Guest post by Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog
We are about halfway through the summer fastpitch softball season, which means teams are starting to find out exactly what they have. In some cases, perhaps there have been pleasant surprises – players playing above the level you thought.
In others, perhaps that worldbeater of a team you thought you had isn’t quite as good as you expected. Which means it’s time to do a little retooling to get ready for the second half.
One of the phenomena that goes along with under-performing is the ever-helpful observations and suggestions from the peanut gallery, i.e. the parents. I’m not sure exactly what they think we’re doing in the dugout, or what sort of a veil they think is placed over the field-side opening. But it’s apparent that they often mistake a player’s inability for our ability to recognize them.
So for all those who have taken on the obligation to point out the obvious, here’s a little info from inside the dugout.
Yes, we’re aware that player A is slow. You don’t have to be a WCWS winner to figure that out. We’d like her to be faster, but whether it’s nature or nurture, she’s not going to get a whole lot faster in the next three weeks. Deal with it. We have.
We are also aware that our catcher doesn’t have a very strong arm. No one taught her to throw correctly, so she has some issues. We are working on it, believe me. But until it gets better, yeah, there are going to be some stolen bases. Still, her upside outweighs her downside so take a chill pill and remember these things take time.
It’s no surprise to us that we have a couple of hitters who are struggling. We wish they would’ve taken hitting lessons like we asked back in the fall, but it didn’t happen. So they’re struggling now.
We’re doing the best we can to get some production out of them. Sure, we could just not let them hit – some coaches certainly wouldn’t – but they didn’t sign up to sit on the bench all season. But until they put in the work, we’ll try to minimize the damage. No need to keep harping on it.
Oh, you noticed our pitchers are getting rocked by the better teams? Us too. Doesn’t exactly make us happy, but they are who they are. Hopefully their pitching coaches can get them back on track. In the meantime all we can do is put our fastest outfielders out there and do the best we can.
The same goes for the easy popups and fly balls we’re dropping, the bunts we’re not dropping, the third strikes we’re watching, the ground balls we’re booting and the throws that are going all over the place.
We see them too, and we’re not happy about them. (By the way, some of those are being committed by your kid.) No one goes onto the field hoping to fail. It just happens. It’s not that we don’t practice succeeding at these things – we do it all the time, sometimes for hours on end. But no matter how much we practice it still seems to happen.
Just remember that they’re still kids, and still learning. And in our sport there is a lot to learn. We’re addressing issues as they come up but Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are championship-caliber players.
So sit back and enjoy the ride. Remember we see it all. We just can’t fix it all, at least not in a day or two.
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