We took a poll on our Facebook page this week and asked whether or not school ball teams should play the BEST 9 on game day, or whether seniority should play a role. You can see that poll HERE
Y’all actually participated and commented (which we LOVE btw) and overwhelmingly the answer was that come game day, and especially come championship time – THE BEST 9 PLAYERS are who should be playing on the field.
The problem is that the allocation of The Best 9, is likely different depending upon you ask. Sally’s parents think Sally is one of the best 9 and should be playing short, while Coach Buck thinks that Hazel is a better short stop than Sally. And according to Game Changer, Lucy has the best batting average on the team, but Julie’s aunt thinks that Julie is a better hitter and should be in the line-up. Then, of course, there is Bob, who thinks that his daughter Barbara who isn’t so super great defensively IS, however, a power hitter and should be the DP.
Suffice it to say, that one fan hit the nail on the head when he said, “Everyone says the best 9 should play, as long as that 9 includes their daughter.” So in reality – the BEST 8 plus our kid, is who we think should be playing in those important games.
So you can see where the problem is.
And its not a very good idea for teams to be running around with just 9 players to make everything equal and fair, because all it takes is one injury, or one person to be overheated – and the team is headed for trouble.
While school ball and travel ball are not considered ‘pay to play ball like rec leagues” and there arent any rules about how many innings each kid should get – it IS true that the fastest way to anger parents is to sit their kid on the bench all the time.
This is why we think good coaches, know the talent level of their team and don’t just fill up roster spots for kicks (or money) when they know the player in question will likely not play much on their team.
And why parents should ALWAYS look realistically at teams that their daughter is competitive on. It may not be the best team in the area, or have that big impressive organization name, but it will get your daughter game experience and coaching that they can build upon.
Furthermore, players themselves, and we don’t care if they are 8 or 17, need to take responsiblity for their playing time too. Do they always hustle in practice? Do they have a good, coachable attitude? Do they take corrections and apply them? Are they paying attention to the players that are better than they are so they can learn? Do they spend time on their own practicing and trying to get better?
And what every coach, player, fan, and parent need to realize is that everyone wants to win. We know that wanting to win is not always politically correct. We know that in a trophy for everyone era – there is a tendency to look for rainbows and unicorns and cupcakes at the end of the day. But look, the scoreboard is there for a reason, and people want to win – and be competitive, and having that competitive attitude is one of the things that makes up the Best 9. Girls with grit, girls who will help you win a game, don’t miss a ball or strikeout and just laugh it off and don’t have parents that tell them “Well, at least you tried.”
No matter how many ways you twirl it, its hard for everyone to agree on the Best 9 come gameday. And the Best 9 may change from one game to another, from one moment to the next. It’s a no win situation for coaches.
And it’s important to remember that EACH MEMBER of the team adds something to the team, and is important to the team, and that includes the BENCH. Because the best teams out there have a bench that is ready and waiting to come in and play, and they know they have a job to do whether they are playing left field, or cheering on their team.
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