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T-Ball Coaching a Sons Team (poor son behavior at practice)

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  • T-Ball Coaching a Sons Team (poor son behavior at practice)

    Hi All,

    I am the assistant coach of a tball team. Our head coach (who is a friend) has a 5 year old son that is very talented athletically and is very smart and, typically, a very good boy.
    Last year he assistant coached his sons t-ball team and this year took the head coaching position.

    Since practices have started his son, who was perfectly behaved last year in practices and games, is now acting out. He is not listening to any coaches. He will not play his position. He starts crying and sitting down behind the plate when he's asked to field rather than batting... generally acting disruptive.

    I have been trying to help his Dad out with being his sons coach so that he's not feeling conflicted with his Dad now being "the coach" but it's not really working at all. His son is just ignoring me to be honest (lol).

    I really want to know if anyone has any experience in this. It's a big distraction for the head coach (who is a terrific Dad) and it's making me feel like I could do something better to help.

    My hypothesis is that the kiddo is feeling conflicted that his Dad is now being shared, particularly that he is sharing something they enjoy together (Baseball)... and that is making him act out. It seems that there isn't much we have come up with to calm that down.

    We are about 60% on structure. We do a lot of breaking the kids up into smaller groups and doing skills then setting them up for situational. Probably the typical.

    Looking forward to some of you Dads that have lived through this and might have some jewels of advice. We want the boy to shine like he should.


    And selfishly he's a DARN good first baseman.... but you knew that was coming!

    Edit: Dad/Head coach is not harder on his son or anything. He's EXTREMELY even keel.

  • #2
    I coached two kids in kiddie ball sports through elite level 18u travel softball, 16u travel baseball and 14u travel basketball. We had very few problems over the years. I explained when they were little the only way I could coach them would be if they respect me like any other coach/parent and I treat them like every other player. Otherwise, I would have to sit on the sidelines and watch.

    Even though my kids didn’t need special treatment I think they believed they would get it if needed as long as I’m deciding who plays when and where. They behaved so I would coach.

    The dad should have a talk with his son away from the field. Find out if he feels badly about having to share his father with his teammates.
    Last edited by JettSixty; 03-05-2020, 04:50 PM.

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    • #3
      Even though it's an easy excuse, we are talking about a 5-year-old. You probably have it figured out in that he doesn't want to share his dad, only wants to bat, etc. Maybe the father could talk to him about it and explain he has to work with everyone, everyone has to take turns. Just basic lessons, but I wouldn't expect an extremely mature response from a kid that young. The one thing I would advise not doing is giving the child the attention he wants. If you make him the center of everything, it will only reward the acting out.

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      • #4
        This is tough due to an expected immaturity of a 5 year old. I think a discipline procedure needs to be worked out by the dad. When my kid would act out during practice or games (happened at even older ages), I'd just have him 'take a break'. I didn't tolerate bad behavior from him, and I made sure not to make a big deal out of it. Often, we'd talk about it after the game/practice, and he would come around. Generally, we had a positive experience together, but every once in a while, things would happen that I'd have to deal with (I am still coaching him at age 14, probably my last year of coaching).

        Sometimes, though, a coach needs to just stay away from the coach/son relationship. One of our HS coaches coached his younger son, but learned from a relatively early age that he couldn't coach his older son. His oldest son, BTW, is playing for an SEC team, so he is a great baseball player, but sometimes that Dad/Coach dynamics just don't work.

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        • #5
          Good luck! It is nice that you are trying to help. My 5 year old daughter did not like it when I was the "head" coach of her soccer team. We would have a great time together with one on one practice, but during the games she stubbornly sat out. She doesn't mind it as much when I assistant coach.

          Still, you are committed for the season. I would recommend that if he doesn't want to participate, he has to sit someplace nearby, but safe. Then, you do your absolute best to make the fielding drills appear to be so much fun, as you work with the other kids. He might chose to join in. There is also bribery If you try your best at practice, afterwards we will ...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CircusHazards482 View Post
            Hi All,

            I am the assistant coach of a tball team. Our head coach (who is a friend) has a 5 year old son that is very talented athletically and is very smart and, typically, a very good boy.
            Last year he assistant coached his sons t-ball team and this year took the head coaching position.

            Since practices have started his son, who was perfectly behaved last year in practices and games, is now acting out. He is not listening to any coaches. He will not play his position. He starts crying and sitting down behind the plate when he's asked to field rather than batting... generally acting disruptive.

            I have been trying to help his Dad out with being his sons coach so that he's not feeling conflicted with his Dad now being "the coach" but it's not really working at all. His son is just ignoring me to be honest (lol).

            I really want to know if anyone has any experience in this. It's a big distraction for the head coach (who is a terrific Dad) and it's making me feel like I could do something better to help.

            My hypothesis is that the kiddo is feeling conflicted that his Dad is now being shared, particularly that he is sharing something they enjoy together (Baseball)... and that is making him act out. It seems that there isn't much we have come up with to calm that down.

            We are about 60% on structure. We do a lot of breaking the kids up into smaller groups and doing skills then setting them up for situational. Probably the typical.

            Looking forward to some of you Dads that have lived through this and might have some jewels of advice. We want the boy to shine like he should.


            And selfishly he's a DARN good first baseman.... but you knew that was coming!

            Edit: Dad/Head coach is not harder on his son or anything. He's EXTREMELY even keel.
            I have been coaching T-Ball for 3 years now (4-6yr olds) and there is always one kid on each team like this. It's tough because you have to pick your battles, but you also cannot give into them. They are much smarter than they allow us to believe. You give in, they will expect more next time around.

            On the more difficult kids/times - their parents usually helped out. It was pretty interesting to watch them work, for obvious reasons each kid is different. If you watch, you will quickly learn there are some key things they hone in on to get their kids to behave. We learned from that, and used the same strategies when their parents were busy or not on the field.

            Other times, you just have to let them be a kid and unfortunately they have to miss out. Their actions should not take away from the rest of the team or their time - that's really my opinion as a coach though. Fortunately for us, there are always 2 coaches. 1 coach takes care of the difficult kid and the other takes over the team.

            Another strategy is to have the coach be separated from their child. By that I mean, the other coach will practice and coach that child. Usually helps from our experience. It's always easy to say no to mom/dad and not so easy to other adults.

            Hope this helps.

            Let me know what you figure out. My son threw 2 tantrums on back to back games (basketball and then soccer) this weekend. We will see what the next game has in store for us.

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            • #7
              My younger son was horrible when I coached his TBall team. I had to bring in my wife, as he fears her. I unfortunately sat him out at times to avoid disruption to others , and then didnt coach him again until he was 8.

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              • #8
                I believe 5 is too young for team sports... I started my kids around 7.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by CircusHazards482 View Post

                  I really want to know if anyone has any experience in this. It's a big distraction for the head coach (who is a terrific Dad) and it's making me feel like I could do something better to help.
                  You deal directly with the manager's child (and, for trade off, have the manager deal directly with your child).

                  I was manager or assistant on my son's teams from ages 5-12. 5 was actually pretty much a dream. By 6, things started to get dicey. By 11, we could only coexist if I was the assistant (and I could tell him, "Well, that's what the manager wants you to do ...)

                  Good luck!


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                  • #10
                    It usually helps to seperate coach and son. My son listens to the other coaches better than to me. I coach the other coaches kids when they start causing a distraction. For whatever reason, they've heard it all from dad but they're willing to listen to strangers. Hopefully you guys are doing different drills and stations you should be able to seperate and refocus on something else. For teeball i couldn't let my wife in the dugout, my boy would just shutdown and want to sit next to mommy, drove me nuts!

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