The Coach

Helping Parents Coach, Coaches Coach and Players Play

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.

2015 stix moms

Read more: Our Team’s Parents Are Awesome!

Coach GregI 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'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.

Read more: You Make the Lineup!  My Challenge to You!

confusedYou take your daughter weekly for lessons after work on Tuesday nights for pitching or hitting.  It costs from $35 to $65 per half hour and may be a lengthy drive from home.  You do this throughout the fall and winter racking up the miles and money spent.  You and your daughter practice what she’s learning at home, school or a local softball facility, which might even cost you more money.  And after all that time and money you and your daughter realize that she just doesn’t seem to be getting any better.  How can this be?

You are frustrated that you’ve wasted so much time and money to the point that you feel like you’ve been ripped off.  Maybe you decide to seek out another instructor?  Meanwhile you tell everybody in your softball circle that you stopped going to that instructor, because he/she didn't help your daughter one bit.  Does this scenario sound familiar?  

Read more: Few Softball Instructors Will Tell You This

benchIt's February and it's the last month before High School Tryouts (in Michigan - March 9th).  And the closer to judgment day we get, the more girls suddenly appear wanting to work on their games.  These girls fit into two categories: Some play a winter sport making it difficult or impossible to practice softball - or - the social players finally found some free time in their busy schedules. Regardless, scheduling 4-player workouts becomes a challenge for coaches trying to be fair.  This article describes the issues a coach has to consider when scheduling and conducting off-season work outs.

**Note** I wrote in detail about the mixture of social and serious players in Levels of the Game: School Softball.

Read more: The Month Before High School Tryouts

competition3What does Earning Playing Time mean?  What does it mean to your daughter's coach or to your daughter or you?  I think it’s something that is often misinterpreted and causes unnecessary drama.  Therefore when a coach states something like, “Players must earn their playing time,” it is important for you to be clear about what exactly he means.

She's put her time in over the years and deserves a starting spot.

Read more: Earning Playing Time