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2831 Views 0 Replies Latest reply: Aug 13, 2013 4:14 PM by SoftballSmarts
SoftballSmarts Legend 439 posts since
Oct 7, 2011
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Aug 13, 2013 4:14 PM

How Parents and Coaches Can Kill Softball Performance

As sports parents and coaches we undoubtedly want the best for our athletes/daughters.  However, for many their best intentions turn into game day actions and behavior that end up hurting athletic performance rather than helping it.

Let's look at the types of things a parent can do to diminish or even kill their daughter's game day performance, and worse...their love for the game:

1. Yelling instructions to their daughter during a game. This is probably #2 in my list of worst things a parent can do to kill athletic performance (we'll get to athletic enemy #1 later). Now I know that many of you are former coaches, but whether your daughter is playing at the rec, All Star, high school or travel level yelling out instructions (no matter how well meaning) only serves to confuse your athlete, take her focus away from the task at hand and, in many cases, undermines the instruction given to her by her coach(es).

In my experience as a coach last minute instructions during a game don't work. The time to instruct is during the week, before a game, or carefully critiqued after a game (see my "60 Minute Rule" post).

Additionally younger female athletes end up being highly embarrassed by a parent who is constantly yelling at them through the fence (if you think I'm wrong ask your daughter).

2. Stalking. If you are the kind of parent who can't stand to be more than 10 feet from the dugout every game STOP. I once had a parent of one of my players who even went to the extent of pretending to take photos right next to our dugout at Nationals just so he could just stand there all game and "spy" on us. Now if you think that is acceptable or mentally stable behavior it's time for a long look in the mirror!

If you were a former athlete...get over it. If you were a former coach...get over it. Let go of your need to control or be involved during your athlete's games. If your daughter is at the travel level of softball you are likely making a significant financial investment in her game via team dues and private lessons. It's time to DETACH yourself from her performance during ALL practices and games and trust her coaches to do their jobs.


3. Bad Mouthing. Yes, the #1 enemy of all athletes and coaches. This is the parent who can't keep his or her mouth shut during a game; always second guessing the coach's lineup and strategies; never happy. Usually only focused on winning. Even worse they will talk poorly about players on their own team. These parents are POISON and a VIRUS on a team as they infect other parents, players and even their own daughter to question her coaches and teammates. They are dividers that should be cut from any team their daughter plays on. These parents live in a fantasy land of myopia where their child is the best player in the Universe. They utilize verbal abuse and sports "bullying" to attempt to coerce coaches and parents (and sadly their own kid) to see things their way.

This type of parental behavior absolutely kills athletic performance because it creates a constant negative mindset in their daughter. In one national tournament one of my parents barked at me during a game because I pinch hit for his daughter during a pivotal part of a game. For the rest of the week I could see his daughter shut down to any joy of playing or hanging with her teammates. It was sad to watch, but predictable.

Let's look at a couple of coaching behaviors and actions that can also greatly damage athletic performance:

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