Coach saying it's time to leave

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Nov 20, 2020
563
93
SW Missouri
This is DD's fourth year in softball, but only third year playing "competitive softball". In the beginning we knew nothing. We started her out in a program through the local parks & rec center that loosely resembled softball. She loved it. After a year of that she had a sleepover with her BFF who was trying out for a 10u Rec/C program. DD went to watch and ended up trying out (in someone else's shoes and a borrowed glove and bat). BFF's Dad called me with "bring her gear as fast as you can. She's outworking other kids in borrowed stuff". She made the team.

The program and coaches were great. I look back now (more educated) and see it as a rec program where her team over-performed and played as a strong C team. I'm not sure we lost a game that season. Not that it means much at 10u. It was a great group of 10u girls. DD had so much fun and I think that's where the love for the game actually started. The team moved up to 12u the next year (as DD and a couple other girls aged out) but stayed with the program. They said we could pick our team as we wanted to be more competitive. Didn't happen. We structured a 12u C team, but then some beginner rec players were forced on us. Did our best but between transitioning to 12u for first year, struggles with players showing up, and the rec players it was a little frustrating. The program folded after that year and the coaches decided to try our own thing one more time. Again, things were looking good until they weren't. Had some strong girls lined up that would have made us a solid C or lower/decent B team.

Then we lost over half of those girls to larger programs. I don't take it personally....and had I been better educated (more aware) we would have (should have) done the same. But, DD still had some developing to do. Loved the coaches. And still had friends on the team so we stayed. Knowing she would get tons of circle time and continue to play every inning at 1B when not pitching.

DD started the year off with school ball (Jr High is Spring here). Our conference is really competitive. It's fun softball to watch. Her team practiced 5 days a week, 2 1/2 hours a day for a month. Then did 2 games and 3 practices a week once games started. We also started seeing a hitting and pitching instructor on a more consistent basis leading into and coming out of school ball. DD was an entirely different player coming out of Spring.

DD's "TB" team is..........not good. I feel bad saying that because the group we have, from a personality standpoint, is wonderful. Kind, funny, and positive. No drama or bickering. If we were to play in a rec league....they'd be perfect for it. But, only 3 see softball the way DD does. And only one other player puts in the time she does. (Example: We played a double header in league last night. Afterwards, she wanted to use an unused field to work on grounders because she was pulling her head up early. It was 9:30pm). I don't like boasting or trying to sell someone on my DD. But, if you were to see her play on our team, without knowing who she was, you could pick her out in two guesses. Coaches we play against do. And this year many (who have more competitive programs) have reached out directly to our head coach. Either to say how lucky he is or to see if she's available to fill in for them...which happens weekly. I've already been asked by a few teams for her to come tryout for next year. Which, as a Dad, always makes you feel good.

This (long story) lead up to a phone call from the head coach earlier this week. First to discuss a couple of the fill ins we have for this weekend's tournament. Then, to discuss what I thought about releasing DD from the team after our June tournaments, so she could have an opportunity to find higher level of play somewhere else. DW and I (mostly me) had been discussing this very thing and whether or not I was being a crazy person. I want what will help drive DD's development, but I also don't want to be a team hopper. And, I also understand DD isn't perfect. Far from it. She still has a lot to refine....but we're to the point that she needs to be around players and competition that's better than her. And with the present team we can't do that. It took some weight off my shoulders when the coach and I talked. I still feel a little bad because the coaches have been so wonderful to her. She's just outgrown them.

Sorry....this was a long post. But I felt some backstory was necessary to help better explain this wasn't a simple "my kid is so awesome blah blah blah" story. But more of a "this is a first for us" situation. We've been with these coaches for three years and it likely will be tough to try find a spot on a more competitive program mid-year. I'm hoping, because she has to move to 14u in August (USSSA) and she's a pitcher who can also catch and hit, that we can land something once we wrap up our June tournaments. I'm proud of her as a parent and coach. She's put in so much work this year and it's obviously showing.
 
Last edited:
Oct 4, 2018
2,801
113
Find a new team.

:)


It seems like a no-brainer to me, from the outside.


1. It's not fun for your DD, no matter what she might say. What's fun is finding that group of friends who play like she does. There's so much better for her out there, and she'll love it.

2. Softball is a small world. You DD will play with and against hundreds of girls and one season that great player on another team will be her teammate. The friends may leave the team, but they don't leave.

3. Team hopping is two teams (or more) in the same calendar year, for more than one year -- at least that's my personal, loose definition. If you switch teams any less frequently than that, you're not a team hopper. And there are very legitimate reasons even for leaving teams multiple times per year. No one really cares much about that. You do not need to worry about that as you've been with the same team three years. None of the girls I've coached can say that.


So, try to finish out the season with your current team, but also try to pick-up/guest play with a better team. I'm sure you've identified teams near you that are better than your team. Reach out and see if they have room for you to join a practice in June/July or even a tournament. You might be surprised that almost all coaches welcome players at their practices - they hope you might be the missing piece and will happily have you come to practice so they can find out.
 
Last edited:
Nov 20, 2020
563
93
SW Missouri
Find a new team.

:)

It seems like a no-brainer to me, from the outside.

We (as a family) had pretty much gotten to this decision. I was going to approach the coach after this weekend's tournament. He just beat me to the conversation. And good on him for not being selfish and keeping DD's best interest at heart. It's why we've really enjoyed being a part of his team.

1. It's not fun for your DD, no matter what she might say. What's fun is finding that group of friends who play like she does. There's so much better for her out there, and she'll love it.

She has never been one to express frustration about her team after a loss. Ever. It happened last week. "They quit on me". Broke my heart. And keeps commenting how boring practices are (and she loves to practice). Pretty much when I knew it was time. She even yawned coming off first base last night - lol.

2. Softball is a small world. You DD will play with and against hundreds of girls and one season that great player on another team will be her teammate. The friends may leave the team, but they don't leave.

100% agree with this statement.

3. Team hopping is two teams (or more) in the same calendar year, for more than one year -- at least that's my personal, loose definition. If you switch teams any less frequently than that, you're not a team hopper. And there are very legitimate reasons even for leaving teams multiple times per year. No one really cares much about that. You do not need to worry about that as you've been with the same team three years. None of the girls I've coached can say that.

Appreciate this as well. I just try very hard not to be that parent or family. Didn't want this to be a "leaving because the team sucks" versus what it is actually is about....development. Team is quite honestly holding DD back. Not on purpose.....just is what it is at this point.

So, try to finish out the season with your current team, but also try to pick-up/guest play with a better team. I'm sure you've identified teams near you that are better than your team. Reach out and see if they have room for you to join a practice in June/July or even a tournament. You might be surprised that almost all coaches welcome players at their practices - they hope you might be the missing piece and will happily have you come to practice so they can find out.

That's the plan. We have tournaments this weekend and next. Some league play in the middle. And then that will be about it. I have already been talking to some teams on the side (where we know parents/players) and seeing what's available or to practice. One parent (who's daughter plays league with us for reps but plays for a better travel team for tournaments) has been lobbying to get DD for awhile now. So we will check things out and take what we can come up with. Just a brand new experience for us.

Appreciate the response!
 
Oct 4, 2018
2,801
113
Challenge her. Find a team where she’s middle of the road in talent. Let her hard work speak for her.

It’s no fun being one of the best on a mediocre team.

My older DD just barely made her team and spent the fall batting 10th or not at all, and only playing about half the innings in the field. She asked me for help (which she hates to do) and 6 months later she's batting 4th and starting at 3B and C. It's really, really awesome to see them work hard for a starting position. Many won't do it, and on B teams (like she is on) you can easily pass half the girls with hard work and dedication. She's such a better player than she was a year ago.
 
Dec 2, 2013
2,163
113
Texas
My older DD just barely made her team and spent the fall batting 10th or not at all, and only playing about half the innings in the field. She asked me for help (which she hates to do) and 6 months later she's batting 4th and starting at 3B and C. It's really, really awesome to see them work hard for a starting position. Many won't do it, and on B teams (like she is on) you can easily pass half the girls with hard work and dedication. She's such a better player than she was a year ago.
After a season or two of playing Allstars makes a huge difference. Coming back to rec tryouts, it was quite obvious which kids spend the summer playing and practicing. Those kids with natural talent and size get passed up and the parents can't understand why. They prefer to spend their summers at their beach and lake houses...which if totally fine. I wish I could do that too, but it's hard to do without a vacation home. I prefered picking out orange dirt in my socks.
 
Nov 20, 2020
563
93
SW Missouri
My older DD just barely made her team and spent the fall batting 10th or not at all, and only playing about half the innings in the field. She asked me for help (which she hates to do) and 6 months later she's batting 4th and starting at 3B and C. It's really, really awesome to see them work hard for a starting position. Many won't do it, and on B teams (like she is on) you can easily pass half the girls with hard work and dedication. She's such a better player than she was a year ago.

Love it. DD saw her pitching coach (the one we don't get to see as often) yesterday. He was happy to see how far along she's come since starting to see him last year. His challenge to her was not so much the "big stuff" anymore, but the attention to detail work and time. He explained to her that she's at a point in her journey where she will either choose to put in the time and succeed. Or decide it's not worth the work and let pitching go.

I told her she's at a similar point in her overall journey. That to take the next steps will take hard work and persistence. She said she wants to. Hence working on fine tuning her fielding grounders immediately finishing up playing 8 innings straight.
 
Nov 20, 2020
563
93
SW Missouri
I spoke with the coach again yesterday and gave him the formal "we will be leaving". Easy conversation and he gets it. He's seen her go from raw talent 10u player to now a solid B-level 12u ball player. I've already had a couple conversations with some B-teams where we know parents and/or players, so I think she will at a minimum have a place to play B-level ball August thru October. We will see what July fill-in can be found for tournaments and use that month to do detail work at home or practice with other teams for exposure.

DD is excited. She's a plug and play kid, so hitting the ground running on a new team shouldn't be an issue.

Thanks again for all of the comments and insight. Looking forward to what this brings for DD.
 

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