Helping Parents Coach, Coaches Coach and Players Play
Ever hear of TED? I've watched many videos over the years from the "Ideas Worth Spreading" website. While some are either not of interest to me or not aligned with my views, others are quite interesting and often inspirational. I came across one by Richard St. John, "Success is a Continuous Journey," which made me think of softball (of course). People talk about how kids can learn life lessons from sports. This TED Talk provides a way for kids to learn softball lessons from life, whether one is climbing the company ladder or pursuing their entrepreneurial aspirations.
The selection process during tryouts is not an exact science. I've been on both sides of this process many times. I want to give those of you who have never coached some insight on the process. This will be based on my experience as a coach in high level travel softball clubs (aka A, Gold or PGF), not B teams or local community based programs whose goal is to prepare players for their varsity teams. I'm talking about teams full of girls with a love for the game, exceptional talent, strong work ethic and desire to one day play college softball.
An outsider looking in might compare two players and question our selection, "I don't understand how that girl made it when this girl is a much better hitter."
Monday morning, off to work with the power still out after the storm. Got to work and found a mess waiting for me after the 3 day softball weekend. Spent hours dealing with fires and nonsense. I usually bring a lunch, but today I needed to get out of that place. I walked into the restaurant and saw a friendly face with a smile. In an instance I forgot about everything that was troubling me.
I approached the young lady with a smile now on my face and gave her a big hug. She was waiting tables and seated me. I haven't seen her in awhile, but she was exactly as I remembered. She always had a smile on her face with a twinkle in her eyes, the kind that would light up any room she walked into. I coached this young lady in the youth league for a few years. I watched her grow up and play softball all through school.
Some of us knew that she had a difficult home life.
Well it's official. I will be coaching fastpitch travel softball again: The 2015 16u Mid-Michigan Firestix. I am really excited to continue my softball journey working with an old friend, Kevin Babcock, who I played baseball with from little league to varsity to the adult league after graduating high school. Kevin took over the club years ago and has turned it into a respectable and successful organization.
My daughter Hayley recognized this last fall and decided to play with the 18u team this summer. As I wrote after our first tournament, "They're all a lot of fun and there's no drama. I'm going to play with them next summer," she said. She didn't say anything about what kind of team they were or if she thought they'd win tournaments." This summer has been a lot of fun with great girls, coaches and parents. I've spent the weekends as a parent watching his daughter having fun playing the game she loves. How awesome is that?
Coaching is not a egotistical venture for me.
Coaches often ask their captains to lead their teams by example whether it be by making plays, getting hits or cheering on their teammates. Coaches can and should lead by example too, especially when it comes to academics and vocations. They can discuss their education, career and experiences with their team.
At one of our workouts group of players learned that in addition to my day job, I have a side business and build web sites. "That's cool," one of the girls said. Another asked, "You really have your own business?" They asked me a bunch of questions from what college I attended to how I learned to make web sites. I briefly explained that although I have an associate's degree, everything I know about computers, technology and web sites I've learned on my own. "I'm self-taught," I said.
Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn. Benjamin Franklin