Can I ask you coaches and parents something?


#1

Why do some of you tolerate playing fields that are left unattended by even the simplest of grounds maintenance, pitching mounds that are nothing more that clumps of dirt, a concrete block planted in the middle of this clump of dirt with a slab of rubber on it, holes in the pitcher’s mound just begging for a lawsuit from ankle and leg injuries, and non-existing drainage? Then there are playing fields that are a constant meeting spot for trouble makers, vandalism, drug activity, and even prostitution.

Why do some of you leave a field after a game and let your players and the spectators on your side of the field leave trash?

Why do you allow your youngster to be on a team coached by a control freak? Coaching by intimidation, fear and the like is not coaching – it’s called bullying.

Why do you tolerate “winning at all costs”. If this is the philosophy of a club that your youngster is going to sign up with, then let that coaching staff say so up front – and who’s playing to win, and who’s not.

Why do some of you people tolerate politics? Politics is a touchy subject to explain to a youngster and sometimes it can get ugly and misunderstood by the young.

Why do some of you have this mindset …” it’s the only game in town.” Is there something in it for the youngster, or you?

Would you allow your youngster to play for a coach that takes exception to private coaching? Some coaches feel threaten by private coaches. If your son/daughter hears from his team’s coach, “it’s my way or the highway, I don’t care what any private coach says,” would you still keep the private coach?


#2

Is the field in question a city field? County? Who is responsible for the upkeep?
I have done extra work at field in the name of safety only to be chased off by a city maintence guy. The infield was grass and the outfield was dirt/sand with holes and low spots everywhere and even a few small cactus growing. Cleared the offending cacti and filled/leveled as many holes as I could before I was told I was over stepping my bounds.

As for control freak coaches, this is the norm in my experience. The high school my son went to has a coach that is a real piece of work. Has the boys spend as much time working on the field as he has them practicing. Resorts to name calling and humilation tactics (got fired his first go round at this school after making a kid bear crawl with a stack of bricks on his back until he quit the team…over an hour), vile names as well or making fun of the kids parents/family.
Some of that could be forgivable (not really) if he was a good coach. Not surprisingly he is not. Every year he loses the kids very early on as you can imagine and has kids quit the team ect. How is he allowed to stick around? He is best buddies with the AD. So it goes.
The better the coach the less jealous in my experience. The more insecure the more they want to shield “their” players from outside coaching.
Baseball, at least at the lower levels, seems to be dominated by negative, fake tough guy coaches who hold their relative position of power over kids.
As House said, baseball is a game a failure taught by negative coaches…ect


#3

fearsomefour your posting here is very perceptive and has insight into a lot more than just the sport.

The game at the amateur level - all levels, from 8-10 right up there to college, is very disappointing. Disappointing from the standpoint of the reasonableness of those who are suppose to learn by example, are really at the short end of the stick.

I never really got into the cause and effects of the talent drain here in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic States - didn’t have the time nor the reason to find out. After retiring some time ago and simply being in the lawn chair crowd, now I understand.

I’ve done some traveling the last two (2) summers, thanks to my Mrs. She’s drives, I sit. She likes the tag sales, flea markets, rummage sales, and visits with her relatives - I get dropped off at the nearest ballpark, wrap up in a blanket and umbrella and watch ball. It works for us.

I can’t believe how bad it’s gotten. I mean, these youngsters deserve so much better - they all do. And every one of your remarks is dead on.

I know complaining is not worth squat without backing it up with action. If my health was better I only wish I could.

Again, your perception and observations are a fact of life for many.

I know Roger and JD would never permit such tolerance in their neck of the woods. It’s a shame there aren’t more Roger’s, JD’s and yourself in this sport.


#4

One thing that really strikes me as cowardly is someone using their position of authority over another person in a negative way, or to be a jerk, just because they can. All the more when dealing with children.
Even a 16 year old boy who might be taller than the coach and has to shave every other day is just 4 short years removed from being 12 years old…a pup still. It is easy for coaches to forget the age and emotional maturity of their charges. They want to succeed, they want to do well and for the most part they are not (in my experience) attitude cases that are disrespectful. Sports can be so great in terms of life lessons…learning to lose with dignity, to win with grace, sportsmanship, self confidence and work ethic ect., all the cliches apply.
More and more I am aware how much youth sports is about the parents.
Travel baseball has worsened this situation in my estimation. Mommy and daddy are paying good money so you better win!!
When my son wanted to play travel ball we looked around and being in a fairly small town there was basically one good choice. Thankfully, the guys who run the program really emphasize teaching the core elements of the game and hard work. They know they are not blessed with future pros walking through the door.
You have to maintain good grades to play and cannot get into trouble and are expected to do some community based volunteer work…the community work is not required but it is expected.
They say upfront that they are not going to win most tournaments they enter…fine by me. Frankly, it was refreshing. No politics (no parents are allowed to coach or be involved with the organization), you play as determined by your effort and attendence at practice ect. They also (gasp) encourage kids to play other sports and NOT train and play (and there for pay them) year round.
I love what sports can do for boys who are growing and learning. It is sad when it gets perverted into some weird status thing for the parents.
I was watching a practice for another travel team here in town. They have a guy who plays walk up music and annouces each hitter on a PA during practice…meanwhile, the fundamentals are lacking. Sad.
Bottom line…treat kids with respect, listen when they talk, teach without screaming, dont take failure personally, ask them plenty of questions, understand they are learning both physically and emotionally…do these things and youll probably be a solid coach.