Take the Gravel & The Shell | A message to Coaches

Coaching. For some, it is a true calling. For others, it starts as an act of citizenship where you volunteer for a season because no one else has – or the Rec department calls you and begs you to coach so that the local girls can have a team. But regardless of why you start, how you start – the reality is that coaching puts you in a position to make a difference in the lives of others. Today, we want to challenge YOU!

We believe that the VAST MAJORITY of all coaches – volunteer or otherwise do their very best to do what is best for the team, despite what the naysayers may say. Sure, there are rotten coaches – but there are far more coaches out there losing sleep over your child, and the teams success than otherwise.

As the spring and summer seasons come to an end – Fall ball is ramping up and the softball forums are ablaze with teams and players looking for players and teams. Our inbox is slap full of people asking for advice about choosing the right team for their daughter. Should they play up? Is it time to play for a big organization? How will a team help my daughter get recruited? Can I trust this new coach?

For the smaller teams today, getting players to commit becomes more and more difficult as parents get concerned and feel pressured to move their daughter (ready or not) up in the ranks to play for ORGANIZATIONS. Parents are concerned about stats, and want to make sure a team is playing is certain ‘elite’ tournaments. Showcases. Parents are concerned about and trying to micromanage every aspect of a team before committing. Parents are scrolling the game changer of 8u teams and trying to choose teams that WIN WIN WIN. And worse, parents are teaching kids today that if they aren’t happy, if they don’t get the playing time they want, if something happens that the parents don’t like – they can cause a stink, quit and move on…..

And we are familiar with the realities of this sport, the burnout, the money pits, what happens when these kids are in the last stages of high school, how quickly things change, and how little some of these things we are worrying about today,  matter in the grand scheme of a child’s time on the field.

But ultimately, we feel that the coaches today have a lot of influence. So today, we are reaching out to coaches and asking them to consider this…..

Take the gravel and the shell and make a pearl. 

Ponder that.

Teach the girls on your team HOW to win from the ground up. Don’t be afraid to ‘coach up’ rather than simply continuously hold tryouts trying to recruit a child that you believe is already the most talented. Stay loyal to the players and parents you have on your team, to the players that are loyal to you – and help them become all they can be as players and people. Your believing in a child, can make all the difference in their lives. Never under estimate the influence you can have. When this child grows up and faces challenges in their life, unrelated to softball, even when they are adults – your voice and your influence will be in their hearts, helping them to stay the course.

Take the gravel and the shell and make a pearl…..

When you come across parent player duos who seem all to concerned with team stats and winning, and you aren’t having the best season, don’t be afraid to work harder. When teams and players learn to succeed through perseverance and hard-work – they are taught an invaluable life tool. Losing every Saturday sucks, parents will get sour – but when those winning days come….you will experience the pure fruits or what it means to coach.

Take the gravel and the shell and make a pearl… 

Let those that don’t share your vision for your team, move on in peace. Leaving a team is no reason to leave a friendship, and each person has to find their way on the field. Don’t take it personal as a coach. It’s okay if people don’t agree with you. Your integrity is what is most important.

Trust the process. Trust that your team will find the ‘right’ players for your level of play. Yes, its hard managing a small team when their is so much pressure and temptation everywhere for parents and players to seek bigger things. But that is not your problem.

Take the gravel and the shell and make a pearl…

School ball coaches get a bad wrap. But the reality is that they are given a team to work with in a very short time frame, from their local school. They can’t just find another pitcher. They may not have a catcher, or someone who can play outfield. They may have 7 pitchers. They have to make it work, be resourceful, and do what is best for the team. They don’t have the luxury of posting a position up on coaches corner and having umpteen kids come to a tryout.  This can be a challenge, it requires players and parents to remain flexible – and it is something that each rec or travel ball coach can learn from. Don’t pigeon hole your players, keep an open mind. When your team has a need – open up the opportunity to your current players. You may be surprised the resources you already have on your team, and the eagerness some of your kids may have to try something new.

Take the gravel and the shell and make a pearl…

Check yourself often. Check your intentions. Check your motivation. Check your ego. It’s easy to get caught up in the glory of softball. Every town has ‘softball heroes’ and ‘legends’ but they don’t always make the best coaches. We all know coaches who seem to think it’s all about them. So most importantly, remember always that THIS COACHING GIG is not ABOUT YOU. It never was. Stay honest. True to your mission and goals as a team. 

As you approach a new season, don’t be afraid to take on a player that may need some work. Look for things during tryouts, like heart and passion and work ethic, that may not be so easily noticed. Remain flexible. Remain humble. Take the gravel and the shell that you are given and make the pearl…. Earn the pearl.

Does your Team believe in WE>ME?!? Email us at softballisforgirls@live.com about team pricing for this design in your team colors! 

 

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