Helping Parents Coach, Coaches Coach and Players Play
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.
When asked about the success of his coaching career, John Wooden replied, “I won’t know for 20 years whether I did a good job or not.” He defined success not in the moment, the last win or another championship, but in the lives his former players would go on to lead. Should they be good fathers, brothers, sons, husbands, role models, coaches, businessmen, members of their community, etc., only then he would know he had been a successful coach.
I’m not a basketball guy, but really enjoyed his book, Wooden: A Lifetime of Reflections On and Off the Court. It’s a great source of inspiration and insight for coaches of any sport and level of experience. I read it somewhere in the middle of my (on and off) coaching career. While there are numerous quotes from the book, it is that one above that has impacted me the most. The goal of this post is to help coaches be the best that they can be.
Have you ever seen a player make an error, mental mistake or strike out? Well of course you have. And how often have you seen player’s entire body language change after doing so? You know….they hang their head and look as if they’re about to cry. I’m sure you’ve seen that too. They’re having a Pity Party.
I first heard this expression from one of my daughter’s travel coaches (John W.) and it has stuck with me since. As a parent I was fortunate not to suffer through any of my daughters behaving this way. But as a coach I’ve seen it repeatedly over the years. The million dollar question is how do you stop players from having one?
Negative news sells. Hence the expression, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Stories of outrageous behavior grab and hold our attention. We’ve been classically conditioned all of our lives to react this way. Visit any of the major news websites at any point in time and read the top 5 headlines. 99% of it is nothing but the bad and the ugly. Well, this article is about the good.
I have really been looking forward to writing this post. Maybe my last article, Surviving One of those Softball Seasons, tipped you off? While I won't go into the details of my survival as a coach of the 2015 varsity softball season, I just want to see if each of you might make similar decisions that we made as coaches. How? First, I'll provide you with the team's stats from the first half of the season and ask you to make a lineup. Then, I'll show you some lineups we actually used through that point of the season. Second, I'll give you the final stats for the team and again ask you to make another lineup. Then, I'll show you a couple more lineups we actually used.
I won't use any of the players names. They'll be listed as Player A, Player B, Player C, etc. along with their stats. I'll provide you with a few extra details such as positioning, injuries, potential substitution issues and other things you must be aware of when making lineups. So....Are you ready to give it a shot?
The picture on right is me during a game talking with the head coach, which was likely a conversation that went like this: "Ok. Player X is 0-2...swung at 2 balls in the dirt & 1 over her head, then took called 3rd strike right down the middle.....lt's the 6th inning...let's give player Z a shot to pinch hit." These are situations I've literally seen members of the peanut gallery flip out over after seeing what substitution we made.
- Few Softball Instructors Will Tell You This
- The Month Before High School Tryouts
- Earning Playing Time
- Success is a Continuous Journey
- Travel Softball Insights - A Coach's Perspective
- In an Instance I Forgot About Everything that was Troubling Me
- Why I Coach - Giving Back
- No, I'm Just Her Coach
- No Apologies - Getting Players in the Games
- The Day I Quit Cheering for my Daughter