I like to talk to my players about accountability. What do you do at home? how much work have you put in outside of practice? Coach Geroge Fellman on my 14u team always talks to the players about integrity! What do you do when no one is looking? so the question is who wants to be on the field? who wants to be in the line-up? who wants to be the one who never comes off the field? Ok no the next question is who is putting in the work to make sure they stay on the field? who is working so hard that the coach has no choice but to keep you in the line-up or on the dirt? Who comes to practice and whos off the work they put in at home? Actions speak much louder than words! you can tell me all day how much you want it, but show me! not only me show yourself that you can embrass the grind. We should always be in competition with ourselves, ALWAYS!
We all know who gets most upset when it comes to playing time and rightfully so, THE PARENTS. . Parents want to see their kids on the field all the time, and i get it. So let me tell you a quick story (quick yea right). Vanessa’s first travel team was with the Mount Vernon Magic and she was coached by Coach Stowers (who is now a solid friend of mine). Vanessa worked hard and loved to play the game, but she wasnt good enough to be on the field all the time. She was hidden in the outfield at times but she could hit the ball. She grew tired of being on the bench and wanted to play more. Let me tell you what i did (hold on on to your seats) i talked to coach stowers and asked “what does vanessa need to do to get on the field more?” . I talked to vanessa on the ride home and told her what she needed to improve on and guess what we did? We worked out EVERYDAY in the backyard on basic fundementals. Fielding, Throwing and hitting (at the time she was not a catcher) and we worked and worked and worked! and one day at practice coached recognized her work and said ” i see vanessa has been putting in that work”. Vanessa then slowling started playing 3rd base and 2nd base, threw her in at catcher from time to time. I could tell that she was PROUD! she earned it! and she was proud of it! and guess what it made her do? WORK EVEN HARDER!!! we set goals and we met goals! I didnt expect my daughter to play just because i paid my dues, thats not how this works. You earn a spot on the team thats goal #1, playing time is EARNED! point blank period!
Players , parents and coaches allneed to put some honesty on the table. As a father i hold my daughter responsible for her own playing time. I ask her questions like ” have you put in the work” ? are you hitting a bucket a day? are you going to lessons? are you asking to work out? how long are you on your cellphone? how long are you in front of the tv? I am hard on my own kid because i know what she wants and if i dont help get her there then i also failed. I wont beg her to work out but if she wants to work then i will push her to be successful. If she doesnt like the grind then playing time will be spotty but the player has to be ok with it.
Also remember the hardest worker isnt always the best player, there are other rewards next to playing time, like LEADERSHIP. being the voice of the team! no matter what you position is on the team dont ever let anyone outwork you!!
and listen if players want to talk playing time then let them , but depending on the age make sure the parent is there while the playing and the coach are speaking so everyone gets the same message.
ask yourself this, Am i putting in the work i need to put in to be prepared as an individual and teammate for the upcoming season? WORK HARDER!! HAVE NO CIELINGS!!
But in the end as parents we have to push our kids, its hard to get a teenager to want to “love the pain” and embrace the grind but if we know their goals are to play next level then we must push them to reach their goals. Coaches need to step up and know what their players want and help them get there, and be honest with them!MOST IMPORTANTLY players need to want it! actions speak louder than words! EVERYONE WANTS TO STAND AT THE FINISH LINE, BUT NO ONE WANTS TO RUN THE RACE!
Good luck this season to you all, I will be on the field with the 14u team so if you see me come say hi!
see you on the field,