The following is an edited excerpt from someone who has coached youth baseball for over 30 years and had two sons play professional and/or college ball. He has a very gruff writing style, but I have found much wisdom in his writings...
TIPS FROM THE COACH
Last year I went to a Fall league game for incoming HS freshmen. The parents in the stands were brutal. They second guessed every managerial move or nonmove. They opined about the abilities of other players on the team. The mommies were the worst.
I was recently talking to some HS coaches and they told me that parents are completely out of control, particularly mommies. One coach told me of a mommy that barged into his office and announced that in her opinion, the team wasn’t doing too well and that they needed to discuss some changes!
I guess that this is a product of kids playing 100+ games a year and the entire life of the family revolving around the kid’s baseball activities. Parents become way too invested in their son’s baseball experience. It is the kid’s baseball experience, NOT theirs!
Parents that second guess the coach and critique players are called “A CANCER”. It takes only one in the stands to infect the entire crowd. What should be a wonderful and joyous shared TEAM experience becomes a morass of backbiting and self aggrandizement. Parents need to learn to sit back and enjoy watching the TEAM play and SHUT UP. If you just can’t control yourself go down the outfield fence and mutter your rants, away from the crowd.
Coaches, you need to understand you are not just teaching 12 boys to play ball but shepherding families through the baseball experience. You must spend time teaching parents THEIR roles and how to comport themselves at the ballpark. They will enjoy themselves so much more when they are cured from being cancers. In my book, A PARENTS GUIDE TO BASEBALL-Surviving And Thriving Youth League To College, there is a chapter, ”Loose Lips Sink Ships”. In this chapter I chronicle the potential for harm from parents unsolicited opinions at the ballpark.
In a post in a youth baseball board, a mommy laments the lack of communication skills of her son’s HS coach. Her son just couldn’t get the coach to communicate why he wasn’t playing. This reminded me of a kid that went to his college coach’s office and inquired why he wasn’t playing. The coach responded, “if you were my 3rd baseman, I wouldn’t consider us to be a very good baseball team.” Ouch! If you ask a question, you might not like the answer you get.
Yours In Baseball