The spring and summer season has just ended, and tryouts for the next fall/spring and summer season are a hot topic of conversation. In fact, if you check out our Facebook Wall, you will see that there are numerous (and we mean numerous!!!!) flyers and post for teams and players looking for players and teams.
We call it the annual Fastpitch Shuffle. The upside down turnover cake of softball.
And it happens every year. And an unfortunate by-product of this shuffle are a lot of girls who try out and don’t make a team – and those that may get cut from the team that they played with for the past year (Or longer.) So you didn’t make the team!
Not making a team, or not getting invited or chosen to come back and play for a team is definitely one of the most difficult aspects of fast-pitch softball. And unfortunately, it is MOST difficult for the girls affected. We understand this sadness, this disappointment first hand. Just this week, we received this from an anonymous fan.
“I am still here. I am still a person that just a week ago we were friends. My daughter has been cut from the team. You did not cut my daughter. You helped me cheer for my daughter as I helped cheer for yours. We spent a year together supporting each other, cheering on the team, sharing stories and worries. We spent a lot of time together. These girls were the best of friends. My daughter is hurting. I am hurting because she is my little girl. She found a new team. ..thank goodness. All I ask is a kind word. A thinking of you during this time. Anything. This is not easy. Where is the support now?
Softball is for girls. ..girls can be tough but still have feelings that can be hurt.”
Softball break-ups. They break hearts, and teams, and tear apart people who just weeks ago were family. Even so, we believe that there are things each and everyone can take away from these less than victorious feelings in life.
Take a moment to consider a team much like a business. As a business evolves and grows, so do the needs and expectations. As a softball team grows, the needs and expectations for players changes as well. If a team has 4 first baseWOmen, and 7 pitchers and a lot of infielders but no experienced outfielders, they will obviously have to make decisions based on what is best for the TEAM – and replace some of the infielders/pitchers with outfielders. If a child is trying out for a team for a particular position – say 2nd base, and the team already has 2 solid second baseWOmen, than not making the team is nothing personal, but rather a matter of demand. This is just one reason why we encourage girls to learn as many positions and gain as many skills as possible.
The second lesson to learn is that being told NO, or not getting what you WANT is part of life.But it’s certainly NOT the end of the world. Sure, it’s not one of the best parts of life – but it is something that is going to happen from time to time. Even so, it doesn’t mean that you (the player) has to accept that NO! The most successful people in this world have been turned down, and told no, and told they weren’t good enough and still have succeeded. Michael Jordan for example, was cut from his high school basketball team. Jennie Finch was told at one point in her career that she wasn’t pitcher material.
What YOU do with that NO is what is important? Are you going to allow someone else to dictate what you can or cannot do? Are you going to let one persons or one teams opinion of you, or one persons or one teams NO live in your heart rent free? Absolutely NOT! That type of woe is me thinking will get you nowhere in life. And softball girls are tough.
The best thing that a player (or parent of a player) can do with that NO, is ask for feedback. Ask what their daughter can work on, ask how they could do better at a tryout, be open to listening to what people have to say – and then take the advice along with the determination and heart, and use it as a tool to make yourself better! No is just a speed bump in the softball road. Not a dead-end. If you give up every time you are told NO, you won’t go very far in life. And PARENTS need to make their best efforts to ensure that THEY EMPOWER their daughters, rather than sit back and commiserate and blame others and come up with random excuses just to make their daughter feel better. Instead, empower her with solutions. Remind her that YOU believe in her. Remind her how to believe in herself. And keep moving forward. And keep trying out.
If you are just breaking into travel ball, then you may hear a lot of NO’s before you get that YES. And going to as many tryouts as you can, and practicing hard is going to give you more experience and know-how. Keep that NO in your back pocket and use it as fuel to improve. Yes, you are disappointed. But you aren’t broken. And certainly NO ONE else has the right to tell you what you can or cannot accomplish in your softball career.
The third important thing to remember is THIS! There is a bigger plan. You have to always, and we mean always….no matter what is going on in your life, keep the doors of opportunity open to ourselves. If you quit every time you hear no, or aren’t happy, or aren’t getting your way – you certainly won’t get what you want! Rather than consider being cut, or not making a team the worst thing that can happen, have FAITH that something BETTER is in store just for you.
Sometimes, as humans, we need a little push to get us toward the right path. We can tell you for sure that we receive TONS and TONS of emails and comments from fans that saying not making a team, or getting cut – no matter how painful at the time was the BEST THING to happen to them in the long run. Maybe they found an even better fit, or found a team where they get to play more – or their favorite position. Perhaps they found a coach along the way that seems to be able to get more out of them, or found new friends and extended softball family members that were even better than the ones they had before. Rather than snuff out any and all possibilities for yourself, find a moment to be grateful, and have FAITH that there is something better in store for you! We believe there is. And you have to believe too!
Our advice. NEVER give up! Tomorrow we share 10 reasons from coaches about why they may not have chosen your daughter.