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The past few years of my coaching career I have noticed that young girls playing the sport of softball do not show any respect for the game.  This is a sign that the coaches of these girls are not teaching their athletes how to respect the sport that gives so much to them.   The game of softball gives young girls and women the opportunity to gain confidence to be successful both as individuals and as a team. It gives them an opportunity to learn discipline, to have fun, to travel and see different parts of the country/world, gives them life long friendships, and an environment to develop into respectable, responsible, hardworking women.  It is understandable to see a rec-ball player not knowing how to respect the game, but when an athlete chooses to play for an elite travel ball program they need to be taught how to respect the game and how to play the game at a higher level.

My question then is, when did it stop being a part of the coaches job description to teach our young athletes to respect the game that gives so much to them?  Respect for the game begins when the coaches are holding their own players accountable for their actions, i.e. Being on time, not talking back to a coach, not speaking while a coach is speaking, or looking a coach in the eyes.  I have created a list of other simple ways athletes can show respect for the game of Softball.

1)   HUSTLING to and from your position at the beginning of an inning whether it’s the first inning of the weekend or the 20th inning.

2)   Running out your hit whether it was a good one, poor one, caught line drive or pop up.

3)   Catchers and Hitters should not make eye contact with the plate umpire when questioning a pitch location.

4)   Getting into a proper ready stance prior to the pitch being thrown, EVERY PITCH.

5)   Runners SLIDING when there is a play being made that includes them.

6)   Wearing the uniform CORRECTLY.

7)   Not walking on or across a NEWLY lined field.

8)   Caring for your own equipment, including: Not throwing your glove, bat or helmet, or having a parent carry it.

So its up to us as coaches to hold our elite travel players to a higher standard.  If our athletes start to respect the game they will gain a deeper love for the game and a greater appreciation for what it can do for them.