Keeping players in the dark

I know, I know, I talk about subscribing and then don’t post anything for a while. But I’m back now.

One thing I will never get is why some fastpitch softball coaches (or coaches in general I suppose) like to play everything close to the vest. In other words they randomly bench kids, or cut their playing time, or move their positions around without ever telling them why.

Not sure if they think it’s a way of motivating players, but in my experience all it does is de-motivate players. Especially teenage girls who have enough worries and self-esteem issues already without adding why the coach doesn’t like them anymore to the mix.

It may be unpleasant as a coach to have to tell a player you want to put someone else in her spot, but it’s a conversation you need to have. It also helps to tell her what she needs to do to win her spot back.

Competition is a good thing. If players feel like they have to compete for a spot they will try hard. But only if they feel like the competition is fair, and they know on what basis they’re competing.

The easy thing to do is just make the change and say nothing. But it’s not the right thing. Take care of your players and in the long run they will take care of you. It should be Coaching 101 — but apparently it’s not.

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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 April 5, 2012, in Coaching. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Softball Equipment

    I think, its a very relevant issue and every game coach does this to the players and think its their right.https://wwwsportstationusacom/

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  2. Marie Kimberly

    With regards to Keeping Players in the Dark. My daughter’s team is experiencing the same and you’re right it’s de-motivating.What do you say when the player has the courage to ask, “Coach, why am I no longer playing second?” And the coach responds, “Because you’re not hitting and SO & SO is.””So coach you mean, if I work hard and improve my hitting you’ll put me back in at second?” “No, I can’t.””But why?””Because the Varsity Coach is friends with So & So’s dad.”END OF STORY. END OF DAUGHTER’S HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL CAREER.

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  3. Marie, I’m so sorry to hear that. It’s just the wrong thing to do. Sounds like someone who is in it for himself rather than for the players. Coaches have to make tough decisions at times. But keeping their players off-balance so they can power trip is not what a coach should be doing. What a shame that someone like that could kill the enthusiasm of someone who I imagine used to love the game. And what a lame reason to take your daughter’s position away from her with no chance of winning it back. There ought to be a law…

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