One of the most disappointing thing for a coach to deal with is when a player or group of players decides to leave a team. Many coaches see this is a personal assault, other coaches see it as a failure on their part and yet others see it as the cost of doing business. However a coach feels when a player leaves, there are some things to consider.
Many times when a player leaves a team that they really love and a coach who they love playing for, it’s because their personal goals are different from those of the team. If a player wants to play in college or want to travel the world to play then staying with a more local startup team is difficult. The player and the team are just on different paths. No one is right or wrong, they’re just looking for different things.
Sometimes a player leaves a team because the team is aspiring to play at a much higher level in either competition or travel than a player or her family wants to commit to. Again, this player might love the coach but just isn’t interested in committing the amount of time and effort that the team is now expecting.
Occasionally, a player leaves a team because they don’t get along with a coach or their philosophy. Or a coach asks a player to leave because they are not on the same page. Either way, this is usually a breakup that is welcomed by both parties.
Now when a coach feels like they have lost a player that they really wanted to keep on their team, I would ask them to look and see if their team and the player in question fall into the first two categories we discussed earlier. If a player is leaving because of either of those circumstances, then the coach should never feel bad about the loss.
Rather, when a coach helps a player achieve a skill level where they can or need to move to a higher-level team, then that coach should feel a sense of accomplishment that they helped a player achieve a personal goal. If a player decides to leave because the team has elevated itself to a higher level than the player wants to play, again the coach should be proud of the fact they they have built a team that is climbing the softball ladder.
Coaches, you are going to lose players. Most of the time it is the sign of growth in either the player or the team. That is something to celebrate rather than mourn!
Comments? Questions? Suggestions?