Softball Player Responsibilities

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You play softball, right?  Your mama and daddy don’t play.  YOU PLAY!

If so – then chances are your parents have taken on a lot of the responsibility to ensure that you can play. Driving you to practice, buying your equipment, showing up at games, giving up weekends and vacations for tournaments, washing clothes, finding ribbons, and literally rearranging their lives to accommodate your love of the game.

What you may not realize is that YOU have responsibilities as well.  YES YOU!  Whether you are 10, or 17, YOU have things to take care of.

Empowering you to play softball is not something that your folks HAVE to do. They do it because they love you, and because you love the game. And in the even exchange of give and take, and becoming responsible young ladies there are a few things that you and YOU alone are responsible for.

In fact, if you cannot hold up your end of the bargain – it could be a deal breaker.  Softball teaches you many things, and one of the most important lessons you can learn is how NOT to be a selfish, spoiled, entitled brat and how to take some responsibility for yourself.  Look, your parents LOVE TO WATCH you play – but the burden shouldn’t fall completely on them.

So here goes. The softball players responsibilities!

1.  Make sure you have your own crap. Its not your mamas job to figure out where you left your cleats, or to find you something to wear because you left your balled up stench-infested uniform under your bed for a week. Keep up with your bat bag, and all the things you need for practice and games.  And do it both willingly and happily realizing that it is YOUR job to keep up and be prepared with YOUR stuff. Your life will not consist of people doing everything for you – and YOU WILL be responsible for your own stuff in nearly every venue in life. Softball is no different.

2.  School comes first. Softball practices and games are not excuses to do poorly in school or to not do your homework. Learn how to manage your time wisely.  If you have a project due on a Monday and you have a weekend tournament then turn off that cursed I-phone, and get your work done early!  The last thing you or your parents want to do is come home on a Sunday afternoon after spending umpteen hours on the ball field to some school project. Be organized, and make sure your priorities are straight. School teams wont allow you to play if you don’t keep up your grades. School first, softball second. And your parents SHOULD not have to nag you to keep up with your studies. Remember, they could make things a lot easier and just eliminate the extra curricular activities you love so you will have more time for school!?!

3. Respect!  There are far too many girls who act like fools on the ball field. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW YOU REACT IN EVERY SITUATION.  Being mad, or disappointed, or frustrated is not an excuse for being indignant or rude, and its certainly not CUTE.  Respect your coaches, other players and your parents!  That means no rolling eyes, no talking back, no lipping to the umpire, no throwing your glove against the fence, no freaking out because you struck out, no talking about your coaches or teammates, no bringing down everyone on the team, no complaining.  DONT ENGAGE IN DRAMA! No shame and blame. If you lose, you lose as a team. Every time I see a player give their parent a rude look, or an irritated hand wave to their parents from the field I have the striking urge to wring their neck.  Hello….softball is a privilege. One your parents provide for you.

4.  Practice.  Hard!  You play how you practice. Sure, practice can be lighthearted and fun, but it should also be taken seriously. If you are lazy during practice, it will show on the field. Coaches, and parents and your teammates have all made it possible for these practices to occur, and you owe it to each of them to give 110%. Be on time. Have your stuff together.  Show up ready to play. Don’t waste other people’s time. Do what your told, even if you think a drill is stupid. Practice is not social hour. Its practice so your team looks polished and prepared come game day.

5. Speaking of practice, if you are SERIOUS about playing softball and playing well – practice outside of practice. Practice is not the time alone to hone your batting skills, get your throwing down, make sure your pitching is spot on. Hitting, pitching and other specific skills need to be worked on outside of practice. Go out in your yard and hit off a tee, get some extra lessons, throw pitches several times per week.  The girls that are BETTER than you, are practicing outside of team practice. You can’t just show up and be awesome.

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6. HELP! Its hard work to prepare for tournaments. Far too often, you see parents hunkered down like pack mules as they walk to the field, while the uniformed players are sipping Mountain Dews and eating Pixie Sticks walking into the park.  Its your bat bag.  Carry it.  The tent and the cooler, the wagon, the radio and the snacks and the supplies are ALL being brought for YOU.  Help set it up.  Help clean it up. “Daddy will you carry my bat bag,” in a crooning voice from a 15 year old girl is nearly as painful to hear as nails on a chalkboard.  Man up girls, and take some initiative WITHOUT being asked.  Want to go to a football game on a Friday night before a tourney – HELP pack up the car or truck and make sure all your I’s are dotted.

7. And speaking of Friday night football games!  If you know you have a tournament early in the morning – you don’t need to be gallivanting the night before.  You aren’t worthy anything to your teammates if you are tired or worn out, or hurt.  Be responsible to your team and your sport and make sure that you get enough rest so that you will be prepared to play your best.  Your parents shouldn’t have to explain this to you…..you should be responsible enough to realize that playing competitive softball means giving up some things in life. Life is about trade-offs, and you CHOSE softball, right?

8.  Respect the dugouts. Let other teams get out of them before you creep in.  And pick up your trash BEFORE you leave!  Coaches and parents should not have to pick up after you.  Use the trashcan, and have some respect for the facility you are using.  This goes for the bathrooms as well. This helps keeps costs down and shows others that you weren’t raised in a barn.

9.  Watch your language and what you say when you think no one is looking.  People are watching, and people are listening.  Team hangout between games?  Be respectful. We recently listened to a 16U team making racial jokes one after the other during a break with absolutely no thought about the people sitting around them, who were obviously offended and hurt.

10.  Be respectful of the money and time spent to support this sport you love. Trust, us – your parents could be spending both that time and that money on other things.

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11.  If a coach asks you to do something, do it. If they ask if you are ready, say yes! Never hesitate to take advantage of an opportunity. We had a pitcher on our team that wanted to pitch in games, but needed practice.  Yet every time she was asked to pitch during practice, she had an excuse for why she couldn’t.  Needless to say, she threw away any chances of pitching for our team during games.

12.  SAY THANK YOU?And Sorry!  Thank your coaches, your parents, the umpires, the other team, the other coaches.  Thank everyone you can think of thanking.  If it weren’t for ALL of these people – you wouldn’t be playing.  Thank you goes a long way, and yet is not said nearly enough. And if you mess up, are rude, or hurt someone’s feelings or act inappropriately – say SORRY!

13.  During games/practices – stay in the dugout. No phones, no running around, no boys, no sitting on mama’s lap.  Stay focused on the task at hand.

14.  Last but NOT least!  Talk to your coaches.  If you don’t understand why something is the way it is, take responsibility and TALK TO THEM.  Don’t go crying to your parents.  Don’t cry in the dugout or pout.  Don’t immediately think you are being treated unfairly.  TALK TO YOUR COACHES YOURSELF!!!!!  Be responsible for YOUR feelings, questions and thoughts and approach your coaches on your own.  Not only will you earn their respect, but you can head off a lot of drama by dealing with your coaches.  Remember during GAMES and PRACTICES you belong to your coaches – NOT YOUR PARENTS!

So, what do you have to add?  It may seem like a lot – but these are PLAYER responsibilities. 

 

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