The Diary Of The Coach's Daughter By Hallie Wilson

By Hallie Wilson @halwil5

My dad coached me at every level prior to my college career. He used to swear to me that “it was his last year” coaching and that he would just be a normal dad in the stands, but somehow he always wiggled his way back onto the field. 

His career as a softball coach began like that of most dads I assume, by coaching his oldest daughter. My sister probably took the brunt of the growing pains that go along with learning how to separate frustration with educational moments. Jim Wilson is a passionate and competitive man: He hates to lose more than he likes to win, and if you met him today you might not know, but for a time he struggled to control his emotions. 

As I evolved into the athlete I am today, he likewise developed as a coach. It was not without trial and error that we developed a routine that made it manageable to coexist as father and daughter in a situation in which some may find they butt heads. 

Grappling With Identities

When I was in eighth grade, I transitioned from my first travel ball team to a new club. After I joined this new squad, my dad had every intention of staying in the stands until the current coach asked him to join the staff. This was the first time that I realized my dad wasn’t just mine. In the few years that our family had been a part of the travel ball circuit, he had developed an identity of his own as a coveted coach. 

My 13-year-old reaction was one of annoyance; it was a new team and I wanted the experience for myself. I wanted to establish my own identity away from being a “coach’s kid.” I remember talking about whether or not he would help coach the team around the dinner table, where the Wilsons debated all of life’s dilemmas. Begrudgingly enough to me, he ended up on the coaching staff. 

Throughout the season we established our own identities, which ultimately was fundamental in the development of our father-daughter and coach-player relationships. He asserted himself as a calming presence—the balanced coach who could maintain his composure and be a steady force in a player’s mentality and life. He developed his identity away from being “Hallie’s dad,” which gave us each the freedom to be successful and maintain a constructive and flourishing relationship. 

Creating A Routine

Softball keeps kids busy. Add on another competitive sport, practices, lessons, and schoolwork and suddenly a 14-year-old is “working” a 120-hour week. 

I vividly remember driving to softball every week with my dad and being quiet in the car or putting headphones on. I didn’t realize the way this could be perceived. It is clearly rude to ignore the only other person in the car and to selfishly immerse myself in my own world when he was driving me where I needed to go.

As my parent, he allowed me the time to myself and would encourage me to mentally “turn off” the outside world, but as my coach, he expected full engagement on the field once we stepped out of the car. 

We created a routine that allowed both of us the time to detach from the madness of life and softball in order to be at our best when we needed to be.

The Messiness Of Recruiting  

In travel ball, especially today, it is natural to feel the pressure of college recruiting, and that pressure is tenfold when the coach of a college recruit is also the parent. During my recruiting experience, I remember feeling somewhere stuck in between flattered and overwhelmed. As the burden to verbally commit twisted its way into daily conversations with my parents I remember craving a conversation that wasn’t all about my future.  

I have no idea how he managed to successfully coach and parent a rebellious teenage me through the recruiting process, but I do know that he made a conscious effort to understand all of the NCAA rules and regulations that go along with being a parent and a coach. It was key for us to be on the same page and to communicate about what was important to me when it came to this decision. His understanding of the rules and my open communication lifted the extra stress off of us and allowed the only focus to be on playing softball. 

Ultimately, every coach-player and parent-daughter relationship is unique and it is important to find ways that work for you. Through developing our own softball identities, creating a routine, and communicating efficiently, we were able to create a lasting and healthy relationship. 

Discovering what worked for us took time, energy, and multiple vent sessions with my mom, but I wouldn’t trade our journey for anything. 

Sports are and always will be a large part of our relationship, and even the stories of him losing his cool in the car after a bad game or me talking back and being a brat are some of our favorite stories to reminisce on today. It all comes full circle and is a part of the process.

Playing for Emily: Forney Tributes Every Game To Teammate Galiano

Shortly after the Forney High (Texas) Jackrabbits won the 2018 State 5A softball championship last May, Madison Galiano accepted the championship trophy at home plate. 

Beloved Batbusters Softball Coach Mark Campbell Passes Away

At 5:30 AM Monday morning, the softball community lost one of the legendary softball coaches of Southern California with the passing of OC Batbusters and Pacifica High School Coach Mark Campbell. 

THE Spring Games Weekly Viewing Guide


THE Spring Games is back. With almost 400 college softball teams participating, THE Spring Games is undoubtedly the largest college softball event in the world.

Heart Over Height, Julie Graf Makes Her Mark At St. Olaf

Download The FloSports iOS App Today

Even though she grew up in Sammamish, Washington, St. Olaf College righthander Julie Graf was an avid New York Yankees fan. It had more to do with her parents, Paul and Barb, being East Coast transplants and lifelong fans themselves than anything else (with all due respect to the major league team 30 minutes away).

Will Norco Softball Dominate & Capture Another CIF Title?

Download The FloSports iOS App Today

Heading into last weekend’s Dave Kops Tournament of Champions in the Arizona desert, the consensus No. 1 team in the nation, the Norco HS Cougars, had previously returned home to Riverside County with the tournament championship three times.

No. 24 Indianapolis Shuts Out Urbana & Minnesota Duluth

The No. 24 UIndy softball team (17-5) had a particularly memorable pitching day Wednesday, as sophomore Halie Waters and freshman Amy Kaniewski combined to allow just four hits in a pair of shutout wins at THE Spring Games. In their final day of competition in the Sunshine State, the Greyhounds topped both Urbana and Minnesota Duluth by identical scores of 3-0.

No. 22 Southern New Hampshire Sweeps Molloy At THE Spring Games


Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloSoftball!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

No. 22 Southern New Hampshire sweeps Molloy.

No. 2 Illinois Wesleyan Takes Down Amherst & Millsaps


Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloSoftball!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

The No. 2-ranked Illinois Wesleyan softball team defeated Millsaps College, 2-1, and downed Amherst, 8-0, on the team's second day of action at THE Spring Games in Clermont, Fla., on Wednesday, March 13.

Moving Up In The Rankings, Augustana Finishes Strong At THE Spring Games


Playing for the final time during their spring break trip in Florida, the No. 18 Augustana softball team made a significant statement on the diamond. The Vikings picked up a pair of wins, starting with an 8-0 win over Nyack (NY), and closing out the day with a 12-0 no-hitter over Millersville (PA). Augustana picks up their eighth straight win and moves to 16-4 (0-0 NSIC) on the year.

What To Watch: Illinois Wesleyan vs. Rowan Rematch At THE Spring Games


This week’s action at the Spring Games in Clermont, Florida will feature a Saturday evening matchup between last season’s NCAA Division III Runner-up Illinois Wesleyan and reigning New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Champion Rowan.