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Game Etiquette for Softball Parents

Everyone gets excited during a softball game. The blood gets pumping, stress starts mounting, and your passion soars. But as a parent, you need to know how to control yourself for the sake of your child and yourself. Young girls play softball for one reason — they want to. It’s your job as a parent to support and encourage her passion, notto take it away by belittling, punishing, or publicly chastising her about her game in front of the team or at home.

You may not know this, but you probably have the biggest influence on whether she will continue playing. So do her a wonderful favor by taking a look at this guide as it covers proper sideline etiquette. It will help you remain calm during an extremely stressful game. As you probably know by now, it’s hard to sit back and do nothing when games aren’t going your team’s way or your daughter isn’t performing.

Support

Most parents are their daughters’ biggest fans. But excitement can sometimes be translated into something other than encouragement. As such, it is important for parents to know how to act at a softball game. Everyone knows how hard it can be to sit and be calm in an intense game — especially if your daughter is having a particularly tough game. But players look to their parents for comfort, not for scorn. Always remember to be supportive. Cheer from the stands, compliment the good plays, and always be encouraging.

Be on Time

No one appreciates latecomers, so if you are your daughter’s transportation, make sure she gets everywhere she needs to be on time. A coach may punish her for regular tardiness, and you don’t want to be the reason she gets benched. Players may also start to dislike her if she is constantly late but still plays — don’t be the root of animosity. Make sure your daughter has the best chance at success and make sure she’s always on time.

Volunteer

If the coaching staff needs a hand, let it be you! There is nothing better than being an active part in your child’s life, and she’ll surely appreciate it. Whether it’s throwing batting practice or catching throws, volunteer your time and be a part of team. If you aren’t the sporty type, help out in other ways. Being a “team mom,” “team dad,” working the concession stands, carpooling, or just brining snacks and water will never go unnoticed.

What Not to Do on the Sidelines

There are, of course, a few things you should not do on the sidelines:

  • No public chastising
  • No fighting with the coach
  • No fighting with other parents
  • No talking (negatively) about other players

Do Not Chastise

A softball field is a place for enjoyment, not berating. Don’t yell at your daughter in a derogatory manner in front of her team, fans, or other bystanders. Even if she is having the worst game of her life, there is absolutely no reason to add to her stress by publicly belittling her. You can rest assured that she already knows she isn’t playing well — a parent, of all people, does not need to remind her.

Do Not Fight with a Coach

It’s not uncommon for a parent and a coach to get into disputes about one thing or another. Being a supportive parent does not mean that you can never address the coach, and it doesn’t mean that you must always agree with a coach’s decision. What it does mean is that you need to be mature about how you go about addressing the coach.

If you have a problem with a coach, it’s perfectly fine to talk to him or her about a decision — you can ask as many questions as you’d like. What you cannot do, though, is scream at the coach in the middle of the game for doing something, like taking out your daughter.

The best time to talk to a coach is before or after a game. If you choose to talk to a coach before a game or practice, do it in as much advance as needed so the coach won’t have to rush your meeting.

Hot Tip: Private Instruction
If your daughter finds herself spending more innings on the bench than on the field, make sure you speak to the coach. It could be lacking skill that’s preventing her from playing. If this is the case, it might be a good idea to find private instruction.

A private instructor independent of your daughter’s team eliminates a coach’s bias when evaluating your daughter’s performance. More often than not, a coach will see a player in the same light, no matter her performance change. If she gets better than she was last season (or last month), it may not matter.

A private instructor can offer an impartial approach to make her into a better player. Use iSport’s Instructor Matching Tool to find a softball coach in your area today!

If you choose to talk to a coach after the game, do not barge in on a meeting. Calmly ask the coach for a minute of his or her time once everyone has settled down after the game and the coach has no other obligations. For the sake of your daughter, do not yell from the stands. A coach may take out frustrations with you on your daughter. Do not be the reason she does not play. 

Do Not Argue with Others

Everyone in the stands at a softball game is there to enjoy themselves and watch the game. Do not get caught in a screaming match with a parent. True, everyone gets passionate at a game — it’s sometimes hard to contain excitement — but there is no reason to turn a fun game into a hostile environment. Let the girls play, and keep derogatory remarks to yourself. You can talk to a fellow parent, but do it in a calm and collected manner.

Do Not Talk Negatively about Her Teammates

These are young girls or young women playing softball, and you are the adult. Do not be caught talking negatively about another player. If you have something negative to say, keep it to yourself. Sharing your derogatory remarks with other fans (including that girl’s parents) is not good etiquette. If anything, it will only embarrass your daughter when word gets to her that you are talking badly about her friend.

Remember, these are young ladies. They are not making errors on purpose. If you don’t think a player should be playing, remember that it’s the coach’s decision — not yours. If you need to talk to the coach, do so; but do not talk negatively about the players.

Remember, She Plays — Not You

The last thing you want to do is knock down your daughter’s self esteem. If she is having a rough game, don’t scold her or talk to her like you know more about the game than she does (even if you do). This doesn’t mean that you cannot ask her about her playing or give her advice, but give her enough time after the game to collect herself — don’t bombard her with questions. Always be encouraging and offer positive criticism, if any.

You have to allow her to flourish as an individual player. Let her celebrate her wins, and allow her to learn how to pick herself up when she fails. She’ll never learn to love the game if you take away her passion, but she’ll thrive as a player if you are always behind her.

Proper etiquette at a softball game is appreciated by everyone. Follow this guide's tips to learn what's appropriate — and what's not — at your daughter's games.
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