“Must Read” Tips from A Softball Grandma | Softball is For Girls
It’s amazing how life comes full circle.
Back in ‘the day’, I played softball – then eventually had three daughters of my own whom I coached for years, before turning them over to some other amazing coaches. During those years I have experienced every emotion, every situation, every life lesson and every aspect of being a sports parent. I know how YOU feel. And, now, I am a softball grandma with perspective, and am watching my daughters spin through the familiar circle with their own daughters, who now play this game, too.
And I have learned a lot of things through the years, to which I would like to share. Because there is nowhere that YOU are, or will be, that I haven’t been. But when you look back through the looking glass, things tend to look much different and my hope is that my Words of Wisdom will resonate with someone.
- First and foremost, Spend the money on the expensive chair. You have no problems buying the expensive bat, or the best glove for your daughter and you shouldn’t skimp on the seat from where you will sit and watch your children grow up. Make sure it’s comfortable and sturdy because you will be surprised how many times she returns to your lap in the middle of a softball field. And, I assure you – this chair will be just as important as the rocking chair you rocked her to sleep in when she was a baby.
- ****Make no enemies as the circle is much, much smaller than you may think. Those actions taken in the heat of the moment during a 10U game may very well come back to bite you when your daughter plays high school ball.
- Never discount how important your team family, even the really annoying ones that drive you crazy, can and will be in your life, and treat them all accordingly. You will be surprised who shows up for you in your time of need.
- Remember that your daughter will always remember your criticism more vividly than your praise. So make it a point to praise more. All your kid really wants is to make YOU proud. Let the coaches be the coach, and you be the cheerleader. And if you are the coach, remember you are mom or dad first in your child’s heart.
- Never hold another child accountable for the actions of their parents.
- Remember that the kids who seem the most difficult, need the most love. A kind word, cheers of encouragement, a pat on the back, being available to listen, inviting them along for lunch or a slushie can truly make a difference in their life. Use every opportunity possible to teach YOUR OWN CHILD empathy.
- Keep in mind that the kids are ALWAYS watching you….and behave like you would want them to behave.
- The only thing you are ever in control of is your reaction to stressful situations. Abide by the 24 hour rule! Always ask yourself if ‘this’ – this bad call, this bad play, this annoyance, whatever THIS is will matter in a week, in 3 months, in a year. After all, at the end of the day – THIS is just a game.
- Take a lot of pictures. And notes. And write things down. Years after my daughters stopped playing, there have been more conversations than I can count about our softball days. More laughs, and tears, and reminiscing than I ever thought possible. These are the moments YOUR KIDS will remember…This IS their childhood. You won’t want to forget these moments, but you will – so take good notes! (I love this idea from Softball is for Girls)
- Teach your daughter to stand up for herself. BUT…NEVER be afraid to help her do it.
- Always let your daughter have control over her team, her game, her situation by asking her what SHE THINKS SHE SHOULD DO. By encouraging her to WORK HARDER. By helping her understand that nothing is free, and that working harder and doing better is simply a choice SHE CAN make.
- Teach your daughter that life (and softball) is not fair and ‘get over it,’ and move on. The quicker they ‘get’ this the better off they will be.
- Nothing good in life comes from a participation award. Trust me, beyond a certain age, the kids KNOW what they earned.
- Know when to move on! Don’t waste time trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. There IS a place, and a team for everyone. Sometimes, the best thing to do is just move on. But if you are constantly ‘moving on’ then the problem is likely with YOU and not every one else.
- Last but not least…ENJOY these moments. Laugh as much as possible. Breathe it all in. Smile a lot. Make friends. These days go by way too fast, and you will miss them when they are gone. If you get to be on the ballfield, you are truly blessed!