For the players and team to achieve, the largest factor in softball (or any youth sport) is to have the support of the parents and buy-in of the players. The single factor that negates this is the perceived notion that the coach is not fair. I was constantly repeating team rules, and upset parents.
In my coach and parents meeting at the first of the year, I tell the parents your son or daughter is guaranteed “0” playing time. All playing time will be earned. And don’t think I am not talking about your son or daughter. This means everyone.
This works wonders when you refer back to it in the middle of the season when someone is slumping. They don’t have an argument and you can refer back to this at any time in the season. By implementing a documented set of team rules which are distributed and discussed with parents and players prior to the season, you can prevent problems down the road.
Parent Player Team Rules
The rules have had a two fold effect.
1. Everyone knows what to expect, what is expected and there is a level playing field
2. The team confidence shoots up, and they play as a team not individuals.
3. The players police the rules, themselves now and festering sores have evaporated.
Here are the key rules:
- All players are to be at practice or games at the required time.
- All players are responsible for ensuring practice is attended with appropriate equipment.
- Players who use “Mum” or “Dad” as an excuse for not having their gear, or practice was missed. – 15 press-ups. It is your game, you need to take ownership and if necessary assist mum and dad so you can get to the game or practice.
- No Bad attitudes – Leave them off the ball park.
- Take care of our team equipment, ensure it is kept tidy and packed up at end of practice and games
- No arguing with the game officials. You may ask for clarification only. Accept the answer.
- Listen and learn. Questions are important, if it is unclear ASK.
- Report all injuries to the coach regardless of how small.
- Support your team mates whether they have screwed up or done something good.
- Negative comments about players will not be tolerated.