remember, good things come to those who wait, right? Your athlete will master this game on her own timetable, not yours. Trust your athlete's coaches and her own efforts to make her a better player. Like we tell our 100+ players, "just strive to get a little better each day."

Impatient parents who heap massive expectations on their kids are really causing just the opposite of what they want from their athlete. The loud parent who is always critical of the coaches, the umpires, their child, and the hamburger from the snack bar will create high levels of anxiety in their athlete which will diminish performance in a nano second. Players either become embarrassed by their parent's behavior or cower to the impending ass chewing out they will get after a sub-par performance. Either way being impatient with your athlete's development will lead to less focus, less success and less joy for playing the game.

As well, parents comments during the game to other parents, coaches, umpires and players can great serve to undermine the team and overall parental chemistry and harmony. If you want to coach then sign up...otherwise please just enjoy the game.

Remember, the success for your athlete is truly found in her journey; you are just along for the ride, and to cover the expenses of the journey of course!

The game is 90% mental. How much are you and your athlete investing into her mental skills training? Change her game forever with The Game Changer Program: A Mental Skills Blueprint to Make Her the Best She Can Be. Over 6 hours of mental skills audio lessons plus John Kelly's new 174 page ebook, How She Thinks is How She Plays and much more for less than the cost of a one hour hitting lesson!

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