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How Molly Never Quit - A true and inspiring story about why evaluating players is more than numbers.

Updated: Feb 25, 2019

How Molly Never Quit

Why Evaluating Players Is More Than Numbers

I ran tryouts prior to my first year coaching High School Softball back in the 1998-1999 school year. I did what I assumed to be right. We had a series of categories where we documented times and scores. On paper, as I had anticipated, the best players jumped off the page with better numbers.

At the time, I didn’t know it, but I was missing something.

Before the tryouts began, my athletic director informed me that I couldn’t cut anyone. I was free to choose my Varsity, JV, and Reserves, but cutting athletes was against school policy. He instructed me that my tryouts needed to be a thorough evaluation supported by documentation and that they should occur over multiple days.

After the first day, I had already picked my varsity, in my mind.

We went through the motions of evaluating players for the rest of the week. There was one individual who appeared over-matched, an unathletic freshman named, Molly. She was decisively less-talented than any of the other athletes. We had easily identified Molly as the worst player at tryouts.

Our coaching staff pegged her as a “drill-killer”, someone who would never be able to keep up and ultimately, disrupt practice due to her inabilities. We knew we couldn’t cut her but truly hoped she would see the writing on the wall and quit.

Molly didn’t quit.

After a week of tryouts, teams had been decided. We were reluctant to offer Molly a spot, but school policy dictated that we had to. She became our last pick for the Reserve Team.

I lamented the situation to my athletic director who showed little sympathy. Like any good A.D. mentoring a young coach, he simply said it was my job to make it work and make Molly better. Unwavering, he informed me that the only way she wasn’t to be part of our team was if she made that decision on her own.