Five Great Parents

We see all types of parents because we are involved in the game on many levels. What do the great ones have in common? The first thing you should know is that there is no perfect parent and no specific way to support your daughter’s dreams.

Each kid is different, each parent comes from a different background, and the personalities and experiences vary.
Now, let’s discuss five parents who have left a lasting impression on us. Each brings different qualities that may help as you work with your daughter.

1-He had two daughters play D-1 softball on high levels in different positions. He was humble, thoughtful, and he came to each lesson prepared. He had given careful consideration to his questions, had already done his research. He loved the game but it was obvious that he put even more emphasis on spiritual things. Softball was seen as a way to share quality time together. One could see that he was teaching them that anything worth doing is worth doing well. He raised the kind of kids I would be happy for my daughter to have as best friends. He is among our Top-5 for one reason: Perspective.

2-She is not athletic, but she brings her daughter to the lessons, puts on all of the gear, and tries hard. Every lesson she will leave with a bruise or two, but she does her best to support her daughter’s dream. She gives all she has and, for her daughter, that is enough. This kid knows mom sacrifices a lot, so she never wants to disappoint her. I see far more hugs than bickering. She is in our Top-5 because mom’s dedication inspires all of us to do a better job.

3-Grandfather does the catching. Grandmother takes the notes. Incredibly gracious people, they support the kid’s dreams. It doesn’t matter if were softball, soccer, or dance, they would be there for her and you can see the confidence, humility, and strong values they have cultivated within her. She is a great pitcher, but she is an especially great person. They are in our Top-5 due to values so strong that I know she will be successful far beyond softball.

4-This kid comes to lessons with several written questions. Dad sits back quietly and lets her figure out things for herself. Oh, he is especially alert and knows exactly what is happening, but she is the type who is driven, and he knows she needs the freedom to explore. When she gets too intense, he will call her name and tell her to slow down a bit. When she needs pushed, he will calmly let her know she needs to step it up a bit. Each time we are together I feel he is teaching life lessons more than softball. No question that this kid’s success will extend beyond the field. They are in our Top-5 because he so carefully reads her and lets her establish the path as much as possible.

5-Mom made me prove myself. She knew her daughter had the potential but something was missing. They came to me to see if we could help. Every time I suggested a change, mom asked me to explain thoroughly until she was convinced it was the right way to proceed. Each time they came to a lesson the kid was clearly better than the last session, and it was just a matter of months until colleges took notice. This mom is in our Top-5 because she made us prove ourselves and be accountable every step of the way.

Now, a confession. I wrote this article several years ago, but ran across it last week and thought it was worth sharing again. Which was the perfect parent? None of the above. Each of them was just the right type of parent for that pitcher. Each was different, but all of them were sensitive to the specific needs of the daughter, and each was concerned with a lot more than just success in softball. Yes, these kids went on to play college ball, but I don’t think that was the end goal for any of these parents. They were thinking of more important things and these kids were going to bloom wherever they were planted.

One of our Certified Instructors has a true understanding of those priorities and wants to celebrate them. Alex Maclean explains a special award she created to help keep things in perspective, “The Bucket Dad Awards were started in honor of my late father, Stephen Maclean. Every year around Father’s Day pitchers can nominate their dads for the award. My mom and brother then select 3 winners who receive recognition on our page, an engraved photo frame and their name on the bucket.”
Alex goes on to say, “The Bucket Dads Awards are given to dads who best continue my dad’s legacy of commitment to family, excellence in softball, generosity and service.”

With that in mind, perhaps this should have been entitled, “Six Great Parents”. Despite the fact that Alex went on to have an incredible college career, today she seems to recognize the values he instilled in her as his most precious gift.

Tomorrow we will talk more about being a softball parent and we will discuss some specific traps to avoid. We hope you will join us here.

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