The Journey – Life as a Softball MomTryouts!
Disclaimer… this is not about YOU or YOUR TEAM this is the compilation of what I’ve seen for years and experience 2x’s a year! There is no hidden agenda and I’m not calling anyone out! If you feel it then learn from it!
Oh yah, you are all going to relate to this one! Twice a year most teams or organizations host an “Open Tryout”. The title gives the impression that it is “open” to everyone but as many have experienced it is that is not always the case. There are teams that guarantee their players a returning spot, period. Other teams will guarantee a player’s spot until their tryouts where they find better players, and then they cut those kids. Brutal, yes. Then the opposite happens when a better player shows up but doesn’t get asked to join because it might bump a Coaches kid to the bench, thus the term “Daddy Ball”. There are teams that are still looking for players and kids still looking for the right team. Oh, gotta love the player that just plays for a new team each month because they don’t want to pay the team fees. They call that player the “Pick up” player. Nothing grinds my gears more than the team or the player that is in a chronic pick up situation. To me, that is a huge RED FLAG! Either the team or the coach cannot attract the right players or they’re quitting each weekend because the parents are not willing to help create a TEAM. Really, parent’s, how do you expect your Student Athlete to understand what being part of a team means if the minute there is a sign of trouble, you flee! Every team has their issues. In reverse, Coaches how do you expect players to stay if you keep repeating the behaviors or the line-up that continues to perpetuate your lack of success.
Be part of the solutions not part of the problem. Evaluate yourself and try repeating what successful steps others before you have taken.
Here’s my opinion for finding the right team for YOUR Student Athlete.
1. Find a coach that knows how to coach and develop and get these kids individually to the next level. Not the coach that “tells you” that they can or want to! Have they? Check their back ground. Look at the website for the organization, have they really accomplished all that they state that they have? Verify their information on the websites with other organizations and past and current players! Too many of you just listen to what the coach tells you rather than do your homework and compare and investigate BEFORE you join. Interview the coaches and their competitors and validate the information!
2. If you join a team with all the Coaches kids and they’re not the primary contributors you run the risk of setting yourself up for Daddy Ball!
3. Find a team with a proven “non- parent” coach and investigate their backgrounds. Many coaches promise that they have these amazing backgrounds from other states and yet no one validates that information. They say it so it is??? Just because they’re nice and set the stage does not mean it is so. Verify their success. Are their goals and what they want to achieve in alignment with what you want for your athlete?
4. Be afraid of the travel ball coach that has all the excuses why they haven’t accomplished what they say they want to do or could have done. It is always someone else fault, “the organization takes all the good players off my team to the Gold team” means the coach hasn’t accomplished enough with that good talent so the better coaches absorb that talent.
5. If they “say” they help your athlete get recruited? Then have them show you the plan and the proof and know that there is not one coach in the country that has it all. Beware! Get an independent Advocate to help you through this part of the process regardless of the Coach or program.
6. The legacy coaches with years of experience repeat their good results because they know how and they do it over and over again. A proven track record and history of results is earned. If the Coach thinks they can, then why haven’t they done it? Here come their excuses!!! They state things like “anyone can manage and coach good talent” then why haven’t they done it? Do it at 8u, do it at 10u etc…. The best coaches will leverage the experiences of their predecessors, and grow in capability. For most student athletes, this process occurs once in their lifetime. Coaches should embrace and partner with those before them so they can benefit from these experiences! The recruiting process is complex and emotional. The best coaches focus on supporting their players, not taking credit.
7. Take your foggy glasses off if your athlete makes another team in a strong organization and trust the Coaches that make that decision as being the 3rd short stop on the Gold team or the starting short stop of the solid other team doesn’t mean you’re a “B” player that just means that you will be the star of that team gaining the right exposure and providing solid contributions on a successful team. That doesn’t mean that you should go try out for a lesser organization and be a short stop on their team that doesn’t accomplish the same results. I know, lots to think about, know who to trust and who not too!
8. Be careful of the team that just put a new name brand t-shirt on thinking that the new organization will solve all their problems and help the kids get recruited, they’re still the same coach and have the same plus so the results will be the same. These are the coaches that tell everyone all their excuses why they haven’t been given the right chance or they’ve been cheated, really??? Do it and do it with whatever brand you wear. The bigger more notable teams that where the brand have done it and are giving you the chance so DO IT! These coaches just keep switching brands and blaming others for their lack of success.
Finally! When you pick a team, stay, fight, work, develop and realize that you’re the only thing that you control! Stick it out for an entire YEAR! Learn from the experiences and take the journey!