If you have a daughter in softball, then you know the softball world can be dramatic, stressful and at times costly. And of course, very very fun.
Today Janis Meredith, who writes a well-read blog about sports parenting, shares some tips to survive and thrive the softball season.
Being a softball mom is not an easy job. In fact, I think itʼs safe to say that when our kids plays sports, we probably undergo just as much character building to become a good sports mom, as our daughters do on their road to becoming good hitters.
What can you do to support your daughter be her best on the field?
Support the whole team. Not just your daughter.
Learn when to keep your mouth shut. Bite your tongue when you feel like ripping into the coach. Bite your tongue when you want to say something stupid and negative to your daughter after a bad game.
Bite your tongue when you want to tear down your childʼs coach or teammates. I think itʼs safe to say that biting your tongue is the single most important skill a sports parent can develop.
Avoid nagging and pushing; instead stick with help and encouragement. Sometimes the line between encouragement and nagging gets fuzzy.
We think we are encouraging and gently guiding our daughters, but they think we are nagging and pushing. It will look different in every mother/daughter relationship.
You know your child. You know what pushes her buttons, so don’t. Take a step back, and instead of pushing, offer positive encouragement. Donʼt be the sports general mom. You know the type.
Always stepping in to do battle for your daughter. Defending her right to playing time and position choice. Wielding a protective sword against other parents, kids or coaches who donʼt treat her as preciously as you do.
Parents you donʼt have to wait until your athlete is in high school to let her fight her own battles. Send her to the battlefield early in life, with lots of guidance to help her succeed.
Teach her how to stand up for herself, talk to her coach, and work through her own challenges. As she grows, her strength will begin to show. Itʼs a battle plan you will never regret.
When my husband coached high school softball, he had several moms who felt it was their duty to confront him about something that really should have been the daughter’s job.
One mom thought her daughter should be pitching, another thought her daughter should be pitching more and still another thought her daughter should be pitching every game.
And what did he say to each mom? “This is something that your daughter needs to come and talk to me about herself.”
All of these high school softball players were embarrassed— to say the least— at their mom’s interference. Do you really want to be that mom?
You can read more about being a softball mom in my new book The Softball Momʼs Survival Guide. My tips and suggestions vary from the practical— safety, nutrition, sports equipment— to the emotional— team drama, mental toughness, dealing with Dad.
Itʼs a survival guide written with the single purpose in mind: to help both you and your daughter be winners in softball.
Janis B. Meredith writes a sports parenting blog, http://jbmthinks.com. She’s been a sports mom for 20 years, and a coach’s wife for 28, and sees life from both sides of the bench. You can also follow her on facebook and twitter.