Kids play recreational league fastpitch for many reasons. Fun! Competition! Camaraderie! Learning to be a part of a team! Making new friends! Competition! And….
At some point of every rec league season the discussion starts. Who are the best players? Who is going to coach all-stars? And the most important question: Who is going to be selected to be on the team?
Translation: Will my kid be an all-star?
For many players and, for sure their parents, this is a seminal moment in their budding softball experience. Being recognized as one of the better players in a league can be a great honor. It is always nice to be recognized as a potential all-star. This is often the first step in the process of becoming a more serious player because, if a player is a rec league all-star, they might want to consider moving up to play on a travel ball team.
What Is “All-Stars”?
League politics and “Daddy Ball” aside, most leagues will select players who have shown themselves to be the best players in the league. This collection of players are then going to practice together and play together against other similar teams. The all-star team is often the first opportunity for a player to play with a collection of similar players and to practice at a higher level. Of course, this means stepping up the commitment and taking your game to a higher level.
So, if a player and her parents are looking to take their fastpitch experience to a higher level, then being an all-star is a no brainer right? In reality, it’s more than one question.
Here are the questions and answers:
Does your daughter want to take fastpitch more seriously? This is the first, and most important question. If she really loves playing and practicing, then taking the next step is a great idea. If she doesn’t love playing in the league, then all-stars is a bad idea.
Do you want to make the commitment to the extra time and expense? All-Stars can be an honor or an inconvenience depending on what you, as a parent, have to do to make it work. There is usually going to be some additional cost, and of course, a lot of extra time for practice, games and tournaments. Are you going to love the experience or resent the commitment?
What message will you send if you decline an opportunity to be an all-star? First, if your daughter doesn’t really want to be an all-star, then you are free and clear. She won’t care that you are telling the league that she won’t be playing all-stars. Second, if your daughter really wants to play and you’re the one declining because you don’t want to make the effort then I think, as Ricky Ricardo used to say, “you have some splaining to do!”
As a parent, are you trying to decide how serious you and your player want to be about softball? Staying with league play or moving to travel ball is a huge step. Playing in all-stars would be a great measuring stick to help make that decision. It requires more from you all than the league does, but still not quite the leap of faith that a travel ball team does.
My opinion. If a player gets selected, I think they should play all-stars. You don’t know what you don’t know and you can’t know what the right path is without starting down the road. If you head down the road and decide you don’t want to go where the road is leading, you can always stop and turn around!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.