To the Girl Having a Bad Game | Softball is For Girls

Today is not your day. Balls seems to be finding holes between your legs, finding every pebble in the infield causing the high bounce and bobble. If you’re a pitcher, you feel like you have a sudden case of the YIPS, and your best pitches just aren’t working. Maybe you are struggling at the plate, striking out – LOOKING…. That great pop fly that looked like it was coming right to your glove took a wrong turn at the end, or did you close your eyes and just miss it? You finally get on base with a good hit for a double and you trip and fall on your way to second…

Sigh. These days happen. Not just in softball, but in life. But on the softball field when these days happen, you feel like you might as well have a bright ‘ol spotlight to go with the ball magnet so that everyone from every field in the park can watch you make your errors.

I am your coach. I know these days happen. And today, I want you to know a few things.

First of all, I want you to understand that if I pull you, it’s not because I think you are an awful player. In fact, I have probably spent several innings watching you, waiting to see if you would pull yourself out of your funk on your own.

I worry because I don’t want to pull you too fast and hurt your feelings – or leave you out there while you struggle too long making you feel even worse. Pulling a player – whether pitcher or otherwise is not always easy.

But if I do pull you, it is NOT BECAUSE I don’t believe in you. It doesn’t mean I think you suck, it doesn’t mean I am going to look for a replacement for you. Please HEAR ME. It just means that I recognize that you are having a ‘bad day’ on the field. Heck, it might just even be a bad game. In fact, I am inwardly hoping that as the day heats up, so will you and this game will be nothing but a memory you can look back at and laugh at. Yes…LAUGH at and shrug off as just a bad day! 

If I do pull you out of the game, its because I don’t want you to feel worse about letting your team mates down. It has nothing to do with my faith in you, because you are on my team – so obviously I believe in you….It means I am gonna let you catch your breath….and try to shake off your bad day.

Because EVERYONE HAS A BAD DAY! That’s the thing about humans, we all make mistakes. We are all far from perfect. And if we were perfect, softball would be a pretty boring game. It would be all strikeouts, or homeruns and no runners on base. In fact softball is a game that is won and lost on mistakes, on missteps.

And you know what…it is OKAY to have a bad day sometimes. Now, I don’t want you making a habit of this bad day stuff, but I don’t want you going dark on me and talking down to yourself inside your head and beating yourself up – because trust me…that just makes the bad day worse. And your attitude about your bad day, well it can affect more people than just you. It can affect your team, your family, your coaches… And that’s not exactly fair. To ruin perfectly good company just because you are having a bad day. Right? Especially when all those people probably want to help you with your bad day…..

When you are having a bad day, maybe I seem frustrated, maybe it seems like I am constantly griping at you. But I am just doing what coaches do. I am trying to motivate you, encourage you, empower you, make you forget about all this bad day stuff and help you get out of your own head. Because I know that’s where a bad day lives. In your head. It’s really not personal. I do this to anyone who isn’t playing to the potential I know they are capable of.

You see that…I realize, and I recognize your potential, and I only hold you to those expectations because I know what you are capable of. Again….that is why you are on my team.

And trust me every time the ball comes your way, or you come up to bat – I am hoping (praying even) that you will get the good hit, or make the good play, so that you can put an abrupt end to your bad day blues.

Even so….it’s just a bad day. You may feel like quitting sometimes. You may have several bad days strung together. You may get down on yourself, you may feel like you can’t do anything right. You may look for people to blame, you may get mad, you may cry, you may make your bad day 100 times worse by DECIDING to stay in your bad day… You may react in all sorts of ways. But here is my advice.

When you have a bad day, just own it, say “WOW, I had a bad day,” giggle a little about how silly you looked when you fell running to second base, and MOVE ON…..

Because a bad day comes to an end. And you have worked too hard, for too long, to let one bad day or one bad game ruin your love of softball.

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