I saw you posting .. and I just couldn't pass this one by!!
A long time ago my bother-in-law was coaching a 10-12 team for the first time, in a CYO sponsorship program. He asked me if I could help him with the pitching end of things. Since the time was right for me, I volunteered.
Those kids had the attention span of a gold fish! The main pitcher was a kid that was big for age - in both the height and weight department. His only sucess was due to the fact that no one wanted to step into the box for fear of being hit. His accuracy rate was nill - heck he even hit one of his own kids in the on-deck circle once when he lost his balance and let one fly. The second in line was a tall lanky kid I called "pop-up", because that's exactly what every pitch looked like as soon as it left his hand heading for the plate. The rest of the pitching was a motely collection of who ever showed up.
Adding to this was usually a one umpire per game that was well into retirement with the motivation and eye sight that begged for a wheel chair and a white cane with a red tip.
The parents were also a real work of art. I really felt bad for an umpire after one game in particular, so I approached him and apologize for the verbal chorus from the lawn chairs.. when he saw me -- he started to pull ear plugs out of both ears so he could hear what I had to say.
We had a couple of dads .. or whatever, that were resident experts of the game .. but their place was OFF THE FIELD.. never once did they put themselves in the action. These were also the clowns that as soon as their son was in the family stationwagon -- the kid got an ongoing stream of verbal instruction of what was wrong form the get-go. And this verbal devlivery went on from the parking lot -- , out the park, ---- at every traffic light, -- and more than likely ... right into the driveway at home.
This self serving mindset of expertise with these guys was unending.
Duing the first three weeks before the regular games started, practice was a hit-or-miss venture. Sometimes kids would show up -- sometimes not. Other sports that the kids signed up for were still in full swing and some kids would show up still in thier basketball and soccer uniforms. This wasn't too bad ... considering some parents dropped their kid(s) off then took off without a word to anybody. My brother-in-law told the same people over and over again - DON'T DO THIS. In one ear and out the other. I suggested that he cal the parents and tell them to take the kid elsewhere -- but he was told the league needed the money .. so deal with it the best way he could. The only saving grace out of this situation was an officer from youth services that I knew got involved.
The bottom line to this experience, for me anyway, was an overall "me-myself-and-I" environment that is pushed on most kids from the parents is inertia that's impossible to over come...... much less, dealing with. Getting one's monies worth, and let's not embarrass mom and dad, and there are other things in my son's/daughter's life right now .. are poor standard bearers that unfortunately a lot of youth coaches have to deal with.
BUT, what sets me off the most -- are the self imposed sins of the teams and leagues themselves. Patronage, cronyism, and the worse of all phony fee collections during tryouts.
Here how the phony fee system works :
A club collects fees during tryouts. What they really need is say ...... a catcher due to last year’s catcher is no longer available. However, will the coaches tell any of the kids and their parents this, NO! So, fees are accepted from everyone. The end result, the same kids from last year show up .. or don’t, they get a spot .. plus a new catcher, and everybody else is sent an nice letter saying “thanks – but, no thanks”. The club is $$$$ richer under the disguise of a tryout, that never really happened – except for a catcher.
Then there are clubs that have district or other restrictions for participation. In order to play for a club out of one's district, approval must be given by someone who is authorized to do so. The American Legion system is like this. So, if a kid wants to play for another Legion club that his buddies from school are on, he has to get approval from the Legion post in HIS DISTRICT. If that DISTRICT's authorized offical says -- no dice kid... well, its plain and simple - NO. There are of course reasonable and unreasonable experiences on both sides of that issue.
Is every youth club like the one's above -- of course not. There are just enough great clubs and organizations around to keep the youth game alive and kicking.