Encouragement: Silly, and at Times a Little Lame, but So So Important!
I am a huge believer in positive self-affirmations; say it out loud, say it to a teammate, and then have it on repeat in your head before every pitch, every swing, every game, every…everything. I get some eye-rolls from some dads, and mostly my older girls, but I can’t stress enough the importance that encouragement can have on the female athlete. Females need it more often that you, or even she can expect to need it, and they need it in a specific, detail oriented way especially from the person who pushes her the most, and expects the most out of her.
Females are strange and dynamic individuals, but one thing in common with all, is the need for encouragement and positive reinforcement. We thrive off it, and it never fails; when I say something encouraging or recognize something that’s been done well, a weight is lifted, a spark is ignited, and attitudes make a shift for the better.
Quick note; if berating, punishments, silent treatments, cussing, angry words directed at your daughter all aren't working, and your daughter is a moody mental basket case from it (you know exactly what I’m talking about), make a valiant effort to give what I just described a try. Even just once, and see if your daughter makes a shift mentally which can parallel to physical abilities.
Not Every Day is Going to Be a Breakthrough Day
Some lessons are going to go really well, some lessons are going to go really poorly, and then there will be plenty of in between lessons along the way. Sometimes I’ll say something that just clicks and works really well, sometimes I’ll say something that I know was not a good choice and I’ll need to think of a different way to approach and present it for the next time.
Some days your daughter is going to be off and not be able to do what is asked of her, and sometimes everything will fall into place, a light will be switched on, and you will be able to tell that mentally and physically she is on and she’s on her way to reach a new element in her game.
And I hate to tell you this, but even after working with me, your daughter is still going to have hitting slumps, pitch horrible games, or let the ball go between her legs. Expect it, and realize that she knows darn well, and all too well, that she messed up and her performance struggled. Give her a break so her mind doesn’t end up becoming her worst critic.
Expecting the same performance from a player on a day to day, lesson to lesson, game to game basis, is unrealistic and detrimental. It could be the drills I choose, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be modified or revisited when I think she is ready again. It could be that she just wasn’t having it that day. Recognize the bad days, throw them to the waste side and focus on what needs to be accomplished in the future. It’s the players who expect different results from not making a single change, that are going to be passed by in performance every time.