During one of the last fall tournaments, the team had a pretty bad showing. There were a lot of emotionally turbulent things going on within the team and among the members. You can only imagine how this affected 10 normally competitive and adept softball players. (It wasnt pretty!)
When it comes to coaching girls teams – emotional drama CAN play a pretty big role in how well they play on the field. It’s easy for parents and coaches to sit back and simply tell the girls to “get over it!” But the truth is that strategy ‘aint going to work.’
One of the biggest differences between coaching girls and boys, is that it becomes obvious that with girls – they have to FEEL GOOD to play good. If girls are down, if there are any catfights amongst the group, if the coaches are coaching in a less than positive manner – often times girls simply crumble under the pressure. Suddenly that simple ground ball hit to short, becomes the first error in what will become many.
Many girls operate from a completley competitive level of play. Even the best competitor however, can be affected by negative energy on the field or in the dugout. This is just one reason it is so important to assess girls feelings before they take part in anything comeptitive.
If you are a softball player, you too – should learn to check your emotions before you enter any sort of fastpitch competition. If you dont, there is a pretty good chance you are going to ‘suck eggs’ that day. (Which only makes you feel worse) Learn how to switch gears. Leave all the drama from the day before practice somewhere else, and truly utilize your team on the field to decompress. Its actually a good idea to turn your negative feelings into something positive when you play.
And if you coach girls, take it from me – you need to do an attitude check before practices and before games. If your normally cut throat center fielder is down in the dumps – you should make every effort to get her to smile, or laugh. Use positive reinforcement, humor, and good will to get her mind right before she plays.
Girls and boys are simply different when it comes to sports like fastpitch and baseball. The success of your team will definitely depend upon the success you have adjusting attitudes and mindsets.