Hypercritical Managers

Would appreciate any feedback and thoughts on our situation. Here it is:

My son is 10 and in his first season of Little League Majors (he was in LL Minors last season). I am a lowly Coach. The Manager and his Assistant Manager are unbelievably critical of the players. I have never seen anything like it. This is not constructive criticism I am talking about. It’s hypercriticism: criticism of everyone for everything, during practices, during games, on the field, in the dugout, you name it. I mean, even when a player does something right, they harp on something he did wrong. The season just started, and I’m concerned what affect this will have on the players. I’m there for my son to protect him from this crap, but he’s been on the receiving end of it too. In his first game he got a nice hit to the outfield and eventually scored our first run of the game, and when he came jogging off the field after sliding into home plate the only thing the Manager told him was that he should have slid into second base (actually there was no play at second so there was no need to slide, but that’s another matter). WTF? Really? That’s all the Manager had to say after a great hit and scoring? I wish there were a way to request a transfer to another team but in Little League - at least ours anyway - once you are in Majors you are stuck on that team. Oh, and don’t tell me to take it up with the league president - he’s our Manager.

This is going to be a long season.

One of the measures of a man is his ability to act like a man. However, some
measure others by the loss of anything in their own lives.

It seems to help these kind of people to be down-n-out on everybody but
themselves. Thus the disappointments that they experience is shared by others
which are elected to bear the brunt of their venting.

Those that are targeted are usually the very young, the weak, and those lacking
experience of the world around them. Women can be particularly open to abuse
by these disgruntaled individuals.

So it’s not unusual to find these mental midgets in places of authority like youth
coaches, chairman/chairwoman of social clubs, and supervisors at places of
employment.

So, where do you come in with your boy? I would suggest taking your son aside,
and talking to him – gradually, about some people in this world. I wouldn’t get
too specific, again based on his age and maturity level. But I would suggest telling
him that he’s doing just fine for his age and what he’s doing. And right now, he’s
your son, you’re the one who’s raising him, you’re the one who’ll determine what’s
right and wrong. However, make sure he knows this pertains to only
him, not everyone else. He’s not to go around bad mouthing any adult coaches,
or assistant coaches. He’s to watch and oberserve how people act and interact
with one another.

Coach B.

Great advice Coach B

Usually at the end of practice and especially games the team will get together and have a team meeting. Managers will say something to the kids (yours will probably go negative) Here is you chance to chime in, lead by example. “I would like to say something” and say a positive thing about every kid. “good hustle”, “good catch” , “good cheering”, “good swing” (even if he struck out). Lead by example and maybe the other coaches will catch on. I have seen these coaches before and they are hard headed. There is no reasoning with them.

Thanks, Coach B. And you too, Plaz.

Oh, I do interject with complements often, but I also have to be wary of not making it appear to the kids that I am “at odds” with the Manager and Assistant Manager. It’s a delicate balancing act, isn’t it? :roll:

I’ll be totally honest with you south paw – I don’t know how you folks do it,
Involved with youth ball. I mean the things that I’ve witnessed, the absurd
expectations of some parents, then on the flip side the absurd expectations
by some youth coaches, the internal bickering, politics, jockeying for this and
that, the endless need for money, kids that do show up and those that don’t
at the 11th hour, and on and on.

The worse thing that’s ever happen to me was being fired. But not really. Our
organization’s GM called me by someone else’s name, and when I told him
I wasn’t that guy – he said and I quote… “ then send in what’s his name…”
All of that, I can handle. (along with a chaser.)

Coach B.

:lol:

Coach B

You have a PM

That’s a tough spot to be in. I remember 9U Minors. Our manager had favorites, and if your kid wasn’t one of the chosen, he played way out outfield and batted ninth. Didn’t matter how good the kid was. No use talking to the League President, either, since he was the manager. I talked with my son and let him know he was doing great and have fun. Not many 9U kids are getting $$ for playing Minors. At 10, he wasn’t allowed to move up to the Majors in the Fall because he was too young. Against League policy for a 10U to play Majors. Again, we talked and he had the greatest time being a mentor to his teammates, whom we lovingly called munchkins. We only lost one game that fall, and it was a game rigged by the league whose manager was very beligerent and controlling. We talked about it. He shook it off and had fun anyways. Of course, 10U spring he plays Majors, was drafted #1 and starts the All Star game, bats 4th, etc. I guess he was no longer too young! At 10U I also requested he not be placed with the managers who were known to be biligerent, and the League oblidged. We won the Championship that year despite being big underdogs with the nicest manager. At 11U, he breaks his arm at the end of the regular season and misses the tournament season. A lossed year. Again, great manager. This was also the last year of the biligerent managers, who moved up and were replaced by great teachers/gentlemen. Now at 12U, the boys he played with in the fall two years ago are finally making it to the Majors, and again he lovingly will mentor his munchkin friends. And his coach this year, who drafted him #1, of course is the same manager he had at 9U. But he doesn’t have to worry about pitching or playing time anymore, or beligerent coaches or jealous parents. His coach loves him. The jealous parents left LL. The beligerent coaches moved up. During the past few years this coach, who was also the League president, has grown up and realized these are just boys who are learning to play a game. It’s completely different then when we started three years ago at 9U.

This upcoming fall we’ll have some choices to make. It’s likely the coaches at the 14U will be the father’s whom I would not allow my son to be with during LL. The line was drawn in LL. The line will be redrawn this fall. I will not allow my son while he is a minor to play for a coach who is 100% beligerent. Since we’re homeschooled, our options are open. We’re not tied to the local school District and can choose a neighboring District if the coaches are bad coaches. Of course, the District can choose a good manager that will benefit and satisfy everyone. But it’s too early to think about now.

Good luck getting through these years.

Southpaw,

Per Little League rules you can re-enter the draft. If they don’t let you, take it to the district administrator. Now the same guy could draft your son again but that is unlikely. Another option is that you can request the Manager trade your son to another team.

Good option for us was changing over to travel ball a few years ago. Leagues are full of good coaches and unfortunately some bad ones also. Same thing in travel, difference is you get to pick who your son plays for and not at the mercy of the draft. Pays to do some research before comitting, don’t have to play just because he makes the team.

Southpaw,

I agree with Plaz - be the example. Do it tactfully. Before long, the kids and the parents will recognize it.

The NPA website has a paper call “Catch Them Doing It Right”. The whole point is that all too often coaches focus on the negative and not the positive. An ounce of encouragement goes a long way with young kids.

As a coach, however, you are not there just for your kid but for all the kids. :wink:

Thanks for all the advice.

Coach B: It’s tough, no doubt. But, I do it for my son. No way would I just turn him over to some of these asses one finds in youth baseball (and other sports).

Dave: I’m afraid re-entering the draft would just be too complicated and cause too much of an uproar in the league and anxiety for my son. It’s not worth it.

Mike: While I’m not a fan of travel ball at 10, if things continue along this path this season I will be looking into other local leagues (Pony, Cal Ripken) for next year.

Roger: I will certainly try to set an example by complementing the players, all of them. I have been doing this, in fact, but it’s a delicate balancing act as I don’t want to make it look like I’m always on the opposite side of what the Manager says. Your point that “an ounce of encouragement goes a long way with young kids” is so true: perhaps the constant criticism from the Manager and Assistant Manager is why we have the worst record in the league. :frowning:

The good news, I guess, and this is all that really matters, is that my son has been pitching and playing well and appears not to be affected by this and is having fun. But, damn, it’s going to be a long season. :frowning:

That’s a bad situation to be in. But don’t think you’re alone. I think there is a coach(s) like that in every youth sport. The only thing you can do is what has already been suggested. Just be positive and maybe they’ll take their cues from you. The one thing I can offer from my own experiences is do not complain to other parents about the situation. It will get back to the coaches and then you’re just SOL.
Hang in there.

Cpldoyle