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Friday, May 29, 2015

Finding the Win.

I have this bad habit.
(Albeit one that I'm overcoming)
If I'm not great at something,
If I'm not going to win,
I don't like to do it.
Sometimes I won't even try.

So to say I'm competitive is an understatement.

But I'm also an 8U softball coach so I guess you could say I'm glutton for punishment.

As I've grown and through many years of coaching I have learned to let go of the need to be first and embraced the concept of always finding the "Win" of the season. This year I've been fortunate enough to coach The Swarm-13 seven and eight year olds on the softball field. At this age we still have many girls learning to properly catch the ball and a handful of competitive players. It became clear to me after our first couple of games that we were not first place contenders so we would need to find our motivation and our Win creatively.

And because I'm crafty and love a good chart it had to be a cute Win as well.

My coaching team and I decided we would help the girls progress in the game by keeping track of their runs scored. We had a goal chart and decided at 30 runs we would have popsicles at practice and if they hit 50 runs they would get a swim party at the end of the season. (Mind you-our first game we lost 7-0, second game was 12-6 so 50 runs was just about right)

Just before the half-way mark we hit 30 runs and we were feeling pretty good about it!

By this point our outcome each game had less to do with wining or losing and everything to do with how much closer were we to our goal. We had our chart up in the dugout at every game and every girl knew exactly how many runs we still needed. These girls were excited to play, they were ready to hit, they stole bases like they were stealing cookies out of the cookie jar and they loved their time on the field! The Swarm hit their goal of 50 runs with three games still to go in the regular season!

Never one to shy away from a challenge we added some new bonus levels. At 60 runs they would get water balloons at practice. So they hit 60 pretty quickly. Obviously!

At 70 and then every 5 runs after that they would get to toss one coach in the pool at their pool party. We're still waiting on a sunny day for that one but let's just say ALL of our coaching staff should be ready to get wet!

50 was our original goal. 50 was going to be tight if you looked at the start of the season. Do you know-these girls wrapped up their season and then playoff bid with NINETY-TWO runs? We placed 5th out of 6 teams. I don't really even think they are aware of that. What they do know is that they had major Wins as a team. They encouraged eachother, they worked together, everyone improved and they blew our goals repeatedly out of the water.

Sometimes you're outnumbered. Sometimes you will not be the best or even all that great at something. In those sometimes you'll need to find the Win. It's always there if you look for it. Those Win's, I'm learning, are the most meaningful over the course of our lives. Those are the Win's that will never leave us.

Go find your Win today.

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