When I agreed to be an assistant coach for my youngest daughter’s softball team I had my doubts that I’d be able to teach them anything. I had no idea that that they’d be teaching me too… but that’s what they’re doing.
Even though we’re only halfway through the season I’ve learned a lot from nine 3rd and 4th grade girls. I thought I’d share a little bit of what I’ve learned with you. There are 9 girls on our team. Here’s one lesson I’ve learned for each of them.
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1. Whatever you do have fun. These girls love to laugh. There are times I need to laugh more.
2. Take risks. At the beginning of the season the head coach asked every girl on the team if they’d like a chance to pitch. Every girl said yes! At that age I’d never have wanted to be in the sports spotlight like that.
Sports were never my thing. In 3rd grade I was comfortable on the stage of our community theatre’s Summer production of Oklahoma… but to have all eyes on me while I pitched for the first time… that would have scared me to death. A friend of mine did try to warm me up to baseball by introducing me to fantasy baseball through sites like https://www.draftkings.com/fantasy-baseball but I never found myself really getting into it.
I’m proud to be associated with a team and other coaches that encourage every girl to try and then follow through with making sure they are given the opportunity. As of this post all 9 girls have pitched.
3. Focus on the positive. While all 9 players have pitched not all were aces their first time out. But you know what? All came into the dugout after pitching proud of their efforts. My own daughter came off the field after pitching for the first time not talking about the number of walks she had. She focused on the strikes she threw.
4. It’s OK to not be perfect and laugh at yourself. At our game today one of our best pitchers threw a pitch that went straight into the air and dropped 5 feet in front of her. She didn’t get frustrated, cry, or quit. She laughed it off and then threw a strike the next pitch.
5. Encourage others. These girls are awesome about cheering for each other. They genuinely want each other to do well.
6. Listen & learn. One of the things that impresses me most about our team is how well they listen and accept coaching. Whenever the coaches offer a suggestion to make them better they are quick to try it.
7. Make friends and work with new people. We have girls on our team from two different elementary schools. Not everyone knew everybody at the beginning of the season but they’ve become friends and are having fun together.
8. Work hard. Whether it’s in practice or games these girls give it their all.
9. Have lots of interests. Our team is filled with girls that are involved in many things… not just sports. Four of the nine members also participate in dance. I appreciate the league working around their schedules to make it so they can participate in both.
Even though I was hesitant to help coach this team I’m so glad I did. Can’t wait to see what they teach me in the second half of the season.