Coaching. It’s a hard gig and can be a cocktail for disaster. Between parents, and dealing with players, and trying to make decisions for the greater good of all, that will certainly not be agreed upon by everyone involved – being a softball coach is not an easy feat.
So first… We want to thank all the brave men and women out there who step up, and take on the task. Without YOU, no matter how many people complain about “mommy” or “daddy” ball – there are thousands of kids who wouldn’t have the opportunity to play without you. WE KNOW what YOU GIVE UP. We know what it feels like to agonize over lineup decisions. We understand how hard it is to please everyone and do whats best for the team, and we recognize just how difficult your job (that is mostly unpaid and goes unappreciated) is. So thank you.
Even so, no one has every been doing this so long that they can’t take a time out and remember 1) why they started and 2) reminders of just a few things that will make you better as a human and a coach! So today’s post is the third and last in the series of how not to “suck” (For those of you who havent been following us, the “Don’t Suck” endearment is explained here…..)
So today, it’s for Softball Coaches! How not to be a ‘sucky’ softball coach!
- First and foremost, always remember this. Beneath EVERY jersey lies a soul. These girls on the team are more than just a number, or a position, or a place holder in the lineup. They are human beings, with human hearts and souls, and they are learning their way through life, which can be very messy at times, and what they learn, and see, and feel from you will leave an impression. Make sure it’s a good one.
- Be committed to those that committed to you. In other words, don’t play pick-ups over players that have put their faith in you as a coach. Be willing to stay after practice for just one girl who is struggling. If the kid is on your team, then at some point…you believed in her…so keep believing even if she doesn’t seem to be progressing as fast or as furiously as you had hoped. Coach UP!
- You never truly know what happens at the homes of your players. For so many girls out there – that softball practice, that tournament, that time with teammates and coaches is one of the things they look forward to most each week. YOU might be the most influential person in a young girls life, whether you know it or not.
- They are just kids, and this is just a game. Seriously. Always keep perspective.
- Remember that each girl is someone else’s granddaughter, sister, daughter, niece….
- What you ALLOW on your team will continue. Be stern and hold high expectations for your team, that encompass more than just the fundamentals of the sport. Stick to your guns, be clear and concise about what is acceptable behavior and even if it is your #1 ace pitcher who is acting like a jackwagon and disrupting the team dynamics – don’t be afraid to sit her. It might mean losing a game. But it will also mean earned respect from your players.
- Never be afraid to be hard on your players. They need people to be hard on them, so they learn how to work harder and how to not rest on their laurels. When you expect more, and better from your team – it shows that you see their potential – even that potential that may be untapped. They weren’t born to be average.
- Win or lose, teach them sportsmanship every chance you get. Sportsmanship will take them further in life than any technique to field ground balls will.
- Your words matter. Choose them wisely.
- Time waits for no one, and this too shall pass…so enjoy your time on the field because before you know it, it will be over.
- The most trying, difficult, belligerent kids you will ever meet, often need the most love!
- Don’t hold kids responsible for their parents behavior.
- HAVE FUN!