What do kids learn when they get playing time irregardless of whether they earn it or not? Now, I know the word “earned” is a hot topic since we all have a different opinion of what it means to earn anything in this day and age. Yes, I am old and old-fashioned, but I struggle with the idea that players get to play just because their parents pay the fee to be on a team.
Recreational leagues are supposed to be the place where all kids get to play. It’s the place where we are supposed to place learning and development on a higher plane than we put winning or losing. I understand that for many of the kids and families who start out in a recreational league it’s not clear how serious they want to be or what kind of commitment they are willing to make. But even at this level, what do we teach a kid who never comes to practice and then gets to play? And what does it tell the kids and parents who are at every practice when they see that same kid play?
All levels of softball, from the least competitive recreational league all the way up to the highest level of college, require a certain level of commitment to be able to play the game. We should want to practice so we can improve. We should want to practice so we can share in the experience of learning about the game with our teammates and coaches. And we should want to go to practice to learn to compete for a starting spot or a bigger role on the team.
Now, I know from the reaction that many of you have shared about some of my other blogs, are:
Kids need to play to improve.
The travel ball world is built on the idea of “you pay so you should get to play”
Whether anyone wants to agree with me or not does not change my attitude that kids need to learn to compete. They need to learn how to earn their way in the world and that softball is a part of that world.
I’m stealing this from a post from the Reformed Sports Parent, “If you don’t teach your kid to compete for starting positions, study for good grades & work for their money, they’ll go through life thinking they’re owed something regardless of work ethic. As parents, it’s our job to make sure our kids know how to go out & EARN IT themselves!”
Obvious! Or not? To me it surely is one of the most obvious things I have ever read