This all-star season has been interesting for sure and this blog post is a reality and ego check for all of us volunteer/parent coaches out there.
I’m a good coach, I really enjoy being with the girls helping them improve their game. But there is a limit and I fear I’ve reached it.
Just this year, I am seeing a huge amount of girls leave little league or augment their season by playing on travel teams. These travel teams typically have paid coaches (but not always) and in pretty much every case, a parent who is pushing their kid for a chance to eventually play high school softball or beyond. This blog post isn’t about pushy parents as much as it is about my own ability to coach kids who are getting private lessons and play on multiple teams with multiple coaches.
I can’t keep up and don’t always agree on things with these different parties. Because I’m a voulnteer coach (i.e. not paid and not travel), I believe that some parents would prefer that I not give their girls additional tips or make any major changes to the way they play.
For example, I teach that the 1B take the cut off on plays to the plate and not the 2B or SS except on very deeply hit balls, which are extremely rare. I had a parent question my strategy the other day at practice and was simply stunned to be in that conversation.
Another example are some alternative hitting and tee drills that promote weight shift during the swing. Parents watch and think I’m teaching a radical new batting stance when in fact, I’m simply trying to get the girl to move her hips a bit.
I’m frustrated and I believe I know why… this youth softball coach has almost outlived his usefulness and is about to become one of those doting, challenging and annyoing parents… assuming I continue to push my own kid to keep playing. Hopefully not in both cases, but we shall see.