One of the most amazing things I have experienced as a coach and even more now as an instructor are the parents or players who think that bad habits or bad techniques are easy to fix. That there’s some “magic fairy dust” that we can sprinkle on a player and solve whatever issues they are facing.
Whether we are talking about hitting, pitching or really any other complex skill, making corrections takes time and in many cases a lot of time.
As you might imagine, I have an example.
About three years ago I started with two teammates who were at about the same point in their development. One was clearly more athletic, but they were at about the same level, as hitters. Both did some things really well but both had some bad habits that had been learned over time.
One player, and really her parents, became very disillusioned very quickly because they were not seeing the instant changes they were hoping for.
Now I get it — lessons are expensive, so wanting to get instant results would be nice — but still not realistic. Long story short, that player is on about her fifth hitting coach since she left me and is still struggling to overcome those same challenges.
What about the other player? She and her parents stuck with the program, and while I’m sure they were also disappointed that there were not quick fixes, they stayed the course. After a few months, she had her “it clicked” moment and really started to kill the ball. So the one who stuck it out is now the best hitter on her team and the other is still looking for the “magic.”
In many cases, players have spent years learning to do things a certain way. These habits are deep-seated and really entrenched in their minds and bodies. These types of things take a great deal of time and effort to correct. Many players and parents will often ask for home work to do on their own and that is great. Now while doing the new drills for a couple days or a week will help they will not usually really solve the problem. It takes weeks of that effort to make the changes we are looking for.
Why are these unrealistic expectations so problematic? It creates a tremendous amount of pressure on the player who is trying to make the changes. They feel like a failure because their expectations for instant results leads them to see things as hopeless.
We all want the kids to improve. Just keep in mind that usually, nothing worth having happens without a great deal of time and effort.
Or you can invent the “magic pixy dust” that all softball players wish existed.