The “Coach” Original Post 8/10/2015
Ahhh, one of the hottest topics in softball. I’m going to share my experiences and the truth is “it is STILL the SAME” The things I hear parents say about the coaches is the same from 8u to college. The complaints and compliments are all the same.
The GOOD Coach. The Good Coach talks to the kids. They know how to compliment the kids. A good coach is fun, encouraging and is developing these young ladies for life, not just softball. The Good Coach is a mentor and leads with example. They represent what these girls look up to and role model for their future. They drive them to perform to their fullest potential. They're not soft and without expectations. No matter what age group The Good Coach still has a major impact on the foundation of these young ladies lives, not just softball. The Good Coach teaches and corrects mistakes with how to change it not criticize the mistake. They find something each game that is positive that the kids did each game. Gather the kids and parents at the end of each game and make sure you find good things to say about each kid. The Good Coach can find multiple things about each kid. The Good Coach can find a way to contain their frustration or expectations and find a way to learn from each error and teach. The impact the Good Coach has on the kids is life changing.
Are you making a positive impact on the kids?
The famous Basketball Coach John Wooden is one of my favorites for what he taught the kids and what he taught the parents and the fans.
“Don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal, don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t make excuses; worry about the things you can control, and not the things you can’t”. Appropriate one for every situation.”
― John Wooden, A Game Plan for Life
The BAD Coach. I bet we could all start a list about the “Bad Coach”. Let me start with some experiences that I’ve seen over the year. The Bad Coach makes it all about themselves. He/she yells, criticizes and makes it personal to the kid. They can’t find positive words to correct and usually go to a personal level to criticize. They don’t acknowledge the good they only promote and reinforce the bad. The Bad Coach disrespects the umpires, the parents and the game. The Bad Coach has an agenda for why they’re out their coaching. They think they know everything about everyone and the game. The Bad Coach forgets that they are grooming young members of society. They make mistakes themselves and blame others. The Bad Coach usually has their own personal issues that they bring to the game. Count the hours we spend with the softball family and realize just like a teacher in the classroom these people have a huge impact on your kid.
My advice for parents whether entering the game or playing at the top of the sport. Find coaches that exemplify positive behavior and are a living example of what you want your children to be as adults. Put your kid on the team that has the best role models on the staff. Consider all members of the staff. Sometimes the Bad Coach is a co-coach or manager. Investigate all of them. Do your homework before joining any team or committing to any college. Find out what they really teach. John Wooden never focused on winning. When they focus on all other aspects of life the winning comes naturally. The Good Coach leads, teaches and competes. The Good Coach comes with a long history of success whether it is on the field or off the field. He/She has leadership skills, communication skills and can show examples of their success. They’re humble and let the kids have all the glory.
Parents… respect the Good Coach. They’re not perfect and maybe you don’t understand all of their responsibility. It is not just about one kid. Become involved with the game and leadership so you have a better understanding what the Coach has to experience. It is easy to sit back and complain because you only have one perspective. This is a game of losses, .300 is a good batting average. Think about that average throughout all aspects of the game. If you only play defense .300 percent of the time, that’s good. If you’re Coaches decisions are only .300 percent what you’d do then consider it good. Until you’re in this role and doing what they do, your opinion is just that, an opinion. Keep it to yourself. The Parent can destroy a Good Coach, the criticism is relentless, but in the end the Good Coach will win out. The parents just come and go.
It is the same at EVERY level, the complaints about the Coaches, good and bad. The issues about the game and playing time and all other aspects are ALL the same… just a different name on the jersey.
Here’s a link to all the quotes that apply to your daily life as an athlete!
“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”
― John Wooden
“A coach’s primary function should be not to make better players, but to make better people.”
― John Wooden, A Game Plan for Life
“when coaches or parents make consistency their foundation, everyone around them becomes more comfortable and everyone around them has a greater opportunity to grow.”
― John Wooden, A Game Plan for Life
The “Bench”. Most players fear being put on the bench only because someone told them that it is not a good place to be. Why is it perceived as not a good place to be? I’ve said it for years, you can’t manipulate playing time so if 7 players never touch the ball and only the pitcher and catcher can be guaranteed playing time, why is it so bad to be on the bench? Here’s a new perspective that every softball parent needs to share with their players. If there is 12 players on a team minimum, then if the 3 on the bench come in to play they have to sub for 3 other players, that means only 6 players aren’t on the bench. Half the team are “sub’s”. Any many more should rotate unless the rules in championship play prohibit the rotations.
You’re right, I grew up in the land of softball and raised my kids around the game where it was an honor to be on the bench for a team like the Orange County Bastbusters. You knew you made it… you would get recruited because coaches knew you were good enough to play on that team and to be on the bench on that team. Why you ask? Because you get trained by Coaches that know how to prepare you for the competition that you will face in college. If you’re not playing with or against your peers that you will play with or face in college then it makes it a lot harder to be ready to face that level of play.
Practice and training is where you get the tips and the repetition to be effective. The techniques and the experience can be created and repeated. You can’t get that experience in a game. I hear sooooo much crying from parents about playing time and I’ll share the magic secret, if you spend the time you spend crying and whining about playing time on preparing, teaching and training you’ll never have to worry. The hard work and effort will always pay off even if you just get one inning or one at bat. You can only play so long on natural talent as we have seen over the years the kid with talent and hard work will always outlast the kid with natural talent that doesn’t do the work. If you do everything YOU can to prepare your kid for the opportunities they’ll be more valuable and less likely to sit on the bench! Get it??
I’ve never understood why a Coach would put a kid on the roster if they can never find a place to put the kid in the game. Parents, put your kids on teams that they “can” play on. Take off your rosey glasses and put them on a team that they get the right training, coaching and can be put in the game without hurting the outcome of the game. Parents, get them to private or group hitting, fielding, technique training as a Coach will never have the time to individually train these kids as they have minimum coaching time to teach them to play as a team. It’s a privilege to be on a team where each kid is good enough to be on the field and on the bench. I was sitting watching my husband’s team in PGF National’s and a coach from a D1 Mid Major came up and asked why a particular catcher was on the bench and I said because this team is deep and has 4 catchers that can play at any time. They were freshmen in high school and all committed last fall, their sophomore year.
I started playing this game in 1970 and it has changed significantly. However, one thing remains, the rules of the game that we all love puts 9 players on the field but you need depth on the bench to compete and to actually play the game. You need pinch runners that have speed and can slide. You need extra pitchers and catchers because of the amount of pressure and physical requirements. You need kids that can play another position at any time to cover injuries, sickness or absence. It made me crazy when we moved to Texas in 2007 and each team only wanted 10 on the roster. Then a kid gets sick or has another event or sport to play then it was left to the coach to find a “pick up player”. What the heck is that? Now you have another kid to train, teach and incorporate into the team chemistry all because someone else felt the team was a lessor priority. They all want their kids to stand there for the innings and act like that is valuable playing time. But they’re the least committed to the issues of the team and the Coach.
Let them all bat, what’s the big deal? Give them as many at bats as you can. What ever happened to playing 7 innings so the kids can get as many at bats as possible. Oh yah, the tournaments directors want as many teams as possible to make more money but it surely doesn’t create more playing time for the kids. You’re not preparing your kids to play the real game. Pitchers especially need to be able to get through an entire game to understand all the issues and challenges that lay ahead of them in college.
Play 7 innings! Host more “Friendly” games where you can play all 7 innings, teach and train and create opportunities for all kids on the field. The crying about being on the bench gets less when you can have the time to get them all in the game. Scrimmage your own team. I think it is ideal to have 16 to 18 on a seriously competitive roster, one that is trying to win National Championships. Never less than 12 or it becomes the Coaches issue because these are the classic teams where the parents complain the most and are the least dedicated because Susie has cheer, or volleyball or something else that is perceived as “balance” for them but not good for the team or the Coach. These are usually the families that have never coached because they don’t understand the responsibility of the Coach. Oh, I’ll have another blog about the Coach, don’t worry!
Here’s what the bench player should be doing. Cheering for their team. Keeping a score book so they understand the game. Charting pitches so they learn strategy. These tips can be modified by their level. I taught 10U players to keep the scorebook and they loved it. Have a coach talking to them explaining the game. Teaching the game to them while they wait their turn. Have them help the catcher get their gear on. Warm up a pitcher or two. There are so many things they can be doing. It is not punishment to be on the bench. Give them all a chance to be on the bench. Coaches… don’t make it so lopsided. This way they all get some opportunities and it will be obvious to the parents when you have to play only 9 by the rules.
It is a very rare moment for any player to NEVER sit the bench. And, those that haven’t, miss out on other aspects of the game.
Teach the players the value of the Bench. Enjoy the journey, have fun along the way.
Original Post date
“I’m Very Proud to Be Black but Black is Not All I Am That’s my cultural historical background, my genetic makeup, but it’s not all of who I am nor is it the basis from which I answer every question”
The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent. Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures. President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
What does Black History Month mean to me today?
Black History is a time when African-Americans can take time to reflect on the things that people before us fought so hard for and are still fighting for today in some areas of our lives to some degree. I recently watched the movie “Hidden Figures” which is an untold story about African American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history; the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, an achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world.
After watching this movie, and seeing how much of a big deal it was for NASA and the world, I immediately felt like this was something that I was supposed to have already known and should have learned in school. I felt like we were taught about Neil Armstrong. Why was this part of history left out? I pondered and pondered on this for quite some time and finally accepted the fact that we as African Americans should not depend on the teachers at schools or people in general to teach us about us or any other part of history. We must do our own research. We should not wait until February to learn about Black History, although it is a good time to reflect.
I love the quote by Denzell Washington because it reminds me so much of myself and I can only imagine that the women in the movie “Hidden Figures” felt the same way. I am more than just a black woman. I am a woman that graduated from Mississippi State University, I have a Masters in Business Administration. I am a business woman, I am smart, strong and well-rounded. Sadly, I have been looked over in my adult life for the mere color of my skin but because of the people that fought long and hard for equality, I am able to write this blog and say that it will not stop me from pursuing my dreams. We no longer can use the color of our skin as an excuse if we are not where we want to be in this life. There are too many avenues that have been created for success for it to be an excuse and I have been blessed to be surrounded by awesome friends and loved ones who do not see color and are willing to work together. Black History is an opportunity for all Americans to learn something about the different parts that African Americans played and are playing in America. There is even Black History being created today. “I’m Very Proud to be Black, but it’s not All I Am”.
Tanelda McDonald Carey #TeamCSA