Your phone keeps ringing. You see the caller ID and you know you don’t want to answer it. You love the fact that you have so many options but you hate the idea of having to make such a potentially impactful decision. This is going to be such a difficult conversation that you just want to avoid it as long as you can.
So we are talking about breaking up with someone you have had a long relationship with, right?
The callers you don’t want to speak with are travel-ball coaches who want your kid to play on their team.
You are very flattered that so many knowledgeable people feel your daughter is such a great player. It started off as a fun thing getting the calls telling you how amazing your child is and how much she can help this “powerful” travel ball team. Everyone loves being recruited, at first, but when it gets down to the wire, the fun quickly leaves the building.
Assuming your child has several options you have some serious things to consider. Can you say no? What are the potential consequences of this decision? What’s the right way to play this game to insure that your child ends up in the right situation? What happens if you burn the bridge?
You will have to say no to someone, get used to it. The trick is saying yes to the right team and no to all the others, without being a jerk about it. We all know politics exist in the world of travel ball, well the whole world really, and navigating the political landscape is a challenge.
Start by calling the coach you are saying yes to first. Then systematically call each of the others with a very professional approach, just like you would if this was your job search. Thank them for their interest, be complimentary of their programs, tell them how difficult your decision was and don’t be influenced when they make their last ditch pitch to get you to reconsider.
Is their a risk? Of course.
For every coach who will take this conversation well, there is another who will make up their mind to get even. You will start to hear about teams that:
Didn’t really want your kid anyway
Heard that you are a nightmare parent and had to tell you no
Had better players available and told you no
Think you are a jerk
Are going to get even
Do not allow this to affect you. If you get upset about these types of things, you have already fallen into the trap. Getting upset is like the old proverb, “You drank the poison and thought the other person would die!” Don’t stick that knife in your leg, Ricky! Don’t do it!
If you have handled this process the right way, you have done all you can. Don’t look back and invest yourself in helping your kid have the best experience they can with the team she is now a part of. You can’t spend time looking in the rear-view mirror. It makes driving pretty dangerous!
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.