Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The other side of the fence

My oldest plays softball. In general, I've always tried to stay out of a coaches way. The league is run completely by volunteers and they really do put a lot of time into making sure kids have a good time playing softball. We've always been a "if you need something, ask" kind of parents. This typically turns into warming a pitcher up or throwing pop ups at practice. I've helped with the bases and putting down the foul lines a few times before a game or covering if someone doesn't show up to work in the concession stand. One time it was pretty windy so I hosed down the infield before the game to prevent a dust storm. I like to think of it as helpful without initiative.  If you need something, let me know otherwise I'm going to sit here assuming you're all set.

On the registration form where it says are you willing to coach or manage I wrote "Will help out as needed." The league runs a pre-season clinic. While checking in my daughter to the clinic, one of the coaches greeted us with excitement and pretty much said (I'm trying for a direct quote here), "My assistant coach hurt her knee and can't really get around, you wrote 'will help out as needed,' I need you. Please, please, please, please."

So I'm an assistant coach. I had to go to tryouts with a clipboard to take notes and rank players as if I had a clue. Seriously, I have no business judging the ability of players. For the most part, my scouting report didn't really matter. Since the tryouts, I've spent a lot of time on YouTube looking at drills and things to do in practice (Anyone have ideas? I am very open to suggestions." We've had two practices so far and for the most part they went well. I tried to run a pickle drill but the team isn't quite there yet. They got the general idea, but couldn't pull it off in slow motion. Full speed in a game isn't going to work.

The next 6 weeks are going to be very busy. We've got 2 more practices and then the season starts. Not sure I'll ever get used to anyone calling me coach. In terms of softball knowledge, I am an imposter on this side of the fence. I'm an out of shape pizza enthusiast. I don't really have any business instructing sports.

Need help cooking dinner, I'm your guy.


  1. I understand the feeling of being asked to do something you're not qualified to do. My advice: Don't sweat it, have a good time, and enjoy the kids.

    Who knows? Maybe you'll have so much fun you'll do it again next year. You'll be better next year, and the year after that you'll get better still, and on and on....

  2. Thanks, Steve. So far so good. There are a few of the kids that play on travel teams or other teams with actual coaches. My goal is to avoid having them go back to their other team and have the real coach say, "Who told you that?"