Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Be Patient

There is a tendency by parents of underclassman athletes to get frustrated by the lack of playing time their son is getting whether it be in high school or college. It’s easy to sit in the stands and judge the talents of players in the line-up when your son is riding the bench. Those assessments are usually negative and biased.

There is usually a reason why an upperclassman may get a start over your son. Your son may be in fact better, but the senior may be getting looks from a small college of Junior college and is getting his reps in to impress that recruiter. The upperclassman may not have the stats, but a recruiter may like his frame and upside and the High School Coach may be working with him to further develop his senior player.

Some High School coaches just have a soft heart for their seniors. Well liked coaches develop relationships with their players and want to give them every opportunity to succeed. They usually will start the season off with their upperclassmen, but will make adjustments if that strategy isn’t producing wins. At that point, your son should be ready to step in at any time.

We at RT think that all underclass athletes should pay their dues…pay respect for the upperclassmen that toiled like they are presently doing. They will get their time. And if they are that good, they will get it sooner than later…No coach likes to lose.

We know of one high school coach that reveres seniors so much that he assigned three talented juniors to JV just to keep those seniors on the team. Those seniors did not get much playing time and three of them should not have even made the team, but we respect that coach for honoring those guys for the years of service they spent on the diamond. Many parents don’t understand that. The parents of the junior players were livid. But the very next year…the juniors that played JV were major contributors and starters on varsity the very next year. They benefitted by getting their reps on JV. Looking back, those same parents realized that the coach did their sons a big favor.

Now a coach can take that too far some times. We know of one college coach a few years back that felt that the maturity level of upperclassmen trumped the talent of his underclassmen, despite the huge disparity in production at the plate. After repeated attempts to get his mature athletes to hit, and about a couple dozen losses later…he had to finally bench his older players and look to the future. It ended up costing him his job. We applaud his loyalty to his outgoing players, but in college, the stakes are a bit higher and the pressure to win is the only thing that matters. Unless those players had pro scouts following them, he needed to play the better players in those games.

The bottom line is that if a player is a true competitor, he will get his chance to play. In the meantime, he needs to stay positive…(parents need to reiterate this to their sons…a parents negative attitude towards the lack of playing time often trickles down to their sons). Your son needs to continue to work hard, have a great attitude and practice extra hard each day as if he were starting the next game….because one day…and whether it’s sooner or later… a player with that kind of work ethic and positive attitude will not go unnoticed by a coach and he will get his shot soon enough.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally disagree about playing a kid just because he is a senior. That's no different than playing someone because they're parent is a school board member or school district employee or whatever other reason a coach can come up with for not playing the most deserving kid. Put the best kids on the field regardless of their age. I for one have a son that graduated this year and was put on JV as a junior to allow 2 seniors (who's parents just happened to be a school board member and a school district employee)to split time in the outfield. Neither of these kids should have seen the field based on their ability. Now my son is having problems getting anyone to offer him a scholarship because of being on JV as a junior. Every recruiter sees the huge numbers he put up this year and automatically a red flag pops up when they here he was on JV as a junior. Everyone wants him to walk on to protect themselves from a possible unknown problem. Before you even comment about "maybe that's where he belonged as a junior", let me give you some facts. Our varsity team had 7 returning starters this year, but my son who wasn't even good enough to be on the team last year, began the season starting in the outfield and hitting in the 3 hole. He led the team this year in HRs, RBIs, AVG., SLG%, Doubles and had only 1 error the entire season in the field. In 34 games he hit .411, 13 HRs, 51 RBIs, .986 SLG%. He had one of the best offensive years in our schools history this year. He was offensive MVP of the team, 1st Team all-district, selected to play in the houston area coaches all-star game but because of that one decision, is living a nightmare trying to get someone to take a chance on him.