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Thread: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

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    Member durl's Avatar
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    Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    I have a daughter playing 10U fastpitch softball. Like most of her teammates, it's her first year at this level where it's kid-pitch. I help out with practices and in the dugout. I coach 1B when the assistant coach isn't there. (I overheard the head coach ask another parent to coach 1B one week but, at the game, that parent asked me if I wanted to...I jumped at the chance.)

    She ended up on a team with a good group of girls but I was hesitant about her coach. He moved up from 10U to coach his daughter. For the past few seasons, he's been VERY aggressive. Too aggressive, in my opinion. He yelled at the girls a LOT. That's changed...but too far the other way. The assistant coach is the head coach of a local high school baseball team. He's sent the head coach suggested lineups and positioning, but they've been ignored.

    The head coach positions poor fielders and throwers at SS and 2B. This past week he put a girl at SS that had never played there before and she's a very poor fielder. He keeps trying a girl at 1B but she is a poor catch and has a habit of stepping forward to catch the ball without judging where it'll land...she even steps off the base to do that.

    My daughter is a very good fielder; probably the 3rd best of the 11 girls, but she plays most innings in right field, backing up 1st base. (On two occasions, she's almost thrown at a runner at 1B.) She has better range and gets rid of the ball quicker than most girls. Other coaches have asked me why my girl is in the infield and not at SS or 2nd. They're stunned that she's not. We're 1-5, losing 5 in a row. We've blown the last 2 games because the poor fielders made errors that allowed winning runs.

    Sorry for all the rambling but I want everyone to know the circumstances. So should I talk to the head coach about positioning and lineups? I don't want to be "one of those" parents but other parents are upset, as well. Would it be improper for me to address the concerns? If I should talk to him, how should I approach it?

    Thanks, fellow RedZoners.
    Last edited by durl; 04-22-2013 at 12:53 PM.

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    Custodial Engineer Bob Sheed's Avatar
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    Re: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. "

    That being said, I would shop around for other teams if your concerns are not met to your level of satisfaction.

    Also, make sure to ask your daughter how she feels about all of this.
    "And why do false truths persist, getting passed down the decades as if they were fact? It comes back to the same point: People believe things that are wrong because, individually, people rarely investigate their own beliefs, particularly when what they believe makes sense intuitively. Even more so when those around them agree with them." -K.F.

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    No, stick out this season then move on.

    I really have never heard of a situation where a parent got involved like you are thinking of doing where it turned out good. Especially when the coach as you described sounds like an ass.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    Re: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    No, stick out this season then move on.

    I really have never heard of a situation where a parent got involved like you are thinking of doing where it turned out good. Especially when the coach as you described sounds like an ass.
    I disagree to some extent. The situation you described presents a safety concern. I've coached youth baseball for 12 years from T-ball through high school and have battled the modern P.C. coaching philosophy of "everyone plays every position." It's one thing in T-ball when most kids' skills and coordination are somewhat similar, but once they reach an age where their teammates can put a little mustard on their throws, it's no longer safe to put someone at 1B who is too uncoordinated to catch a thrown ball.

    It's also unfair to the teammates and frankly to the players who are out of position. I'm sure those girls want to be better, and probably feel like they're letting the team down when they make errors. Why put them through that?

    There is a time and place to allow kids to develop and improve - I'm all for that. But there is also an age when it's time to play kids in positions best suited for their talents.

    I never emphasized wins and losses as a youth coach -- meaning my top coaching objectives are: safety, sportsmanship, learning, and fun. However, I do think it's valuable to teach strategy so the kids can get a better understanding of the game...which means they have to learn at an early age how to play to win. I always play to win, but how much of those four principles I will compromise depends on the age.

    At age 12, most kids (girls and boys) can throw. Many of them cannot catch and are afraid of the ball. Throwing a ball to someone who is afraid to catch it is dangerous. Positioning someone like that at 1B is asking for a tooth knocked out.

    I'd approach the head coach about this without hesitation, and I'd present it as a safety concern initially.
    A flute with no holes is not a flute. A doughnut with no holes is a danish. -- Zen Philosopher Basho

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    Quote Originally Posted by durl View Post
    I have a daughter playing 12U fastpitch softball. Like most of her teammates, it's her first year at this level where it's kid-pitch. I help out with practices and in the dugout. I coach 1B when the assistant coach isn't there. (I overheard the head coach ask another parent to coach 1B one week but, at the game, that parent asked me if I wanted to...I jumped at the chance.)

    She ended up on a team with a good group of girls but I was hesitant about her coach. He moved up from 10U to coach his daughter. For the past few seasons, he's been VERY aggressive. Too aggressive, in my opinion. He yelled at the girls a LOT. That's changed...but too far the other way. The assistant coach is the head coach of a local high school baseball team. He's sent the head coach suggested lineups and positioning, but they've been ignored.

    The head coach positions poor fielders and throwers at SS and 2B. This past week he put a girl at SS that had never played there before and she's a very poor fielder. He keeps trying a girl at 1B but she is a poor catch and has a habit of stepping forward to catch the ball without judging where it'll land...she even steps off the base to do that.

    My daughter is a very good fielder; probably the 3rd best of the 11 girls, but she plays most innings in right field, backing up 1st base. (On two occasions, she's almost thrown at a runner at 1B.) She has better range and gets rid of the ball quicker than most girls. Other coaches have asked me why my girl is in the infield and not at SS or 2nd. They're stunned that she's not. We're 1-5, losing 5 in a row. We've blown the last 2 games because the poor fielders made errors that allowed winning runs.

    Sorry for all the rambling but I want everyone to know the circumstances. So should I talk to the head coach about positioning and lineups? I don't want to be "one of those" parents but other parents are upset, as well. Would it be improper for me to address the concerns? If I should talk to him, how should I approach it?

    Thanks, fellow RedZoners.
    What's your endgame? It doesn't sound like this is a competitive league per se (i.e. you'd expect alot of rotation as the goal is to give everyone experience and a chance to learn). Is the guy capable of coaching fundamentals? Are you trying to feed your daughter onto a traveling team and a HS career or is this softball for it's sake?

    But if your expectations aren't matching the league culture, you need to find a different league. Even if its the coach who is out of touch, you're probably not going to change him in a way that benefits your daughter through a confrontation.

    Your best strategy is to help as much as possible at practices etc IMHO.

    Also, as parent we should never forget all of the volunteer work that is involved with coaching a team. Regardless of how talented this coach may or may not be, he has made a significant commitment in time and energy. Don't let your frustration get in the way of acknowledging that.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cant Touch This View Post
    I disagree to some extent. The situation you described presents a safety concern. I've coached youth baseball for 12 years from T-ball through high school and have battled the modern P.C. coaching philosophy of "everyone plays every position." It's one thing in T-ball when most kids' skills and coordination are somewhat similar, but once they reach an age where their teammates can put a little mustard on their throws, it's no longer safe to put someone at 1B who is too uncoordinated to catch a thrown ball.

    It's also unfair to the teammates and frankly to the players who are out of position. I'm sure those girls want to be better, and probably feel like they're letting the team down when they make errors. Why put them through that?

    There is a time and place to allow kids to develop and improve - I'm all for that. But there is also an age when it's time to play kids in positions best suited for their talents.

    I never emphasized wins and losses as a youth coach -- meaning my top coaching objectives are: safety, sportsmanship, learning, and fun. However, I do think it's valuable to teach strategy so the kids can get a better understanding of the game...which means they have to learn at an early age how to play to win. I always play to win, but how much of those four principles I will compromise depends on the age.

    At age 12, most kids (girls and boys) can throw. Many of them cannot catch and are afraid of the ball. Throwing a ball to someone who is afraid to catch it is dangerous. Positioning someone like that at 1B is asking for a tooth knocked out.

    I'd approach the head coach about this without hesitation, and I'd present it as a safety concern initially.
    If I was the coach and someone came to me with a safety concern about their kid I would gladly listen but if you came to me and expressed concern about the safety of another kid then I would question what business it is of yours to be concerned. If there is a safety concern such as playing on the field when its lightning or playing without proper equipment then contact the league officials, but to confront the coach because you think someone elses kid might get hurt fielding ground balls at second base is over stepping your boundaries IMO.

    Bottom line is the scenario the OP gave of the coach leads me to believe it is best to steer clear of him. I know rotten coaches well and he sounds like one.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    Re: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    If I was the coach and someone came to me with a safety concern about their kid I would gladly listen but if you came to me and expressed concern about the safety of another kid then I would question what business it is of yours to be concerned. If there is a safety concern such as playing on the field when its lightning or playing without proper equipment then contact the league officials, but to confront the coach because you think someone elses kid might get hurt fielding ground balls at second base is over stepping your boundaries IMO.

    Bottom line is the scenario the OP gave of the coach leads me to believe it is best to steer clear of him. I know rotten coaches well and he sounds like one.
    I don't know enough about the coach, team, players, and other parents to truly assess this specific situation. Best I can do is compare it to similar circumstances that I've dealt with.

    If this coach is genuinely unbending and not approachable, then yes, let it be and just suffer through the brutal play. Also, I was under the impression that the OP had assumed an assistant coaching role, which in my opinion warrants addressing any safety concern. (My concern is more for the girl playing 1B who cannot catch, not the middle infielders who cannot field.)
    A flute with no holes is not a flute. A doughnut with no holes is a danish. -- Zen Philosopher Basho

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  11. #8
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    Quote Originally Posted by durl View Post
    The assistant coach is the head coach of a local high school baseball team. He's sent the head coach suggested lineups and positioning, but they've been ignored.
    This is the key thing here. If he's not listening to that guy, he's certainly not going to take advice from you or anyone else. If anything, the suggestions he's already received have just hardened his resolve to... well, be hard-headed, I guess.

    So unless his crimes rise above "the team's not as good as it should be and my daughter's playing out of position," then yeah, just tough it out, make the most of practice etc. Especially if it's 10U rec league, that first year of kid-pitch is kind of ugly anyway.
    Not all who wander are lost

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    .377 in 1905 CySeymour's Avatar
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    Re: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cant Touch This View Post
    I disagree to some extent. The situation you described presents a safety concern. I've coached youth baseball for 12 years from T-ball through high school and have battled the modern P.C. coaching philosophy of "everyone plays every position." It's one thing in T-ball when most kids' skills and coordination are somewhat similar, but once they reach an age where their teammates can put a little mustard on their throws, it's no longer safe to put someone at 1B who is too uncoordinated to catch a thrown ball.
    I agree. Huge pet peeve of mine! When I was a commissioner of a rec league, this was for 9 and 10 year olds, the overall commissioner wanted me to set up a station in tryouts where each kid would play first base catching throws from shortstop. I refused saying you're going to get a kid seriously hurt who can't really catch. If it were a travel league tryout, then it would have been ok, but not for rec.

    But to the OP, I'd ride it out and try to move her to a different team next season. As a coach, it was hard to take a parent too seriously when they complained to me about where a kid played, mostly because the parent rarely knew what they were talking about. Now when the player approached me, I took it very seriously since I respected them for doing what they should and asking me.

    If your daughter wants to ask the coach, respectfully, about her position assignment, that would be a better place to start.
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.

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    Member durl's Avatar
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    Re: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    Thanks for the input, everyone. I'm going to tough it out and wait until Fall ball for her to land with another coach. If my daughter wants a different position, I'll give her my approval to ask the head coach.

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    Re: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    Quote Originally Posted by durl View Post
    I have a daughter playing 10U fastpitch softball. Like most of her teammates, it's her first year at this level where it's kid-pitch. I help out with practices and in the dugout. I coach 1B when the assistant coach isn't there. (I overheard the head coach ask another parent to coach 1B one week but, at the game, that parent asked me if I wanted to...I jumped at the chance.)

    She ended up on a team with a good group of girls but I was hesitant about her coach. He moved up from 10U to coach his daughter. For the past few seasons, he's been VERY aggressive. Too aggressive, in my opinion. He yelled at the girls a LOT. That's changed...but too far the other way. The assistant coach is the head coach of a local high school baseball team. He's sent the head coach suggested lineups and positioning, but they've been ignored.

    The head coach positions poor fielders and throwers at SS and 2B. This past week he put a girl at SS that had never played there before and she's a very poor fielder. He keeps trying a girl at 1B but she is a poor catch and has a habit of stepping forward to catch the ball without judging where it'll land...she even steps off the base to do that.

    My daughter is a very good fielder; probably the 3rd best of the 11 girls, but she plays most innings in right field, backing up 1st base. (On two occasions, she's almost thrown at a runner at 1B.) She has better range and gets rid of the ball quicker than most girls. Other coaches have asked me why my girl is in the infield and not at SS or 2nd. They're stunned that she's not. We're 1-5, losing 5 in a row. We've blown the last 2 games because the poor fielders made errors that allowed winning runs.

    Sorry for all the rambling but I want everyone to know the circumstances. So should I talk to the head coach about positioning and lineups? I don't want to be "one of those" parents but other parents are upset, as well. Would it be improper for me to address the concerns? If I should talk to him, how should I approach it?

    Thanks, fellow RedZoners.
    Manipulate the coach's mind a little bit. Instead of telling the coach or asking the coach to play her in the infield, it might be wise to give the coach a chance to realize on his own that your daughter would be an upgrade for his infield. You casually give the coach a demonstration of her prowess.

    On your personal time, hit a bunch of grounders to your daughter at shortstop. This will give her some practice and allow you to make a determination as to whether she is truly good at playing infield. If she is good, ask the coach to stay after practice for a few minutes to watch you hitting grounders to her. Ask the coach if he has any pointers. This will plant the seed in his mind that she is an option to consider at shortstop for the team. Once you prove she can handle the job the coach may come up with the idea on his own to have her play infield during games.

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    Custodial Engineer Bob Sheed's Avatar
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    Re: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    Or just tell the coach it is Opposite Day, and that you think he is doing a great job.

    "And why do false truths persist, getting passed down the decades as if they were fact? It comes back to the same point: People believe things that are wrong because, individually, people rarely investigate their own beliefs, particularly when what they believe makes sense intuitively. Even more so when those around them agree with them." -K.F.

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  18. #13
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    I'd talk more with the assistant coach -- he seems to be seeing the problem, too. If he agrees with you, it would be much more effective for him to talk to the head coach than for a parent such as yourself to do it.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    Re: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    I'd talk more with the assistant coach -- he seems to be seeing the problem, too. If he agrees with you, it would be much more effective for him to talk to the head coach than for a parent such as yourself to do it.
    It's funny, Johnny...at our game last night, my daughter got moved to 2nd base for the last inning. While the fielders were tossing to first, the assistant coach walked over to me and said "the infield looks a bit better now." That made me feel pretty good.

  20. #15
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Should I approach my kid's softball coach?

    Quote Originally Posted by durl View Post
    It's funny, Johnny...at our game last night, my daughter got moved to 2nd base for the last inning. While the fielders were tossing to first, the assistant coach walked over to me and said "the infield looks a bit better now." That made me feel pretty good.
    Yeah, it sounds like that guy is frustrated with the situation, too. I'd work with him to try to influence the coach.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful


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