What lessons are we teaching players when we institute a system where everyone get to play, no matter what?
Whoa, slow down, I get it. In recreational leagues and developmental programs all the kids should get to play. We are trying to instill a love for the game and playing, in games, is key to creating that. I am all for allowing the beginning players every opportunity to play and play as much as possible.
When does reality creep into the discussion? At what age and what level does winning become a priority? When winning becomes more of a priority it seems pretty logical that the best players are going to play more than the weaker players.
Well, maybe not. It appears that there is a new logic sweeping the fastpitch softball world where all players expect to play the same amount that anyone else plays. Coaches are now almost required to create some sort of spreadsheet or formula that tracks the exact amount of time each player plays because you can count on the fact that the parents of those players already have one.
“I’m paying the same fee as everyone else to be on this team and my daughter deserves to play as much as everyone else” seems top be a pretty universal theme. It’s not “fair”! is another.
Let’s take a look. Yes you are paying the same fee, for your daughter to be on the team. Paying that fee doesn’t really mean that your daughter deserves to play. It means she deserves to have a uniform, it means she deserves to be in the dugout, it means she deserves to work hard to earn playing time!
The “fair” is a place where people ride the Ferris wheel and pigs get blue ribbons!
Sorry folks, but the world is a competitive place. When you negotiate your daughter into a place on the field you are not teaching her the skills she needs to get ahead in the real world. Period!
Teach our kids to compete, to work, to fight for a role and then to work to increase or improve that role. When you send that message, you are doing way more for your kid than you ever are by fighting for her to get to play whether she deserves it or not.
Your kids know where they stack up. They’re at practice every day and they know whether they deserve to play or not. I don’t think too many kids stay happy getting something they didn’t earn. Their teammates know too!
Teach them to compete! Please.
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.