Choose the Right Softball Team: 6 Questions to Ask Before Your Daughter Joins a New Team

July 5, 2023

Are you wondering how to help your daughter choose the right softball team?

Did you know that according to a National Alliance for Youth Sports poll, 70 percent of US kids quit sports before they turn 13?

Kids participating in the poll said sports just weren’t fun anymore. 

This statistic is always in my mind, especially as try-out season approaches. 

Young athletes often want to join the most elite team in their region, but that decision can come at a cost – especially if your daughter isn’t ready for that level of competition.

If your daughter is interested in joining a new team, I encourage you to read this post. 

Because the team your athlete joins could make or break her experience in youth sports. 

So, learn what questions you should ask your daughter, family, and yourself before choosing the right softball team for your daughter.

The Levels of Competition

Before I share advice on choosing a team that’s right for your daughter, let’s review the levels of competition.

There are significant differences between recreational and competitive leagues, but don’t get me wrong: each league is valuable and can play a crucial role in your athlete’s development. 

Recreational leagues offer several pros:

  • Each player gets to hit in every game and will gain experience in several positions
  • The schedule is often more reasonable
  • The primary goal is to learn the sport and have fun
  • A positive, supportive environment 
  • Allows players to try a variety of sports

Typically, recreational leagues are more casual, less intense, and offer a more well-rounded experience for younger athletes (ages 3-12). 

Note: there are extremely talented players in recreational sports! 

Competitive leagues (think: travel ball) are for players with the mental and physical stamina necessary for a more advanced level of play. 

These leagues offer the following benefits:

  • Players have to work hard for their position in the batting lineup and on the field. (In other words, players are often benched)
  • There is a solid drive to win from both players and coaches 
  • Coaches have higher expectations and expect athletes to put in reps outside of practice

Competitive leagues often have several weekly practices and an intense travel schedule, allowing your athlete to hone her skills and practice the fine art of winning and losing at a highly competitive level. 

6 Questions to Ask To Choose the Right Softball Team for Your Daughter

There are 6 questions a parent should ask before their daughter joins a new team:

  1. Age: How old is my daughter, and is she mature enough to play at this level?
  2. Reason: Why does my daughter want to join this team? Is she joining for the right reasons?
  3. Will she be a big fish in a small pond or vice versa (hint: both are valuable!) 
  4. Team Culture: What is the culture of the team?
  5. What is the coach’s philosophy? 
  6. Family Dynamics: Is this decision good for the whole family?

How old is my daughter, and is she mature enough to play at this level?

A few weeks ago, I spoke with a dad who wanted his 12-year-old daughter to try out for their region’s most elite team. 

I knew she wasn’t developmentally ready for that level of play, so I asked: “Are you sure this is the right team for your daughter?”

I reminded him that his daughter is still a kid. “What if she quits softball at 14 because of burnout? How would you feel?”

Elite teams practice multiple times weekly, and the coaches have high expectations for their players. 

Most 12-year-old girls don’t want to eat and breathe softball; they want to hang out with their friends and explore hobbies and other sports.

Ensure your daughter is ready for that level of commitment before you encourage her to try out for an elite-level team.

Why does my daughter want to join this team? Is she joining for the right reasons?

Often, athletes will want to try out for a new team so they can be a starter. But this isn’t always the best move. 

Sure – we want her to get those reps in. 
But we also want her to be able to prove herself and teach her how to deal with adversity if she’s not given a starting position.

Will She Be a Big Fish in a Small Pond or Vice Versa?

We don’t want her to be the best player on her team. Instead, she should be surrounded by athletes who are better than her. If she’s 12+, she needs to be a small fish in a big pond. Working with teammates who are better than her will teach her to work hard and help her improve her skill set. 

However, if your daughter is younger, I encourage her to be on teams where she is a “bigger fish,” if possible, which will help build confidence and allow her to get in the reps, improving her skills.

What is the culture of the team?

Does everyone on the team get along? Is there a supportive energy, or is there a cliquish vibe?

Observe the current team members during tryouts and recall the energy of the team if your daughter played against them. 

The team culture can make or break your daughter’s experience, so assess it before she joins a team.

What is the coach’s philosophy?

Does the coach invest in your athlete’s development, or are they focused on trophies and accolades? Do they value mindset training? Are they willing to help your daughter during the college recruiting process?

Remember: age is important here. If your daughter is younger, look for a supportive, encouraging coach who rotates positions to help players identify their strengths and weaknesses. 

If your daughter is older, a coach should have higher expectations for your athlete on and off the field.

Is This Decision Good for the Whole Family?

Joining an elite team impacts the entire family. 

Think about it: most of the week will be dominated by practices, and weekends are spent in competition – often away from home. 

How will this decision affect siblings? Will they be able to participate in their own sports and hobbies? 

Joining a highly competitive team means each family member must sacrifice something. Keep that in mind before joining an elite team.

To Sum it Up

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of joining a new team, but it’s a decision that your family should carefully consider.

Remember to ask yourself these 6 questions before your daughter tries out for a new team:

  1. How old is my daughter, and is she mature enough to play at this level?
  2. Why does my daughter want to join this team? Is she joining for the right reasons?
  3. Will she be a big fish in a small pond or vice versa?
  4. What is the culture of the team?
  5. What is the coach’s philosophy? 
  6. Is this decision good for the whole family? 

And regardless of which teams your daughter joins, she’ll need support throughout her athletic career. The Players Portal is perfect for your daughter if she’s looking for a community of encouraging athletes and a portal of:

  • Mini mindset lessons
  • Hands-on Mindset tools
  • Pep talks from mindset coaches
  • A monthly live Q&A where you can ask me anything
  • A monthly Masterclass

You can check out membership to the Players Portal here!

Your Mindset Softball Coach,
Coach D

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



follow me on

let's connect

For more info on all the resources, FREEBIES, and upcoming events make sure you drop your info below!

Grow with us!