A quick update on the progress of the Softball Journey book I have talked about over the years. While I cannot say the exact date it will be completed or published, I can say that I am working on it daily. I will complete the rough draft by the end of November and am hopeful to have it published by spring.
I've been asked what the difference will be between this blog and the book? The short answer is that the book will be all-inclusive and in chronological order from youth recreational softball through the end of a college career and all points in between. I also have much more to discuss, especially concerning the college recruiting process and college softball experience.
Over the past 4 years since I've been blogging trying to help parents through their (daughter's) softball journeys, I have received a wealth of encouragement and feedback from across America (and Canada). The goal of the blog and book is simply to help people with this experience. At times it can be frustrating witnessing people make the same mistakes each year, such as coaching their kids loudly from the peanut gallery with college coaches watching.
I have suggested to many folks that they might be interested in checking out my blog. I know that some have and others have not. You can lead a horse to water, right? That said, I intend the book to be much easier to make use of the information and pearls of wisdom I continue to acquire. It could also be used as a reference book, where at the moment your daughter is 10 years old, but in a few years you'll be more interested in the high school section.
In the meantime I will continue to blog about the things that catch my attention in the moment. Thank you all for reading, sharing and your encouragment!
In recent years I've seen more softball players experience burnout. Last year there were 3 (varsity level) players from our club who had the ability to play at the collegiate level, but instead chose to quit playing travel ball. I'm not sure if they're even going to play for their schools this year.
Our High School tryouts are the 2nd week of March. After that, their next break won't be until the middle of October. Think about that!
It pains me to see players go through this, because it's mostly preventable. Yet more and more fellow coaches tell me of high school aged talented players who've burned out and quit the game. There are many factors that lead to this such as year round practicing & training, college camps and tournaments.
I read this article today, “Year-Round Sports: Growing Old and Wearing Thin?”, and felt compelled to write about it. Those outside of the travel sports (softball) world often do not understand why parents, players and coaches do it. While the author offers an outsider’s view to travel sports, she does not do so in a condescending manner and brings up some good points and questions. I would encourage you to read her article before my response.
You have tryouts, pick your team, collect money, have a few practices and jump right back into playing tournaments. It’s like summer softball never ended. That is except for the change in weather, girls going back to school and the constant player availability problems.
The sport has grown so much that some teams play as many tournaments in the fall as they do during the summer. You try to determine which tournaments to attend based on cost, exposure opportunities and the talent level of your team. After that is figured out, because they fill up quickly, you pay and register your team. Then it is time to practice. Easy enough, right?
Photo of our club inter-squad scrimmage day in the fall of 2016 (16u & 18u)
Towards the end of bracket play in our first tourney of the summer I lost my *%$#! mind during a game. I pride myself on remaining calm and demonstrating excellent sportsmanship. I wasn't always like that.
As a player back in the horse & carriage days, I was a cocky little trash talking punk. Early on in coaching I was too excitable and often regretted or re-thought my behavior afterwards. It’s a process and fortunately for me, with age has come wisdom.
I wanted to share with you some of the things I’ve experienced during my daughter’s college and softball years. Whether it was her car breaking down, family emergencies, health concerns, bad weather, etc., there will be things that come up during yours and your daughter’s journeys. Here are some of the things that have been part of our journey.
Right Fielder Last Year
I’ve been putting off writing this article for a few reasons. It will likely be misinterpreted by some people, while possibly offending others. Regardless, I can’t put if off any longer. My goal for this post is to help parents make the best decisions for their daughters and families concerning their options on playing travel softball. I will even share with you how much I paid for my youngest daughter's travel softball career.
First of all, I am a strong advocate for travel softball. Two of my daughters played travel softball at different levels for years. That is where they learned the game, fundamental and advanced skills, how to handle failure and success, how to deal with getting cut, how to earn playing time and to compete against other teams. They did not learn these things in the recreation league and certainly not in school.
I want to help you by sharing my thoughts on college softball camps. Through the years my daughter attended too many to count or name and now she works them as a member of her college softball team. Today as a 16U travel coach I am encouraging my players to attend camps.
Which ones? How many? What types? Why? Those are some of the most common questions I’m asked. I’ll answer these and more in this article, which I hope you will share with other parents in your softball circles.
Another weekend of the 2015 summer travel softball season has just passed. And with it, sadly, more stories of the unbelievable behavior of parents. From a coach jumping a fence to break up a fight to a mom using her vehicle to block the tournament gate, you cannot make up the kind of lunacy that happens all too frequently at youth sporting events.
I had a long conversation with a couple of Division 1 college coaches this weekend who reiterated, with emphasis, what I’ve been told over recent years: PARENTS ARE BEING RECRUITED TOO!