Open Gym - attending

Discussion in 'General Softball Discussions' started by finfan365, Feb 2, 2020.

  1. finfan365

    finfan365 Active Member

    I'm curious to get others thoughts on this. My DD is practicing with her travel team, usually a couple of times a week, in addition to pitching lessons, hitting lessons, and a Cage league leading up to HS tryouts. With that, it has been hard for me to make her attend open gyms that are going on for HS ball right now. She has attended a few, but sometimes other activities interfere, or she just needs a night off of softball.

    My feeling is she is getting better workouts with team, league and private coaches than she could ever get with open gyms, but I worry that coaches may look at her lack of attendance as her not being as committed as other players who have been there regularly.

    How have you handled this if in a similar situation? Or, if a coach, how do you feel about players who opt to work with travel team over open gyms? Do you put much emphasis on attendance at Open Gyms?
  2. M & R Davis

    M & R Davis Member

    Likely to hinge on your varsity coaches opinion on travel ball. I would make sure that coach knows what all she is doing weekly in regards to softball.
    daboss likes this.
  3. Stedman00

    Stedman00 Active Member

    As political and incompetent as most High school coaches are, prolly not going to matter. if the coach's favorite little minion is playing where your DD is better, your DD is gonna get the shaft.

    On the plus side, if her goal is to play beyond high school, the lack of connections of the high school coach will not impede her recruiting prospects.
    daboss and IRdad09 like this.
  4. Chardon Storm

    Chardon Storm Member

    Our school facilities are miserable to have Open Gyms in so I would be thrilled to hear that a player is practicing and pitching multiple times a week elsewhere. If there is ever enough space in the gym or wrestling room/batting cages I will hold Open Gym/Cages to give the players who don't play travel ball a chance to see some live pitching or machine pitching before tryouts.

    All that being said, communication from your player to the head high school coach is the key and is often missing from the teenage athlete
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
  5. BA824

    BA824 Active Member

    I coach both Travel and High School and have done so for over 20 years so it cracks me up when I hear one side always criticize the other. There are plenty of good HS coaches and bad ones. Same with travel. I have plenty of girls that play travel and sometimes miss our open gyms due to being with their travel team. They usually let me know and I know they are getting good workouts. But not going to open gyms to me the girls miss out on opportunities to build team chemistry and work on leadership skills. If you are a high level travel player and skill level is above many on your HS team, be a leader and get in there and help the others to improve your team
  6. daboss

    daboss Well-Known Member

    Every situation will be different on this topic but communication is key. Some school coaches are open-minded about travel team and instructor time while others are offended by the thought of a player getting any instruction by anyone other than them. All this has been mentioned in the wonderful responses posted above.

    I suggest talking with the school coach and asking what he/she would like to happen. If your daughter has aspirations to play school ball with her friends for the next 4 years, politics and egos will be a major factor in your decision process. I give pitching instruction and due to the overwhelming personal attacks and defaming remarks I no longer give instruction to girls once the February reporting date comes and cut off instruction to Rec girls is March 1. No all but many school coaches want the "team bonding" and "chemistry time" for their players and appear to feel threatened by any outside involvement.

    Don't get me wrong, I believe in the team concept. I don't want pitchers missing out on any of their team functions. For some reason coaches don't want to be threatened even when the time is away from their schedule. This doesn't make sense if you look at the big picture but politics and school policies are their own animal. You have to learn how to adapt to their world to survive.

    Don't be surprised if you hear them say "open gym is voluntary and you can do whatever you want" but the look in the coach's eyes will be saying "here we go again with a player and family that think they know more about this than I do."

    Read between the lines.............
  7. Go Blue

    Go Blue New Member

    I coach high school and travel ball as well and agree with BA824 , the majority of the high school coaches in my area coach both as well. Communication is the key, it is important for all kids who play a team sport to forge the bonds that lead to success not only in sports but in life by attending workouts with whatever team they are on whether it be school or club. Players who don't attend either workouts but still want to play on both teams are definitely sending a message, read between the lines..... they need to try and find balance. And from someone who has coached multiple levels in multiple sports sometimes less is more when it comes to over training/practicing any sport.
    coachtomv, mamoneyoh and Pitchermom like this.
  8. CARDS

    CARDS Active Member

    Open gym is an opportunity for ladies to bond and for upper class to help grow underclass. Get ladies that may have never played before an opportunity to pick up a ball and learn about the game. There are many limitations placed on a coach from OHSAA and in most cases the better players are playing more than one sport so they need to be committed to whatever season/sport they are in. I would say any HS coach that makes open gym mandatory or, holds it against a player for not attending is only hurting the team in the long run and setting themselves up for a disgruntled parent to file a grievance. Your better players and leaders do what they need to do to be ready for the season, if that is attending private instruction or leading open workouts so be it. Here is a couple good reads...
    Pioneer01 and coachtomv like this.
  9. coachtomv

    coachtomv Active Member

    I'll be helping out our local High School program this season, which I am excited to do. Our open gyms start today.

    I think this post replay hits on a great part of what I would like to express. If anything coaches get a relaxed look at players, but more importantly hopefully the team spirit and comradery starts. Maybe team leaders start to show up.
    City Slicker and CARDS like this.
  10. I think another part of the question is do you care about your HS team? If the answer is no, go practice with your travel team. If the answer is yes, be a leader and get in there to help your team.

    If your girl is in a battle with another player of equal ability, don't be surprised when the coach gives the nod to the player that was a team first player. Too much "me" in high school sports right now and not enough "we".
    City Slicker, SonicMojo and tschromm3 like this.
  11. wellbuckit

    wellbuckit Member

    Can anyone tell me if middle school(6th,7th,8th grade) students are able to practice with the high school team?
  12. finfan365

    finfan365 Active Member

    My understanding is practice = no, while open gyms=yes as nobody has made any team yet.

    Thank you all for the replies. I want to say our HS coach is very encouraging of players to participate in travel ball outside of HS season, (can't in season of course), but I just wasn't sure of the best approach when it came to splitting time. Thankfully not an issue anymore as her TB team has wrapped up the fall this last weekend, and she can now devote 100% to HS, but there are a lot of good takeaways in this thread.

    Good luck to all who will be trying out for school in a few weeks.
  13. PlayTwo

    PlayTwo Member

    This is correct. Though the coach has the option to exclude the middle school players from HS open gym altogether.
  14. PlayTwo

    PlayTwo Member

    School ball comes first.
    City Slicker likes this.
  15. tjsmize3

    tjsmize3 Active Member

    Don't get me wrong here, I agree with you that there is too much "me" in ALL sports way too often. However, when I read this post I sense a little frustration with travel players. I feel like the post makes just as much sense if it were to read:

    I think another part of the question is do you care about your TRAVEL team? If the answer is no, go practice with your HIGH SCHOOL team. If the answer is yes, be a leader and get in there to help your team.
    If your girl is in a battle with another player of equal ability, don't be surprised when the TRAVEL coach gives the nod to the player that was a team first player. Too much "me" in TRAVEL sports right now and not enough "we"

    High School ball starts Feb 24th in Ohio, NOT SEPT 1ST. If prior to the Feb 24th date a kid needs to be at travel practice or a college camp, I'm not sure that it makes them a "me" only kid. A kid missing a TRAVEL PRACTICE for a high school "OPEN GYM" during TRAVEL SEASON is letting her travel team down! I'm not sure why that is ok???
    Many of these kids try their hardest to do both HS and travel. I would look at the travel kid making ANY HS "OPEN GYM" out of season (and during travel season) as a leader. In our house it has always been you do travel ball during travel season and HS ball during HS season. When there is overlap your first priority is what is "in season." During travel season, if HS has an open gym and there is no travel requirement, you go to the HS event... no "night of rest." I have never had a HS coach hold that policy against any of my daughters.
    Pitchermom and 22dad like this.
  16. I am a head coach of a travel team and a HS team. First, by OHSAA rules, HS coaches cannot make open cages "mandatory." My go to phrase is, "Open Cages are not mandatory but neither is playing time. You get out what you put in."

    Being a coach of both, I really don't care if they go to travel practice, HS open cage or a private lesson of some sort. 100% of my HS players that play travel ball have made great efforts to attend both this winter. That is the key. And if they ask, I make it known to all girls that when they are not at our open cage, they are at private lesson or a travel practice. That way the non travel girls who are at open cage know the travel girls are still getting their workout in.

    Really the challenge that I have is with the player who has little softball experience and will most likely be the JV type players for multiple years. The kids these days do not want to compete for the sake of competing....regardless of the skill level. They come in to tryouts or open cages and are intimidated by the skill level of the travel players. They already know they aren't going to be varsity so why should they play? To compete! That's why! Compete at something against someone. It will make you a better adult. I promise.

    So for our program, my number one goal is making JV and Varsity the most fun it can be. In our area (northeast Ohio), the JV teams are diminishing and I really feel this is one of the big reasons. I honestly wish Ohio was like parts of Pennsylvania or like basketball...only in reverse. Varsity Softball and JV Softball travel together. Varsity plays full 7 inning game first. Then JV plays after. They either play a full game or till dark. This would also help the high school programs who are in that 15-19 player range. It would still allow them have a JV and Varsity team.

    I just spit out a lot of gibberish. And I usually don't post. My bad. HS season is less than 2 weeks away. Have a great season everyone!

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