Friday, January 30, 2009

Be Proud, Not Loud

Parents of gifted athletes come in a variety of packages. The two that this article will focus on are the quiet parent vs. the outspoken one. We all have experienced a parents outrage at the plethora of sporting events throughout our child's lives. We have also seen that parent that let's his kid work it out on his own. Which one are you?

The parent you should aspire to be is the quiet, supportive type that will allow their son a chance to be his own man with no interference and zero public displays of emotion.

Parents that sit in the stands and complain that the coaches don’t know what the heck they are doing is not the type of parent your son or your friends find particularly attractive. Parents like this think that they are much more qualified to make decisions on whom to start, who to play when and what situation may warrant a better choice than the one that was executed.

OK, parents, so you think that you guys are so smart? Have you spent time with the players three or more hours a day, 6 days a week, for the past five months? Because the coaches have. That’s over 360 hours of observation and analysis of each player. They have situational practices, inter-squad scrimmages and countless hours of time in the cage to help them decide who the better players are.

Have you even seen your own kid play that much? If so, where and what was the level of competition? How much time have you spent in the cage with your own son and what credentials do you have to critique his hitting mechanics? How many ground balls or fly balls have you hit him this week? Can you teach him the proper way to field a ground ball? When do you use the back hand? Do you know the different ways to throw a double play ball to second, based on how far away from the bag the ball is hit? Have you worked with him on that for countless hours each week?

Do you work with him on how to react to the hundreds of situations that occur when runners are on base? Do you work on hitting the cut-offs everyday? How about the double cut? Do you watch him run the bases and work with him on that? At what point in the pitchers delivery should a base runner take that first step towards a steal?

How many times each week do you work on bunting with your son? When do you bunt towards third base and when should you bunt down first. Do you teach him the push bunt? When would you ever use that? Do you work with him on hit and run plays, going opposite field on off-speed, or hitting to the right side with a runner on third with one out or less?

Do you work with your son’s on covering first base if he is a pitcher? How about bunt coverage? Do you parents ever talk to your sons about the upcoming game and their hitters and what they have done in their past at bats? Are you discussing what your son should be thinking before each pitch? How about how to hit based on the count? What might the other team attempt?

Do you help him visualize situations like how to cover a steal, hit and run or bunt? Where do they need to be in each situation? Did your family dinner time conversations talk about what your MIF son should do if there is a runner on first, ball is hit back to the pitcher, and the ball is fielded and an errant throw is made to second?

Do you do any of this for three hours a day, 6 days a week? If you don't, then HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY KNOW if your son can adequately handle all of the skills well enough to earn a starting position? If you do, then you don’t have a job…because that’s exactly what coaching a team is…a full time job!

And much like in your own job, mistakes will be made, It's a crazy, unpredictable game...There will be mistakes...but not on purpose. There’s not a coach alive that wants to maliciously make it a horrible experience for your son. Oh yes, he will be tough on your son, maybe even in his him a little verbal beat down...because he wants to make him tougher...We have seen that strategy work many times...Hey, if your son can’t handle a little tough talk, how the heck is he ever going to handle a tough game situation? Heck, forget about baseball for a will he handle a game of LIFE situation? Listen, good coaches take a statement like “there’s no crying in baseball” very seriously. So stop your crying folks!

As I sit in some stands, I hear more often than not how horrible the coaches are. These are usually the parents whose sons are NOT playing. As if the kids that are playing are given some special privilege that somehow, some way their kid didn’t get. Parents, did you ever think that maybe the players that start have proven time and time again in practice that they deserve to be on the field? OK, we get it. Sometimes a starter doesn’t always deliver in a game…but maybe he impresses them so much in practice that they are pinning their hopes that he will someday break out and therefore, give him a few more chances that our armchair observations can’t see. In baseball, as it has been for the past 125 years, only 9 play on a team and if it is a close game, only 9 will play period.

Be a good your team...set an example for your own children and please, quit embarrassing yourselves in front of everyone else and have respect for the other parents that are in the stands enjoying their sons season. Sorry for the tough talk folks...High school and college ball isn’t tee ball where everyone plays and the losers get a trophy.

RT Staff


Anonymous said...

What is this, trash parents week? Please don't equate the vast majority of baseball moms and dad, who routinely display exemplary sportsmanship and support for their kids' teams, with a few bad apples. Beginning with T-ball and Little League and going through High School and College showcases, we put in countless hours, money, and effort in support, not only of our sons, but the teams they play for.

Rounding Third Staff said...

We aren't the turn the other cheeks types. Parents are a huge problem in all sports. It's an increasingly bad problem and we are telling it like we see it and how our readers see it. We have received countless e-mails asking us to address this subject and we have. We have never stated that this is a problem with a majority of parents. Those few bad apples can spoil it for a whole team and and the rest of us in the stands.

RZRBCK MOM said...

I agree with RT. There are parents that have no clue and they are the parents of the benchsitters. I have to sometimes sit by myself or down the first base line in my chair because they all make me feel guilty that my son plays and theirs isn't. My son loves his coach and these selfish parents are constantly bashing him. On our team, it's about 8 parents. That's more than just a handfull.

Anonymous said...

I agree that what your talking about does happen quite often and on most every team. I will also say that I have seen more than my share of much more talented kids sit on the bench behind kids that had very little talent at all. If you're trying to tell me that all coaches always do what's best for the team, then you've got blinders on or you live a very sheltered life. Politics play a part in many decisions that SOME coaches make. I've seen our high school team affected by this almost every year over the past 10 seasons and I didn't have a kid playing. I'm just a baseball fan that has coached many of these kids over the years from t-ball up to their freshmen year in high school. I find it hard to believe that the skills that these kids have exhibited over those 10 years has completely changed over a 6 month span from the summer to their freshmen year in high school to warrant this happening every year. Politics do play a part and it is a very sad thing to watch. So that being said, some of those parents may actually have something to be griping about. Not every parent is as unqualified as you seem to think and not all coaches are as good at judging talent as you seem to think. I would think that a person that has coached a group of kids over a 10 year period would have a little better feel for their talent than a coach who bases his decision on 2 weeks of practice in the spring.

Anonymous said...

I have also seen where the parents of the children who are starting being the worse ones in the stands. They bash the coach for the team losing the game. It is the coaches fault if their son screws up.