On January 6, 2020, Little League® International launched its new webinar series, Softball Squad, featuring unique interviews made just for Little League Softball® families. Presented with Sue Enquist, founder of One Softball and former UCLA Head Softball Coach, and hosted by Nina Johnson-Pitt, Little League Senior Strategy Executive and mom of three, the Softball Squad series features inspiring messages from top coaches, players, and parents from across the game of softball.
Looking back at the incredible interviews that were held this winter, Little League International wanted to share some of the key pieces of advice for parents from each of the special guests since it launched:
Team USA Softball Coach, USF Head Coach, Father of Two former Little Leaguers®
“Players stop playing because there is too much pressure to be at a level they are not prepared for. Moms and dads need to realize lessons are learned as their children play the game and that it is a process. Two things I am adamant about are patience in player development; and don’t start thinking about scholarships during the Little League years. The best advice I can give is: Never discuss the game during the car ride home. Simply, make sure your kids know they are loved no matter what happens in the game.”
Three-Time All-American at UCLA, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist, Mother of Two
“I’ve learned that I’m the beginning and the end of my kids’ narrative, from the time the wake up to when they go to bed. What they see and hear from me is what is going to create the best narrative for them. When we wake up in the morning, we don’t think about the things we aren’t going to be able to do, but about the things we can do and how we can make them different and unique, and still a fun experience despite wanting to do other things. I think that it has helped and has helped them be resilient during these difficult times.”
2015 LLSWS Manager, Ballard HS Head Coach, Father of Six
“If there is one thing that I learned, it’s that when you are preparing for the game, don’t make it so big that they’re nervous to play it, and once it’s over, don’t make it such a big deal that it’s all you talk about on the car ride home. Even after playing in the Little League Softball World Series, I told our team that we are just going to go back and get ready to head back to school, have fun, and go be a kid, and I think that’s what they did.”
Two-Time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year at Washington, 2009 NCAA Champion, Team Canada Olympian, Mother of Two
“You have to know your kids and what fuels their fire. You have to know if you are going to be hard on them, is it something that is going to brutally embarrass them and make them want to give up. It’s important to show them that if they’re doing something, they should be doing it to the best of their ability. You’re not always going to do great, but it’s important to put forth that effort and not to get down on yourself.”
Retired Sheriff and Private Investigator, Mother of Four, Including Two USA Softball Alumni
“I would tell people now, who are just starting out [as sports parents], to just let the kids enjoy this time because as the years go by it becomes more and more competitive out there. You have to learn to just take the good and the bad and just role with it. That’s part of life, the failures and the successes, and we have to celebrate all of it.”
Retired MLB Player, UCLA Volunteer Coach, Father of Four
“The biggest teacher of all is finding a drill or exercise that can get (the child) to feel and experience the correct position or movement. Help the player have fun. When they are having fun, they are doing well. The concept of the cheers from teammates and families means we are all behind you. If you are out there to socialize, learn to play, and have fun, it switches the dynamic of the game. I encourage players to accept ever result. You can’t play baseball or softball being careful. When you can accept every result, your mind frees up, and you get in that (positive) zone.”
George Springer Jr.
1976 LLBWS Alum, Former League President, Father of Blue Jays’ George Springer III and Two Former Little League Softball Players
“There are things you are going to learn from playing, like discipline, hard work, and being consistent. More importantly, you learn skill sets that are transferable to life such as perseverance and overcoming adversity. The game is a proxy for learning some very valuable lessons. I think my wife and I gave our kids a perspective that what is ultimately important is what you get out of the experience of playing balanced against knowing it’s OK to make a mistake. You will then be able to respond to that and overcome. That is what you will have to do in life to be successful.”
To check out the full interviews sessions with each of the guests above, as well as new interviews throughout the month of March, visit LittleLeague.org/GirlsWithGame or watch on Facebook at Facebook.com/LittleLeague.