One of the best things that you can do for a young player first lacing up the softball cleats is to build their love of the game. You will help to teach them core values like teamwork and dedication, while giving them the gift of a positive environment and healthy habits that last a lifetime. The benefits of playing a team sport like softball are nearly too many to list. Here are five ways that you can help your beginning softball player to improve in the sport.
1. Keep it Fun
Remember that team sports,
especially for young girls, should be positively motivated. Even if you or your
spouse was a star player, that doesn't mean your daughter automatically shares
the same love of the game. She will have to build this over time. The best way
to do this is by encouraging her to enjoy the game. You may encounter coaches
or other parents that put a lot of pressure on young players. Try to counteract
this by always encouraging your daughter, and modeling good behavior in front
of her teammates.
2. Get the Right Gear
To help your daughter develop
as a player, you don't necessarily need to buy the softball equipment
that you saw at the College World Series last year, or have a softball
pitching machine in your
backyard. However, make sure that she has a glove that fits and that she likes.
Be sure to offer her softball bats that will help her to develop a correct
swing. The last thing you want is for her to suffer an injury, so make sure she
has softball cleats, or even some great beginner's catcher's gear, if that is her
position. Then, encourage her to properly care for the investment in equipment
that you have made.
3. Reward Hard Work
Once your daughter starts to
really enjoy the game, continue to reward her dedication. If she takes the
initiative to join a summer league or train in the off-season, sacrifice a bit
of your time and resources to make sure that she can make practices. If she
shows dedication, you should too. Reward hers with upgraded bats
and other equipment, your praise, and support.
4. Keep Calm During
For every young athlete,
there are setbacks, losses, injuries, and struggles. Lead by example by
correcting problems when they can be fixed, and encouraging her to learn from
the difficult times of the game. Let her take a break from the sport if she
needs to. If she really loves it, she'll return to it, but in the meantime
encourage other healthy habits that build an overall winning attitude.
5. Find Positive
You could be the best
softball player in your city, but your daughter would still need other coaches
and parents to give her a balanced approach to the game. Find other role models
for her to follow besides yourself, and encourage her to learn from them. Often
your local Softball Store will be
able to connect her with such local support system. Whether that's a local high
school pitching star that is willing to share her experience, or a coach that
really knows how to motivate young players, she will need many people to help
her develop the skills and habits that make a great young player.