There is an old saying that goes, “You don’t choose the game, the game chooses you!”
When a player approaches the higher levels of any sport, there is a change that occurs. When a player is young, they choose what sport to play and they have every opportunity to get out on the field and perform. All the kids get to play and playing is the highest priority. Then slowly but surely, the situation changes and winning becomes a higher priority. When we start to think about winning as an important thing, the game changes — drastically.
I’ve been a coach for over 40 years now. I have observed other coaches and how they do things for the same amount of time. Almost all of my coaching experience has been in an arena where winning was important. As a high school or college coach, you are expected to win more than you lose. If you don’t, you are soon going to be the ex-coach.
So what have I learned over those 40 years?
When coaches want to win, they play their best players! Now what each coach thinks makes each of those players “better” than someone else is up to each coach to decide. But the moral to the story is that when kids aren’t playing, they are usually not the best kids. The only notable exception is when a talented player has a bad attitude or is lazy or has discipline issues but again, this is up to each coach to determine.
I have never seen a committed player, who works hard, who is dedicated to the team, who is a better player sit the bench behind someone who is less talented. Why? Because coaches at the college level want to win.
When winning is a priority, the player no longer chooses the game but, rather, the game chooses the player.
Who does the game choose?
The best players!
If you’re not playing, work harder! If your kid isn’t playing, help them get better.
Don’t get even, get better!
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.