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  • Parent Meeting to start the Year

    There is a good chance I will be head coaching a 10U travel team this season (probably AA or A, but NOT AAA). I have been putting together an outline of what I want the parent meeting to be about. I know we have folks that have tons of experience in this game, so I thought I would see if I missed anything. First of all background. I will be coaching my younger son who is 9. My older son will be playing on an 11U team this fall. I coached them both through Rec ball, but when my older son hit Travel there were great coaches already and I backed away. I also headcoach my older sons school football team and assistant coach his basketball team. But this will be my first rodeo as head coach of a travel baseball team.

    So, here is what I was thinking.... I know I am missing stuff.

    Expectations of the kid
    • #1 Have fun and learn to love this game
    • Be on time
    • Come ready to work and learn
    • Be respectful of your coaches, team, opponent and basically the opportunity to play. Disrespecting others will be the thing that gets you sitting more than everyone else.


    Playing time
    • This is 10 U baseball, our focus is development and experiences. League play will be an opportunity to try different positions. Tournaments we will play more competitively. ALL kids will play equal in both situations. IN league games all kids will get opportunites at different positions. In tournaments we will shorten the positions a little (don't read into it that 1 kid play SS the whole game).
    • If your son has been disappointed with where he is playing, please have them talk to me so we can talk about it


    Parent expectation
    • Please have your son to events on time, let me know as early as possible for any events they will miss
    • Be a positive example for your kid (cheering, talking about umps, etc....)
    • NO Coaching from bench. We are trying to do certain things with your son, saying something opposite of what we said will be confusing for your son. Come talk to coaches if you see something you don't like (Coaching wise)


    My Goals
    • All enjoy the season
    • All players sign up for ball next year
    • All players leave with a better base of fundamentals and a little deeper love of the game
    • We all represent our team and community is the best way possible





    Thanks for feedback!!!

  • #2
    Originally posted by mkoehn View Post
    There is a good chance I will be head coaching a 10U travel team this season (probably AA or A, but NOT AAA). I have been putting together an outline of what I want the parent meeting to be about. I know we have folks that have tons of experience in this game, so I thought I would see if I missed anything. First of all background. I will be coaching my younger son who is 9. My older son will be playing on an 11U team this fall. I coached them both through Rec ball, but when my older son hit Travel there were great coaches already and I backed away. I also headcoach my older sons school football team and assistant coach his basketball team. But this will be my first rodeo as head coach of a travel baseball team.

    So, here is what I was thinking.... I know I am missing stuff.

    Expectations of the kid
    • #1 Have fun and learn to love this game
    • Be on time
    • Come ready to work and learn
    • Be respectful of your coaches, team, opponent and basically the opportunity to play. Disrespecting others will be the thing that gets you sitting more than everyone else.


    Playing time
    • This is 10 U baseball, our focus is development and experiences. League play will be an opportunity to try different positions. Tournaments we will play more competitively. ALL kids will play equal in both situations. IN league games all kids will get opportunites at different positions. In tournaments we will shorten the positions a little (don't read into it that 1 kid play SS the whole game).
    • If your son has been disappointed with where he is playing, please have them talk to me so we can talk about it


    Parent expectation
    • Please have your son to events on time, let me know as early as possible for any events they will miss
    • Be a positive example for your kid (cheering, talking about umps, etc....)
    • NO Coaching from bench. We are trying to do certain things with your son, saying something opposite of what we said will be confusing for your son. Come talk to coaches if you see something you don't like (Coaching wise)


    My Goals
    • All enjoy the season
    • All players sign up for ball next year
    • All players leave with a better base of fundamentals and a little deeper love of the game
    • We all represent our team and community is the best way possible





    Thanks for feedback!!!
    Sounds good - however, I would just add that you should clarify your intentions and expectations about playing time. I think you have a good plan, but I've seen it countless times where a coach says everyone will get equal playing time and then some kids get bare minimum time during high level, high stress games. There is nothing wrong with that, but you may just want to explain that those situations could come up.

    Also, I like that you have your personal goals. I do the same. I also include another one: To learn myself, and become a better coach every day. I always tell the parents that I make mistakes just like anyone else and that it is a continuous learning experience for everyone, me included.

    Comment


    • #3
      What I meant about equal playing time is this. We will have 12 kids on the team, and play 6 inning games. In our league we bat everyone, so equal at bats is easy. In fact the team my older son played on made a batting order in the beginning of the season and kept that order all year. Except the always started the next game where the previous game left off. So everyone had equal at bats all year.... I will be doing that. As far as defense, 3 kids have to sit every inning. So 6 kids will sit 2 innings and 6 kids sit 1 inning. Then the next game the kids will switch. In league play during their 4 or 5 innings on the field, they will get experiences at all positions. In tournaments (high stress games), they all will still play 4 to 5 innings. But maybe a kid who is in the bottom half of fielders might not get to play SS. Maybe our top 4 fielders will play SS that weekend. But even in that I still won't stick a kid in RF and leave him there all weekend.

      I like the personal goals one.... I will add 1.

      Comment


      • #4
        I like your way of thinking, even if I don't think I could do it the same way. What happens when games are run-ruled? Seems like that could throw things out of sync. How many of the players will pitch? Just asking questions since I want to travel down a similar path...

        Comment


        • #5
          It's a nice starting-point list... I think next year's team letter might be quite different...
          I don't like my balls to smell like pickles.

          Comment


          • #6
            So you think that I am full of BS with equal playing time? Or you think I will learn alot? I would value your input if you have anything to add...

            Comment


            • #7
              Johnlanza - With this mentality I don't think you can write the lineup down at the start of the year for all the games and it will be perfect all year. Yes 10 runs will happen and we will adjust. Yes the number of pitchers and catchers will dictate some how I sub. More my point is that if I have 3 studs (kids who are clearly better than everyone else) the do not get to play every inning or every game. This is 10 year old baseball, at the A or AA level.

              Our goal is to develop players. I have been around travel baseball for a few years now and heard more than a few stories. 2 different friends had sons playing at the A level of traveling baseball (A is lowest, some towns use this as a traveling Rec league). In 1 case 1 kid went to a tournament where they played around 20 innings in 4 games. Her son played 6 of them in the field... That is wrong (IMO). Another case where in tournaments a friends son sat 2 - 3 innings of every game. And 3 -4 kids never sat. Again A ball, I would not coach this way.

              Comment


              • #8
                Sure here's a note my coaches and I wrote at the end of our first 10u season...

                Folks:

                Although we never provided a written guideline to how coaches’ decisions (playing time, batting order, defensive positioning, practice plans, in-game strategy, etc.) are made, since we started the Lightning, We’ve always basically subscribed and practiced to the theory that you earn your positions and team-ranking in practice, and you keep any spots you’ve earned through your overall in-game performance… I feel in our history as a coaching staff we’ve been true to that theory. This is, in our opinion, as close to any real-life baseball that our players will experience at the next and higher-levels – which is the overall objective – to get these guys ready for the next-level… There is no secret – do better in practice and in games, impress the coaches with hustle, smarts and intangibles, and you’ll get “rewarded” with the lion’s share of game-time… There’s no sugar-coating and that’s the way it is anywhere in life. The Lightning cannot - and will not, allow our better players to be on the bench… We simply cannot afford to do that as we risk being competitive.

                Based upon our current working model and moving forward, some players and parents could become dissatisfied if we try to put our most competitive team on the field most of the time. This non-guarantee of equal playing-time might not sit well with some for various reasons, but that is a coaching-staff’s decision, and we outlined how the player can rectify any playing-time/team-ranking issues in the last paragraph.

                Travel-ball (AAU, USSSA, etc.) is considered by most as a higher level of competition, it's very important to always maintain the same work ethic and commitment that earns a player an opportunity to play on a travel team, it also requires the same intensity to be spread out throughout the entire season. Travel-ball players are usually a "self-motivated" bunch, dedicated to improving their own game – regardless of the team's skill level. Most players also possess a strong desire to compete, and in a competitive environment, someone who's willing to work harder can and most often does, take a place on the playing field.

                Many families, who make the commitment to take part in Travel-ball, also know that most players cannot simply show up for a team practice and be expected to excel or improve within the one-two hour practice held by the team coaches. Players and parents may need to find additional ways to stay sharp by seeking a private instructor, visit the cages regularly, attend camps or clinics or design rigid drills of their own, until they meet with the coaches at team practices.

                We want to take the steps necessary to insure the maximum playing-time for all players that they individually deserve and which puts our team at its most-competitive. It’s a delicate balance.

                Our first objective after season’s end is to get the Lightning down to an 11 or even a 10-man roster (with maybe a few part-time players on call as a possibility). As a result we should be doing some roster adjustments (with the possibility of adding new players through tryouts) at the end of this season. This, we feel is a necessary evil, and should alleviate issues that we’ve experienced, while making our team more competitive and better-rounded for the upcoming next levels.

                Some other objectives for the spring season discussed amongst the coaching staff are:

                - We want to have more catching and pitching clinics. This is the life-blood of any successful competitive team, and we need to always be improving.
                - Ongoing attitude betterment. Although things have improved, we still have issues to work on.
                - More opportunities for all players.

                At this time I’d like to hear your thoughts on any team matters that you’d like to bring up. Please copy all the coaches when responding. The coaching staff would like for parents to let us know if they subscribe to the team-direction mentioned above after our last USSSA tournament in December.

                Thank you.
                I don't like my balls to smell like pickles.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Bolts - Thanks for sharing this note. You did a real nice job of outlining what your team is about and setting expectations. Any parent that has a son playing on your team should have a clear thought of what to expect. Nice job! Our organization doesn't run teams like that, especially at the lower levels. It is simply a different philosophy. You said "The Lightning cannot - and will not, allow our better players to be on the bench… We simply cannot afford to do that as we risk being competitive" We are 100% different, we will give other kids chances that aren't as talented, and in doing that we will not be as competitive. But again, different philosphy. As far as changing the next year, doubt it. My son will again be playing 10's, maybe on a AAA team. But I (and my organization) believe that at that age, it isn't all about winning.

                  Again, that was an awesome letter and you did a great job of setting expectations. We just are completely opposed on philosophies... (notice I did not say which was right or wrong).

                  Thanks for the feedback.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would define being on time. On time to me means ready to take the field, not falling out of the car.

                    I would require any issues be dealt with face to face, not by email and AFTER a 24 hour cooling off period. Then a time for discussion will be decided at both people's convenience.

                    Positions and playing time are not up for debate. Only how to improve earn more playing time will be discussed.

                    I was adamant I never wanted to hear from a parent "My son is better than (fill in the blank)."

                    ...... You might think I'm bringing up negatives. But I've been there, done it. I've watched a couple of mothers divide a team full of parents where no one wanted to have a post season party.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      tg643 - I have read on this forum for many years, but don't post much. I like alot of what you say.... This response included. For sure need to define on time (same as yours). Love the 24 hour cooling off period and face to face. And the last 2 for sure will be said almost word for word.

                      Thanks!!! This is the stuff I was looking for, just to make sure I do it right the first time.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mkoehn View Post
                        But I (and my organization) believe that at that age, it isn't all about winning.

                        Again, that was an awesome letter and you did a great job of setting expectations. We just are completely opposed on philosophies... (notice I did not say which was right or wrong).

                        Thanks for the feedback.
                        You're welcome, but I never said anything about 'winning' anywhere... Being competitive is how you play the game, and how life in general is... We NEVER cared about wins or losses, but we did compete...
                        I don't like my balls to smell like pickles.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Bolts - Yep, that is fair. I read into that with everything else that was said. Didn't mean to put words in your mouth (or letter ). I just got done rereading you letter. I tried to read it from a parents perspective. The funny thing is I would LOVE a team like this for my older son. But my younger son just would not thrive in that type of situation. I guess that is why there are all kinds of leagues/philosophies for all the different types of kids.

                          Good luck this year!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            mkoehn - I would avoid "equal playing time." Not the concept of it. It's the way to go and beats chasing meaningless wins. I used to use terms like "I will strive to put every player in as many situations where I feel they can have the best opportunities to contribute and have success."

                            This way I had the freedom to do exactly that. For example...I had no problem lifting the best player on the team in the 2nd inning if I looked down the bench and saw a kid that I felt could make a contribution (and I felt they needed to make a contribution) as a pinch runner.

                            Contributing is what each kid wants and what every parent wants to see. I'd fill your letter with how much you want every kid to contribute and how you expect every player to be valued. The first day I met with a team, I'd tell some funny or inspiring story about what I saw in a game last year or the year before. Then I'd tell the kids and the parents that we were going to see some memorable stuff just like that again this year. Everyone would be all smiles. Then I'd go 180 and say that while I didn't know exactly what those things were going to be - I do know exactly what you won't see. That's when I'd lay out my expectations.
                            There are two kinds of losers.....Those that don't do what they are told, and those that do only what they are told.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mkoehn View Post
                              Good luck this year!
                              You too... I'm pretty much done with 'travel-ball' per-se... Kid is in High School now, and we do showcases now... Which are an entire different story...
                              I don't like my balls to smell like pickles.

                              Comment

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