Travel Softball Coach 10u

by Karyn
(NJ)

What is your philosophy on playing the field? Should each girl play every position during a game? Should each girl play just one position? How often should you move a player around?

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Travel 10U
by: Coach Dan

Coach Karyn,

Thank you for your email. This is a more difficult question than one might think because of the dynamics of Travel ball. 10U is really the first time that many of the players are exposed to travel in some parts of the country. Some areas actually start at 8U. Regardless, many of these players were considered "all-stars" on their recreation team. Then they come to travel ball, and everyone realizes that, maybe, they've learned 30% of the game. The question is, are you putting the emphasis on winning or teaching? Ideally, it would be great to do both, but you will likely find you can do one or the other. In my view, it should be teaching. If it is teaching, then everyone has to play, and some movement of position is expected. Here is the question for you: Do you believe moving players around now, and, perhaps taking on more losses versus playing everyone only in one position, will make your team stronger in the long run? And the players that so not play, will they stick around? In my mind, you should be moving players around, but not on a wholesale basis like you do with rec ball. In travel, no one is guaranteed playing time. At the same time, particularly at 10U, it must be about teaching, which means, it must also be about playing. So, I would say, players have to play, but it can certainly be measured.

One more thing: You need to let the parents know what your philosophy is on playing time (playing time is earned through practice attendance, game attendance and execution). If you do not share this, you are in for a LONG season of disgruntlement from the parents if their daughter is not playing when they are giving up so much time.

Good luck with your team and season!

Dan

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