Remember that team sports, especially for young girls, should be positively motivated. Even if you or your spouse was a star player, that doesn’t mean your daughter automatically shares the same love of the game. She will have to build this over time. The best way to do this is by encouraging her to enjoy the game. You may encounter coaches or other parents that put a lot of pressure on young players. Try to counteract this by always encouraging your daughter, and modeling good behavior in front of her teammates.
2. Get the Right GearTo help your daughter develop as a player, you don’t necessarily need to buy all the softball equipment that you saw at the College World Series last year, or have a softball pitching machine (buy them here if you decide to) in your backyard. However, make sure that she has a glove that fits and that she likes. Be sure to offer her softball bats that will help her to develop a correct swing. The last thing you want is for her to suffer an injury, so make sure she has softball cleats, or even some great beginner’s catcher’s gear, if that is her position. Then, encourage her to properly care for the investment in equipment that you have made.
3. Reward Hard Work
Once your daughter starts to really enjoy the game, continue to reward her dedication. If she takes the initiative to join a summer league or train in the off-season, sacrifice a bit of your time and resources to make sure that she can make practices. If she shows dedication, you should too. Reward hers with upgraded bats from Demarini or other brands and other equipment, your praise, and support.
4. Keep Calm During Setbacks
For every young athlete, there are setbacks, losses, injuries, and struggles. Lead by example by correcting problems when they can be fixed, and encouraging her to learn from the difficult times of the game. Let her take a break from the sport if she needs to. If she really loves it, she’ll return to it, but in the meantime encourage other healthy habits that build an overall winning attitude.
5. Find Positive Influences
You could be the best softball player in your city, but your daughter would still need other coaches and parents to give her a balanced approach to the game. Find other role models for her to follow besides yourself, and encourage her to learn from them. Often your local Softball Store will be able to connect her with such local support system. Whether that’s a local high school pitching star that is willing to share her experience, or a coach that really knows how to motivate young players, she will need many people to help her develop the skills and habits that make a great young player.