The softball field is every softball player’s sanctuary. It’s a safe place for them to interact with teammates, coaches, and opponents, while also learning about, developing and growing into the person and player they are destined to be. Once a softball player steps onto the softball field, nothing besides the practice or game should be on their mind.
There are enough things softball players have to worry about in order to succeed on the field, they don’t need outside distractions taking their focus away. My advice to coaches at all levels out there is to create some sort of team guidelines and expectations for players and parents to follow on practice and game days.
Below is a list of the three biggest outside distractions softball players at all levels in today’s game face. If coaches, players, and parents can rally together to limit the following, they will set up the softball players and their teams for success this season.
Cell Phones: In order to keep softball players 100% engaged in practices, games, and their teammates, advise them to put the cell phones away. Everyone and everything that is important to them should be on the field, so there is no reason to have a cell phone out during a practice or a game. Keep the phones tucked away in the player’s bat bags outside of the dugout during practices and games. Make it a team rule for everyone to abide by. This will keep players focused on the task in front of them and allow them to be present.
School/Friend Drama: There are many outside factors that limit a softball players practice and playing ability. Every single person in the world is dealing with things that others may know nothing about. Make a pledge to yourself that no matter what is going on in your friend circle at school, that you won’t bring it with you to the softball field. You owe it to your teammates to be completely focused on the practice or game you are involved in. The drama can wait to be handled when you get off the field or when you get back home.
Parents: Unless you are a parent coach for the team, parents should not be in or near the dugout during games. We understand softball parents invest money into their daughters and want their daughter to perform, but you have to let them go it alone on game days. It’s the coaches job to establish rules and guidelines for parents to follow along with players. Parents have zero involvement with players at the college level and it is encouraged to practice that before then. Parents like to be in control, they have been for their daughter’s entire upbringing. But, there comes a time in every softball players journey where it’s time for parents to take a back seat and let their daughter show the world what she can do.
Limiting the distractions in softball at every age level benefits the entire team as a whole. It’s important for coaches to establish and lay out expectations and guidelines for both players and parents at the younger age levels. This will keep everyone held accountable and there shouldn’t be any issues brought on during the season. Distractions hurt softball teams at every age level. Limit them early on, and your team will be on the road to success for the season.