Providing pitching lessons when Dad wants it but son doesn't

This is really a question for coaches: Do you work with kids and provide lessons when you KNOW the kid just isn’t into it, but Dad is?

Most of you know I’m the varsity pitching coach at the high school in my home town and also volunteer coach the town’s 16U Summer team. (It’s a great arrangement because I get to work with all the 14, 15 and 16 year old pitchers in the Summer who I eventually coach on the varsity team when they’re older.)

I don’t work with kids on the side who don’t initiate it and who I know just aren’t into it as much as their Mom or Dad who wants it more than they do… but, pitching lessons also aren’t my “main business.” Just thought I’d see what others think… do you provide pitching lessons when you know Dad wants it more than Son?

I’ve fired over half of my clients. Having kids like that in your facility spreads a bad vibe to the others who are there to work their asses off. It’s not worth the short-term money.

The same goes for instruction in just about any endeavor, music, sports, you name it. If the kid isn’t interested, for whatever reason, drop it—no good trying to force the issue. 8)

I’d say this situation is by far the exception - not the rule. But it is difficult to help those who don’t want the help. Of course, you do have to look in the mirror to make sure you’re not the reason the kid doesn’t want help.

It sucks for the kids who really want these lessons don’t get it because their Dads are not into it.

I think everybody needs to be on the same page if they are going to be coached, you know right away the player that isn’t into it, he is the one that wont try one bit to modify or adjust their style, they really aren’t coach-able and honestly should be cut from higher level teams and high school teams. If they make those sort of teams then they are accepting (as far as i am concerned) that they will be coached and the coaching staff will ask them to change according to their philosophy and ideals.

This right here.

Part of being a good coach / instructor is finding a way to get information across to kids in a way that they understand it, but also interests them. It’s important that instructors remember that most of their clients are kids, not adults. Of course there are some that just flat out won’t be coached, but most of the time a good instructor can find a way to get to the kid.

Ed Lopat, besides being one of the mainstays of the Yankees’ Big Three pitching rotation from 1948 to 1955, doubled as an extra pitching coach for the team. In addition he would work with pitchers on the outside, from Little League all the way up to some on other major league teams who sought him out for advice and help, and he had a reputation as one of the finest pitching coaches anyone could ever hope to work with. He would work with anyone who was really interested, really wanted to know, and was willing to work at it.
The day I told him that I just wanted to ask him something about the slider he knew instantly that I was one of them. When a 16-year-old kid, whether male, female or two-headed green Martian, asks a major-league pitcher about something like that, it’s big-time serious—and he spotted that right away. I will never forget his response to my question: he said nothing, but motioned to me to follow him away from the mob surrounding the Yankee clubhouse entrance (which in those days was totally accessible) and to a clear space in front of the ballpark, and then he took several minutes to show me how to throw a good slider. The upshot of all this was, he became my pitching coach for almost four years, and what I learned from him was priceless. And because I wanted to know and was willing to work at it, Lopat had no reservations about teaching me a lot of advanced stuff he felt I needed to know. It was an experience I will remember forever. :baseballpitcher: