Let IT Happen – Girls Softball

We are always on the lookout for new inspiration. As a thinker and writer – any trip to the ball field is filled with plenty of stimulation, some good some bad.  So its not surprise that today’s post is courtesy of  three simple words said by a proud softball mama while her daughter was at the plate!  ”

You got this girl, LET IT HAPPEN,” mom said.

Let. It. Happen.

Three simple words. Three simple words that sparked quite a lot of thinking, many questions and finally, an epiphany of sorts when it comes to competitive sports and raising our daughters in general.

Why IS it so difficult for us as parents and coaches to just let it happen. To allow.

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After all, down deep we know that all this control we FEEL or THINK we have, is totally false. Just a way for us as adults to feel like we are in control of something outside of ourselves. Which life reminds us daily – constantly, that we are not.

We sit behind the plate and say things like ‘hands back,’ or ‘keep your eye on the ball,’ or ‘dont step out,’ because we think saying these things gives us some control. We say, ‘get your glove down,’ in the air,’ ‘snap your hips,’ keep your head in the game.’ Forget the training and hours spent practicing, when it’s all on the line – we HAVE to step in and try to falsely give ourselves the feeling that we have some control over what happens next. (We don’t) Coaches sit on the sidelines statistically calling the game, the pitches, the steals, the outfield swing. Sure, its part of the mathematics of the game – the strategy, but eventually what every good coach knows is that they have to allow it to happen!

Truth is, we cannot control how our children feel, how well they do on tests, how well they hit at the plate, how they think, or whether or not they field the ball correctly. A coach can lead, and teach, and empower and show girls how to play softball, have them practice 5 times per week, BUT still what they actually do when they get on the field is completely out of his/her control. S/he has to sit back and LET IT HAPPEN. Let it play out. Let the girls win or lose, succeed or fail – all on their own.

Girls softball, and fastpitch in general is filled to the gills with pitching coaches, batting instructors, extra curricular camps, lessons, practice and more practice. There is this unspoken pressure to do everything BUT let it happen. It’s sadly become about being the best, being a champion, pushing till a child can be pushed no more. Parents of athletes today are new world preppers of sorts.  All of this – a consolation, a warm blanket of (false) security to parents that their child will be trained appropriately, and rise out of the ashes a star in their chosen sport. But eventually, of we want our athletes to REALLY succeed…we have to let it happen.

We have to let go, and we have to hand over the reins to the kid riding the horse.  We have to let it happen, whatever IT is, and have faith that some power higher than us helps to guide our children AND THAT WE HAVE DONE ENOUGH TO ENSURE THEY ARE PREPARED! (In softball and life)

That all the things they have learned in the immense hours spent on the field, with the best hitting coaches and during softball lessons, is ENOUGH that it is perfectly okay to sit back,  let go and just let it happen on game day.

The message also has to be clear to our athletes, our daughters.

The message that we trust them, that we think they are prepared for whatever comes next, that we believe in them, are proud of them and that we think they are CAPABLE and empowered and that they can do THIS (whatever this is) on their own. It’s not enough to show up and support. We have to also allow it to happen for our daughters.

THIS, is where self confidence comes from. When we TRUST enough to LET IT HAPPEN for our kids.

In our attempts to control and manipulate and take control over what may happen next, we DISEMPOWER our daughters.

As much as I cannot stand the eye rolling, and the hands held up to silence parental advice and sideline coaching, I get it now! I TOTALLY get IT!

They WANT us to let it happen. They want to grow up. They want to believe in themselves. They want us to understand that they got this, and that our verbal attempts, otherwise called ‘advice’ from behind the fence do nothing but rattle their own trust in themselves. They want US to let it happen.

The best part is when we disengage from trying to control, even if we are only trying to control our own nerves, we give the responsibility to the kids. This means that they can truly, 100% own the results. And by owning the results they can feel pride in their accomplishments and powerful to make positive changes when they are needed.

Competitive sports does much to train the athlete. Responsible parents prepare their kids. Responsible kids work and practice hard for their goal. But there does come a point, when the time is ripe to sit back and LET IT HAPPEN! To take that solitary breath, that sigh of relief, and simply enjoy what happens next (whatever that will be), with nothing but faith warming our hearts.

And how amazing is the message to our daughters when the time to perform is upon them, that it is okay to trust themselves, to feel strong and powerful and in control, and happy and content with just allowing IT to happen?

Next time you see ME at the ball park, I will be THAT mom saying, “YOU GOT THIS GIRL! LET IT HAPPEN!” And what a relief that will be not just for my daughters. But for me as well.

 

 

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