Let's talk about youth coaches...(and their sons)

As a father of a young and ambitious player i often find myself paving the way for him along the levels. On this way i have already encountered people who could not or didnt want to see his talent/devotion. Not to big a deal though because he didnt break but only worked harder and harder to get where he wanted to be.

Anyway…im toying with the idea to get him on the best team in the country since they have already said he is welcome there.
But that club is invested with coaches (former pros) and their sons. (which in turn of course is probably the reason that club is the best)

I know this team and most of the players, and of course they earn their spots on the roster. But they also play there like their whole childhood. Its kinda hard to imagine that somebody send one of them down…let alone that the coach would send his own son down. (Im not even sure if i could send my own son down…lol)

Ive read a lot about the sweet postions that are handed out by the coaches to their favorites/sons. In the past i had to explain to my kid why this bad player was on a higher team…which mostly had to do about age. Ive also told him about how to get around it and how to beat it. But once he will be in the best team at the highest level there wont be any workarounds… he will be at the mercy of the coach and his relation with the ballclub…which is my greatest fear. How will i be able to tell him that he will never make that team because the coaches son is the pitcher there…

I am not asking a question here actually because i know there wont be an answer. But i do like some stories about this subject. I am also not bashing any coach because i would also have my favorites on a team and i also wouldnt be happy sending down my own boy.

Its just one of those things i guess…

gl

First of coachpapa I believe (although unfortunately) you answered your own question correctly. There is nothing much we can do about this problem and that’s the way it is around most of the land.

But, I will say this. There are a few leagues with coaches who will without regard set positions to which kids earn it.

One sports association where I help a few of the younger pitchers with a hour or so away from us is super! The kid who works the hardest and proves themselves earn their spot. It is so refreshingly strange, because it is a area with a lot of wealth, professional families, professors, college coaches kids, and etc. . But, (as far as pitching goes anyways) the best player earns his his spot in the rotation.

Now, the area I live in , is much more like you are talking about. Last names mean a LOT. Coaches kids almost always bat in the top 4 spots regardless of ability. Favored positions have to be literally taken away by relentless proof that your kid is better during the few opportunities they may receive, because the chosen are handed the spots and less fortunate must earn or go somewhere else.

This is why I am helping out and my boy is playing in the town next to us rather than where we live. The head coach on this team has been a pleasure to work with. Kids earn their spots. Batting order spots have changed throughout the year as to who is doing what.

Using my boy as an example: He really wanted to catch this year and I think he would catch all 6 innings every game if the coach would let him. Well, he had to work at it as several others wanted to catch and the coach really like him at shortstop. In one season he has developed into a pretty darn good little catcher. He has been getting praise from other teams coaches after the games. This would never have had happened if we would of played in our hometown as the coaches’ boys like to catch (so guess who does all the catching?). He also gives his all when he is placed at shortstop and turning out very good play there also. At the start of the season he really hitting well and he was always placed in the top 4 of the lineup. The last few games he has slumped a little and got moved down in our last game. He knows why and has no problem with it, he looks at as a chance to get back in the groove with less pressure on him. He came to me last night and said, “Dad, I’m gonna ask coach to bat me either second in the order or in the last two spots.” When I asked him why,his response was "I know I can help the team by batting second I can move a guy over or draw a walk (he is scary good at getting walked ha ha) and when I watch it seems the last few kids in the order normally get fb strikes that I am sure I can hit to help the team. Attitude (team attitude) isn’t always born I believe it is taught, and takes the right kind of coaches to lead by example.

Your dilemma revolves from being a coach/dad and it can SUCK! I look back at mistakes I would easily admit to now from trying to be both, but in my mind we need to be coach--------dad and not coach/dad if that makes any sense.

Anyway, coachpapa excellent post because every coach/dad on here likes to hear that other coach/dads suffer through the same problems ha ha.

Dman

lol…my gf was on many occasions telling me i was getting paranoid!
But i got to realize that its just the way it goes in baseball and probably other sports as well.

Unfortunately we dont have the luxury of multiple teams.
But i can imagine it must be truly amazing to see your son send to the 8 hole in one team and batting cleanup in the other lol!

Im not saying my son his future coaches will behave in such a manner but i would just like to be prepared by hearing out what you guys have had to endure.
At least im glad to find out im not paranoid and that there are more dads like me!-)

tnx

Being on a team like that you have to think about a couple of things:

  1. Is it important to my son to win…some kids aren’t ready for the mentality of being on a team that doesn’t win as much, no matter if they are learning and becoming a better player or not

  2. Coaching…if the coaching good, or are the players just extremely talented kids that would be good reguardless of who coaches them. This wastes talent and just makes team quality less and less over time. Sometimes you might consider a less quality team is better to get stronger and more aggressive coaching, in order to get your kid to highschool time remember, no high school coach is going to know if your kid won state, or played on a winning team or anything except “how coachable is the player”, “is the player salty enough to be on my team”, or is he the type of player I want playing for me!

  3. Opportunity, are positions locked in or can your kid have the time to show what he can at all the positions he plays. Honestly here is what I have learned about this and it seems to work. The teams that only want 11 or 12 kids on the team really don’t want competition between players for a spot, they just want the players in their position and that is it. The teams that want 13-15 players, they want competition between players, they also want opportunity and flexability to put multiple players into multiple positions depending on situations including and especially pitching.

  4. Ask questions, don’t feel like you are going to piss a coach off before you join the team, keep the questions simple like, where can you see my kid playing, how many other players play that position, do you use a depth chart, what is it going to take for my kid to win that position.

Watch how they try kids out and if the promises make come true when practice starts. You want your kid earning playing time (sometimes you need ot say well my kid isn’t making the grade) but you want to make sure he is getting a fair shake.

Most youth coaches are volunteers from the players dads. 99% of the time their kids will get the most chances to succeed. In my experience it’s not over the top. If the coaches kid can hold his own it will be tough to move him off his spot even if he is not the best.

This is true all the way up the ladder. In high school and college, the dad that pumps money into the system with a kid playing on the team will get more chances to succeed in 95% of the programs. The kid has to hold is own but he might not be the best and will still be the starter.

In Pro ball, the kid that gets paid the big bonus will receive the most chances to succeed. If you walk on and are competing against a kid that received a signing bonus to be there you will lose 9 times out of 10 even if you out perform him 10 fold. They have no vested interest in your success.

The flip side of this is a Coach’s kid has to do a job at least 150% better than anyone on the team to be labeled as a “player”, even if two kids match up as even and one is the coach’s kid…if the coach’s kid starts then everyone will say “Well he is the coach’s kid.”

I have been the Coach of a team and I have been the Parent on a team and simply put niether position is ideal.

Main thing is talk to the Coach. Hopefully he has communicated his plan to the parents. Generally the Fall season is for building and re-tooling. Once it gets late in the Spring and Tournament time the Coach should be playing the kids that are getting it done.

-)

Good examples of the fact that life isn’t always fair… but if you work hard and do the right things you will get your chance eventually and likely succeed because of the adversity you were forced to overcome.

My son had his fair share of daddy ball issues. The experiences have molded his character and work ethic. As they get to high school daddy ball either diminishes or disappears.

As long as the parent can properly motivate and explain the circumstances in a long term/positive way its a very good thing. My son will face an unfair challenge at various points in life and I feel sorry for whomever he competes with. The bigger the challenge and the more absurd the politics are will only serve as greater fuel for him.

The kids of coaches are at a disadvantage long term. Eventually they will play on their own w/out the luxury of the parent being on the staff. Its a tough adjustment. The separation of real players takes place from 14-16 in most cases… at this age coaching is primarily not fathers of the kids.

My son is a pitcher… probably lost 40% of his potential innings due to coaches sons getting the workload. One of the kids suffered major arm damage (growth plate fracture and ligiments tearing off bone)… threw >275 pitches in four days last year.

The other kid is so mentally fragile and protected that he will never make an impact in real competition.

Not all coaches sons are this way. Our 13U team this year was coached by a parent with a son that was the best player on the team. He demoted his son from ace of the staff to the point where he barely pitched due to control issues. He batted third (as deserved… great hitter) but spent time at 6th in line up during a ruff spot in the season.

Anyone ever work for a family owned company? Face reality… work hard… move onto a different org if neccessary, but use the situation as motivation.