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  • #31
    Coach Bruce is right about that for sure,but have you noticed how baseball coaches can be the most arrogant sob's in the world? I would have guessed football coaches had baseball beat but sometimes I wonder.Every year at some tournament and or game,I we get a nice compliment from either another coach or an umpire"hey you got a really nice team there or something to that effect" .that makes it worthwhile for me.

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    • #32
      Parents

      Originally posted by Ranger Joe
      This leads me to another question--is it worse to deal with parents who care too much or parents who don't seem to care at all?
      Ranger - I attached a section from my book on parents. I had to take all the graphics out in order for it to fit here.

      Parents and Sports.doc

      Let me know what you think.....
      "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
      - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
      Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Ursa Major
        So, now that Coach Jake has lost all respect for me....
        Ursa... All of us are guilty of what you described above. Short story - I was coaching at the local town school while my son attended and played for a local private school. I went to a few of his games and watched several of his practices and quickly found the coach had no idea what the hell he was doing. He wasn't qualified to coach Minor League never mind high school. I was resoilved not to say anything as it wasn't my team. During a particularly frustrating game I found myself ready to blow! Right before I said something my wife grabbed my hand and quietly said, "Honey relax. Unless you're willing to get involved, keep your opinions to yourself." The next season the school had a new head coach.... me.
        "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
        - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
        Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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        • #34
          Tadlock said: They both get really frustrated with me at the house as we do lots of drills i.e. soft toss, playing catch for points, etc. Sometimes I make them head out just because I can't stand seeing them inside watching cartoons on a nice day and our backyard is set up for several stations.
          Tadlock, thanks for chiming in. It's tough when kids say they want to do well in baseball, but when you ask 'em to pay their dues, they'd rather play computer games or, god forbid, read ... a .... book. (Gasp... I'm so ashamed.)

          One of the benefits of baseball for kids is this. Most kids in our area pretty much have their life grooved -- they pretty much get the toys they want, in today's smaller families they get the attention we had to share with multiple siblings, schools are more proactive in protecting 'em from bullies, etc. So, there isn't so much that gets really need that they know they have to work for. Sports in general and baseball in particular (because it rewards work more and raw athleticism less) provide a carrot for kids to strive for. So, I try to use it as a means to remind my kid -- "Okay, you say you want to make the all-star team, but are you willing to put in some work for it? And see that kid who's smaller than you but makes the all-stars every year? He's out on the field five days a week working with his dad and brother."

          But, how much is pushing for other reasons that we dads won't admit to? And moms, bless 'em, will think we're rationalizing when we drag kids out to throw or take some swings. Now, Mom is willing to lean on a kid to practice his piano twice a week; after all, you've invested money in those lessons. But, push the kid to go out and practice his pitching motion, and Mom crosses her arms and gives you one of those "you're living your dreams through your son, aren't you?" looks. But, hey, if you want to teach kids to strive to reach a goal, any goal -- well, you know they're not going to willingly sacrifice to raise their B+ average in math to an A-. Maybe they're going to have to learn that lesson doing something that really matters to them.

          And you've got to be careful because, if kids sense that it's a need that you have, they'll use it as a bargaining chip. You know, "Okay, Dad, I'll go to the batting cages with you if we can get a double scoop cone on the way back." What'n'ell is that? When I was a kid, I would have crawled through a mile of broken glass to go to a batting cage!

          But, it's tough to just let them blow off practicing and waste their dreams out of immaturity. My son has a teammate with whom he's played for the last three seasons. He's a lefty, and from the first time I saw him pitch to his Dad as an 8 year old, I could tell he was kissed by the gods with an arm and a musculature to be a pitcher. And he says he wants to be a pitcher at higher levels. At least once a month during the off season I've exchanged an email with his dad and, when I finish, I say, "Hey, my son would love to work on his catching; give us a call if your son wants to throw a few." And, according to the dad, the kid says he's not interested, and he in fact hasn't picked up a ball since July. The dad brought in a semi-pro pitching coach to work with him, and the kid insisted on doing things his way, wasting the dad's money and driving the coach bananas. What do you do with a kid like that? Sigh.

          Jake, I love your chart about the parents. One thing I love about anything I read is when I see something (1) that, for some reason, no one else has picked up on, and (2) resonates with the truth. Everything I see from you gives me that experience. Ahhh, on that chart, I'm definitely in the (self-adjudged) "expert" category, although I never interrupt the coach in front of the kids. My rule is that I'll offer suggestions via Email, but I tell the coach that he never has to acknowledge or respond to my Emails; I don't want them ever to groan when they see an incoming Email from me, "Damn, now I'll have to spend 20 minutes explaining to the guy why I'd rather not do it his way." And, I appreciate your advice to coaches that maybe these guys have something to offer. One thing I always do is to make sure that, when I'm helping out by drilling kids, to give them no advice unless I know the manager has cleared it first.

          Your point that, "Avoid talking to the parents about playing time and position assignments" is a nice sentiment, but parents are going to want to talk about it, so it conflicts with the next point about being open to talking to parents. I think the key here is to let all the parents know at the outset, (1) you believe in giving kids who are willing to work and the basic skills try at least one "new" position [so the parents will already know it's part of your agenda], but you won't let a kid play a position where he'll only be frustrated (say, third base if he doesn't have the arm to make the throws), and (2) you'll try to balance playing time but parents should understand every inning given to their kid is taking time away from some other kid. I think what's frustrating for parents is when it seems the coach has simply forgotten their kid exists or wants to try a certain position. As you say, trying to ignore those parents will only reinforce their belief that you're ignoring and are prejudiced against their kid.

          One way to deal with this is to let the parents know that you have a well-thought out plan to develop your kid at a particular position. My son's one "good" coach a couple of years ago dealt with my son's desire to pitch this way. He said, "You're not too fast, put you have good control, so I want to wait for a situation where there are some power hitters up who will be a bit fooled by your speed." And, at a couple of games, he said, "I'll try to work you in during the [X] inning, if it works out." When my son did not get the call, he explained why circumstances didn't work out. Finally, he did bring my son in and... he stunk. Couldn't find the plate. Took him out after two walks and my son was clearly laboring. My son never asked to pitch again, but he was satisfied he got a fair shot, and was determined to improve enough to be a solid pitcher, which he now is. Some of all this planning may have been BS, but my son felt he was a part of "the plan", and he and I were satisfied he was treated fairly.

          On the other hand, I think your rule has particular application with respect to parents arguing that their kid should be moved up in the batting order. This is basically an ego thing. Again, it's a zero sum issue -- someone moves up only at the expense of someone moving down. Again, if you explain at the outset that there are a lot of reasons that kids are assembled the way they are -- ability to make contact, take pitches, run the bases, etc. One of our more valuable kids ("CJ") last year batted dead last. But, our leadoff hitter was very fast and had a lot of pop, so you didn't want him to be coming up all the time with either no one on or a slow runner ahead of him. So, we put CJ up last and he got on about a third of the time, but he was quick and smart on the basepaths, so he scored a lot more than the kids who batted no. 6 or 7 and had weaker hitters behind them who stranded them a lot.

          Ranger, you raise a wonderful point about parents who don't get involved with their kids. I mean, we were in two championship games this year in my son's two leagues, and the other teams had parents for only half the kids at those games! At the regular season games it was ridiculous how few parents attended. I guess you can guilt-trip the parents into coming, but if they're that distant from their kids, they aren't going to care what you think. Maybe you can suggest that the kids invite a friend or two to the game, and you can make a point of making the friend a mini-VIP, saying hello or making a strategy comment to 'em every inning or two. At least that way, the kid feels like a hero to someone.
          sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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          • #35
            "Honey relax. Unless you're willing to get involved, keep your opinions to yourself." The next season the school had a new head coach.... me.



            I take it you didn't keep quiet..lol.At least you didn't have to remove her hingernails from your forearms.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Ursa Major
              Your point that, "Avoid talking to the parents about playing time and position assignments" is a nice sentiment, but parents are going to want to talk about it, so it conflicts with the next point about being open to talking to parents. I think the key here is to let all the parents know at the outset, (1) you believe in giving kids who are willing to work and the basic skills try at least one "new" position [so the parents will already know it's part of your agenda], but you won't let a kid play a position where he'll only be frustrated (say, third base if he doesn't have the arm to make the throws), and (2) you'll try to balance playing time but parents should understand every inning given to their kid is taking time away from some other kid. I think what's frustrating for parents is when it seems the coach has simply forgotten their kid exists or wants to try a certain position. As you say, trying to ignore those parents will only reinforce their belief that you're ignoring and are prejudiced against their kid.
              Hi U.M.,
              Agree.... but .... one way I approach this is to say to the parents that I will not talk about play time with them because it's unfair to the children whose playtime would be affected. I wouldn't talk about your child with other parenst, so it's unfair to talk to you about playtime that affects others without them being part of the discussion.

              What I will do is always answer the question, "Hey coach what do I need to do to get more playtime."
              "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
              - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
              Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

              Comment


              • #37
                Agree.... but .... one way I approach this is to say to the parents that I will not talk about play time with them because it's unfair to the children whose playtime would be affected. I wouldn't talk about your child with other parenst, so it's unfair to talk to you about playtime that affects others without them being part of the discussion.
                I think I'd approach it in the first meeting with parents this way. "If I give your child more playing time because you've come and lobbied me, than every other kid will feel he needs to come and plead with me to defend his own right to playing time. What I will do is explain why I've decided to do what I have and what your kid can do to increase his playing time."
                What I will do is always answer the question, "Hey coach what do I need to do to get more playtime."
                This raises two points. First, I think any kid 11 and over should be old enough to be talking to the coaches directly about these issues rather than having Dad raise it, and the coaches must be very respectful to kids who do so (so long as they do it at an appropriate time). I think that's part of the learning process of youth sports. (Contrast this with one of my favorite Casey Stengel quotes, who purportedly told a player he was releasing, "Son, we'd love to keep you, but we're trying to win a pennant here.")

                Second, this comes up at least as much with respect to where kids want to play. (In our Pony-affiliated league, kids are guaranteed a spot in the batting order at least three innings per game in the field, so the issue is more about not being stuck in the outfield than absolute innings.) Kids should be instructed to ask not, "Can I play second base next inning?", but rather, "What do I have to do to show you I can play there?"

                This really does get back to the "tokenism" issue. If you challenge a kid to prove in practice that he can play X position and he works at it, when you put him out there, he'll be more ready and confident, and he'll feel like he's accomplished something by meeting your challenge. And, like my story above, even if he doesn't do well, he'll feel that he was treated fairly and will hopefully have the confidence that he can handle that position but just needs a little more game experience. By contrast, if he's thrown out there without this preparation and with the expectation that he'll fail, you end up the result eloquently described in the article.
                sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Ursa Major
                  I think I'd approach it in the first meeting with parents this way.
                  Good idea. Letting them know the expectations up front prevents considerable problems later. We address the problem of asking about play time during our preseason meeting.
                  "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                  - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                  Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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                  • #39
                    Our little league addressed this a few years ago at the minors level. Every player had to play two innings in the infield of every game. Some coaches tried to ignore it, but I did it for every game. There are two rules of thought for LL majors 10-12 level. Some coaches feel the 12-yr olds deserve to play entire games since they rode the bench as 10's or 11's. Other coaches would prefer to put the weakest players on the bench most of the games. It behooves a coach to keep track of how many innings every player has played so he/she can discuss it with a parent who has a concern.

                    It is important for the coaches to hold a parents only meeting at the first practice and also handout information as well. They can make it clear that should any situation come up, it is the coaches duty to discuss the matter with the umpire or other team, and not the parents. I was lucky to almost always get to work with good coaches and supportive parents.
                    "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
                    "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by TonyK
                      Some coaches feel the 12-yr olds deserve to play entire games since they rode the bench as 10's or 11's. Other coaches would prefer to put the weakest players on the bench most of the games. .
                      There has to be a balance. The amount of playtime a player gets is, in part, is earned during practice. Also your starting line ups can be determined by the caliber of the opposition. If you play a weaker team start your weaker players.

                      Originally posted by TonyK
                      It behooves a coach to keep track of how many innings every player has played so he/she can discuss it with a parent who has a concern..
                      Again, I have never talked about play time with a parent, as I feel it unfair to the player that would have to sit if their child played. I will however, always answer the question, "Coach what do I have to do to get more play time." I find this to be more fair and less problems with the parents.

                      Originally posted by TonyK
                      It is important for the coaches to hold a parents only meeting at the first practice and also handout information as well. They can make it clear that should any situation come up, it is the coaches duty to discuss the matter with the umpire or other team, and not the parents. I was lucky to almost always get to work with good coaches and supportive parents.
                      Excellent idea. The work you put up front explaining your philosophies, rules, and roles saves huge amounts of problems during the year.
                      "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                      - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                      Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Some coaches feel the 12-yr olds deserve to play entire games since they rode the bench as 10's or 11's.
                        That's a problem facing my son's team this year, as the 12 year olds got all the big playing time last year with the since departed coaches. The returning kids will feel they've paid their dues, and might feel a little disgruntled that only now will "fairness" in playing time be instituted. Still, I don't think they need to play all seven innings of every game like last year's 12-year-olds to feel they've been treated fairly. Perhaps they deserve the benefit of the doubt early; if nothing else, the coach and justify greater playing time for the younger kids later in the season, saying that he needs to give them some experience for next year. And, often the issue isn't how much they play, but where. I like the idea of mandating how much infield team is required for kids to prevent them from spending the whole season in the outfield. Two innings per game is tough to enforce, but obviously wasn't (which is criminal -- you either have the rule or you don't), but maybe three innings every two games might give the coaches more flexibility.
                        It behooves a coach to keep track of how many innings every player has played so he/she can discuss it with a parent who has a concern..
                        I'm sorry, but it sounds a little like documenting every tardy and absence of an employee to make a case for firing him or her. But it's probably not a bad point. If you can back up your statement that the parent's kids is playing more than Johnny and Billy, it doesn't sound like the kid is being singled out. Then again, that parent now has ammunition to draft the parents of Johnny and Billy to be his ally. Still, it might not hurt to have that data accessible.

                        Most coaches have their substitution plan printed out before they get to the ballpark, so they can save them on their computer with a different name for each game, so they can refer back to it, just making sure they keep a hard copy of the version they took to the game that has all the last-minute changes they made. It may be a good idea anyway if some other coach accuses them of not complying with playing time requirements.

                        And coaches should be prepared to make changes to playing time during the game. As Jake notes, if the opposition is weak or at the bottom of their order, it may be time to let your weaker players play more prominent positions -- like the pitcher who's slow but accurate. And, if the game is a blowout, it's a good day to rest your starting pitcher and catcher as the game winds down.
                        sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Ursa Major
                          In chatting with her I was reminded of our experience where our sons were on a 7 and 8 year old team together. Her son was quite good and, being left-handed, played first base virtually every inning. My son and several other "weaker" players who were brand new to the game, never played a single inning in the infield all season long.... in coach pitch ball! Being new to the league, I kind of accepted this but in retrospect realize that I should have ripped the coach a new one. And, of course, he's still in the league and still hyperventilating in his coaching, and his kids are so tense that they invariably break down in clutch situations.

                          The answer to this of course has to be in the management of the league that both selects the coaches and sets the policies. But, I'll bet your league is like mine, and the administrators and coaches are invariably the parents of the stronger kids, so they aren't as likely to see the problem. And other parents, like I was facing the zealous coach of the pee-wee team, don't want to be viewed as whiners.
                          This sounds SO much like the situation in our coach pitch league. I began a thread about a ideal C-P league model, and have been gettign smoe nice feedback. One of my problems is that some of the guys involved are hell-bent on keeping the competitive nature of the league the primary focus. One gentleman rarely neglects to mention, in endorsing his own coaching ability, that his C-P team actually shut out another team! He actually thinks this makes him a superior coach! "The kids were so pumped!" he would say. IN fact, he played the same player at first base each inning, and he played the same five players in the infield each inning. "I can't put a kid in the infield who's going to get hurt," he would argue.

                          Contrarily, I coached a team composed primarily of 7 year olds and would show up at the field with a spreadsheet listing each player's name and the position each woudl play in each inning. I felt obligated to play all of my players in the infield and the outfield.

                          We had a skakeup this fall in terms of leaderhip, but the gentleman to which I referred earlier was our league's C-P commissioner last year, and is an "E-Board" member and highly resistant to any proposed changes in the system.

                          It stinks!

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by tominct
                            This sounds SO much like the situation in our coach pitch league. I began a thread about a ideal C-P league model, and have been gettign smoe nice feedback. One of my problems is that some of the guys involved are hell-bent on keeping the competitive nature of the league the primary focus. One gentleman rarely neglects to mention, in endorsing his own coaching ability, that his C-P team actually shut out another team! He actually thinks this makes him a superior coach! "The kids were so pumped!" he would say. IN fact, he played the same player at first base each inning, and he played the same five players in the infield each inning. "I can't put a kid in the infield who's going to get hurt," he would argue.

                            Contrarily, I coached a team composed primarily of 7 year olds and would show up at the field with a spreadsheet listing each player's name and the position each woudl play in each inning. I felt obligated to play all of my players in the infield and the outfield.

                            We had a skakeup this fall in terms of leaderhip, but the gentleman to which I referred earlier was our league's C-P commissioner last year, and is an "E-Board" member and highly resistant to any proposed changes in the system.

                            It stinks!
                            Information on creating youth baseball leaques with equal opportunity for all youth can be found at PONY Baseball on the web: http://www.pony.org/home/default.asp

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                            • #44
                              Been There

                              Originally posted by tominct
                              One of my problems is that some of the guys involved are hell-bent on keeping the competitive nature of the league the primary focus. One gentleman rarely neglects to mention, in endorsing his own coaching ability, that his C-P team actually shut out another team!
                              Tom, no matter how you slice and dice this - it's wrong! This is clearly an example of a coach living through the exploits and successes of his team. I would suggest the following. At a league meeting get on the agenda and encourage the league to identify the mission and specific goals of the league. To prevent a confrontational edge to the meeting you may want to use the "Feel, Felt, Found" method. Try something like,

                              "Look guys, I know how most of us feel about winning at this level. Other coaches I have been discussing this with throughout the country felt the same way. What they have found however, is limiting the instructional potential of the league by placing empahasis on winning will hurt our overall program as the middle and lower talent children just won't learn. Our job is not to win, it's to get the players ready for the next level. All the players."

                              Then I would suggest establishing specific goals (Rules) for each team to follow. Establish these rules at a brainstorming session. Have everyone throw their ideas out without evaluating the ideas. Once this begins the right things will come out. I would also encourage you to get a good representation of all points of view at the meeting.

                              Items such as (Just throwing these out):
                              1. Every player plays 4 out of 6 innings.
                              2. Every player plays every position once a week.
                              3. Every player bats at least 2 times per game.
                              4. Etc.
                              May be helpful
                              "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                              - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                              Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Ursa Major
                                It's amazing how coaches are sometimes more concerned about a kid's safety than the kid's own Dad.

                                Ursa
                                I'd like to chime in on this subject. Seems like every year I have one kid that I'm just afraid to put on the infield because I don't think his or her reflexes and coordination are up to the task. The first year I coached the LL majors I had a tall gangly kid who fit that description. I explained to his mother why he wasn't on the infield and she understood and agreed.

                                The kid really loved baseball and wanted to pitch in the worst way. The last game of the season was a blow-out one way or the other (funny how sometimes I don't remember those details) and I decided to let him pitch the last couple innings. Sure enough, he got a come backer that bounced off his skull. Fortunately it didn't do any more than raise a little bump, but since then I've trusted my instincts in these matters.

                                BTW, that kid went on to play BR 13-15 and his development caught up with his size and age, and he's become a pretty good player.

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