It's a Love / Hate relationship

Discussion in 'Softball Parent Discussions' started by mean machine, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. mean machine

    mean machine New Member

    Fastpitch softball is a great sport. Much better than baseball. It's faster, played in closer confines, more strategic, and requires more physically and mentally from its athletes. A well played game is a thing of beauty. Tournament ball runs even deeper. The girls spend countless hours together at practice, on road trips. You can see the chemistry building, the friendships develop. You see the girls fall in love with their clubs and develop loyalty to their clubs, wearing their team t-shirts, headbands, sweatshirts and hair ribbons wherever they go. They dive for balls, skin knees, break bones all in an effort to help the team, the club, their friends win games. I love it.

    Then the first 2 weeks of August roll around and I get sick to my stomach by what i see. Team tryouts. Everything that is wrong with sports crammed into a 2 week tryout period. It is really a disgusting sight to behold. It's the time of year when you realize that the clubs your girls love and are so loyal to, could care less about your daughter as a person or a player. All the love and loyalty shown by the players is most certainly not returned by the club. Its the time of year when coaches, not up to the task of developing players, cut and run from their failures and just try to find better players. Its the time of year when parents use their connections, backstab friends, plot and scheme to secure their daughter a spot on their team of choice. But it doesn't end there. They do the same things to get girls cut from clubs because they are a weaker player or they don't like the parents. I say all of this with my daughter having secured a spot on her team of choice.

    Maybe we haven't found the right organization yet. But i've seen enough clubs and heard enough stories to know that the good organizations are much rarer than the bad ones. I really hate this time of year, and what it says about the direction of our sports and society in general.
     
  2. MadT

    MadT Member

    Well spoken
     
  3. coachtomv

    coachtomv Active Member

    I feel you mean machine. My family has seen this first hand, both as parents and coach. I'll say still a lot of positive moments as well as the dirty stuff, but still makes you wonder sometimes.....why bother?

    Parents, coaches, organizations, trying to get one up on everyone at the expense of loyal kids and families. To easy to take someone else's hard work and put your "brand" on it, tell families what they want to hear, tear down others in the background with a smile on your face in front of them. If it feels wrong, it probably is, but most find ways to justify their actions for the good of the team, player, organization, whatever. At the end of the day its a kids game for kids, lose site of that and you've lost and I do not care how many games you "win".

    For me personally, my faith in the game and the "process" we go through is renewed every time I step out on to a field or into a dugout and just listen and watch the young ladies, who this is supposed to be all about, just do what they do.

    We were blessed to have "35" different players, from multiple organizations from rec teams, to Outlaws, Lasers, Bandits, Ice, Hawks, etc, etc, play on our Wounded Warrior charity team this season. Went from one tournament event to "4". Do you think any of those kids or families cared who they came from or the name on the front? They just played for pure love of the game and it showed.

    So, even though this game can be ugly at times, I still believe in what we do.

    Easy answer is try and surround yourself with good people, doing it for the right reasons, and stay humble.

    My two cents. :)

    (Please do not read into this post, not taking a shot at anyone. I have the utmost respect for the people I have met in my last few years in travel softball and would not be the coach I am now without the experience.)
     
  4. mean machine

    mean machine New Member

    A little reflection is probably called for at this point. We too have met some great people and my daughter is a much better person from the experiences. But this time of year ...... not good
     
  5. dennis golic

    dennis golic New Member

    starting to turn into a business. Produce or your gone.
     
  6. daboss

    daboss Well-Known Member

    One of the hardest lessons parents and young ladies learn from the travel ball experience is that choices in life need to be made and the consequences from your choices can define your future, both short and long term. I believe this lesson is one of the first hard core life lessons the family faces together. Parents don't want their young baby to be faced with such grown-up decisions but it's going to happen some time. Another good reason to think everything thru before leaping into a contract with a team. There's always that chance you are making the wrong decision. Do your homework and try to make an educated choice, then teach your child to commit to the season without reservation. Look to learn. Benefit from your choice somehow instead of living in the negative with regret. Nobody wants to waste an entire season and in a lot of cases the blame can be as much the family's as it is the organization due to expectations that simply cannot be fulfilled.

    Reality, what is your daughter really capable of with her current God-given talent both physically and mentally. Acceptance, choosing to accept a roll with a team while working to improve the other facets of her game until she can execute at a higher standard.

    Perhaps more coaches need to be more open and honest. Many people are afraid to hurt somebody's feelings so the message is sugar coated. Personally, I don't believe they are doing anyone any favors by not being more truthful. Tell the kid that might be on the bubble that you really don't believe she's at the standard you want to be an active member of your roster. Let that family decide if they want to roll the dice that things can improve or accept the roll of being treated with only part-time playing expectations. Some may wait it out while others can choose to attend other tryouts for teams that may be a better fit into the big picture. Coaches, know if you take their money the family should be told what their roll will be and what to expect. Then, commit to them in a positive manner and treat them fairly. Organizations and their coaches want to be respected. This can only happen if you deliver what you're selling and stick to your word.
     
  7. yossarian

    yossarian Member

    I'd be interested to hear from some of the folks who've been around it for a really long time, like over a decade or two. Is it really different now or has it sort of been this way all along and this is just the way it always feels in August because parents, kids and coaches are all naturally a little stressed this time of year?
     
  8. coachtomv

    coachtomv Active Member

    Another great post.
     
  9. yossarian

    yossarian Member


    Couldn't agree more. You can learn a lot more from a difficult situation than an easy one. Well said Daboss.
     
  10. travelinmom

    travelinmom New Member

    Life lessons learned thru this sport are a year-round thing. Coaches who make offers but refuse to wait, coaches who tell the DD to give up the sport, coaches who tell DD she is amazing, bad day in the field at one, best performance ever at another are all situations experienced by 99% of girls. It hurts but learning to pick up and move on is a priceless lesson.
    Parents need to let DD suffer the horrible along with the fantastic so that she will become resilient and able to handle the rest of life in a way that sets her above her peers.
    All that said, so glad we don't have to do this anymore. DD played her last summer of 18U this year. Unless she picks up some 23U games next summer, we are likely to become coach parents someday.
     
  11. Hilliarddad3

    Hilliarddad3 Active Member

    It's been that way for as long as I can remember and ours are four years removed from the game. Once you find the organization that she feels comfortable with for what her goals are, then stick with it if they let you. Most will let you if:
    1- your daughter works hard at practice and on her own
    2- you as a parent don't embarrass the org at the fields or other places after games
    3- You as a parent do your part to support the organization where they may need help. Even if it's shagging batting practice balls at warm up or practice.
    4- your daughter is a good kid and personable in others eyes, not yours.
    5- you sit at games and cheer support both teams playing when good plays are made, they are kids on both sides of the field first and foremost.
    6- You bring things to the games whether healthy snacks, drinks anything without being asked and offer to the girls. Coaches are volunteering their time and money, a little from parents doesn't hurt now and then.
    7- don't second guess coaches decisions and bad mouth the team to yr Daughter, it's starts like a cancer spreading...
    8- Say Thank you to the coaches at the end of the year and be sad it's over, if your daughter is happy it's over you're on the wrong team

    Having been a part of the Stingrays org when ours played, I can only say they were and still are a top notch org, with great people we still call friends today. They tell their expectations, teach the game well, respect the game and the teams played and the memories will always be a part of us. We still try and help in a small way each year at the tournament, because we feel we like to pay it forward, to still be a part of something that others helped our girls become young ladies, which is more important than the game......
     
  12. pnp911

    pnp911 New Member

    Agreed, great post and so true.
     
  13. wow

    wow Active Member

    There is a ton of great advice here. There are some nerves being touched in regards to the highs and lows of the game. I think players and parents evolve with the time spent in the game. You ever notice how some of those problem parents/kids at 10U are not even around by 16? The kids learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff. I would say the stress will always be there at some level, its how you deal with that stress, which matters. Teams are always going to add/subtract players for a variety of reasons, its why its called try outs. Daboss is spot on here saying how a Coach shares both the good and the bad, providing feedback, and ultimately performing at a high level is what travel ball is about. Sounds a lot like the real world. Maybe, just maybe, in the mist of all this craziness there are some life lessons to be learned.

    "Its only until you see adversity, can you appreciate that which is great"
     
  14. honest1

    honest1 New Member

    Great thread! I would say that a couple of observations after nearly two decades is that the "sport" has grown tremendously in that time. Players have better tools, are more talented and have more opportunity than ever. Coaches have improved but they are MUCH more cut throat in this part of the country than they were early on or that I have witnessed in other areas of the Midwest over the years. Coaches were also much more supportive of each other in the early days. There was this unwritten code of coaches ethics amongst the best that certainly does not exist enough today. If you were a parent/player that burned a good coach that I respected then you might as well forget about ever playing for me too. Today it is pretty much the same as far as it pertains to problem parents/players being figured out by second year 14U. I try VERY hard to open up parents eyes to this fact as so many great players become relegated to a lower level of play than they are capable of due to the actions of their parents that happen from 10U-14U. My advice is to NOT be that parent...it truly does negatively impact your daughters future. In the same breath do NOT be with that coach that collects your talented daughter either. They cannot sustain the development of the talented players that their silver tongues talked into coming. The player eventually becomes stale from lack of coaching and then that "collector' is looking for the next best thing to replace her...talented players need quality COACHING to continue to develop and meet goals...SAD but all too often TRUE! I have been most disappointed in the lack of LOYALTY that exists today...seems like a lot of "using" goes on these days by ALL of the parties involved. I will never call youth fastpitch a "business"...its a life lesson teaching SPORT!!! It is so hard to put together a real power house team of only the best players to represent Ohio and WIN a Gold level National championship with all of the softball variables that exist in our state today.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
  15. Bekah24

    Bekah24 Member

    In my opinion It's not fair to knock a coaches character for wanting to better their team. It's a part of sports! Part of life lessons that sports give. Call me crazy, but that's what competitive sports are about! Which travel ball is suppose to be competitive. Take it as maybe your daughter will get on a team more suitable for her talent level, and have better opportunities for her! Instead of taking it as a bruised ego!

    Parents make the same decisions this time of year to either stay with the team there kid is on, or go try for a higher level if talent allows them to do so. Everyone should have the idea of trying to better themselves including coaches. If not then you shouldn't have your daughter play competitive sports. If we all took the perspective of sticking with the same team no matter what. We would all still be on the same rec ball team every girl starts on when she is 5.


    Not everyone can have natural God given talent! There are many different levels out there. Try to be honest about where your daughters talent level is at. I understand feelings are hurt this time of year, but if you don't get asked back on a team look at it in the long run being a positive thing for your kid not a negative.
     
  16. WalkOffHR

    WalkOffHR New Member

    I have experienced this time of year as a parent. As a coach. In both softball and baseball. I promise you, it is FAR worse as a coach than as a parent. It is really tough to let go of an existing player...especially a good kid that is liked by his or her teammates. But nobody wins if you can't get that player sufficient playing time and you also owe it to the team to try to improve by bringing in better players. Coaches often wait on a good player to decide while trying to keep a second option at the same position available only to lose both players and then find out that an existing player is gone too. I have literally had parents tell me that if I keep a specific player then they aren't coming back because that player is no good.

    No coach anywhere intentionally takes a player whose skills and ability are far below the level of the rest of the team. It happens though. Sometimes you need to fill that last spot and you take the best that shows up at the last tryout in hopes of coaching up the player, but it doesn't work out. The player just isn't up to the level of the others.

    As tough as it for players and parents, it is so hard after having 3-4 tryouts and coming up with 7 really good players, 2 projects that need some coaching and still needing 2-3 players heading in to this weekend. This is the first year in a long time I am back to being just a parent and man what a relief. DD is an 18U and she is handling the search for the right fit. All I have to do is sit back and wait to find out where we are going for nationals next year.
     
  17. FastBat

    FastBat Well-Known Member

    I agree...I hate this time of year! But, after her third tryout season, my DD has found, tryout season doesn't last forever. No matter how much a coach loves and doesn't love her skills, she has learned to just keep working hard and plugging away, in the end, year in and year out, it's her skill improvement that is the goal of all of this!
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
  18. AkronCarPro

    AkronCarPro Member

    I hate this time of year too. But nothing is granted in this sport (unless your dad founded the organization so that you would have somewhere to play), and the cream will rise to the top. There are politics, and shifty people willing to throw your kid under the bus for the benefit of theirs. But your DD will learn that she has to bust her tail to rise to the top, and sometimes even that won't be enough. But she will also learn that quitting is not an option. It's not what Ballers do.
     
  19. DW@SBC

    DW@SBC Member

    "mean machine" this is a well written post. I guess the way to look at is each season is a new adventure with often completely different teammates and coaches and families and you get to go to some new tournaments and meet new people.

    It is definitely hard to build consistency in players and coaches from year to year so its best to just look at each season as a fresh start with new challenges because what you wrote about tryout week and the formation of teams will never change.
     

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