Ask SIFG – Your Fan Questions Answered

Having trouble on how to address a situation. I’m a coach 10U. After 4 balls I pitch to my girls. I didn’t do my best with one girl and she struck out. She immediately goes to the dugout, gets in my daughter’s face, and says “your mom sucks”. I’d like to just let her know that if she has a problem she needs to come to me instead of my daughter. I already felt bad for the less than perfect pitches. I could use some advice.

Wow. Sigh. 

When we relaunched we promised to add a “Dear Abby” style Ask SIFG to our website that would not politically correct and would be honest… SO here we go….

To start with  Coach – we want to thank you for taking time out of your life to coach these girls. Because gah, it takes time. Lots of time. And not everyone has the time and not everyone wants to coach even though they want to sit back and criticize how you coach. So thank you. Because there are probably 6 million other things you could be doing, if you didn’t step up and coach, which we imagine you are not getting paid to do….

So the FIRST problem you have here is NOT your pitching. It’s the fact that you have a spoiled brat on your team. And this is not your fault. We would be willing to bet that this player did not get her ‘attitude’ alone and that she likely heard that ‘you suck’ from her parents and other adults in her life. Most 10 year olds do not come up with this stuff on their own. And chances are her parents have really stupid high expectations of their daughter who they perceive as an All-Star and likely make tons of excuses for her, because nothing can be her fault. And I bet while she’s eating her Icee on the way home from games, she also hears all about how awful the coaching is, and about all the things that could be done better. 

So – don’t take this 10 year old personally. And instead, realize that as a coach, you are in a position to teach her some valuable lessons about life and how to treat teammates, and others. What you allow – will continue, and if you allow this sort of behavior on your team, that speaks more about your coaching than the fact that you ‘struck her out’ (LOL). There is a place for BEHAVIOR like this, and it’s called the BENCH. 

Secondly, about striking her out! Listen, it’s hard to pitch to your own team. It’s really hard. It’s like when you are driving down the road, completely sober and suddenly a state trooper gets behind you and you all of the sudden can’t maintain your lane, and can’t seem to go fast enough or slow enough, and all your driving confidence gained after all those years on the road is suddenly gone and you are driving like you have downed a 5th of tequila. That’s EXACTLY how it feels to pitch to your own team. Anyone in their right mind knows that no coach doing coaches pitch WANTS to strike out a kid on their own team. IF anyone complains about your pitching – invite them to come pitch to the team anytime they want…. That usually shuts a lot of people up… 

Third…This is a GREAT time to teach your daughter how to suck it up a little! SHOW her that you aren’t going to let this kind of stuff ruin your day, and it then will not ruin hers. Life is full of these moments. We all fall short. No one is perfect. That is life. 

Lastly….we want you to stay in this coaching gig. So we are going to offer you some unsolicited advice. Let the thoughts and comments of others roll of your back like water on a duck. You will NOT survive if you worry and fret about a couple of bad pitches. Early on, you need to set a precedent with every team you coach that separates the parents out of the equation. This is your team – it needs to go by your rules, in your dugout, and you need to be willing to teach more than the mechanics of softball while you are there. This means that confrontation and a couple upset parents, well…they are going to happen. And there is ALWAYS going to be parents that aren’t happy no matter how good of a job you do.  But as long as you stick to your morals, and make firm decisions about what you will and will not allow on YOUR team, they can get over it, or they can volunteer to coach. themselves…. 


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