Fastpitch Masters Blog
When to Quit My Daughter’s Travel Team
It’s no surprise that sometimes the travel/competitive softball world can be a little nasty. By this, I mean that the ethics of parents and coaches, even umpires, can be a little rocky in high-pressure moments. While you never want your child to think quitting is the best option, there comes a time when it may be necessary. We’re compiling a list of reasons why it may be time to find another travel team.
1. Playing Time. This is a significant factor for many players looking to move teams. Players look to play on the best teams, but there are times when the best team may not be what’s best for your player. Many parents at the competitive level want their child to succeed in the sport they love, but if they’re not getting playing time, you have to ask the question, is my child growing on this team? Players can get better through exceptional coaching in practice, and many elite-level coaches believe in earning playing time. If you feel your child may never see the field even after seeing exceptional growth, it may be time to move on. Remember, they don’t get to play forever, so make sure they’re getting to see the field before it all ends.
2. Competitive Level. The level your athlete plays is dependent on many factors, including time commitment, money, talent level, and resources. If you feel your team isn’t as serious about players’ success as you may like, then it may be time to find a team that fits your goals for your player. This can go either way as well. Some players enjoy the game for fun, and many may move down after feeling they lost their love of the game due to pressure to perform. Players at the elite level usually all have the drive to compete, which generally sets them apart more than just talent. Find out your athlete’s goals for themselves in the sport and place them at the level to reach those goals. For example, if college softball is a goal, they’ll usually have to play at a more competitive level than recreation softball.
3. Mental Health. While it may be somewhat of a taboo subject to talk about, it’s actually a significant part of the sport. The game is mentally tough in itself, and I’ve seen so much pressure put on young girls that some end up struggling more than they should. I’m always seeing countless articles about coaching ruining the game for players, and they aren’t the only ones to blame, but if your athlete is struggling mentally, then it may be time to go. Some athletes don’t mind being yelled at, but for others, it can raise anxiety and make it hard to perform. In travel ball and college, you’ll want to find a coach who resonates with your athlete and creates the best mental environment for them to succeed.
4. Team Culture. While we wish playing on a team was as simple as putting 9 players on the field, it’s not. When your players join a team, you also join a team of coaches and parents. One tip I always give is that if parents aren’t cheering for all the players on a team, it’s usually a sign of negative team culture. Players should be in an environment where they’re supported to play their best and be a team rather than competing with each other.
5. Sportsmanship. This should go without saying, but you never want your child to be a part of THAT team. You know who they are: their parents are loud, and their coaches are always on the brink of being tossed by the umpire. Apart from teaching your athletes terrible sportsmanship, college coaches will shy away from teams like this altogether as they get older. You may not think college coaches pay attention to parents, but they know that by recruiting an athlete, they’ll also have that same parent sitting in the stands at their games. Truthfully there is enough talent to go around to leave kids with obnoxious parents uncommitted.
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