Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hey Parents.....Your kid sucks

     Now that I have your attention, I must qualify that it is not the child's fault that he is terrible at (enter sport).  It has everything to do with you.

     I have been coaching an 11 U select baseball team for about 4 months now and I am finding some disturbing trends among parents and their relationships with their children.  I have found that (a) parents exponentially over value the talent of their child, (b) cannot separate the emotions they feel during the game with that of their child's, (c) find it necessary to inject their opinions and/or suggestions for the team because they pay money to be part of the organization, (d) severely hinder and stunt their child's progress and passion for the sport they play. 

     Here are my suggestions and solutions to what I've described above, and in the end, I will explain to why these are necessary in order for your child to love to play the sport he or she is involved in and hopefully they won't hate you by the time they are 16 years of age.

1.  Your child will only go as far as they love what they do

This not only applies to sports but life in general.  Support what they love and are interested in, not what you think they should be involved in.  You had a childhood now let your kid have theirs.

2.  You weren't that good of a player (i.e. high school sports)

Most parents have an idea that they excelled in the sport they competed in high school.  However, hindsight is 20/20.  In the grand scheme of things you really weren't that great so stop telling your kid you were.  They don't need to live up to your lies

3.  Leave your child alone during competition

Your child is out on the field competing and does not need any added pressure from you telling them what they should or should not do.  Save it for after the game, and if it is not constructive, keep it to yourself.  Your insights on their play are usually driven by emotion and passion and typically come off as confrontational.  They have enough pressure as it is, they don't need more from you.

4.  Let the coaches coach

Did you sign up to coach?  Did you volunteer your time away from your family to help others?  If not, you don't have a say.  Yes, you may have coached Rec league or "daddy ball" but in no way does that qualify you to give me any suggestions as far as lineup, playing time, and direction of team.  If you don't like it, leave.    You don't have to stay and have every right to go somewhere else.  If that's how you feel, then I'd rather you leave than be a distraction to our team.  (And typically this element comes from parents whose child is the least talented)

5.  Let your child enjoy the process

Sports are a never ending process of learning, whether it be social or fundamental.  There's an inherent value to the social and fundamental construct of sports.  These early years of athletics can be unbelievably valuable for your child's social abilities in the future.

People often ask what my parents' role was in my climb to professional baseball.  I tell those people that my parents were supportive of my love of baseball and gave me every opportunity to succeed.  My father was a football coach and knew nothing of baseball and my mother did not play sports in high school.  Whether I played a great game or terrible game, my parents always treated me with support and love.  They never "pushed" me in any way and anything that I accomplished was because of my own desires and their support. They had complete trust in my coaches and I was very lucky to have great ones along the way.  So, when you look at your child and you see a major league baseball player or professional football player, understand that they may think of themselves as something very very different.  It's not about you, and if it is, it's probably the reason your kid sucks.  Parents: don't be the reason for your kid's failures, they're under enough pressure already

171 comments:

  1. My parents were just like yours, they gave me all the opportunity to do what I loved because I loved it, not because they wanted it. My Father has a masters degree in Coaching and was even a Baseball coach, yet he always told me to listen to my teams coaches and do what was best for the team. I get asked the same question about my fathers help in what led to be a 9 year career as a professional and my answer is the same as yours.
    I too see these types of parent child relationships in my coaching. It is sad just how much parents negatively affect there children's love and in turn, their ability, for for not just sports but all things in life. If they would just give their child support and opportunity and let them learn to deal with the other maturing factors in sports on their own, the little league field would be a place to grow like it was for us in our youth. Quite frankly, it would also create better, stronger, more self confident adolescence as well. Sports are a great tool to learn how to deal with stress, think on your feet, fail and then learn from your failure, be a part of a team fighting for a goal, set goals, practice and prepare to achieve those goals, and most importantly learn to have fun will working hard. I honestly believe that my success in baseball and in life come from the lessons I learned on the ball field as a youth. Thank you to my parents for letting me learn to play the game my way.
    I will leave you with this actual fact:

    90% of American males rate themselves in the top 10% of the population when asked to compare themselves to other based on athletic ability.

    If that much of the population truly has no idea of their own ability, how can they teach their children how to analyze their own ability?

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    1. Well put Joe. The trend I find with guys like us or other professional athletes is that there was a great support structure from the family growing up. The parents that constantly berate and force their child into sports have a much bigger failure rate and are doing a terrible disservice to their child's psyche.

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  2. Nice blog Colin.....#1, #4 and #5 should be in bold print. ;) Look forward to reading your future articles. Have a fun & successful baseball season with your 11 U team :) I'm sure you will teach them well!

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    1. Thanks Nancy! I appreciate the kind words. Take care

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  3. Colin well said! I would love to see parents say to their kids when they get in the car after the game...."how was your day", "how did school go" or "was that your best effort today" if so nice going, if not how come? Define best effort to the kids(engaged in the game, positive thoughts, hustle, etc) not 3-3 and playing all 7 innings at SS. Talk about what it takes to be a great teammate. Baseball can be a great game..but "helicopter parents" will try to control the uncontrollables (their kids thoughts during the game). I believe specifically at the youth level baseball is a game of relief..."phew I did not strike out", "wow I am glad I caught the ball and made the play"....if kids play poorly and parents are over involved the mind takes over and internally the kids put more pressure on themselves...I don't want to get up and strike out....I don't want the ball hit to me. As you know I am running the father/son hitting clinic and for as much as it is for the kids to learn the basics of the swing and the mentality of your approach to the at bat it is equally as much about teaching dad to let them go, play in "green" and fix the swing in practice. Not in between pitches with 75 people looking on and the tying run on 3rd base in the 6th inning...we lose kids to lacrosse for a number of reasons and one is to escape the pressures of baseball their parents put on them as they attempt to be successful in the most difficult one on one battle in sports Pitcher vs Batter. Good stuff and I hope some parents can look within and live up to what they are trying to teach their kids...look within and try to become a better person (parent). I look forward to catching up with your blog. TL

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    1. Thanks Tom,

      My thoughts exactly. All that negativity can lock a kid up. They do put enough pressure on themselves and they don't need more from the parents.

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  4. One problem with this article...the parents this pertains to wont realize that this means them!!! I cant believe the way some parents think...These are the parents that get upset when you tell them the truth and then go out and start their own select team and water down the game!

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    1. So true....thats why there needs to be some sort of governing force overlooking travel ball...travel ball will let kids play on ten different teams as long as they get their money...no accountability

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  5. Replies
    1. LOVE
      WHEN YOU
      BREAK IT DOWN
      Maybe this simple breakdown could be posted in gyms, on dugouts, at entry gates, etc!!

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  6. Colin, I'm the editor of a publication in Minnesota called Let's Play Softball/Baseball. We'd love to reprint this blog post in one of our upcoming editions. Please let me know if this is possible. My e-mail address is editor@letsplaysoftball.com. Thanks, Kevin Kurtt.

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    1. Sent you an email earlier today. Let me know if you received it. Thanks

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  7. The hardest thing for parents to understand is when they "coach" their kid during the game they are making it harder on the kid. Even with good intentions you are not making the situation any better. A parents terminology of a specific game time adjustment is never the same of that of which a coach would say. Example, "Come on Joey, you're releasing the ball high.....GET IT DOWN!!!" Well no crap he's releasing the ball high. The whole stadium can see that. From a coach, "Come on Joey, keep your weight back longer and release out in front." Huge difference.

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    1. This is such and easy thing to do and remember. I do not understand why people, parents and coaches, feel they need to point out what a player is doing wrong,most know it and if they don't and you point it out then they will just do it again (laws of psychology). Tell them not to think of a lemon and they think of a lemon. Just praise them for trying and then give them a valid and simple correction instruction and encourage them..so simple..

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  8. The other thing parents need to understand is baseball is a game of failure. He who fails the least is most successful. We as coaches all know you're child is not trying to strike out with the bases loaded, no kid goes to the field and intentionally lets the ball go through his legs and nobody is trying to throw 4 balls in a row. If you played the game you know that stuff happens. We've all had bad games, bad weeks and for that matter bad seasons. Parents need to understand their kid is going to fail. Teach them stay even keeled. Do not harp on failure or success. Acknowledge it and move on. As coaches we want your kid to do good. If you believe that then lets us do our job. If you don't, pack your stuff and move on. You won't hurt anyone's feelings. If they are a true baseball player chances are they don't have feelings anyway.

    Great blog and a real eye opener. I've already shared it with a couple of people in the industry. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks Steve,

      It's funny, I've had more Pro and Ex Pro ball players say I nailed it and then youth and High School level parents say otherwise. All I know is how my parents were and how I signed a pro contract, and it wasn't because they pressured me

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    2. Speaking of ex-pro, this pretty much sums up your article. It's an awesome letter to parent's about expectations that are in line with your article...

      http://www.mac-n-seitz.com/teams/mike-matheny-letter.html

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  9. This is great! We have been collecting and sharing some of the best (worst) quotes from baseball parents of all time. Check us out and share your favorites!

    https://www.facebook.com/ShitBaseballParentsSay

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    1. Awesome, I will be using these quotes as motivation for more blogs! Thanks!

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  10. Well said this apply to all sports i see this every weekend right now in AAU basketball.

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    1. Thanks,

      Yes, it is not only baseball but every sport. Parents and coaches alike need to be in it for the kids, not themselves. Thanks for reading!

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  11. Colin, enjoyed reading your post! I agree with much of it, and get to see it from a strength and conditioning perspective often in the same age group. I recently wrote an article that talked about parental interference with youth athletic development, from a strength coach's perspective:
    http://benfairchild.com/thoughts-on-managing-todays-youth-athletes/2013/03/26/
    Thanks for your blog post, it was great.
    Ben

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    1. Thanks Ben,

      Just trying to open up an honest discussion with a shock and awe approach. I will check out your blog! Thanks

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  12. Parents do the same thing with their kids' schooling. What they can't blame on the kid, they blame on the teacher.

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    1. Hi Barb,

      It seems that those who are teaching/coaching our youth and molding them into young men and women are getting the short end of the stick these days. It's unfortunate. Hopefully, it's a generational thing

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  13. I completely agree with this blog. My question is, when is the coach supposed to stop favoring their own child and give other children a chance at another position. When you coach and tell the kids that everyone will learn every position then his child is always in the same two positions and no other child gets a chance, is the parent allowed to step in then? I believe in what is fair is fair. If an adult or coach says something to a group of children and then never follows through, what kind of example is that setting? We signed up to coach several times, but politics in our booster club prevents anyone but the regular coaches from coaching, so whne can I state my opinion?

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    1. Hi Niki,

      Yes, I understand your frustrations. As coaches, of course we cannot be autonomous in our dealings with families. However, we can lay ground rules and set a structure so that everyone is on board to begin with. There are coaches out there that do play favorites and I believe you have every right to say something when it makes you feel uncomfortable. It is unfortunate because as your child gets older you will find that the politics gets worse. It does not set a good example and can be quite frustrating. Just like anything there are good and bad coaches, just have to find the right one. Thanks for reading!

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    2. Niki,

      I agree that a coaches child should certainly not play a position in front of someone more talented. As a coach I can tell you first hand though that more times than not the coaches child is one of the best players on the team. There are multiple reasons for that. Primarily that child is receiving coaching for many more hours during the week than the others. My son and I talk the game as we drive down the road. We watch it together on TV and discuss. We work at home as well as the ball field. My son has an advantage over the other children with that being he has access to coaching/knowledge 24/7.

      Kindest regards,
      Brian

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    3. bjack1717,

      In the leagues I've observed the coaches kid isn't always one of the best but you can see that the coach believes he is. For all I know you're kid is the best on the team but this is not always the case. One thing is for sure though, you love your kid more off the field than any other parent in the stands, this could cloud judgemnt. The best thing to do if there is any question is to have all of the kids compete for a position and let the assistants make the call when it comes to your own family.

      We always don't see things clearly when it's our own flesh and blood out there.

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    4. On our team, the coaches' kids don't play over anyone. All 3 kids that have coaches for parents sit as much or sometimes even more. We also tend to be hands off on our own kids. There are kids that listen to other people better than our own, so leave my kid alone (plus I do middle infield mostly and my kid is a P an 1B, so he rarely is in my group.) My kid has one of the best arms on the team, but he's got one of the poorest attitudes, so he sits a bunch.

      But, to Niki, is there any other league you can coach in close? We have two leagues in our town and then there are nearby towns that have their own (one that's 30 minutes away has 3 leagues!). We have had teams leave our leagues for more or less competitive ones in other towns. Or, some teams just skip the league thing and go straight tournament. Do what you can for your kid, obviously. But, keep the love of the game as the must important goal.

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    5. We have a similar situation with our son's team. He's not the worst player but he is one of the least experienced. My husband and I have both coached our own kids and work with them at home. Our son's biggest weakness is confidence. When we asked the coach why he sits the bench more than all the other kids, they just said they didn't want to hear it. One coach even had the gall to ask, you wanna win, don't you? (we've only won two of the seven games this season). Our son hasn't been given the opportunity to show whether he can help or hurt the team defensively. Our league allows all players to bat and even though he's low in the lineup he's contacted the ball 90% of the times.

      What is your opinion when all the coach's kids play the most, make the most errors and have disrespectful attitudes (to the game and to their parent/coaches)?This weekend is our last tournament of the season. Our son loves baseball and there is only enough kids in our community for this one team. We're guessing there will be tryouts next season and we won't be invited (because we spoke up on behalf our child) or no team at all.

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    7. Nice that Mr All Pro Coach took the time to address this one. Fact is the coaches philosophy assumes a perfect world - no way, no how - we all know we don't live there! The world is much more like the one you have lived where everything including youth sports are political in nature!

      If kid X gets 100 reps and kid Z gets only 10 - then clearly kid X has a much better opportunity to develop a skill set. IMO that parent has every right to be ticked off about the experience, after all we all want whats best for our kids.

      In those instances its the coaches that SUCK, not the player or the parent's! Many of those coaches would much rather see your kids leave the game giving their kids those 10 additional reps!

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  14. My fondest memories growing up was playing catch with my dad in the backyard. It was 40 years ago but remember it like yesterday. My three older brothers played baseball through high school with a pro tryout back in the 70's and another got a college scholarship. My parents NEVER did more than CHEER, ENCOURAGE and CLAP at our games. MY dad said, "If you are going to play, give 110% and your coach is who you listen to. I am a teacher and try to encourage kids to be fit and realize "Life is Not Fair", work hard and be kind to others and you will live a great life. Thank you for the article...it was the truth!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. It sounds like your parents were very similar to mine. Being positive and promoting a child's interests can make a huge difference in their lives. Thanks for reading!

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  15. Perfectly said, Colin! On our 11-12 year old team we have 4 rules:

    1. Kids carry their own equipment and the team bags
    2. No parents/family/friends near the dugout before or during games
    3. If you have a question, ask it in private...after practice/games
    4. Cheer all you want but no coaching from the stands

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    1. I just may have to steal this! Thanks for reading!

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    2. Totally agree.


      http://cardboard-sports.blogspot.com/

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  16. Sorry, but in my recent experience with 12U AAU ball is that my kid tried out for a position, earned that position, and now the coach has not once played him in a real game. IMO this team was fattening it's own bottom line and had no real interest in bettering my son or playing him. So get real people, and don't just give the all powerful frickin' coach live in some self-deluded god complex, ok? They fuck up, are human, and always play their kid over yours...Maybe this is why so many kids are opting out of baseball and playing Lacrosse and soccer!

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    1. Those are very valid points. Not all programs are run soundly and yes there are bad coaches out there. Finding the right fit can be troublesome. I understand your frustration and have experience it first hand with my child. Thanks for the comment!

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  17. The one thing you mention that bothers me, you mention you coach "Select", then down grade "Rec" or "Daddy Ball". Sounds like you may need to look at yourself and realize that sometimes coaches at the select levels are working up their own egos as well. Why downgrade other levels? I have a feeling your are probably coaching your own kid. Of course, your doing it for the greater good though.

    I do agree with most of your post though.

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    1. Hey Trent,

      Thanks for reading. It wasn't my intention to downgrade Rec League or sound snobbish about it, heck I don't even like the select ball format. There are many coaches at those levels that do a fine job in developing the young players of today and should be commended for it. I don't coach my own kid and will not. I don't want to be labeled as "that" parent if you catch my drift. I coach an 11U team that I had no prior connections with. I am doing for what I see as the greater good in uplifting their spirits, developing their fundamentals, and playing the game the right way all in a very positive manner. I hope that what I do can make a difference in a child's life to better them for the future. I appreciate the comment. Take care

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    2. You sound like a good guy. Sorry I labeled you as someone that couches up their own kid. I'm always impressed when I discover that the coach doesn't have a kid on the team. You and they do it for the love of the game.

      I hope to get my boy on a travel squad one day but it'll only be if the coach doesn't have a kid on the team. I see too many of these travel teams popping up with new coaches when their own kid isn't the star on a previous team that they weren't involved with coaching. Those are the coaches that are trying to live out their lives through their kid. Never seems to work out best for any of the kids involved.

      Once again let me apologize for putting you in that group.

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    3. No worries Trent. It's all good. There's much more I could have written to make it a more balanced approach but I didn't want to lose sight of the message. I'll leave that for future blogs. Thanks again

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  18. Welcome to daddy ball - Colin, I am certain you are a highly capabale coach. I have no idea if you have have a boy who plays - but regardless, it is laudable your give of our time to coach.

    Having coached many levels of youth baseball, including winning State and WS at the Major level with USSSA I have to say your comments are filled with the igonorance of youth.

    My unsolictied advice after many years is this:
    Set the expectations at the first parents meeting - be nice.
    These include the following - I will do no fund raising - parents will do that. Regardless of monetary amount the coaches will determine who plays, at what postion and when.
    This is a TEAM sport...you know the cliche -there is no I in TEAM.

    I promise this. We will have fun, By the grace of GOD I will give it my all to teach not only the Game , but life.
    I will make mistakes - so will your child.

    IF you want to speak with me about anything, other than stating great job coach - do not do this immediately, during or after a game. Wednesday's are a good day to briefly discuss your players ( child's ) development.

    Money does not buy progress - Pretty Mom's are pretty, but this will not effect playing time. Well, maybe a litte.

    AH Dad's are forbidden - pack your weak crap in your sack and go to the house. There is no refund, and in fact - you owe more.

    My job is simple - to teach kids how to EXCEL at having fun and hopefully win more than we lose. As a team we will alwayes be considerate of our opponets. We do not yell, obnoxiuosly cheer or berate officals.

    As my friend Herb Brooks once stated - " The name on the front of your Jersery is a Hell of A lot more important than the name on the back"

    Link to when we started...

    http://www.usssa.com/sports/Rank2.asp?State=64&ClassID=57&SeasonID=11&RankSystem=0

    Wish you the best of luck!

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    1. Hi Brad,

      Thanks for reading. Of course when I set out I didn't expect the response nor the splash this has made throughout the country. I must have struck a chord with many whether good or bad and that's ok. My thought was to open up a discussion in a blunt way so that there could be multiple opinions being brought forth. I enjoyed reading your post and found it pretty humorous actually. You hit on a lot of key points regarding travel/select ball. The basic message I wanted to convey is this: Love, support, and uplift your child so that they may succeed in life. Don't be the parent that knocks a kid down because he or she is not living up to your expectations. I know it takes all types in this world, but putting undue pressure on children isn't necessary. Also, I do have two sons and a daughter. I do not coach their teams and will not. I leave that to the experts...haha! Anyway, I hope to happen to run into you at an USSSA tourney this year and we can talk more. Thanks again

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  19. Great article and even better advice. Growing up, I rode dirt bikes and played the drums. I was mediocre at both, but always enjoyed doing both. I have two sons, who are now adults. As they reached their teen years, my older son discovered auto racing. We got into go-kart racing and he became very good at it. As a young adult he won WKA Grand National races in two divisions. My younger son started playing drums and after a few years he could play circles around me. A dozen years later, he's now a professional musician. Bringing it back to the article... it became appearant pretty early with both sons, that they were going to be much better at their single interests, than I was dabbling at both for so many years. By the way, I still do... and I'm still average at both, riding and drumming.

    I had seen plenty of baseball dads and soccer moms to know I needed to do something differently, if they truly wanted to pursue these interests for the long haul. So... I made sure they had good equipment, allowing them to maximize their talent. I helped them find talented and knowledgable people to learn from - not just technique, but insight into what it takes to make it their field. Whenever they became comfortable with their level of achievement, I helped them find opportunities to challenge themselves at a more demanding level. But probably most important, was being there to give them encouragement on the bad days, when disappointment tried to knock them down. Many times that involved just listening, to empathize with them and to help them "dust themselves off" before the next time 'on the track', or 'on stage', or (taking it back to the original article) 'at bat'.

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    1. Thanks for the post. Exactly the message I'm trying to send. Much appreciated.

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  20. Colin, I thought this might tie in for you.
    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/sports/2012/10/06/single-sport-youth-athletes-sell-themselves-short.html
    this about soccer but same principle holds true
    http://www.soccernation.com/playing-for-fun-cms-3412

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    1. Thanks VJ,

      Whatever the sport may be, it's all relative in my opinion. Thanks for sharing and reading the blog!

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  22. I don't know how I deleted my earlier comment. Anyway, thanks, Colin, for some really good points! As the mother of three baseball players and the wife of one coach, I appreciated your perspective. I agree with your choice of #1 - I'm consistently checking in to be sure my boys LOVE this game. So far, so good. Baseball has certainly taught us a lot of lessons and most of them have little to do with a bat and a ball. Thanks for your take!
    http://www.viewfrombehindhomeplate.blogspot.com/

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  23. Thanks Jenn. I was able to read your earlier comment and it was spot on. I believe that positive attitude and uplifting the spirits of kids will get them further in life than anything. Happiness = Success in my opinion. Thanks for posting!

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  24. My daughter - having played basketball/volleyball since she was 8 years old - wanted to coach a youth co-ed basketball team this spring. Last night at practice one of the dad's showed up and screamed at his son from the sidelines while her team was scrimmaging the other team. THE KID IS 7. It was a SCRIMMAGE. The kid was fighting back tears by the end of practice. HE IS SEVEN YEARS OLD. End of practice she gave him a big hug and told him how proud she was of him for trying so hard during practice. My daughter is 18. The dad? ZERO. Damn good article. Thank you.

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    1. Man,

      Just hearing that makes my heart sink for that kid. I don't put up with that. Great for your daughter to have the compassion and to understand what that kid must feel. I can tell she cares and that's half the battle. Thanks for posting!

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  25. What a breath of fresh air!! I have been a travel baseball coach for several years and everything he says is dead on. Love of the game is key, my 12 year old lost interest, but I have an 8 year old that would play baseball 24-7 if I let him. One piece of advise I received from another local coach. "Always leave them wanting more". When my son and I so work on pitching, hitting, etc. I always end it before he is ready. Every time he begs me "just one more hit, just 5 minutes more. If you tell them it is time to stop instead of making them keep playing until they get it right, they will keep the love of the game.

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    1. That is honestly fantastic advice. As a kid I couldn't wait to get back out there. I could have taken BP all day long but to have that excitement for the next AB, Game, or practice is where the growth starts. I'm retired and I still want more...haha! Fantastic

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  26. Well said! I wish every parent would read this and learn to let their kids learn and develop on their own. My daughter plays soccer, so I have no business telling her how to play a sport I know nothing about. All I can do is encourage her to play hard and play like she loves it (which she does). I recently joined an adult rec soccer league, just to see if I could do it. It's HARD!!! I came home from my first game and told my daughter how much I respect her for all the hours of practice and play she puts into her sport, because 1 hour of it nearly killed me.

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    1. That's great, you put yourself in your daughter's shoes. I wish more parents were intelligent enough to do the same. They'd realize being a kid isn't all Roses and Rainbows...it's damn hard. Great job!

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  27. Great article and so true. Should be required reading for every parent with a child in any type of youth sports.

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    1. Thanks Scott! This has been great motivation for me to keep up the good fight in making a difference in kids' lives

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  28. I wished I could send this letter to a few coaches at our little league in town. My son is 10 soon to be 11 and has been playing since he was 5. Not until this current bb spring season did I see the things you blogged about. A couple coaches from our league decided to try and start a "select" team. The hand picked the players...noone tried out neither for the team nor position. Which meant their children were in the positions with the most action. Terrible doesnt come close to it. We have since moved to another team and its not daddys ball. Ive learned that daddy ball harms kids more than anything. You have a wide variety of skill level in little league and rarely do other chikdren get a chance to even try to play a differnet position. I would love to print the above blog and kindly hand it to a few coaches and simply tell them......heres your reality check! Great blog and I will be following!
    Thanks

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    1. Thanks for the positive feedback. I can relate with you. My team started 0-11 and that was a really tough stretch for the kids. I can handle losses, I just wanted the kids to stay positive and work to get better. That's what is all about. You have to find your comfort zone wherever it is. Not all situations will be the right fit.

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  29. Colin - this is tremendous - finally someone speaks the truth! I have already sent out the link to your blog to a couple people back here in your old home state of Massachusetts.(Side note - I was an assistant coach with Hamilton-Wenham in 1994 and I recall you mowing us down). Glad to see you are using your knowledge and experience to help a new generation of players (and god willing - parents). Look forward to future posts. All the best! Mike

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    1. Ahhh....the good ole Cape Ann League. 1994 was a good year for Pentucket and winning the State Championship. Honestly, I had my toughest outings against Hamilton-Wenham. You guys had some decent hitters from what I remember. Thanks for reading Mike and take care!

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  30. Nail on the head dude------

    "In the grand scheme of things you really weren't that great so stop telling your kid you were. They don't need to live up to your lies."

    YES


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    1. Thanks for the comment Roy! I think we all know who "that" dad is referring to the quote

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  31. Nice job coach. Keep up the good work. It's needed

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    1. Thanks John, if I can change one parent at a time I'm doing my job. Thanks for reading

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  32. I don't coach baseball, but I do coach high school track and cross country. The points you make here are true for every sport at every level up to HS.

    I appreciate an involved parent that asks thoughtful questions about their child's development and things they can do at home to encourage growth. The parents that coach from the sideline are not only a distraction, they are embarrassing themselves. Because it hardly ever is good advice and it most likely is negative.

    My biggest heartbreak is a kid that gets done with high school and no longer wants to run or be active because their parents have robbed their love of the sport. When parents ask me what kids should be doing in 4th, 5th, 6th grade to get ready for high school sports - I say they should be playing. Playing with their friends, playing outside and having playful fun. Anything other than that and they are heading down the high expectation highway and there is no off ramp.

    Well said and well written - thank you.

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    1. Perfect advice Tim. Professional athletes are not made in elementary school. I've seen big leaguers that didn't even touch a baseball until sophomore year of high school. I used to go outside by myself and throw fly balls to myself or play wall ball for hours. Kids just need to be kids. Great post!

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  33. Hey Colin my name is Eddy York and I have been volunteering my time to Coach kids for 10yrs now. Since the age of 4 I have Coached my son Ethan. I worry sometimes that he will hate me like I did my Dad because of the way he talked to me especially on the way home. I try to learn from my Dad's mistakes. Ethan is 12 now and has an ERA of 2.3. He is veered the best right hander on our team. However, his batting avg is .222 and is veered the worst batter on our team. I have worked with him constantly on his pitching, catching and batting but this past year I stopped. I have all the equipment known to man for him to work out at home by himself. I stopped saying "Hey E lets go work out." He has stopped working out at home. My question is, should I continue to say "lets go work out" or should I give him his own space and not push him so much? It seems since I have backed off his bat has struggled but his pitching has ramped up....I cant explain it.

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    1. Hey Eddy,

      I can tell that you're caring and loving parent and understands the point I'm making. In this situation communication is key. I have two boys myself and I honestly have not taught them one thing....because mostly they don't want to listen to dad. I've found, and even with me, kids tune their parents out and need an outside source of instruction. So, I've become very hands off with my boys and let their coaches and instructors teach them. It's very hard to let that go, but sometimes it is for the best. Try getting with a good hitting instructor locally and see what happens. The main thing is that he remains positive and excited about what he is doing and leaves a game or practice with a smile....even if he goes 0-4. Thanks Eddy!

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  34. Wise, honest and to the point. What is this doing on the internet?

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  35. Growing up, I always wished I'd played more sports at an early age. As I got older, I blamed my parents for not pushing me earlier. The fact is/was, I'm not coordinated AT ALL. I'm not ever competitive really, but I LOVE the idea of people who are both of these things. My husband, not surprisingly, grew up with an intense love of sports, though HIS father played only in the band and was considered a failure in his texas town b/c of his lack of athletic ability. Although my husband didn't grow up playing sports WITH his father, he was definitely supported and encouraged by his parents.
    Now, my husband and I have two boys. One is very coordinated and goal oriented, but has ZERO interest in team sports. The other has physical limitations (due to being born prematurely) and, at the ripe old age of four, is already experiencing kids who pick on him because he can't keep up on the playground.
    I swore that I'd start my kids early in sports - and give them every opportunity that my parents didn't think to give me. I've tried so hard to get my oldest (who's six by the way!) to care about baseball, soccer, tennis....but he's not interested. That said, he taught himself to read at 2.5, and has a super high IQ. Kids' tendencies and inclinations cannot be controlled. I think many of us parents mourn the children we thought we would have, even planned to have, and for some the process of letting go is difficult and painful.
    Your blog reminds me to take a leap of faith with my kids by accepting and embracing them for who they are - whatever their interests may be at this moment in time.

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  36. Great column! As a journalist, former pro athlete and youth coach, I think you knocked it out of the park. Youth leagues should print it and throw it in the uniform bag!

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    1. Colin, great post. You say the things we all want to say. However, I wonder, if the tone works. I have sent similar emails to my program parents, and it usually invites one or two really nasty responses - i.e. it gives parents a permission to be as candid with me... Regardless, we all need to hear honest feedback from people who have done the task at a high level and are currently in the trenches. Keep up the good fight.

      Ps - you may remember me from Central catholic circa 1996 - Jason Larocque
      Follow me now on Twitter @coachwonk
      Lets talk shop!

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    2. Hey Jason,

      Great to hear from you. Of course I remember you. Bill Blood was one the best coaches and mentors I was able to come across. I learned a lot from him and Dave Bettencourt. I purposely set the tone this way to open of the eyes and ears of parents. It is out of my nature to sound like this but I had to make hit home. Thanks for the positive comments and I will be following. Thanks man!

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  37. Thanks for a great article. Really made me consider some of my actions while watching my little guy. I always encourage him and would never belittle him, but I have been guilty of coaching from the sideline sometimes. He's ultra competitive and very hard on himself and me making any comments could be seen as criticism on his part. He has a real love of sports and I would never want to do anything to hinder that for him. Thanks for the perspective.

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    1. Thanks for reading Melissa. I love the fact the your boy is competitive and finds it necessary to be hard on himself...that means he loves what he's doing! Keep up the good parenting!

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  38. Great post and you're spot on. BUT, there's one thing you didn't point out. Our family has been in travel ball for a long time now and have made the same and other observations. From my perspective, about 99% (or even greater) of the coaches out there are also dads. Their coaching is often biased toward their own child and in a lot of cases, the team was formed because their "kids sucks" on other teams and they were that parent that decided to leave. It always seems that the worst kid on the team is the coach's kid. Funny how it works that way with all the other assistant coaches too (which is probably why they volunteer. But, then again, it's their team, their right. We as parents can leave if we don't like it. We as parents have to agonize through watching the team lose games because of the coaches' kids while biting our lips. And, the players have to suck it up when the coaches' kids (who bat .100) are never subbed out and bat 4th in the lineup over a kid who is batting .500. Just watch a game when the coach's kid gets up to bat and you'll hear the most yelling. Just observing how it goes both ways.

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    1. I understand the frustration. A lot of parents feel the need to "work their way in" with team as if it will guarantee favoritism, playing time etc...That kind of stuff can't be allowed. It is hard to deal with dads that coach their kids because they lose perspective on the team sometimes. I wish there could be a perfect situation for everyone, but sometimes it's just not possible. Thanks for commenting

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  39. Colin,

    First, I agree with everything you are saying here. Parents are a big part of problem. Unfortunately, you may not like Part II of my post. I think another big part of the problem is travel ball in general. I was a college athlete and have been an umpire at the high school, college, and travel ball level for years. The amount of ball these kids are having to endure is burning them out on a great sport (baseball & softball). These sports were never intended to be year-round for 11-year-old kids. I see so many of them get to high school and decide they just don't want to play any more because they are sick of the game. Yes, a good deal of that translates into "I'm sick of listening to Daddy scream at me," but another part is they just are simply burned out. You and your team may not do that to kids, but I see many of these that I umpire start practice in January, games in February, and play all the way to the weekend before Thanksgiving. That's a longer schedule than at the major-league level. I agree that, if you are going to have travel ball, there has to be some voice of reason guiding it, and obviously, the parents just aren't it!

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    1. I couldn't have said it better Kevin. This is the age of specialization which is actually killing the spirit of sports. Seasons are too long, kids are burned out, parents are cash strapped and it all leads to headache and heartache. I never played travel ball except AAU when I was a teenager and that was in New England where there were 2 teams for 6 states! Now there are 10 teams for one town! It's really made me take a step and question if I even want to be a part of travel ball anymore. Thanks for the post!

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    2. Keith I called you Kevin. My apologies

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  40. Great post Colin. I've coached and scouted hockey players in Canada for a number of years. As you say, different sport- same problems. As a scout, I always asked 3 questions about a player(they were 13 years old)and they were always in order of importance. 1)What is kid like in the dressing room? 2)What are his parents like? 3) How good is he? Just a little insight for parents who might think that they know what is best for their kid. His skill level is 3rd on the list.

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    1. That's a great approach. The make-up of the team can ultimately override the talent. I will take less talent any day of the week if they are great kids and want to work hard. As a coach, I don't care what my team's talent level is as long as everyone gives 100%

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  41. I admire anyone willing to give up their time to coach young people. It is a thankless job most of the time interspersed with random moments of exceeding pride in what those kids have learned and accomplished. I spent 20 years in the photography business taking school pictures and found that we have become a nation of excuse makers for our kids. Nothing is ever their fault. It isn't their fault for not listening, for not caring...literally someone else is to blame for every less than stellar moment in their lives. Part of being a good athlete and human being is learning the art of being a "team" player and while we should all want to have that winning spirit, being a good competitor and "sport" is important too. As a female I guess I am often a rare duck in the regard I do not feel it is best for kids to be learning that everything in life is "fair". Let's face it...it isn't. And if they are not taught, that, sometime someone is just better than you on a given day, they are looking at a long hard life of bitter disappointments. And if all things are equal, what do they need to strive for? And, doesn't that lack of need eventually tear away at the fundamental use of healthy competition. Everyone loves winning and no one really WANTS to lose. But if there is a game - each of those events are going to happen. Some of my proudest moments as a high school athlete were beating the britches off a team that had brutalized us over and over again. Did we revel in our victory, you bet we did. Did our triumph also fuel a fire in the belly of the beast to never be beaten by us again - absolutely. We all played better, fought harder and respected each other much more than we did when one of us was serving as the designated victim for the other. As a parent, I tried to encourage my kids to do what they loved. One of them was a great athlete, but she didn't enjoy "sweating" and so her ball playing skills were not utilized in school but she was a hell of a cheerleader. My son was not the best athlete, but he wanted to be and he gave the game of football his heart and soul each time he was allowed to play. Now as a grandparent I have a grandchild who does not allow any coaching from the sidelines....nor does she want you to cheer or applaud her successes. Only she knows why, but we respect her enough to sit quietly and beam with pride when she excels. Great article and I'm sorry I went on and on.

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    1. That was great...I love hearing stories like this. Every child is different and every child has the ability to excel at something with support and love. I really like your mention of "team." Creating that environment as a coach is what we strive to do because it breeds success. Thanks for commenting

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  42. I agree with your statements, but as a parent, I get agitated when parents of athletes get stereotyped so easily. I'll say this, my 9th grade son is very good and sometimes I feel as if I should I apologize for that? Things that I have stressed during the "process" since about his 4th grade year that I belief has continued his interest and love for the game: I very rarely bring up baseball at all unless he wants to talk about it, and I after a game on the way home (good game or not so good game), I think of something other than "the game". And every time, an hour or so later, he'll bring up the game and we'll talk. Same goes with practice. If he wants me to throw him some BP and throw it around, I'm all in, but on his request, not mine. And I went out of my way to stay out of the politics of baseball and never gave my opinion to any coach about what I thought. At times, it may have hurt him. But at the end of the day, I tell him anything that he has accomplished was all on him, and I had absolutely nothing to do with it. I give him our full support and what he does with it is on him. He truly loves the game and I tell him to "go for it". On the other side of parents over valuing the children is a healthy encouragement and belief in your child that he can do anything he puts his mind to it. On the flip side of over valuing your child can potential be disastrous if it leads to a child not having anyone BELIEVE in them, even it might seem a little far fetched to others. Now, I think you are referring to using these beliefs to try to influence coaches, etc., and in that, I totally agree.

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    1. Well said. You should never have to apologize for believing your child is talented. Heck, as parents we all think our own are talented. I commend you on your approach with him in regards to your communication. Your child should always know you're available to talk to them about anything and will do so when the time is right for them. You have positively reinforced his confidence and character by lauding his successes as his own. That will only help him in the future. Thanks for posting

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  43. First off, great article. I've read many like it, but this one really hit the nail on the head. Not having read all of the plentiful comments, I'll refrain from commenting on them.
    I have been directly involved in coaching SOME of the teams my son has played on since age 5. My father and I had an excellent 'baseball relationship' that I've used to model my relationship with my now 13 year old son. He even coached one of my Little League teams. Not once was I given special consideration, and despite my son's occasional protest, he's never received any favoritism from me. Instead, I've taught him to appreciate the talents of players who are more gifted (yes, they exist) and taught him to emulate their habits, to learn from their experience.
    My son currently plays for 3 teams, middle school, Babe Ruth, and AAU. While he was unable to choose his coach in Little League, middle school, and Babe Ruth, we chose carefully these past two years in AAU. It's no surprise that he prefers that team over the others. He's learned so much from that experience. His passion for the game has grown as much as his talent has. The relation between the two is obvious. And as such, the respect he's earned from the other two coaches is readily apparent. So has the respect he gives them. He now better understands that the coach deals with many pressures above and beyond putting the right players on the field in certain situations.
    As an avid baseball fan myself, we talk shop much more than the average family. He's grown less critical of his own failures and now downplays his own successes. He understands and avoids the politics that come with the whole experience and focuses solely on improving his own ability. (We've experienced enough of it for him to recognize it even before it's pervasive.)
    Do I, as a father, wish I was still involved with coaching his team? Perhaps to some degree. But more importantly, I'm glad I'm not. For one, I don't miss the outside pressures involved. The parents, the politics, both gave me more stress than I'd like. I am however considering coaching another team that my son is NOT involved with. I just love the game that much and want to develop players with an attitude just like my son's. I was never a great player in my youth. Good to some degree, but never the most gifted. My gift is more in my understanding of the mechanics and strategy of the game. I'd like to be able to impart that to others. I want to develop talent AND a healthy appreciation for the game I love so much. I can only hope that the parents of the kids I coach will understand that and not expect me to magically transform their child into the next Derek Jeter.
    Going back to my son, I often remind him that if the game ceases to be fun for him that he shouldn't feel obligated to continue playing just for my benefit. I'd be happy seeing him succeed in whatever endeavor he desires. Even if he doesn't succeed and merely enjoys it. He's learned many of life's lessons through the game he loves. He aspires to succeed, puts in the time and effort, and sometimes even tires me out with his desire to practice, practice, practice. Maybe I HAVE done something right as a baseball dad. :)

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    1. It sure does sound like you have done something right. That was honest and spot on to the message I'm trying to convey. If all parents were based in reality like you it would make the coaches job a cake walk. Thanks for posting

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  44. It was a sad day for me when my son quit playing baseball after his freshman year in high school; however, in his mind it was probably the best day of his life. When he quit, he was looking at the opportunity to be the starting catcher on the varsity team his sophomore year. It didn't matter to him, he was done. I look back over his baseball career and realize his parents and the system failed him. He had all the talent in the world. He started playing baseball when he was 5. We signed him up to play travel baseball when he was in 6th grade. He played for 2 years. I look back and think how miserable he was as they played over 100 baseball games each summer. When he would have a weekend off, the coach would email the week before that he had found the team a tournament to play in that weekend. I remember the last weekend of the summer when I told him he had one more tournament, the tears in his eyes. He hit a walk off home run in that tournament and all he said was can we go home?? I'm pretty sure the pressure filled competitive envionment, the parents sitting behind home plate yelling...watch the ball...see it...we need a hit..., and the grueling schedule ruined it for my son, and yes I will take some responsibility because I loved the game and he was good and I loved watching him. I am guilty of some of the things you talk about in your article, and one thing I would say looking back over our experience is that if your child is good at a sport he will always be good if he works hard and most importantly has a passion for the game. Wearing your child out will be very dissapointing in the long run for everyone. On a side note, my son is still playing football and loving it and hoping to play in college. He loves the sport and most importantly, I think he loves it because his parents and fans are somewhere lost in a crowded stadium. He is playing for himself and his team!! That would be the message that I would send out to all of the young parents with young players. Success will come if you are playing for all the right reasons! Colin, you are right on!! Well said!! This is a subject that needs to be discussed more and more to help all parents who have the best intentions to help their children but are misinformed!

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    1. I was fortunate to have coached youth baseball from the ages of 5 through 18 for 26 years. During some of that time I did coach my son, but never allowed him to be considered ahead of others. Had a parents meeting every year to explain that I was there to coach their sons and they were there to cheer for them and no coaching was allowed from the stands. In all the years I only had to have the umpire remove the parent from the stand and send him to the outfield area. Your blog has so many great issues that you cover and you should now do a review of the issues and maybe make out a top 10 list of do's and don't for the parents. Just a great job.
      gmhcoach@aol.com.

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    2. I appreciate the kind comments. Regarding Passionate Mom's mention of schedule: I never played "select" ball when I was younger. I played AAU when I was 14,15,16 because that's when my talent came to fruition. I probably played 15 games a summer up until the age of 13. I find it totally unnecessary the amount of games these kids play at such a young age. The commitment and sacrifice of the whole family to be involved is often too much. Kids need their free time in summers to play, socialize, be with family. This constant grind for youngsters burns them out quickly. I applaud you for recognizing that.

      GMHcoach..thank you for service to the youth of America in a positive way. It's people like you that coach the proper way that make a big difference

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  45. ... and I will add that Colin's words aren't just that, he lives by them. I help coach one of his children and I never hear a word. His son is one of the better players on the team, but like any 5 year old, he has his moments too, and Colin allows the coaches to coach. I never hear a "get your head in the game", or "my kid should lead off or hit in the 3 hole or clean up" or "why isn't my kid pitching or playing short or first?"... we hear, nothing. We, as coaches, have the utmost respect for someone who actually played in the bigs and yet allows his own child to be coached by someone else and not feel the necessity to interject at any given moment. Never a negative comment to his child or any coach. Those who don't appreciate the invaluable experience Colin brings to a team, simply don't understand sports. Sports is more about life and lessons learned, than the mere game that is played. It's about responsibility, teamwork, hard work and dedication, it's about fun, and at this age, it's about friendship and doing your best, which doesn't always mean being the best. I have only known Colin for a short time and value his friendship and admire his love of the game, but even more than that, I respect the fact that he allows his son to develop as player on the field with the help of the team coaches. He obviously works with his son at home, but when he comes to the field for practice or a game, he's a spectator, just like all the other families. So anyone who says that talk, or words, are cheap can say nothing about Colin or his viewpoints on this. He is right on and lives by the words he wrote.

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  46. LOVE this article. As a former college athlete and high school basketball coach, I now watch my son's games in silence. I am so disgusted by the parents and their behavior on the sidelines. If they only knew how foolish they look throwing score books and storming off when a player makes a mistake. Parents seem to be so focused on chasing the college scholarship they forget to let the kids enjoy their high school years. College athletics at the D1 level aren't for everyone! I know of many D1 athletes that wish they would of gone to a small college and enjoyed sports for their 4 years after high school. Just wondered what your thoughts were on this!

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  47. Coach

    Since parents are supposed to leave you alone let me ask you some questions that any youth coach should know.

    1. What are the 36 primary muscles that apply force to a pitched baseball?

    2. At 11 biological years old what would be the current development of their six critical elbow growth plates? (Hint: one has not even appeared yet.)
    3. Why is taking the baseball out of the glove with the palm of the hand on top of the ball the #1 cause of Tommy John surgery?
    4. I know this is a stupid question since you love these boys but would you let a kid on the mound who took the baseball out of the glove with his hand on top of the ball?

    "Coach" if you can't answer these questions perhaps you might consider soccer. At a minimum, if the parents like their sons the better get involved.

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    1. Steve/kinexus/dirt/kharma...

      This is not a MM thread..let's not turn it into one.
      Rap

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  48. I agree that parents are to be the "cheerleaders"; however, a child shouldn't be the one stepping up to defend themselves or their friends from an abusive coach (I don't care that they volunteered. Not everyone has the right reasons for volunteering!) When the coach screams at the kids in a mean spirited way and uses endless profanity with 10U kids and nearly goes to blows with the umpire, it is time for parents to step in! It is not the job of a 10 year old to take on someone who is suppose to be an authority figure and doesn't know how to act!

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    1. I agree with a lot f what you are saying, but that is only part if the equation. Parents have a lot invested in their kids and that is what drives many emotions. I didn't play at a high level, but I coached for over a dozen years at various levels. I was never out coached by those coaches who had much greater playing experience than I did. I feel this is for three reasons - I never stopped learning the game. Many I coached against were good players - mostly because they were great athletes. I was surprised how little they actually understood the game and could "teach" very little. These guys thought they knew it all, but in reality knew very little. Secondly, I was big into teaching the mental side of the game. It is amazing how these high level ex-jocks totally ignore it! Again, I simply out worked them and transferred that psychology to my players! What an edge! Thirdly, I understood that playing and managing are two different things! Managers are people leaders! Why do you think some of the best coaches ever were not very good players? And I bet that many of your parents are managers in their respective fields and get paid very handsomely for it! So, what I'm trying to say is that parents get wound up for a variety of reasons, but seeing an ex high level jock mismanage a team is the utmost in parent frustration. Being a great player doesn't mean you are a great teacher or manager, or leader! They are 4 different skill sets!

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    2. Coach Yod,
      Couldn't agree more with that! I am an elementary teacher, so when I see dad's who have taken on coaching because they thought they rocked in high school or worse yet, just rocked at little league, yet have zero idea how to motivate and control a group of elementary age boys, I want to come out of my skin. I do think most people understand that whatever your personal standard at home is on calling your child an F'er, you would understand it isn't appropriate when you are dealing with other people's children and that's what they are - CHILDREN. They are not grown and little league is as much about developing their character as it is about learning a sport.

      My son isn't the best on the team, he's not the worst either, but he LOVES the game. So we do private hitting lessons and camps and I keep taking him. The other night his coach had him sit and he started yelling at him because he didn't feel he was paying enough attention because he was looking down and as he walked away called him a F'er under his breath. Now, the kid is recovering from a sinus infection and not totally 100%, he started crying and I had to talk him out of quitting in the 4th inning and remind him to be a better person than the coach and just get to the end.

      I told him to not be offended because I have heard him use that term for several people. NOT OK! This same coach e-mails out the stats of all the kids to all of the parents, which I find a bit over the top as well. It's not so bad for those of us with kids in the upper half, but how does that make the parents of the kid who has never played before feel? Just seems inappropriate to rub parents' faces in the ways their kid stinks. Anyway, that is an example of a coach taking a kid who loves the game and zapping some of their love of the game away. I will say that in 6 years of little league fall and spring ball, we have only had one other bad coaching situation. So, I do think ball clubs, for the most part, do a decent job of finding qualified coaches who are genuinely interested in coaching all of the boys and not doing it for the wrong reasons.

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  49. Steve/Rap

    Is the message you are trying to convey to the parents of the kids being coached by the 4 month veteran that he will answer any encomiums but when asked the tough questions he runs for the tall grass and needs you to shut off all debate. Nice example for the children.

    I'll let it slide this time but the next time he wants to write that 11 year olds suck, I'll gladly demonstrate that perhaps he's the one that sucks.

    Have fun out there.

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  50. As a child of an overbearing Soccer Goalie father who played college soccer in the 1970's, The stories of the grand old days playing in snow, with other teams that did not speak English, he was the best,they had the best team.. etc, etc. I hated soccer. I hated playing. I was yelled at and told I was not trying, felt like I could not do anything right, All because of a game.That was "supposed" to be fun. If you played soccer the world revolved around you, if you did not, oh well, another sibling was playing and got the attention. So I do not push any of our 8 children to play. The wound is still too fresh even after 23 years. I was not great, I was maybe average, and I had no heart for the game.All because of how I was treated. But to hear it told, to this day, I could have been the greatest soccer player alive....I have no rose colored glasses. Children need to be children. Stop living your dreams through them. Period.

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    1. I appreciate your honesty. We all have different passions in life. It's up to the parents to understand what those are and support their child's endeavors

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  51. Just one question: How can coaches be just as respectful of the balance that kids need in their lives--church, family, and such. When a kid is afraid to talk with the coach about a confirmation retreat he must attend for church--all because he can't miss a practice or a game on a Sunday (and the parents support this because neither they nor the kid want him to be penalized for missing), where is the life lesson? Where is the balance? When all these things are important--especially a child's faith--how can coaches give a little and support this aspect of a child's life journey?

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    1. Rabbi that is a reality in the world that we live in today. As a youth minister for middle school and high school youth we see it in play in our parishes all across our diocese. Parents are the key. The faith piece must be a priority for them in order for change to occur. Too many see the ball field as a reliving of their dream or a ticket through college and big payout. In the case of 11 year olds they cannot drive yet so Mom and Dad are definitely on the hook here. For some sports is their religion.

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    2. Rabbi,

      I understand the dilemma you are speaking of. At the age of 11 or 12, when discussing travel ball, I have no problem with someone missing a game or being late due to religious commitments. Obviously, this is a priority with some families and I respect that. As they get older though, to pursue baseball for a scholarship or eventually professionally, there will be times where religious obligations will have to be put on the back burner in order to progress in said sport. The sacrifice is up to the individual and their family to decide if it is worth it. However, I will never punish a player whose parents make them miss a game for religious reasons. It's not the child's fault, just the indoctrination they've been brought up in.

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  52. Colin I the coach on the current #1 ranked 12u AAA USSSA team in the country. I totally agree with your statements. I personally tell my kids (to which I only have 9). No matter how good myself and my other coach as well as your parents were it will never have any meaning when we step in the batters box. If you do not love the sport find something you do love and run with it. There are times where parents will sabotage your efforts by saying something bad about you or another child in front of theirs and that will carry out on the field. Rule of thumb, "It is easy to coach outside the fences". If you have a problem with your coach, Start a travel ball squad teach ethics, sportsmanship, and most importantly remind the kids baseball is a game of failures. You can make millions by simply getting on base 4 out of 10 times.lol

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  53. Thanks for posting Colin. I've seen lots of parents who leave a lot to be desired and are similar to the parents you describe above. I've also seen my fair share of coaches, regardless of their personal playing history, coaching certifications or coaching experience who are no different than the parents you describe. We all have a role to play for the betterment of the children who play to have fun and be with their freinds. Thanks Colin. Keep up the great work and keep it FUN!
    ~ David

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  54. All very good points! So many parents see their kid as the next 1st round draft pick, destined to start for the Sox. When in reality they are more like the guy that gets picked 280th overall in the Amateur Draft, destined to play out their career for the....Bridgeport Bluefish....or something silly like that. Sure in mommy and daddy's heart you will always be the star, but truthfully you are about as much of a star as the Mr. Ninth Rounder is "a professional baseball player", ya know. Set realistic goals kids.

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    1. Love the sarcasm! Thanks for making me laugh

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  55. Don't tell your kids lies!!!
    Love that one, Colin!

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  56. Colin,

    I recently decided to take a break from coaching youth travel soccer and came across this blog post. Let me just say that you hit the nail right on the head. Your observations and suggestions could and should be applied to travel soccer parent's as well from my previous experiences. Actually, my guess is the case is most likely the same in any youth sport in America, unfortunately.

    Anyway, I shared your post on my website because I felt it was a MUST READ:

    http://www.vasoccernews.com/2013/06/hey-parentsyour-kid-sucks.html

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    1. Hi Chris,

      I've taken a break as well since I posted this. I've recently committed to getting back in with a 13 U team. I needed to step away due to the insanity of it all. However, I feel I've developed a good plan moving forward to make it all about the kids, their development, and the love of the game. I'll be posting soon as to the results. Thanks

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  57. Enjoyed all the dialogue and opinions .I have probably been credited or guilty of feeling all extremes at one time or another. My boy missed sign up deadine when he first told me that he wanted to play. I worked with him until he could sign up and waited for the day that he was drafted by a team in our local rec league.
    He. Made the all star team after his first season and was the teams ace pitcher all though his first coach did not let him pitch much. Other coaches and our commissioner saw enough to over come that. We practice on our own year roun because he wants to.I am approaching 50, but I love my son and still work with him becausr he wants me to and our time together is precious. He was scouted by a select team at several of our private practices. He joined the team,and I sent him to a former pro pitcher that I know. I am blessed by his humility. My friend works with both of us. He says that he has him one day a week,but I have to reinforce it the rest of the week. He also asks my son if he wants his best game to be as a teenager or as an adult and teaches me how to signal my son to veto a pitching coach in order to protect himself,as most pitching coaches are more aggressive than knowledeable.

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  58. I failed to ad that we bond by our love of baseball. We go to alot of games together; both pro and select/ rec . I can come home dead tired,but his passion gets me through, andI am always glad we went to support our friends or heros.They give me more than they ever take away from my presence. I never played organized baseball.I was a pretty good. Neighborhood player and had coaches go up to my dad. And offer to get me on a team and equip me for free but my dad would't hear of it. My dad gave me a love for baseball and took me to pro games,but would not take handouts. As an older man ,I hAVE NO BAD FEELINGS ABOUT THAT. I am greatful that he gave me the love that I can share with my son. By the way we play in the state tournament this weekend. God bless all. I think that the game really has a deeper meaning than all our emotions combined. I'm going back to the dugout now, before I get ejected.

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  59. i like your article and you're thinking of kids is very good. i am on work of online baseball store. i have sale the Mlb.com coupons its save your buying the bassball products

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  60. Nice post, very informative and useful for parents. Keep posting great articles.

    Cheers and hugs,
    teamwork quotes

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  61. Cuttysark says right that Nice post, very informative and useful for parents. Keep posting great articles. more

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  62. My son played on a U11 team in which the head coach was selected by a parent vote. He had no qualifications, and had been an assistant coach the year before. The head coach won the vote on based on a popularly contest. The head coach selected his assistant coaches and the team manager. At the start of the season after the first practice the team had a parent meeting. These meeting are important as they outline the coaching philosophy, objectives, playing time and positions, player and parent expectations, season plan, and team rules. The coach did not prepare a parent letter and the only thing that was said by the coach “was it should be good”.
    There are good coaches and there are bad coaches. The players should show up with a positive attitude and being willing to put in an effort and that should be expected of the coaching staff.
    But however when you have coaches and players show late for games and practices, parents coaching from the stands, players being disrespectful to parents and disruptive at games and practices it spoils it for the rest of the players that want to be successful.

    The parents want fair play and equal playing time and all want their son’s to pitch and play all the positions during the season. What is not fair is to watch a boy who does not practice pitching at home, try to pitch in front of two teams, two sets of parents and an umpire and walks seven batters in a row. It is very difficult to watch. Every parent wants to see their child succeed, but they must be put into positions that they can be successful at. The player with the weakest arm should play second because it is the shortest distance to throw the ball. A player, when it is his turn to bat should be encouraged to swing the bat and not be trying to get on base by a base on balls.

    The worst player on the team was the son of president of the association and the team manager. This player played short and batted second in the line up. He only got on base by either being walked or hit by pitch. He had difficulty throwing the ball the distance of 60 ft. He was allowed to pitch in a game in which he threw 24 pitches and only 1 pitch crossed the plate.

    The staff coaching never once wore a uniform, would show up wearing shorts. Very little direction was given to the players during the games. One of the assistant coaches showed up 10 minutes before the start of the game and brought along his family pet. During playoffs, the coaches had difficulty managing pitch count and miss managed the pitchers. Between the first and second playoff games the coaches sat in the dugout and the boys played football on a nearby soccer pitch while the opposing team was conducting their pregame warm up routine. The team practices where unorganised. The team had one practice before playoffs which six players attended. The team manager booked the diamond beside the batting cage for the practice. When the team showed for the last team practice, there was a game being played on the diamond that she had booked.

    Now when your son is on a team with a general lack of commitment of the coaching staff, what would you suggest I do? The better players on the team ended up being discouraged and the development of the team as a whole suffers. Let’s just say the season was “not good”.

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  64. Great quote from my former Strength and Conditioning coach Mike Boyle: "Parents are the worst/ dumbest thing about youth sports. I jokingly say the best coaching job in youth sports would be a team of orphans."

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  65. Hey DADDY COACH . . . YOU SUCK

    'Select' Baseball for youth (i.e. 10, 11, 12 U etc) is a pathetic experience for kids. The #1 problem could easily be stated to be the parents, as God knows there are legendary examples of this. But one has to look deeper and more cunningly, as this problem with youth baseball IS in fact parents, but not the ones in the bleachers. Kids can and do learn to tune that stuff out. However, there is one thing they can't and won't tune out. No sir, the honest to goodness problem with youth baseball are the 'daddy' coaches. That's right. 95% of the youth baseball coaches are primarily there to coach their son, and to insure that their son plays either pitcher, catcher, first base or short stop. They will do anything to insure this. Do not get in their way. If your kid wants to play one of those positions, and one of the six or seven daddy coaches has his son playing this position, forget about it. If you kid is truly any good at one of these positions, and 'threatens' one of the the daddy coach's kid by being better than he is during try outs, your kid will likely not even make it on the team. Select daddy coaches are in fact shameless cheaters. And they are passing on a fine family tradition of cheating, both on and off the field, to their intrepid sons. These bastards have ruined the game of baseball in the process, from the ground up. Yep, baseball is now rotten from both ends. Top to bottom, thanks to 'daddy' coaches and the pervasive climate of "cheat as long as you can get away with it." This pathetic miscreant of a red neck is starring at a field near you, and will take your money, and then proceed to teach your kid the skills he needs to play the positions just good enough not to make his son look bad. Your kid will also get to overhear some amazing 'red neck' daddy-ball humor and logic (a stretch for them), as your kid realized that it does not pay to play fair, and that one has to embrace cheating not only to win, but just to get a chance to stay on the field doing something they thought they loved. If you are a daddy coach reading this, then know that you sir are a first-class flaming jackass, a fine figure of a sphincter . In fact, you are pond scum, and don't deserve to be called 'coach.' Why we need a new term for the 'daddy coach,' and so I propose the new term 'DOACH' (pronounced as the French might say it . . . 'douche') as in douche bag.

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  67. I just found this. Great article. What would you suggest in this scenario:

    My son is playing instructional football. He is six. He is not aggressive in any way. He played flag football last year but this is tackle. We explained this to him thoroughly and he still wanted to play. So we let him. 6 out of 10 practices have been great and the one game so far was not good. He just stood there and wouldn't move. However, he still insists that he wants to play.

    My husband and I believe in finishing a commitment, but at this point I would just rather pull him out. But he says he wants to continue playing. I'm at a loss.

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  68. What is your take on having players rotate positions? Obviously those that have the minimal ability to man the position. Talking 8U players. I feel that at this age it's about player development and keeping the love of the game alive and experimentation. What is the difference between a ball going through a coach's kid's legs or any other kid's legs? It's still an error.

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  69. Hi, I came across this blog at just the perfect time in my life. I love all the comments/questions. I am new to travel ball. My son just started playing on a 10u team. I have a couple of questions for anyone willing to share. We are completely dedicated to the team and have shown this repeatedly. At orientation, we asked about continuing rec league while doing travel ball. It was encouraged. Wish we'd known better, it's been too much. But, my son wants to see both teams through to the end of the season, which is soon. So, our son missed two practices this week; one for a rec ball game and the other due to a group project for school. He hasn't missed other practices. This was the first time. We informed Coach ahead of time that our son would be missing these. Coach cancelled the remaining practice for the week. At the tournament this weekend, Coach kept our son in the dugout on the bench the ENTIRE weekend. Isn't this extreme?! Also, during warm-ups Coach completely shunned our son and blatantly passed him over during each round of hitting practice. He literally took five players and threw a ball to each one to practice hitting, yet skipped our son each time. I find this behavior so odd from an adult in a leadership role. Is this "normal" for travel baseball? And is this "normal" when coaching this age group? Seems like such a harsh punishment for missing practice. To all you experienced baseball families, please share some insight.

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  70. Um. OK. Well maybe I might just take my son to get baseball lessons in San Jose instead. Of course it is not the childs fault. It takes proper teaching, initiative and actual want to play the game. Forcing the child into doing something is not going to do any good.

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  71. Oh dear, I thought this was about baseball not marriage breakdowns.Go see a shrink instead of writing your issues here !
    As for the baseball,I can see where you are coming from,but there are some coaches that are on an ego high.My son left years of tennis to play baseball in 2011,he was 11. There was no technique skills,just throw the ball as hard as you can and hit as hard as you can.Luckily he was pulled to bits by an "old school" baseball coach and now throws without any arm pain with correct technique.I paid pros to teach him so he was bought up to scratch on rules and of course the correct technique,his team did benefit from him catching up.But,as we grew into the next year and changed coaches,so did the techniques.All my son had learnt was ready to be pulled apart by a "baseball dad coach" who thought my son was all wrong.I had to intervene and tell the coach he has been taught the correct technique,pitches without arm pain and is doing well on the mound, also his personal coach asked for him not to be changed.After tantrums from the team coach calling me a "helicopter mum" it eventuated this coach had just received his level 1 coaching certification.So, he had no bloody idea and was ready to apply rubbish on my son that could inflict arm damage.As a parent it is my responsibility to look after him and ensure he is not bullied into changing by an adult.Remember,your team consist of 11 yr old children,as a parent if I feared my child could be hurt I would speak out without hesitation. You are an adult first and a coach second, your teams is made up of children first and players second.

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  73. Nice post. This is a great information about kids games. These points are very helpful for parents. Thanks to sharing it...

    Playballlondon

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  74. I know this is late but your advice is excellent. Especially about allowing kids to find their passion. I am a person that doesn't have any natural athletic ability. I was the kid who was always picked last. That said I fell in love with soccer and put in countless hours to work. Through hard work I got to be among the 10% of high school athletes who got to continue to play their sport in college. My parents supported me every step of the way. My dad was a decent baseball and basketball player but never tried to push me into those sports just because he liked them. I'm 36 now and coach youth soccer. The worst displays of sportsmanship have come from the parents of the athletes. Too many sports try to live vicariously through their kids. Just let the kids play. I tell my team that I don't care if you're a good player or a bad player. All I ask is that you give it 100%. If you do that you will improve.

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  76. Colin, when does a high school coach owe a player a reason for why he is not starting/playing so the kid either knows what to work on or knows to move on? Or is "We like (insert another player's name) in that spot" a valid answer? If the kid was not sucky enough to make the squad then is he entitled to a little more direction/coaching than that? Why the opaque communication between coaches and players? (Notice I'm not saying between coaches and parents). Thanks in advance for your reply. j

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    1. I believe in a coach's honesty as to why certain players are and are not playing. If everything is a level playing field, then the coach should have a very valid answer as to why someone is not starting. Honestly, if kids were told the truth about why they are awarded a position, they would work exponentially harder to remedy that situation if they truly loved the game.

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  77. I agree with the blog. I am not one of those parents I believe the child should enjoy the game and feel no extra pressure also. I worry about my son cause he has low confidence when batting and I try to encourage him to just keep trying your best and how each game he played a good game and if he feels he did not then what did he feel went wrong and how would you do it better next time. He has been playing ball since 4yrs old and always in outfield and really wants opportunities to try out for other fielding spots. He has never really been given the opportunity and I feel from watching him he is pretty good and I am not trying be one of "those moms" but I think he has a good shot and playing a base or he wants to try for short stop. I just wish he was given a chance but I dont know how to go about talking to the coach without them thinking I a psycho mom, I am not, just feel that all kids should have the opportunity to try for different spots and see maybe if they can excel in it or not. How would you recommend me going about this.
    Thank you

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  78. This blog is very informative the stuff you provide I really enjoyed reading.
    dance team bags

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  79. Having coached my 2 boys, and as a coach, I agree with your article, Colin. The problem my oldest son is having, as a junior on the High School baseball team, is watching the same 9 kids play every game while constantly turning routine plays into errors, while he and the rest of the team sit and watch. With a 1-4 record so far this year, I say what does this coach have to lose by shaking things up and replacing the starters? It's getting harder to "bite my tongue".....

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  81. My concern is that good coaches are not always selected to run teams. A poor coach can damage a young player's abilities and love for the game. Sometimes it's true... Hey Parents! Your Kid's Coach Sucks!

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  82. As a first time coach this year, I 100% agree with this article. I'm trained to be objective because of my profession and its natural to give into your son who is a player, but a good coach will identify this natural problem and always be fair. One thing I did this year that I never seen a coach do was send out the field and batting line ups ahead of the schedule to all parents. It actually help illustrate the fairness and rotation of people. Also, it let the parents know where their son was playing, it gets hard to tell when they all look the same. Lastly, I was up front that everyone will have equal bench time (12 players/10 field spots) and all got to hit. The downside to this was the 1-3 bad parents started to compare kid to kid and give me questions why Billy was not playing 1st. My answer was simple, player development and being strategic. Also, I stated that giving out the lineup/field lineup ahead time was to promote teamwork and not internal competition. Now during my tournament games, I won't share the line up with the parents but I let them know that there will be less rotations during this game because, one loss and season is over. Its funny how parents dismiss when they are wrong as "whatever". Also, how they become "experts" at everything, such as bat size and bat swing.

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  83. Having coached baseball and softball for nearly 2 decades at all 3 levels of high school play, I can only say one thing:

    Wow. You nailed it!

    Fortunately for me these things did not apply to 80% of the parents I coached but to the other 20% it was spot on. A great read Colin!

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  84. One of the problems I see today is that true "rec" leagues have gone the way of the dodo for kids over 13/14. I played slow pitch summer softball from 8-18 in true rec leagues. I also played fall travel fast pitch and high school. My high school teammates were out there with me in all 3 venues all the way through. My short, catcher, and I (3B) played on the same slow pitch team from 7th-12th grades, and the same fall fast pitch team in addition to the high school team from 9-12. We LOVED the slow pitch summers. It was FUN. Two out of the three of us STILL play co-rec, now in our 30's (the third has been pregnant for what seem like the last 10 years (I kid, she's with her 3rd now and done), so she gets a pass, and wants to come back once this last one is out of the baby stage).

    I'm the captain of one of those co-rec teams. Sure, we want to win, but we also want to have fun. I have trouble recruiting young women with experience because they either (a) want to play extremely competitive fast pitch or (b) are "burned out" from extremely competitive leagues in their youth. I have trouble controlling some of the young men because they go out there playing like they're Bryce Harper. *I've* been intentionally taken out and seriously injured by baserunners (I'm 5'5 and, while a little thicker than I used to be, don't weigh nearly as much as these 6'+ guys who think it's okay to try to knock me off the base when they're *already* out). I quit one league because they refused to eject a guy who shoulder checked me to the ground after I tagged him out in the base line (it was a clean play...I reached in for the tag, caught his hip, and he took one decisive step towards me and knocked me flat on my ass). It strikes me that youth are not taught how to have fun and play fair, just how to win, anymore. We just got knocked out of our summer 3-week tourney by a team that pulled a number of dirty tricks. We were angry, but a few beers calmed us down. Plus, we can have a BBQ next week instead of playing.

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  85. A parent should only say: "I really enjoy watching you play!" That's it.

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  86. I'm a single mom with an 8 yr old boy who told his narcissistic absent dad "yes I do wanna play ball, daddy! Mama doesn't make me! And when I get as good as the best boys, I'm gonna love it, you'll see!" I just wanted to share that for any dad who discourages his child from sports bc he himself is too sorry to be involved and knows it makes him looks just as sorry to everyone around!
    On another note... Team practices and games are the last place to start helping your child. That's what the off season and pretty much any day that's NOT the teams day. It doesn't make you look like the golden parent you think it does.

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  87. Great article.......along with insightful comments from others! Your text resonated, not only with me, but with many others who have taken the time to comment and share. It is so easy to forget that they are little boys (and girls) simply playing a game.

    When parents hang on the fence and holler "throw strikes" I often respond with, they are trying...........
    Another favorite, "what were they thinking" to which I respond, "no one feels worse that he does."

    I have a 17 year old son who loves the game, but not so much the fence hangers behind the dugout or the crowd shouters repeating advice on where to hold the bat, stand, look, etc. His comment, "you just have to learn to block out the stupids..."

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  88. Would love to hear your thoughts about small town high school baseball, where throughout the years (from t-ball to Varsity), dads of the players were the coaches. Once the kids were Freshmen, all of the coaches boys were moved directly up to Varsity in starting positions--rarely sitting out, and talented, deserving Juniors were told they were sitting on the bench with very limited playing time, OR, moving to JV, sitting, with very limited playing time. SO unbelievably unfair. Do they think that all of us parents are stupid and don't see this??? Baseball, in a small town, has not been a good experience for boys who have talent, but, were never given the chance to show/prove it.

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    1. Hi Lucille,

      I grew up in a small town of 3,000 in Massachusetts. I experienced first hand everything that you're talking about. I played Freshman Baseball, a couple games Sophomore year, a full Junior season, and then only 5 games Senior year. So, I understand the frustration. I ended up going to Prep School in CT, so I didn't lose NCAA eligibility, and becoming physically and mentally stronger. I really didn't develop as a player until I was 19. 2 years later I was drafted in the 9th Round by the Colorado Rockies. So, small town circumstances can be avoided if you persevere.

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  89. Colin Young: You deserve the Pulitzer Prize. Your insight goes far beyond the Sandlot leagues of every single sport played in this country and around the world. I have played all of the major sports during my life experience. I have had coaches that were in my opinion the greatest role models that not only had a profound affect during my youth, but stayed with me into adulthood. A lot of what they taught me in developing my athletic skills was more than just having to do with athletics, more importantly it was HOW they taught me that had a deeper and longer lasting influence on my adult life - how to deal effectively with people. I do not EVER remembering my coaches chastising me IN FRONT OF OTHER PLAYERS..... If they wanted to let me know what I had done wrong it was done after the game and never within ear shot of a parent or another player. I carried that technique with me into my years as an educator.

    I never pursued a professional career. I was a good ball player, but I realized college and pro coaches wanted large, tall, and Herculean-like players. I stand 5' 7" so I chose instead to pursue a career in education as a teacher, coach, and administrator. I never regretted my decision. I used the lessons I had learned from my youth coaches during the years I coached High School football.

    After leaving coaching I umpired and refereed baseball, softball and football. It was during my 20 years as an umpire that I saw the very behavior you have discussed around many ball parks. I have thrown MANY fathers and mothers out of the stands for some of the most appalling behavior exhibited in front of other parents, other children, and their own child. I have stopped games and had the park commissioners remove parents from the park. I have called Law Enforcement for the purpose of removing belligerent, abusive parents. It wasn't for arguing with me, it was for their full scale attack aimed at their child during a game because he/she missed a ball, struck out, dropped a fly ball, dropped a pass, fumbled. Parents would come down out of the stands and scream at their children. It got so bad I would instruct coaches before a game they were NOT to belittle, criticize, or berate one of their players during the game and they(coaches) were responsible for the behavior of their parents. I made it clear to parents their behavior during the game had better not be admonishing or demonstrative towards their children during the game. They have enough stress put on them by their coaches to win the game. Don't add to it.

    I have since retired from umpiring due to "football knees" and "baseball shoulders". I still attend my grandchildren's games - soccer, baseball, basketball..... I have been reminded by my daughters, "You are not umpiring, SHUT UP!" There is still that URGE to jump up and scream. Especially if one of MY GRANDCHILDREN have been wronged!

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  90. Great opinion, however your reality isn't everyone's reality. Great coaches are the exceptions, not the rule. We left Little League last year in order to find better coaching. We were sold on travel ball as an opportunity for our son to develop- that the team wasn't about 'winning at all costs'. Great sales pitch. Complete bullcrap. When my son isn't given the same opportunities as the others, when he gets yanked from the middle of an inning for making an error while another child makes three errors and stays in the game- don't tell me I need to sit back and 'let the coaches coach'. Don't tell my son he needs to 'enjoy the process'.

    For the most part- I've kept my mouth shut because life isn't always fair, but there are limits to what a child and his parents should have to endure- indeed, three other parents have had their child quit the team for the very reasons listed above, so don't you dare tell me I'm being overly sensitive or unrealistic. It's easy to say we should quit the team and find another. It's quite another matter to determine what kind of coach(es) you've got until it's too late in the season to move teams (not to mention cost). We should lose a season of baseball? What if the next coach isn't any better? At what point do you tell your child he's not going to play the game he loves anymore because the coaches are poor coaches?
    I congratulate you on being a good, fair, and honest coach. However, your open letter to parents is an affront to those of us who don't have such a coach for their child. For the record, I volunteered to be an assistant coach (but was not taken up on my offer). I don't have the time however, to be a head coach and give a group of kids my full attention that they deserve.

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    1. I hear you loud and clear. This was honestly a frustrated rant that took off and got legs of its own. However, there are bad coaches out there. A LOT OF THEM. Travel ball is filled with over zealous, untrained coaches wanting to get wins under their belt with complete disregard to the welfare of their players. I get that. Their will be a post shortly on said topic. Thanks for the response.

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  91. Hey Colin, I believe that everything you said is 100% the truth. Seeing as I just graduated and I have played sports my entire life, parents do push their kids either too much or they make them hate the game. Thankfully I had parents who supported me and let me have my own failures and my own life through sports. Parents just don't understand how much pressure is already on their kids. There's pressure not only from your other teammates, but from the people watching you and the other team as well. I've seen numerous of times where parents will yell at a coach for their child's mistake, and that's just very rude and disrespectful. The coach doesn't the mistake most of the time, it's the child and their parents just think that their child is perfect. It's sad, it's sad how much parents nowadays pressure and also baby their child during sports. It's not only in sports, there's also pressure from school that the child has to go through. Parents don't understand that everything is different now then from they were in high school.

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  92. The question any young person in sports should ask themselves is, why? Why am I participating at all? What is my motivation for playing? The process of discovery will be clarifying in the young persons quest. One MUST have a passion for what they do. Especially Baseball. The game is perfect, the players, parents, coaches, officials are not. Like with anything in life. It takes hard work and most of all dedication. To practice for the between the lines stuff is the easy part. Its the development between the ears that makes the difference. Therefore my belief is anyone that follows there passion will have a much greater chance of developing the type of character and mental toughness required to make a carrier of, in this case, baseball. If one does not seek and answer the question why am I doing this, then its like running in place as fast as you can but never going anywhere. So parents help your children ask the right questions for themselves. They wont go very far on the passion of someone else.

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    1. Exactly, it's all about communication. If you don't know what your child's passions and likes are, then you won't be able to support them in a positive manner.

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  93. Baseball isn't the same as football though. It takes an almost emotionless person to play baseball it seems. You have to handle days of play in a "game of failure". Football is all out, emotion filled, intensity that cannot even be compared to a game like baseball. My young son is good at both. Loves football, likes baseball a lot. I want he best for him but I personally can barely constrain myself from screaming during baseball games (hell even practices) because it so, so "tame". I cannot ask the wife to take him to practice all the time, I cannot NOT go to his games. What does a football guy do when he is forced to watch a sport that puts me to sleep when I my son is not playing but puts me into a rage when he is (for a variety of reasons, I control it but it takes its toll). Any thoughts besides "stay away from baseball"?

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    1. It's funny, my dad was a State Championship coach in Football while I was growing up. He never once criticized or got on my case about anything. You have to let it go. Baseball is a game of failure. Those that overcome the failure and know how to deal with it are the one's that succeed. You have to be even keeled. I was a QB and DB in high school so I know the emotions of both sports. They are different. There will be days you go 0-4 and that's Ok. It's how you respond to that, that makes you a player. There are 162 games in an MLB season, to equate to Football is like Apple to Oranges, just totally different mentalities.

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    2. Thanks for the response we have been away a lot since my post. All Stars State and then Regional Competition (2nd in both, my sons starts at catcher). So after a full season of rec ball and all star competition (all the way to the end of summer because of how far they went) and the only thing I can say is that I am ok with rec season but the All Star season absolutely took everything out of me. Any patience I had was used (not to mention all my free time and then some haha) but I did get better... and that is a relative term. I just am not a baseball guy but I love watching my son but I cannot put up with another All Star season and there is not much doubt he will get voted to the team again next year (not my words, the coach wants "his" catcher back) AND that makes me feel really obligated after all he went through with the coaches and players this year to turn it down next year. I will probably feel different about after a few months away from it. Great for him, brutal for me. I JUST DON'T KNOW. Thoughts?

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  97. This blog was exactly what I was looking for and was excellent. My son has played rep level baseball the past two seasons and will be playing a third at 11U. However, the problems with parent dissent with coaches and with Daddy coaches have been ever present for the past two seasons. The league generally speaking has always put Daddy coaches at the rep level I believe out of necessity but also because there is a limited supply of qualified coaches to fill all the coaching needs at every level. This year the league is actually changing its philosophy by taking on a head coach at the 11U level that is not a Daddy. It is the hope of everybody involved that this will eliminate many of the problems and scenarios mentioned above, however, I have my doubts. After just 3 fall sessions, the parents of returning players have shown that they are fully capable of having just as much contempt for a non-Daddy coach as they did for the Daddy coaches. The problem I am now certain is that in reality they would love to be the Daddy coach if it were a perfect environment where they would not have to answer to other parents! It seems that this is part of the environment of being involved with rep level sports. I am now leaning towards supporting an earlier comment that suggests that there should not be any rep level sports! I think that all the kids should play in the house league like they do in Little League. Anyway, this blog has been helpful and to the comment earlier about holding the ball on top leading to Tommy John, thanks for the info! Our outgoing coach discouraged this practice for exactly this reason. Of course there are other reasons and practices that lead to arm problems but good of you to mention this particular one. Parents let your kids learn from the best and realize you're not the best (at coaching baseball techniques). My kid has worked with Roberto Alomar, Rance Mullinicks, Lloyd Moseby, Duane Ward, and many others; he had a blast! Don't take it so serious, like Colin says "nobody makes the pros before high school" (paraphrasing). And parents please stop stating that your kid is the 2nd or 3rd or 4th or 5th or 6th best on the team. Jeez, how can anybody possibly validate such a statement. Just ridiculous!!! And Colin don't let those old-timers try to put down your love for the game just because they have been grizzled by their own experience. Good job!

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  98. Wow . . .I see a lot of crap being thrown at dads who step up, commit time and energy to help coach a team their kid is on. While I agree with much of the blog and its comments, the people here enjoy the age old blood sport of shooting arrows at dads who coach. Which is worse -- Daddy Ball or Money Ball? B/c that is often the only thing parents who bitch actually contribute. Their kids, who are just so damned gifted, don't practice outside of the limited practice times b/c they are busy being over-scheduled or playing endless video games. But hey, why not just dimish players and teams coached by one of the dads -- it plays right into the views held by the parents of kids who do suck and believe that somehow little Jimmy or Jane are getting shafted b/c they don't get to play the position they want . . . . .

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