You don't have to be involved with competitive softball long to see it. Heck, I've seen it in rec league ball. Your team trails by one going into the home half of the inning with 10 minutes left and the home team is taking their time getting their batter into the box, fixing uniforms and all of a sudden has a rash of shoestring malfunctions all while the defensive coaches are screaming "batter up" and "balls in" before the umpires have even taken their positions. The old stall tactics come in many forms. What are your thoughts regarding the issue?? Let me first quantify the question by saying I'm talking about coaching kids and specifically about volunteer coach's decisions...obviously if you're getting paid to coach a team at whatever level, that changes the dynamic quite a bit. I coach both 14U and 10U softball teams and see this all of the time. I get it on some level, but what message are you sending if it extends to tactics beyond the game?? Sure you want to win and you play to win, but the lengths that some teams go to are just simply bush-league. Changing pitchers when they obviously aren't struggling, calling time to talk to your defensive players or batter with the sole intent to waste time, the rash of shoestring or uniform problems...they are all pretty weak and sends a pretty terrible message to your kids. Now, I'm not suggesting that you run up there and quickly go through the motions to HELP the other team, but you can stall within the context and flow of the game. Taking pitches until the pitcher throws strikes is one way to do it. But how about actually getting a hit or two or mowing down the batters if you're in the field?? Geez...some common sense ideas aren't bad either!! All I'm saying is that if you're going out of your way to do something you'd otherwise not do simply in an effort to waste time to insure a "win" for your team, then you might need to reevaluate why you're REALLY coaching as well as what you're REALLY teaching! Thoughts??
This is all part of a much bigger problem. What you described is obviously wrong. Coaches will defend their action via the rule book, but who cares? It is bush league. Their kids didn't play better, they didn't learn anything (good), and no one got any exercise through all the stalling and gamesmanship.
Also think you have to fault the ump. He should keep the game moving, not just collect his fee. A good ump is aware of the lessons both in the game and in the world we are trying to teach our kids by having them play in team sports. Coaches have a 'vested' interest in what happens to their team, umps should be involved in the bigger picture. Lots of the less than sportsmanship-like behaviour of coaches could be stopped by a GOOD ump. Take heed BLUE, the game is in YOUR hands.
You have to look at the situation. If it is early on a hot day and you are winning and 6 minutes on the clock and you are home team and stalling will keep your girls from playing another inning and wasting your pitcher with possible 3 or four more games to go that day. I will try my best to run the clock out. But we do it with limited swings, make sur you take all of your signs and yes maybe change a pitcher, its according of the score. I have never changed a pitcher and let her throw one pitch and then put my starter back in, I wouldn't do that. A State or National title, I will do what ever! LOL
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