We keep speaking of the "Overall Softball Experience", so we should really take the time to elaborate on the meaning. Quite often coaches get so caught up in the X's and O's of the game, they forget to to focus on building love of the game. There is so much more to creating the lifetime memories that will be etched in these young minds forever. It is well known that camaraderie and chemistry are key elements in winning championships. However, these elements cannot be forced or created by sheer will. These elements are nurtured through a naturally occurring process. In other words, as a coach you want to create a fertile environment where camaraderie and chemistry can flourish. Many teams are made up of players who only interact with one another because of the team. The players do not attend the same schools and do not socialize together outside of the softball setting. It is important to create team events that are social in nature and do not involve softball. These events should also involve minimal parental involvement. The players need to bond with one another and learn that they are all inherently the same, sharing common likes, dislikes, fears and fantasies. Your teammates need to come from outside your comfort zone into the inner sanctum of your comfort zone.
Creating new softball experiences can also feed the growth of camaraderie and chemistry. A new tournament experience (new location, Indoor venue) can work. Many teams spend the cold weather months training indoors, however a small cramped environment with a monotonous regime can create a "Cabin Fever" effect. Consider entering an indoor tournament to break the routine. Make a weekend of it and incorporate a non softball activity as part of the experience (snow tubing, skiing, indoor water park). Hotel living, group dining and 24-48 hours of non separation will help cement the bond. It is important not to force friendships but let them blossom naturally as part of the process. It is not out of the ordinary for young girls to clash at times. DO NOT interfere. This is a perfect opportunity for them to build their independent problem solving skills. It will pay dividends back on the field.