Ignorant v. petty

Ok, back to business on fastpitch softball.

I’ve been holding on to this one a little while, but can’t wait on it anymore. Stupid is a high school coach scheduling her team into a four-team tournament on the same day as prom. Petty is then benching a senior during the one game she is going to attend because she took the lead on behalf of all the others and asked if they could leave early to get ready for the prom.

The reality is prom is a big deal to most high school girls these days, whether they are athletes or not. They spend days or even weeks picking out just the right dress, deciding on how they’ll do their hair and nails, and generally getting prepared. The day of prom most will take several hours getting ready. It’s a very special day, especially for seniors who are at the end of their time in high school. Scheduling a completely meaningless tournament on the day of prom is just asking for discord and disappointment. It’s also asking for three extra losses on your record, because you’re fighting the tide. They’re going to go to prom, whether you like it or not.

Worse, though, is taking those kids who are willing to cut things a little closer by attending at all and punishing them for wanting to be high school girls. Why penalize your players because you were too short-sighted to realize what you were doing, and what you were asking of them? Why not give them that weekend off, so they can take advantage of another activity the school has to offer? And one that’s sure to be a lot more special and memorable than some pointless softball tournament?

Many have talked about the year-round specialization of softball players (rather than being well-round athletes playing multiple sports) as one of the leading factors in the increase in softball injuries. That same single-mindedness applies to other activities as well.

It’s time to remember that youth sports participants are youths first. You’re only young once. There’s plenty of time to be responsible adults later. When you’re making out your schedule, be smart. Don’t put your players in a position of making that decision and you’ll all be a lot happier.

About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on June 3, 2009, in Coaching, General Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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