Softball Coaching: Avoid Becoming A Nattering Nabob of Negativity - As has been said many times before, fastpitch softball is a game built on failure. Great hitters fail seven out of 10 times. A brain freeze here, an errant rock there and you can quickly become the goat for the day.
Softball Coaching: Avoid Becoming A Nattering Nabob of Negativity
By Marc Dagenais
Mar 19, 2012 - 10:49:07 AM
to believe that it wasn’t so long ago that fastpitch softball was a game played
by kids for the – wait for it – fun of it. Sure, there were a few adults around
regularly in the form of coaches and umpires, and parents would regularly come
out to see them play if they weren’t working. But it wasn’t life-and-death,
with every player’s future prospects for a good education apparently hanging on
the result of every pitch. All that seems like some sort of pastoral dream,
like a Norman Rockwell painting of America as we always imagined it should be.
Today parents seem to be way too wrapped up in their children’s athletic
are unabashed boosters/braggarts for their kids. You never want to be cornered
by them lest they start to regale you with tales of Lindsay’s might line drive,
or the diving catch Erin made in center field, or the 13 Ks Alice racked up in
her last appearance in the circle. Still, they’re relatively harmless. The ones
who are of real concern are the ones who go the other way – fitting former Vice
President Spiro Agnew’s description of “nattering nabobs of negativity.” Unlike
the boosters, these parents only see their kids’ failures – and they make sure
their kids hear about so they’re “inspired” to improve their performance the
next time. That’s a category that, as a parent, you definitely don’t want to
fall into. Yet it seems to come naturally to some. Perhaps they don’t realize
how they sound (or look, because they’re usually scowling). Perhaps they think
they’re setting high standards for their kids. But the fact is nothing can take
the enjoyment out of an activity like an adult you trust – like a parent –
telling you how bad you are at something.
I’m not saying you have to blow sunshine up their softball pants. But there are
ways to get a point across without being quite so negative about it. Take the
performance. Let’s say the player had a couple of weak hits that got her on
base, plus a legitimate hit or two. Rather than focusing on the failures and
the mis-hits, you could say “you took some good swings, and at least you were
making contact. A duck snort single looks like a line drive in the scorebook.
But let’s keeping working so you get more hits like that double. That was a
beauty.” Same message, but said a lot differently. You want to build off the
one good hit out of however many at bats instead of saying you only had one
good hit, and implying that one was probably lucky.
has been said many times before, fastpitch
is a game built on failure. Great hitters fail seven out of 10 times. A brain
freeze here, an errant rock there and you can quickly become the goat for the
day. And believe it or not, adults, kids know when they’ve screwed up.Instead
of harping on it or replaying it, the best thing you can do is put an arm
around her shoulder and let her know that home run or strikeout, no hitter or
pulled early, she’s still your daughter and you still love her. Spend as much
time talking about what she did right as what she did wrong – maybe more – and
you’ll be surprised how her performance actually improves. After all, no one
really performs at their best with a gun to their head. Especially when a loved
one is holding it.
plenty of negativity already in the world. We see it around us every day, in
the news and sometimes in our own lives. Don’t add to it, and don’t make
negativity a part of something that should be bringing your player pleasure. Focus
on the positives and support your player no matter what. Even if she never
becomes the star you hoped she’d be when you signed her up, the two of you will
have a much better relationship for it. She’ll be your daughter far longer than
she’ll ever be a softball player.
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