Helping Parents Coach, Coaches Coach and Players Play
Misinterpretation of a Smile?
Recently I was watching one of the high school girls I've been working with for the past several months play with her travel team in an indoor winter tournament. I met her coaches and then watched 2 games while chatting with her parents. Her team won both games and she played well ending the night with a rocket-shot home run.
One of the coaches came up to me and showered me with praise in front of a lot of spectators. I was smiling before he got to me as she was trotting around the bases, which is something I believe she could get some practice doing in the coming years. As he walked away back to coach 1st base I noticed other folks watching me smiling and in a sort of congratulatory way. I immediately felt uneasy.
Shouldn't my coaching success be measured by their results too?
The smile on my face was about nothing more than watching a girl I coach have success, while understanding how hard she works at the game. She's a very nice young lady, humble, good student and is coachable. She has the potential to be an above average hitter. I wasn't smiling with self-pride for myself as a coach. The joy was in watching her dedication and hard work pay off for her in a game.
Whether it's a nice play on defense, a big hit or game well pitched parents and players are hopeful the coach who came to watch the game saw it. The coach could be the high school, travel or college coach. It is most likely that the coach did see those moments of the game, which are obviously important.
However, there are numerous little things that the coach certainly saw as well. And it cannot be over-emphasized that those little things are what separate two players of equal physical abilities! It gives one player the edge over the other. It can be the difference between making a team, earning a starting position or receiving a college scholarship offer.
The parents, yes the parents, are also something the coach sees.
Your daughter is getting hitting lessons from a coach/instructor. You watch her performance and judge whether she’s getting better or not. If you are satisfied, great! If not, your options are: 1)Talk to the instructor & ask questions, 2)Stop lessons & seek out another instructor, 3)Accept the fact that your daughter’s abilities may be limited or 4)Whine and complain constantly about the lousy instructor to everybody you know.
Which action you decide to take can be dependent upon her age and experience. Hopefully you can refrain from option #4. It makes a significant difference whether she’s 12 years old and just getting started or a high school senior or has taken lessons from several different instructors/coaches over the years. Since there are many high school age girls who've never received any legitimate instruction, it can be difficult for the parent to watch as they try new things. "She's never had her hands that way before or had such a wide stance," you may think. Sometimes they can catch up and other times they cannot.
No Need to Stress
Softball is a game and games are meant to be fun. That is until your daughter starts thinking about tryouts, cuts or whether she’ll make the varsity team next spring. The more she worries about it, the more anxiety she’ll feel. She may dwell upon it at school, home, through the winter recreational games and workouts. This self-induced pressure builds to the point that she becomes extremely jittery when she even thinks about the upcoming game or workout, let alone when they actually are going on. So, what in the world can parents do to help their daughters overcome this avalanche of angst?
Give her support, love, praise and encouragement.
The Softball Journey is dedicated to helping parents through the years and all of the levels of the game. In The Coach blog, I'm going to periodically provide information that will help parents who have volunteered to coach their daughter's recreational softball teams as well as non-parent coaches. I will write articles and make use of pictures and videos to help coaches teach their players the fundamentals and advanced skills of the game. Not only will they include tips on coaching in general for all coaches, but also on coaching your own daughter, which sooner or later will most likely present various challenges.