If your daughter has expressed an interest in softball, she’s among a growing crew of young girls wanting to head out onto the diamond and make their mark in the youth sports world. According to Statista, over 14.62 million people played softball or baseball in 2015. America’s favorite pastime is a great way to get your young child into competitive sports, and if you’re wondering how to start out in softball leagues, consider these beginner tips and make sure your daughter enjoys the game to the fullest.
The Right Equipment
Undoubtedly the most important tool for any softball player is their bat, and unfortunately, not all bats are created the same. As your daughter starts out, she’ll take part in slowpitch softball and may later move onto fastpitch leagues. With this in mind, make sure you source slowpitch bats that will best suit her immediate needs. If money is a concern, you can find inexpensive bat options online. While bats and gloves will come immediately to mind, don’t forget the protective gear to keep her safe. When she’s up to bat, she’ll need a helmet that comes with a face guard and chin strap. Depending on the position she winds up playing the most, you may need to invest in other specialized equipment, so make sure you understand the financial requirements before signing her up for a competitive league.
As your daughter begins her softball journey, she’ll likely try out a host of positions, and may experience confusion about her placement on the field, especially if she’s young. It’s always a good idea to discuss the positions long before she finds herself on the field. As she tries out each position in practice, consider her strengths, and ask which she loves to play the most—sports are about more than competition, and you should do what you can to ensure she’s happy with the position she excels at. Many parents head into the season with a preconceived idea that their child should be put in a certain position. Make sure your expectations don’t get in the way of her success. You may believe she’d do best in a pitching position, but her coach may see an underlying talent for second base. Trust the coach, and don’t let your ideas overshadow her performance in whatever position she ends up playing (and most importantly, enjoying). In any case, coaches down the line will favor versatility, so encourage her to try out a variety of different positions to improve her skill set across the board.
A Sharp Mind
Softball requires split-second decisions, and that means your child must remain sharp at any given point in time on the field. If you want to help her keep her brain firing on all cylinders, encourage her to read about her favorite sport, take in all she can about the skills she needs to succeed, and improve memory and concentration. Kids these days are online more than ever before, so why not have your child use that computer for good? This site can help your child improve her memory and concentration through fun games that feel like anything but work. You’ll be surprised at how much her performance improves at both school and on the field.
Encourage Great Sportsmanship
Coaches down the line will definitely look at skills on the field, but they’ll also take sportsmanship very seriously. It’s important to teach your little one the importance of courtesy on the diamond, and let her know that the game isn’t always about winning. Body language is just as important as verbal proclamations, so talk to your daughter about her reaction to mistakes made during the game, her interaction with the other team, and her communication with her teammates. One of the best ways to do this is to lead by example. It’s great to be invested in your child’s sports career, but don’t be the parent yelling from the stands. Be congratulatory when she wins, sympathetic when the team loses, and always practice what you preach when it comes to your interactions with her coach and other parents.