Cyndi Lauper sang an iconic song a few years back that had the same title as the blog you’re reading now.
I’m not sure she knew it at the time, but she was talking to softball coaches everywhere. It’s been a few years but coaches, we better listen!
Ask any softball player the simple questions, “Why do you play?” and you will undoubtedly get a couple of stock answers. Most revolve around their love of the game, whether its the competition or the satisfaction of growing as an athlete, but they all really mean one thing.
This game is fun! Or at least it is supposed to be.
Coaches, we have to keep this fundamental concept in mind. You all know, I am very old school and have made a bunch of mistakes in my coaching career. None has been more impactful than forgetting that without the fun there is no motivation for players to keep playing.
Now, that doesn’t mean that everything we do in practice or in building a team has to be all grins and giggles. There is always going to be some hard work to do, but who ever said work has to be totally without fun?
For any of my former players who are spitting out their coffee right now, yes I said it!
One of the things I wish I had learned much earlier in my career was that we could have, and clearly should have, found more ways to make working fun. It can be done but we have to make up our minds, that fun has to be a higher priority.
Competition is fun!
Rewards for a job well done are fun!
Incentives that encourage hard work are fun!
Playing well is fun!
Being positively reinforced for your effort, no matter the outcome is fun!
Knowing your coach isn’t a crazy lunatic is fun!
Sorry it took me so long to figure it out.
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.