~Softball by Smitty~

Oh, Please Good Tooth Fairy, Help My Parents

Speedy Spitballer had a few tidbits for Smitty the other day.  She said....

"I am mortified! My dad is driving me nuts, I'm taking pitching lessons and my dad is my catcher. Even though we are paying a pitching coach, my dad keeps telling to me to do this, or that. Sometimes it is exactly opposite of what the coach is telling me, I'm mortified.

So, Speedy, you are having problems, Huh? Pray tell me more.

"Well, first of all, 1'm only 12 years old, had one year on the mound, and now I am trying to learn more. Actually, I'm just a beginner. I'm not very good, but I can throw the ball pretty fast. It goes all over the place. Coach keeps telling me to concentrate on speed and not worry about control just yet. But my dad yells at me if I don't throw strikes. Coach has talked to my dad about it, but it doesn't do any good. He just keeps yelling at me and I can't concentrate on what coach is trying to tell me."

And what does the coach do all this time?

"Well, he tries to help me and keeps telling me about the control thing. When he talks to my dad, my dad says that he doesn't want me walking a whole bunch of hitters like last year, and that I should be throwing more strikes. Then, when I let up to get the ball in there, dad yells that I am not throwing fast enough. That's another thing. I never throw fast enough for him. He even keeps it up on the way home and the next week on the way to practice. I'm thinking about giving up pitching. I just can't handle it."

Do you think you have the talent to become a good pitcher?

"Yes, I do, Everyone tells me that I'm really good, mainly because I can throw pretty fast. Batters can't seem to hit my pitches and I get lots of strikeouts. I do walk lots of batters, though."

But, you really like to pitch and like playing softball, Huh?

"Yes! I can't imagine not doing it. I love the travel team and even playing in-house. I want to learn, because I want to be on the Olympic team some day."

Let me ask you about how your dad deals with your summer coach.

"Oh, that's a trip too. He is always complaining about the coach. He thinks I don't pitch enough. When I pitch and am doing badly, he gripes that the coach leaves me in too long, but if the coach takes me out, dad pouts and later tells me the coach didn't give me a chance. I don't know what to believe! I'm so confused. Why won't my dad just leave me alone... but, Smitty... you should listen to the mom of one of the other players. She is always complaining."

What's the beef?

"Well, "Batter Up" is my teammate. Her mom is horrible at the games. She is very loud and will start on the coach and how bad he is. She is so bad that most of the other parents in the stands just move away from her. According to her Mom, "Batter" is never playing enough, or if she is, she isn't in the right position when in the field, and she says that the stupid coach bats her in the wrong position. If she makes an error, her mother hangs her head and gripes at how the coach has ruined her confidence, if she strikes out, the coach is a lousy batting coach. If she gets a hit, or makes a great play, her mom says it's only because of her natural ability and not because of anything the coach has done. Besides when the coach yelled at her one day, her mother went nuts!"

"And Smitty, "Batter's" dad sits by the screen and gives her batting instructions when she's at the plate. She gets so nervous and frustrated and he just makes it worse. She really does good when he doesn't come to the games."

"Batter's" parents never cheer for the other kids; only for her when she does something good. She is mortified!"

Very interesting! Tell, me Speedy, in your worldly travels, have you encountered this sort of condition among many of the other kids who play softball?

"Oh ,yes! And it's not only softballers. Almost all the kids who are in athletics have this problem. Parents, in general, have become too overbearing. We players just wish they would sit in the stands and yell for the team. If only they would be positive about things. All kids know when they've done something wrong on the field. Parents don't need to remind them and over criticize them."

"It would be nice if they would just remember the good things we do and let the coaches do their jobs. Granted, there are some terrible coaches, but if we committed to the team, it is our obligation to finish out the season. It would also be nice if parents would go and talk to the coach about any perceived problems. I do it all the time. I don't think there's anything wrong with sitting down and talking to a coach if something is wrong or if I need help. That's what a coach is for. To help me."

That's a great attitude to have. However, we keep hearing that kids are not what they used to be and that they are hard to coach.
Do you see that as a problem?

"In some cases, yes. But it's usually because the kid has been spoiled and has not had any discipline. Those kind never had to work for anything and don't appreciate what other people do for them. They think only of themselves. They have difficulty seeing right from wrong and try to excuse all their faults, blaming it on others. Usually, they are just like their parents! I see more and more of this in school and at play."

Do you see more of this with kids from broken homes?

"I hate to say it, but sometimes, yes. Usually, but not always, where there is a problem kid, there are problems at home. Coaches seem to have a hard time dealing with this situation. It's good if coaches show some love and understanding. That usually helps, because problem kids are sometimes just looking for attention. I think that applies to loud parents, too."

Well, thank you Speedy. The wisdom of children is sometimes much greater than that of adults. Unfortunately, adults seldom listen to what kids have to say!

"Yes, Smitty. I don't know if anyone will ever be able to change parents. If you talk to them about it, they think you mean everyone else but them. If only there were a Good Tooth Fairy to help them. There is probably no other hope."

Thus, we heard from someone who is not an actual person, but a consolidated figment of Smitty's imagination, gleaned from a wonderful and extensive association with young people. Her words are very telling.

Is anyone listening?

By: Dick Smith
This article is copyright protected, and
may not be duplicated without written
permission by the author listed above.

Interested In Reading More From Smitty?
Below is information on Dick Smith's upcoming book ......

The book will be out sometime in October and will be entitled "Softball, by Smitty".  It will probably be 8 x 11, about 160 pages, and will sell for 12.00, postpaid.  Inquiries may be made to my email address at:   Dicksmitty@aol.com



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