There are a wide variety of softball parents in the sport of softball, especially at the club and association levels. It’s up to the coaches of the teams to decide how they want to handle parent involvement. Some encourage parents to be more involved while others treat their teams like college teams and parent involvement is limited. There is a wide variety of softball parent categories out there. Below are a few of the most common.
Parent Coaches: You will likely see parent coaches at the younger association levels. Not many association teams hire non-parent coaches. You will see this more in the club ball levels. Parent coaches try to do the best they can with the limited amount of softball knowledge they know. If you are a parent coach, hang in there, keep focusing on the basics and you will be relieved of your duties before you know it. It is common for parent coaches to take some heat from the parents of other players. It is impossible to keep everyone happy in the game of softball at the younger levels. There is always going to be someone unhappy with playing time, or where his/her daughter is placed in the batting order. Believe it or not, parent coaches play a key role at the younger age levels. Give them a break, for it could be you in their shoes.
The Observers: These are the parents of players who are just happy to be at the ballpark watching their daughter play the game she loves. These parents are the ones who can be found sitting in their fold-up chairs down the sidelines in the outfield on game days. These parents distance themselves away from the dugout and other parents on purpose. When parents sit away from the action, they are able to observe and take in everything going on. They will pick up on details missed by the parents who hover around the dugout and make comments to the coaches about pitch calling and playing time. Softball needs more parents who are at games just to simply observe and proudly watch their daughters play the game.
The Loud Mouths: Every single team has one of these parents on it. We call these parents the loud mouths because they are the ones you will almost always hear on game days. Typically, these parents will sit right behind home plate or close to the dugout during the games. These are the parents who try to coach from the sidelines when it’s not their role or place to do so. There is a difference between cheering from the sidelines and trying to coach from the sidelines. The loud mouths, yell things directly at players instead of leaving it to the coaches. My advice to these parents, let the girls play. Stay out of the way on game days and just let them play.
Parents play a huge role in the development and success of softball players, especially at the younger levels. Parents are the ones who pay for their daughters to join teams, do private lessons with instructors, drive them to and from all of these things, and don’t always get the credit that they deserve. Even if you find yourself in the Loud Mouth parent category, it’s not too late to join the Observers. Just keep in mind, the way you carry yourself when you are watching affects the way your daughter will play. Stay positive, grab a chair, sit back, relax, and have some fun on the sidelines.