Suffering through miserable season


My sons team is suffering through a miserable season. There are 5 or 6 players on the team capable of playing at the level of travel baseball they are at, but the team is poorly cowched and many of them just physically outmatched. Most of the kids have given up on the coach, whose primary tactic is to yell. Despite the obvious, the coach keeps running the kids out to the same defensive spots and keeps putting the kids in the same spot in the batting order.
Several of the kids obviously don’t care any more and their effort is minimal.
For those of you whose kids have gone through this before, give me your wisdom. How do I keep my son motivated? How can we motivate the kids to care?


This may not be what you’re looking for, but here goes.

“How can we motivate the kids to care”

Unfortunately, you can’t. This is not in your domain or a controllable position for you as a parent, not a coach. In fact, there is a coach(s) and that’s their job, not yours.

Also what’s unfortunate, is that this is one of the points along a learning curve of life. I know you’ve probably experienced something similar at work and even within your own social circles.

Now trying to explain all that to a youngster is probably like taking to a brick. But, this is your son, not a brick. So look at it this way, it’s an opportunity to show your son a little of life that’ll help him understand the bigger picture tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow. In that regard, it’s all about presentation and how things are worded.

First, give your son credit for seeing what you see. Compliment him on his ability to observe and make sound and rational judgments of what he sees and what he’s going through right now. Also, compliment him on sticking to it, playing through a difficult time, and not giving in to what everybody else seems to be doing. State the obvious – he as a young man, gave his word that he’d be there, ready to play his best regardless, dependable and worthy of pulling his fair share. Then tell him that you’re so proud of him for doing things that many adults that you see every day, don’t do.

Your son deserves a lot of credit for backing up what he said he’d do at the beginning of the season – that’s what a man does, his word is his bond.


Excellent post Coach B. I’d also like to add that we’ve been in this position as well. My advice to my son was that no matter what the team was going through, don’t take it as a personal failure as long as you are doing your part, which means playing your position to the best of your ability game-in and game-out. If the rest of the team falters, it’s sure not going to get any better if you give up too is it? Do your best to keep the team up. You don’t have to be a cheerleader if that’s not your style, but let your play speak for you. Run out every ground ball as if the score is 1-1 instead of 15-2. Maybe you might just inspire that knucklehead coach to start coaching again instead of just yelling.


Don’t worry about it. Last year I was on a team that went 2-11. A mixture of bad coaching and leadership was the reason why. This year we are 7-1. We got a new coach and got rid of a couple guys that didn’t care and suddenly we are doing great. Just remember that hard work and dedication are the only way of doing something, and if the rest of them don’t care, you(or your son in this case) don’t need to follow them. Eventually your son will get the proper coaching and teammates that care about the game and then things will start to go well. Just don’t give up because of a couple guys are not trying.


Bad coaching is forgivable , but yelling at kids because the team loses is not. Just because its a sport doesnt mean the have to “man up”. Its just bullying by the coach because he can and he takes his frustration out on the kids because they have to endure it. If you have to guts to tell the coach to stop yelling now would be great. Or at least when your kid graduates, tell the coach that yelling doesnt help the kids. Save the next generation.


Unfortunately, lousy coaching and what it does to a team, regardless of level, is here, there and everywhere—as are lousy coaches. Reading this, I was reminded of a conversation I had with my pitching coach in which he told me a story from his private life. It seems that his son came home from school angry, frustrated and bitter and about ready to blow up the whole planet, and when asked what was wrong he replied that they had had an intramural game that morning—and he had never gotten to bat. The teacher, who was either a know-nothing or just a sourpussed old crab, had made up the lineups for the two teams, and the first kid in the lineups had batted first every inning! And Johnny was seventh in the lineup for one squad, and he never got to bat. Ouch, yikes, and was this happening all the time? I fairly exploded in utter rage, and Eddie Lopat commented that this would be a good chapter in a book he was thinking about writing—about “HOW NOT TO COACH”. And we got into quite a discussion on the various ways of this subject. I wish he had lived long enough to write it—he had seen so many egregious examples of this topic. Anyway, he pulled the kid out of that particular activity and transferred him to another grade school with a coach who knew which end was up.
And if you guys get a chance, tune in to Spike TV at 10 tonight for the first installment of a series on lousy coaching and how to avoid it.