Coaching Prison Softball

 

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This year I’ve decided to coach our softball team. For the past 3 years I’ve been on loosing teams. I HATE to loose. So I’m taking matters into my own hands.

Most teams consist of a bunch of buddies that “just wanna play.” That concept does not work if you want to win. So this year I held “open try-outs.“ Not everyone made the team.

I typed up a mandatory practice schedule. On it I also included our team philosophy: “Keep It Positive” and “Commit To A Championship.”

Almost immediately, guys started to skip practice. I let each guy hear about it long and hard. It happened again. So I cut them from the team.

Some guys weren’t happy with me for doing that. I had to explain, “I’m committed to a Championship, not making people happy.”

After a few weeks of practice, we were looking good. Word quickly spread that we looked like “the team to beat.” We are the only team who practices regularly, rain or shine.

At one practice, two guys started to argue. I stopped practice and got the team together. This is the exact thing that tears teams apart and leads to failure. I like to embrace solutions, not problems. I basically told the two guys in front of the entire team, “If it happens one more time, you’re off the team.”

It happened again. So I took both guys off the roster.

After 5 weeks of practice, it was time for out first game. I have 16 guys on the roster, and only 10 can play. I started my 10 best guys. The other 6 guys felt they should get to start. Feelings were hurt and attitudes came out. One guy said I was “power tripping.”

I didn’t engage in any of the negativity that was coming my way. I got my starters together and said, “Lets play how we practice. Outfield, hit your cut off. Infield, back each other up. Lets keep it positive.”

We won 15-1. After the game the rec. director said we looked awesome. I had to agree.

The next day I dealt with the negative bench guys. I took 3 of them off the roster.

A week later we played our second game. We won 10-5.

I now have a team full of positive players who support my decisions. We all like each other and play very well together. It wasn’t easy getting to this point. I had to fire 7 guys and cut several others. A lot of those guys don’t like me because of that. But I don’t care. I’m committed to a Championship, not their feelings.

To be continued…

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