First, you need to know that as the manager of the organization, my priorities in life will affect the way I coach, teach and manage all aspects of Southern Spirit. My Christian faith is the foundation of both my personal and professional life. I have a clear calling to make a difference in the lives of girls through sport. I do not have a daughter who plays the sport, I do it because it is my gift and calling.
Know that I will recruit the absolute best coaches available. All coaches will be employees of the organization, with extensive experience playing and/or coaching the sport. Coaching assignments will be evaluated each year, and coaches are assign to a particular age group, not a particular team. This means our players will have several different coaches throughout their time with us. The concept of professional coaching is new to our area, but if you choose to entrust your child to us, then we expect you to let us do our job. This means that you may not offer any coaching or advice to your daughter during practice or games. We expect you to observe as a fan in such a way that you do not get her attention, and she does not respond to your direction while she is on the field with her team and coaches. If there is an injury, obviously we will get you involved, otherwise, let’s pretend that she is at work and that you have been granted the pleasure of watching. Proper fuel and hydration are essential elements to success and we will help map a plan for these needs so that players’ focus will not be distracted by anyone outside the dugout during practice or games.
The hardest part for you if you join our organization will be the decision to trust us. It is my responsibility to create an environment where our coaches can turn themselves loose to freely coach their team. Therefore this rule applies to all parents in our organization: Parents will not approach coaches with criticism about their coaching decisions. Parents have absolutely no part of the decision about playing time, position assignment, or other coaching decisions. We expect players that make our rosters to work for playing time, perform under pressure, and maintain a consistent approach. Players will learn to address any issues they have directly with their coaches, and build a relationship built on mutual respect. If there is a problem with the way a player is being treated, or if a parent has any other objection regarding their coach, the parent is expected to talk to me. (If the problem is with my own coaching decisions, I ask for a two-hour cooling off period before we talk.) I will openly listen to any concerns that are brought to my attention in an appropriate manner. Violation of this policy is grounds for immediate dismissal from the organization.
However, YOUR ROLE IS VITAL! I believe that the biggest role of a parent is to be a source of great encouragement to their daughter. My coaches and I will be putting plenty of pressure on our players to play the game the right way. The players will also be putting too much pressure on themselves until they learn to manage their approach effectively. We firmly believe that what they need from you is to be their biggest fan, without criticism. I have seen girls really excel once their parents quit “helping” and just started cheering them on, and plenty of players who finally quit the game because the drive came from their parents and not from themselves. Trust me in this, you will see an amazing response if you will steadfastly encourage her through her journey, which will surely have both ups and downs.
We will respect our teammates, opponents, and umpires no matter the situation. We all know that we will not have perfect umpires. The sooner we all understand this the sooner we can get over it. Inconsistency is just part of the game. Balls will be called strikes, and strikes will be called balls. Hits will be outs and outs will be hits. Addressing issues with umpires is part of the coach’s job alone. We will be known as an organization that approaches every situation with class, from coaches, to players, to parents and fans. Coaching the game of softball includes knowing the game and making an endless number of quick decisions based on probabilities, risks and personalities. Most great leaders/coaches are passionate about what they do, and approach their position with great intensity. That said, I do not expect to do it perfectly, nor will my coaches always be flawless. My coaches and I plan to treat your child, opponents and umpires with respect at all times, and to make amends when we fall short.
Our coaches will not recruit players off of another team, behind the back of their coaches. If your daughter wants to be considered for one of our teams, we expect her to finish the commitment she has made to her current team first. Likewise, if you are selected to join our roster, we expect you to fulfill your commitment for the season. At the end of the season if you chose to go in another direction, we will wish you the best. Anyone who quits our team mid-season will not be considered for future rosters within our organization. Likewise, we do not intend to add anyone to our roster who quits their current commitment prematurely. Requests for exceptions to this policy due to extenuating circumstances will be reviewed by the board of directors.
If this is the type of opportunity that you and your daughter are looking for, then we look forward to considering her for our teams. If this approach does not fit what you are looking for, I encourage you to seek other opportunities.