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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • mudvnine
    replied
    Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post
    He played catcher a handful of times, but the parents were unrealistic about his abilities and eventually yelled at me telling me I had no idea how to coach and tried to get their son to transfer to another team.

    I guess I'm telling this because had they come to me level headed and asked what they could do better, I probably would have said "work on XYZ and we will see what we can do, but keep in mind Jimmy, Danny, and Tommy are quite good at this position and have earned it in their abilities work ethic and results from games."

    Instead, I got defensive and explained that their son was not ready for this position and needed more work, etc.... Essentially the same message but with a different tone, which then makes things worse with already upset parents.
    So basically you're saying that besides having a different opinion than you on the abilities of a certain player, and you giving them your personal opinion of the player, their son's amount of playing time at that position (and probably elsewhere) didn't change....correct?

    I gotta ask, what was accomplished, other than the parents possibly feeling a wee bit better, or was it rather pointless of the parents speaking with you when it came to getting their son additional playing time?

    Now apply that to a level of play where all players know going in that playing time is not guaranteed to anyone, and that zero mandatory play is required....so what's the point of talking with the coach again?

    Leave a comment:


  • jbolt_2000
    replied
    Originally posted by skipper5 View Post
    jbolt: What about the player simply asking, "Coach, what can I do to get more playing time?" or, "Coach, what can I do to pitch more, hit more, etc....?"

    Just wondering: when you've been on the other side of the coin--when you were the coach who wasn't giving PT to a player--how would you have reacted to the technique you suggested?
    skip - In all honestly, I would tell the player/parent something like this, "Johnny, I would like you to get stronger with your hitting. You tend to do XYZ when facing a live pitcher. Come to practice a little early tomorrow and start working on this. Or be sure to work on this during your hitting time in practice."
    Something along those lines....


    FYI - I have coached 7+ years from t-ball to Juniors Little League. Two teams per season and All-Stars in 5 of those years. Of all this time, I have had only two players complain about playing time or position. One was when I first started and the parent was upset that her son was not starting at Short Stop. She came and was being very aggressive telling me he needed to start there and that the two other players there were no good. Those two players were arguably in the top 5 players in the league. Her son could hardly catch a ball.... This was in Minor League (9-10yo).

    The second was last year in Juniors when the parents pull their son off the field as soon as the last out was made and would threaten to quit because their son was not starting catcher. He had started catcher for his team last year (because no one else wanted to catch on his team) and the coach played everyone where ever they wanted to play (Lefties at 3rd, SS, Pitcher who has never pitched before, etc...). Well, this time there three catchers who were better than him (all three are now freshmen playing on their Varsity squad). He played catcher a handful of times, but the parents were unrealistic about his abilities and eventually yelled at me telling me I had no idea how to coach and tried to get their son to transfer to another team.

    I guess I'm telling this because had they come to me level headed and asked what they could do better, I probably would have said "work on XYZ and we will see what we can do, but keep in mind Jimmy, Danny, and Tommy are quite good at this position and have earned it in their abilities work ethic and results from games."

    Instead, I got defensive and explained that their son was not ready for this position and needed more work, etc.... Essentially the same message but with a different tone, which then makes things worse with already upset parents.

    Leave a comment:


  • skipper5
    replied
    jbolt: What about the player simply asking, "Coach, what can I do to get more playing time?" or, "Coach, what can I do to pitch more, hit more, etc....?"

    Just wondering: when you've been on the other side of the coin--when you were the coach who wasn't giving PT to a player--how would you have reacted to the technique you suggested?

    Leave a comment:


  • jbolt_2000
    replied
    Sparks - sounds like things are turning around. That's great to hear!

    But I want to touch on if you or your boy (or any parent or player for that matter) should talk to their coach and ask why they aren't playing. I've seen alot of posts about how the kid should go ask or the parent has every right to ask, or how you should just let your boy show is talent and the coach will be forced to play him, etc....

    But I haven't seen anything about using a different method....

    What about the player simply asking, "Coach, what can I do to get more playing time?" or, "Coach, what can I do to pitch more, hit more, etc....?"
    *disclaimer* I did not read every single post so may have missed someone else making this point.

    I see no problem having a player ask the coach what he could do to get more playing time. Its the same asking, "why am I not starting?" but in a self-accountability way which keeps the coach from answering in the defensive and forces him to answer in an instructive manner.

    If a player or parent go up to the coach and ask why isn't little Johnny starting, it automatically puts the coach in defensive mode and figuring out how to justify his position.

    You may still not like the answer, but at least the coach will give you something to think about instead of just turning you away because its his policy not to talk playing time.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jake Patterson
    replied
    Originally posted by Ursa Major View Post
    Sparks, there's no way an emotionally healthy kid with your boy's track record should be threatening to quit the game because he's been held out of a couple of games. Trust me - there are a lot of kids out there who've suffered greater prejudice by their coaches and have gone on to succeed.

    Last year, our high school varsity started the season 1 and 10, and the coach basically threw the same crew of losers out there game-after-game. Many kids didn't get to play until the 8th game or so. Hey, my son had batted over .300 the previous two JV seasons and, as a pitcher, had a 'batting average against' of .196. Yet, he didn't get an at-bat until the 11th game and didn't pitch until the 16th game. He did well and I'm proud of him, but he and I didn't make a big issue of the fact that he wasn't playing and didn't go bananas when he finally played and did well. Other kids suffered a similar indignity and their parents worked as hard as I did to avoid letting their kids get upset about it. All those kids but one stuck it out and from what I can tell had a good experience overall, both because they finally had a chance to show their stuff and because it was a good group of guys and they enjoyed hanging out together in the dugout and helping each out at practice and in games.

    I know you insist that you're not sharing your own emotional rollercoaster with him, but it's hard to believe he's not emulating your own feelings based on what you're telling us. It's not enough to hide your emotional ups-and-downs; you need to aggressively calm him down by reminding him of past disappointments that were followed by his biggest successes. If he's not playing, tell him to find a way to help his teammates - catch in the bullpen or lead the cheering from the bench, or handle the scorebook. It helps to genuinely demonstratively enjoy the successes of every kid on the team and the team as a whole. You can't control what the coach does with your boy, but you can control how it affects you and him. And maybe remind him of the Barry Zito redemption story.
    Good post UM.

    Leave a comment:


  • mudvnine
    replied
    Originally posted by Ursa Major View Post
    Sparks, there's no way an emotionally healthy kid with your boy's track record should be threatening to quit the game because he's been held out of a couple of games. Trust me - there are a lot of kids out there who've suffered greater prejudice by their coaches and have gone on to succeed.

    Last year, our high school varsity started the season 1 and 10, and the coach basically threw the same crew of losers out there game-after-game. Many kids didn't get to play until the 8th game or so. Hey, my son had batted over .300 the previous two JV seasons and, as a pitcher, had a 'batting average against' of .196. Yet, he didn't get an at-bat until the 11th game and didn't pitch until the 16th game. He did well and I'm proud of him, but he and I didn't make a big issue of the fact that he wasn't playing and didn't go bananas when he finally played and did well. Other kids suffered a similar indignity and their parents worked as hard as I did to avoid letting their kids get upset about it. All those kids but one stuck it out and from what I can tell had a good experience overall, both because they finally had a chance to show their stuff and because it was a good group of guys and they enjoyed hanging out together in the dugout and helping each out at practice and in games.

    I know you insist that you're not sharing your own emotional rollercoaster with him, but it's hard to believe he's not emulating your own feelings based on what you're telling us. It's not enough to hide your emotional ups-and-downs; you need to aggressively calm him down by reminding him of past disappointments that were followed by his biggest successes. If he's not playing, tell him to find a way to help his teammates - catch in the bullpen or lead the cheering from the bench, or handle the scorebook. It helps to genuinely demonstratively enjoy the successes of every kid on the team and the team as a whole. You can't control what the coach does with your boy, but you can control how it affects you and him. And maybe remind him of the Barry Zito redemption story.
    Outstanding post UM, I was biting my tongue at the "I had a bad day/week/whatever, the coach hates me and I wanna quit....oops, never mind" theme that keeps percolating to the surface here.

    I agree 100%. Focus on the team, and not on the various, perceived injustices that will always be part of the game...many times, regardless of the level of play, or the sport for that matter (can anyone say, "Alex Smith"?).

    Nice job UM, I hope the advise is taken to heart.

    Leave a comment:


  • Standballdad
    replied
    Originally posted by Ursa Major View Post
    Sparks, there's no way an emotionally healthy kid with your boy's track record should be threatening to quit the game because he's been held out of a couple of games. Trust me - there are a lot of kids out there who've suffered greater prejudice by their coaches and have gone on to succeed.

    Last year, our high school varsity started the season 1 and 10, and the coach basically threw the same crew of losers out there game-after-game. Many kids didn't get to play until the 8th game or so. Hey, my son had batted over .300 the previous two JV seasons and, as a pitcher, had a 'batting average against' of .196. Yet, he didn't get an at-bat until the 11th game and didn't pitch until the 16th game. He did well and I'm proud of him, but he and I didn't make a big issue of the fact that he wasn't playing and didn't go bananas when he finally played and did well. Other kids suffered a similar indignity and their parents worked as hard as I did to avoid letting their kids get upset about it. All those kids but one stuck it out and from what I can tell had a good experience overall, both because they finally had a chance to show their stuff and because it was a good group of guys and they enjoyed hanging out together in the dugout and helping each out at practice and in games.

    I know you insist that you're not sharing your own emotional rollercoaster with him, but it's hard to believe he's not emulating your own feelings based on what you're telling us. It's not enough to hide your emotional ups-and-downs; you need to aggressively calm him down by reminding him of past disappointments that were followed by his biggest successes. If he's not playing, tell him to find a way to help his teammates - catch in the bullpen or lead the cheering from the bench, or handle the scorebook. It helps to genuinely demonstratively enjoy the successes of every kid on the team and the team as a whole. You can't control what the coach does with your boy, but you can control how it affects you and him. And maybe remind him of the Barry Zito redemption story.
    Well said, and very good advice.

    Leave a comment:


  • tradosaurus
    replied
    Originally posted by songtitle View Post
    Yea, sounds like the coach was hiding little Sparks.

    Sounds like you are back to manic

    I am back to Depressive. h Son had worst game of his life last night. He's bummed out. Tomorrow's another day.
    As we all know, baseball is a tough sport with many emotional roller coasters. Looks like Spark is the sine wave and you are the cosine wave. lol

    Leave a comment:


  • Ursa Major
    replied
    Sparks said: My boy has gone from depressed and wanting to quit to being on cloud nine. I'm so proud of him I could bust. After all that has happened for him to come out and have a game like that really says a lot about his character. I'll tell you this...... he has far better character than I do.... I seem to make every mistake and I usually make them more than once.
    Sparks, there's no way an emotionally healthy kid with your boy's track record should be threatening to quit the game because he's been held out of a couple of games. Trust me - there are a lot of kids out there who've suffered greater prejudice by their coaches and have gone on to succeed.

    Last year, our high school varsity started the season 1 and 10, and the coach basically threw the same crew of losers out there game-after-game. Many kids didn't get to play until the 8th game or so. Hey, my son had batted over .300 the previous two JV seasons and, as a pitcher, had a 'batting average against' of .196. Yet, he didn't get an at-bat until the 11th game and didn't pitch until the 16th game. He did well and I'm proud of him, but he and I didn't make a big issue of the fact that he wasn't playing and didn't go bananas when he finally played and did well. Other kids suffered a similar indignity and their parents worked as hard as I did to avoid letting their kids get upset about it. All those kids but one stuck it out and from what I can tell had a good experience overall, both because they finally had a chance to show their stuff and because it was a good group of guys and they enjoyed hanging out together in the dugout and helping each out at practice and in games.

    I know you insist that you're not sharing your own emotional rollercoaster with him, but it's hard to believe he's not emulating your own feelings based on what you're telling us. It's not enough to hide your emotional ups-and-downs; you need to aggressively calm him down by reminding him of past disappointments that were followed by his biggest successes. If he's not playing, tell him to find a way to help his teammates - catch in the bullpen or lead the cheering from the bench, or handle the scorebook. It helps to genuinely demonstratively enjoy the successes of every kid on the team and the team as a whole. You can't control what the coach does with your boy, but you can control how it affects you and him. And maybe remind him of the Barry Zito redemption story.

    Leave a comment:


  • songtitle
    replied
    Yea, sounds like the coach was hiding little Sparks.

    Sounds like you are back to manic

    I am back to Depressive. h Son had worst game of his life last night. He's bummed out. Tomorrow's another day.

    Leave a comment:


  • Encinitas
    replied
    Sparks for you all you know he was being saved for this game.

    Leave a comment:


  • real green
    replied
    Trust in leadership is becoming so rare. Just maybe this coach knows what he is doing?? Your grandson is a JR right?

    Leave a comment:


  • mkoehn
    replied
    Awesome night for your boy!!! Thinking about what happened, maybe your coach is just a crappy communicator. Last game your boy was upset that he didn't start pitching. But after tonight it seems obvious that he wanted him to throw against this ace from another town..... awesome for your boy! I guess you guys are gonna have 1 hell of a roller coaster this year, just try to not get too high or too low!

    Have fun...

    Leave a comment:


  • tradosaurus
    replied
    Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
    We can all speculate, but that still doesn't change the facts. Remember, I did say that the replacement kid's parents were just as confused....and I think even a tad embarrassed by it all.

    And what do you suppose that would accomplish, other than the dad getting to say his piece?

    So if the coach decides to play/start dad's kid after talking to him, how fast do all of the dads of the other players who sit on the bench, line up outside the coach's office to get their kids in the game?

    You do know we're talking about HS varsity ball...right?

    Good luck with finding a HS aged travel ball team that plays during the HS season. Most, if not all states, don't allow players to play their HS sport and for a TB team of the same sport concurrently, so very few HS travel ball teams stay together over the HS season.


    Oh, they'll listen politely, but who ya think they gonna believe...some upset parent (they see them all the time), or the coach they hired to coach their team?

    So which parents are you gonna take in there with you to prove that it is "obvious" that your kid is one of the better players on the field? The parents whose kids are already playing and don't want to piss off the coach, or the parents of the kids that are sitting next to your son, who think their kids are "obviously" better also?

    Best of luck trad, you have some interesting ideas of HS baseball and how things work there. :dismay:
    Yes, I know you are talking about high school varsity level.

    My point was that if a kid was going to quit and most avenues have been explored by the kid then what would a parent have to lose by talking to the coach himself? If it boiled down to the coach was incompetent then why let your kid suffer?

    Travel ball tournaments for high school age does start in late May so that is always an option. I would rather my kid wait until May instead of end up hating the game because of incompetent coach. In fact some would argue there is much more exposure for a kid going the travel route instead of school route.

    I don't understand parents who let thier kids suffer on school teams?

    Leave a comment:


  • tradosaurus
    replied
    Congrats!

    Maybe this is an indication that your grandson's coach really does value him as a player?

    Leave a comment:

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