In today’s day and age, the term “gamer” has a whole different meaning that it did when I was still coaching. Nowadays, a gamer is someone who spends countless hours playing video games. They kick ass in Fortnite, but couldn’t throw a ball or catch a cold. Now, I’m not going to go on an anti-video game rant today, because I understand that video games are here to stay.
Here’s a summary of a discussion I once had with a player on my Tennessee Tech softball team:
“Coach, I know I’m not good in practice but if you put me in a game I’ll show you what I can do! I’m a gamer!”
Once upon a time being a gamer was code for a player who didn’t show well (work hard) in practice but who still showed well in games. They were often talented players who chose to coast through practice rather than work hard and showcase their skill level in the mundane world of practice.
The discussion that started with the above player telling me she needed a chance to show me what she could do in a game, even though she didn’t practice well ended with this response:
“Sweetheart, you need to learn to compete in practice if you want to get into a game! Practice is your chance to show me that you deserve to play. Until you learn how to practice better and show you deserve to play over one of your teammates, you will never get on the field. Period!”
Harsh you say? Mean-spirited? Crazy?
No, just honest. Players who think their coach is being unfair to them because they don’t get to play in games without earning that playing time are missing the bigger picture.
How does a player show they deserve to play when they never get a chance?
They get plenty of chances! Where?
In the weight room.
In the classroom.
In the community.
In the Dugout.
On the bus.
All of these are your chance to show you deserve to play. Start winning in these areas and I guarantee your coach will notice. Make the impression in these places and guess what is likely to happen?
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.