Today was the beginning of a new Softball Season in Long County. What’s crazy is that we have the talent, but every year we fail to capitalize, because “Toxic” coaches somehow infiltrate the system and forget why it is they coach, the Children.
Last year, somehow the teams were stacked with all the experienced and seasoned players on one team and the players that have never played the game on the other. Although we never beat the experienced and seasoned team, there is one thing I can say about our girls, they improved every time we played. They never improved. Our last game versus this team we almost won, but a bad call by them umpire changed the outcome of that game. At the end of the season, that coach felt he was entitled to coach the All-Star Team because of the 2 teams we had in the 10U age group, he had the most wins. Of course, since we had a new Recreation Director, he let it go. This year, that is not going to happen. During evaluations, we did grade hard, but that was our whole goal, to evaluate. We were not to coach, we are to do that once we get our team together.
We have the talent, but the parents feel that they know more than the coaches. That’s a big reason why I chose to coach this year. I gave our coaching staff last year a hard time and I felt that I could do a better job, so I will see. During the regular season, it wasn’t bad, because the coaches kept the children first, but during the All-Star portion of the season the coach all of sudden expected that the kids could coach themselves. Every practice was wasted and not used to teach or didn’t have a focus. We played 4 All-Star games and lost every single one. Our worst lost was 38-9. Instead of making adjustments, the coach just rolled with what he had. The problem just so happened to be between 2nd and 3rd Base, players from his original team. Every team we played capitalized off of that and hit into that gap almost every time at bat.
It wasn’t until our last game in the bottom of the 2nd inning, a parent with a wealth of experience made a change himself. Yes, he destroyed the power-base of the All-Star coach, but how do you think the kids felt when they were being beat 31-1? I’m glad this parent made the change, because we started to see positive results. I felt so bad for the kids. We had the talent, but if you don’t practice the right way, it’s not all of a sudden going to happen because you wish for it to happen. Not once did the All-Star coach say anything positive about the girls play, all he did was point out their mistakes. If you are down by a significant margin in the bottom of the 1st inning and you don’t make any changes, how is it the children’s fault?
My goal this year is to teach the fundamentals of the game and mold each of my players into All-Stars, so when it does come down to it, it will make my decision difficult. I really believe that if we had a coach that cared about the kids last year, we could have made a lot of noise, but we embarrassed a lot parents and children. Some were so embarrassed that they are now stating that they will never play in this county again. What kind of example are you setting if all you do is point out the bad in what a child does? As a child, I know that I hated it. How about my hustle? How about my RBI or my sacrifice fly in order to put a point on the board? I’m sure that the kids don’t look that deep into the game, but me being the coach needs to pull out the positive and come up with a game plan to rid the team of all the negative plays.
Today, I saw a lot of new faces and a couple of old. Hopefully, once we get our program on the right track, the players that have gone abroad to play will eventually migrate back here. When it comes to coaching, I can be very emotional, especially if I feel that my kids aren’t being treated fairly (I feel they are my own children during that 60 minutes I have to spend with them, during practice and on game day). After the evaluations today, I see a lot of positive coming out of this program this year. The picture in this post, some people ask me why I keep it? I keep it as a reminder, it’s not about me, it’s about the children. The picture is a result of looking out for self instead of them. We will get this program back on track and will finally have parents knocking and kicking at the door to keep their kids here.