Why do teams break up, and split apart? Why do so many teams have so many problems – unhappy parents, frustrated coaches?
There are a million reasons, but in our decade of experience we think that one of the most common reasons that teams fail to stick together is because the coaches, players and parents are not mentally aligned.
In the beginning of the season, we all just want our kids to make teams. We hunt and search and like a kid on Easter looking for what we feel is the best fit for our kid. We often agonize over this decision, critique the coach during tryouts, spend hours ruminating the decision of which to jersey to wear.
We ask questions…where will we play, what kind of tournaments, what kind of travel is involved, what are expenses when and where are practices etc.
The problem is that teams and coaches often start out with one idea and then switch lanes during the season.
For instance, a team may have full intentions of playing PGF tournaments, trekking to the Colorado Sparkler, only to find that their team is not competitive, or the families on the team don’t fully understand the cost and time in this ‘big league’ play and get burnt out early.
Or, alternatively – a team may start out planning to play local, one day tournaments with a routine schedule and find a great deal of momentum that makes the coaches want to push more and play more, play harder, play further, and push the limits.
And, parents in travel dont always know what to expect from one team to the next. They may be on board for 2-3 day tournaments, and say they want to do the hotel stays and travel only to find out that this doesn’t really fit into their lifestyle or budget and they cannot keep up.
Another HUGE problem is goals and honesty.
Many coaches and team managers are not being honest in the recruitment process and say one thing to get a child on the team, and then do another. So if you have recruited a local catcher who is looking to play collegiality and joins your team because you are talking about showcases and ASA tournaments and yet you play the same local tournaments every weekend of the year, they probably are not going to stay.
If longevity and keeping a team together to grow and play is your goal, then honesty is best. If parents have a bunch of questions that you don’t know the answer to, or that are subject to change – then be honest and say you will playing things by ear.
If you have plans for an elite, or highly intense travel team than make sure parents are aware of what that means exactly, and that they are 100% on board with that.
If you want to play every weekend during the season – be frank. If you don’t want to play every weekend then let parents know.
Every family, player, parent, coach – has a different idea of what the perfect travel team for them is, and it is important that you choose people who are mentally aligned with YOUR GOALS!
One of the biggest complaints we hear from parents is that we expected this, and got that – and that’s when teams run into trouble.
Look, the point of this sport is to make sure the kids are playing ball. At the end of the day, the goal for ALL OF US, needs to be to ensure that as many girls who WANT to play, who have the HEART to play, have a PLACE to play. And that place may or may not be on Team 1, or Team 2. But we assure you that there is a TEAM 3.
Coaches and team managers need to really think things through BEFORE tryouts and recruiting so that they can communicate clearly their seasonal goals and recruit families who mentally align with those. And players and parents need to do the same. There are lots of things to consider and communication is essential!