Well, I am already late for many of you in posting this brief article. Sorry. It’s just that “up North” we aren’t thinking about school tryouts just yet. The first official day of high school spring sports in Michigan is March 14th, 2016. We still have a few weekends of Winter Workouts to go.
I recently exchanged email with a reader from Arizona. His daughter just completed tryouts for her high school. So, I wanted to post some links to past articles I’ve written concerning tryouts, while adding some information about transitioning between travel and school softball.
Winter Workouts in Michigan - Travel Softball
Past Article Links for School Tryouts
- Top 10 Tips for Players at Softball Tryouts
- The Month Before High School Tryouts
- Softball Tryouts (Sigh)
Transitioning Between Travel & School Softball
Your daughter made a travel softball team, played some tournaments in the fall and has been practicing with them since tryouts in August. It may even be that she’s played several years of travel ball. But, now it’s time to join her school team and coaches. This transition is often the source of great frustration and utter stupidity.
Many school coaches (and athletic directors) are NOT big fans of travel sports. And this prejudice can create stress for the players and parents from travel sports. I described some of these issues in Travel Softball Insights - A Coach's Perspective and Mixed Messages from Coaches. Other problems could come from very inexperienced school coaches. Or worse yet, one that insists on changing things your daughter has been working on for months or years, since that’s the way they have done it for the past 20 years.
The school coaches may have her play positions other than those she plays in travel softball. If they are doing so for the right reasons, it’s not always a bad thing. If they are doing it for old-school or illogical reasons such as only allowing upper classmen in the infield or because a lesser talented player has always played the position despite the fact that your daughter is better at it……well…..good luck with that coach.
The articles above will give you suggestions on how you and more importantly your daughter might deal with these situations. One big thing to remember is that school sports and environments are highly political in nature. Let’s say your daughter is a freshman, but has played travel ball since 10u. She will have already played more games than most social players in school play their entire lives. Watching those games might require a lot of patience and some form of medication (LOL).
I wrote at length about school softball in Levels of the Game - School Softball. Yea looking back at that article, it’s long, but very informative especially if you’re new to it.
A Coach’s Viewpoint
I coach varsity and 16u travel softball (ASA A and PGF). They are two entirely different worlds from a coaching standpoint. Just as travel players have infinitely more experience than social players, the same is true for their parents. The combination can be extremely challenging for coaches like me. I have learned to lower my expectations for school softball. When a coach pushes or is critical of a social player, they often shut down and their parents complain to anybody who will listen.
In fact, a coach may lose them for the rest of the season, while having to endure nasty looks and communications with their parents. Parents like this have effectively given their daughters permission to disrespect the coach. These parents will bad mouth the coach with the peanut gallery at the games and at home or in the cars to their daughters. The coach has to be politically correct though as he represents the school.
And then of course you have parents who see their daughter as the next Division 1 All-American destined for Team USA, despite the fact that nobody else does. And stats be damned, because these parents will make every excuse fathomable as to why their darling daughter is underperforming…..none of which are the player’s fault. It’s simply impossible for a school coach to logically deal with these situations. Sigh…..Parent Goggles.
That said, if you read the articles linked above you’ll see that there are equally mental school coaches out there. As a parent you have to take a step back and think about the situation before doing anything. You may be mad as all get out, but consider that your daughter may only be a freshman in a school where the coach isn’t leaving anytime soon. Do you really want to send that text or email or call the coach in the evening after the game going 5150 on them?
I couldn't resist embedding this video...
Okay, so you’ve read all of the linked articles, but still have questions? Please don’t hesitate to send me an email. I respond to all emails pretty quickly and am happy to help you the best I can.