Youth softball is a huge thing in our country. Millions of kids and families are involved in the great game of fastpitch softball. What we have to remind ourselves of quite often is that the vast majority of the kids playing will not be college players. They will not be chasing scholarships or playing on a high-level travel team. They just want to have fun!
How to make the game fun again!
- Softball is a very difficult game. If you hit .400 you are amazing. Anywhere else in the world if you fail more than half the time you probably get fired, so let’s keep the game in perspective. Have fun whether you get a hit or not.
- Positive reinforcement works. We already know this is a difficult game to play and piling on with more negative feedback will make it a miserable experience. Especially when that negativity comes from people the players love!
- Stop trying to correct every mistake. Learning happens from making mistakes and learning how to make the corrections. Correcting mistakes during a game will lead to more frustration and less fun!
- Encourage a positive attitude and high level of effort more than wins or losses or hits or outs. If kids have a positive attitude and give a great effort, they will have fun, and so will you!
- Let them have fun! They don’t need to have a “game face” or be super intense at this level. There are times and places for that, but it isn’t entry- level youth sports.
Have fun! In the great Disney movie “The Mighty Ducks”, Coach Bombay has a breakthrough with his team when he stops trying to win and encourages his team the “have more fun”. It works, and not just in the movies!