Monday, July 19, 2010

C's Softball Season

Back in the winter, C requested that we sign her up for baseball. She had been reading the junior Nancy Drew books and discovered that Nancy Drew played baseball, so she wanted to also. I was a little hesitant as soccer last year wasn't a big hit. But she was adamant that she wanted to play baseball, so we signed her up for a girls minor softball team.


C has never played baseball before, so we were quite thrilled when after a few team practices...she hit her first ball and made it to first base. C liked softball because of the variety (catching, batting, running bases) it offered compared to soccer...and she improved each week.

Partway through the season she had an amazing game...playing first base she got 2 players out, and then playing the pitcher position, she caught a line drive off the bat. She didn't mean to catch it...she was standing in the ready position and the ball slammed into her mitt...she didn't more her arm or drop the ball. She then threw to first (which I didn't see because my jaw was still on the ground) and got the player at first out. Four outs in one game...who's kid is this? Funny thing is, it was this game that she finally started to understand the game as she said to me..."I didn't know you could get people out. I thought it was just a bunch of standing around. I want to do that again."


And then...the very next game she got hit hard in the cheek with the ball. It was all I could do to get her back out on the field. And if that wasn't enough...she kept getting hit at the following practices. She was now very nervous of the ball...no longer wanted to play bases, catch balls in the air...or get anywhere near the girl who accidentally drilled her with the first ball.

As a parent, it was very frustrating to sit and watch the downward spiral...to see little to no effort put into the game...to listen to her say how she disliked baseball so much and couldn't wait for it to be over...to hear the coach say that she thought C was just batting to get out.

It was time for a talk.

We sat down with C and explained to her how we understood that she didn't want to play baseball next year, but she needed to fulfill her commitment this year and not let her team down. We couldn't go out and celebrate a successful season if she refused to participate on the team. We also gave her a little example of what it would look like if other kids were letting her down and how would that make her feel?


C seemed to understand...and made a great comeback...even the coaches were surprised. Part of it could be the "incentive" I implemented for the last week of practices and tournament games...gumballs for getting on first, bottle cap candy when you cross home plate, and gum to chew on the way home if you've participated well. Some people would call it a bribe, but I call it an incentive...I knew she was really nervous of being hit and I was hoping the candy fun would help her to push past her fear of the ball. And it did work...by the last few games, she was back to trying to catch the ball in the air as opposed to only wanting to catch grounders.

C had a couple of really great moments in the end of season tournament too. Playing catcher, she caught a foul ball to get the batter out. I asked her if she had planned to catch the ball, she said..."Not really, I just put my glove out and it dropped in". Then in the semi-finals, she was up to bat with the bases loaded and 2 outs. It was a tie game and the bottom of the last inning. She made the hit that got the winning run home.


C's team won second place in the end of season tournament. She loves her medal and thinks 2nd place is pretty good since she "only got 4th place in soccer last year and 2nd is better than 4th."


Will C do softball next year? She has said "maybe". I'm kind of hoping she does.

3 comments:

Shash said...

Way to go C!! that's really quite the accomplishment!!

Lala's world said...

that is awesome! sounds like she is a natural and your creative incentive program worked!

Nadine said...

Good for you for teaching her not to quit. It would have been easy to let her after she got hurt and scared. You're a good mom and incentive is always good. It helped her get over her fear and move forward. I'm glad she did so well. Thank you for sharing.