I Tore Down My Kid's Coach

My son had a very solid 12-year-old season, mainly playing second base, a little bit of center field, and a handful of times on the mound. We didn’t win many games, however, and I felt it was because of his head coach’s managing style. In my view, Dylan’s manager shifted players around too much and didn’t have the killer instinct to win games. I felt he made some head-scratching substitutions and position changes that cost us games.

I approached him one-on-one a few times during the season and questioned his decision-making. He told me over and over how he felt it was important for the kids to be well-rounded baseball players, which was why he put kids in different spots.   Read More.....


I Should Never Have Pulled My Daughter From Little League Softball

Years ago, when my daughter was a 10-year-old Little League Softball® player, I ended up making a big mistake. I was at most practices, watching from the bleachers. Michaela did great. Always hustled, hit the ball well, and fielded fine. But, when it came to games, she struggled. I talked to her about it, her manager worked with her, her older brother even gave her some advice. We just couldn't figure out how she was such a nice practice player, but when the uniform was on, she was different. Maybe it was nerves. We never found an answer. My mistake occurred when I pulled her from Little League® after that season, and decided, on her behalf, to focus solely on soccer, where she was a standout.

I look back now, and regret the decision for two reasons. One, despite her game day struggles, she was still having fun, and that is what it's about at that age. Second, I went the route of specialization despite many of my friends telling me not to. At the time, I figured she was advancing so much more in soccer, that is where she'd find the most success and happiness. Read More .... 


I SHOUTED DOWN MY DAUGHTER’S SOFTBALL CHANTS

 

I am a baseball guy. I'm still involved in recreation leagues. As a kid, I played Little League Baseball. My wife played Little League Softball. Our daughter is a good ball player and could have easily played baseball. I pushed her to do so, but she decided on softball. My wife was pleased. I was disappointed.

That disappointment quickly grew at my daughter's first softball game of the season, and it had nothing to do with the play on the field or the coaching. I couldn't handle the chanting. Okay, I know every Little League team has some degree of chanting, baseball for sure, but what I heard on the softball field made me think the girls should have pom-poms, not gloves. And, the chants didn't only come from the dugout. In the field, the girls would yell things like "two outs, one to go, say two outs one to go" then they would slap their foot with their hand.   Read More ....


I MADE MY KID CRY, NOT HAPPY TEARS

 

It was early in the season. School was still in. My son had a big game versus the other top team in our league. I am a very competitive person. My son, who was eleven at the time, isn't, and it's something I've struggled with. I always wanted him to have a little more fire in his belly. I talked about the game the entire week. I asked him each day if he was excited. He'd just give me a quick, "Yep."

We all knew who the opposing pitcher would be. I reminded my son of the pitcher's tendencies . . . starts off with two fastballs, then throws something off speed. "I know," was all my son said. I told him to keep his weight back, and after the two fastballs move up a little in the box. My son was the starting second basemen, and with our pitcher throwing a nice fastball, I told him he was likely going to get a lot of action because the other team wouldn't be able to pull his pitches. "Be sure to get your glove dirty."
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AN OPEN LETTER TO THE OUT OF CONTROL SPORTS PARENT SITTING NEXT TO ME IN THE STANDS

 

Dear Out of Control Sports Parent,

You.
Yeah, you.

The one shouting "Get the rebound!" to your kid. The one with the heart palpitating so loudly that you cannot contain yourself. The one yelling and complaining about the coach. The one hollering at the 13-year-old referee. The one angry at my kid for making a mistake. The one hollering at the kids who made a mistake running the scoreboard in a recreational tournament in a meaningless pool play game.

Yeah, you, the one whose spouse won't sit next to you during the game. The one who is micromanaging every aspect of the game and turning what would be a pleasant normal Saturday into a heightened state of anxiety for all of us, including your fellow parents stuck next to you for today's game, this season, and our kids' childhoods.

PLEASE STOP!
PLEASE CALM DOWN!

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I TRIED TO COACH MY SON INTO A COLLEGE BASEBALL SCHOLARSHIP AT AGE 10

It was hard for me to see him strikeout or miss a ground ball. Through Tee Ball and Coach Pitch, I knew he was just learning, but once he got to Player Pitch and the Major Division, I thought that there was no way he was going to make it to the next level of baseball if he didn’t improve. As much as anything, I didn’t want my son to be seen as an inferior or less-talented player. Thus, began dad’s nightly ‘baseball camp’ in our basement over the winter.

I thought the only path toward improvement was that he should practice more and put in more work in the offseason. We would hit baseballs off the tee in the basement, and I would help him with his swing mechanics. We would pitch and field ground balls inside. I wanted to teach him the value of hard work.  Read More .....

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