Turn Off Ads?
Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 16 to 29 of 29

Thread: Some Little League advice really needed!!

  1. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque
    Posts
    52

    Re: Some Little League advice really needed!!

    My son is the same age as your boy, and I help coach his little league team. They are a very good team, and a number of the kids are very good players. I am the third coach on this team; that is, our league allows teams to protect the manager's kid and one coach's kid, and I am not either of those coaches. I managed my son's machine-pitch team last year, but like to assistant-coach for a year in a new league if I can swing it. As a result, I am the dugout coach, or what I like to call the Mommy Coach.

    We have poor players on our team. For example, one kid, bless his heart, is league age 11 (one of two 11 year olds in the league). He has an almost pathological fear of being hit with the ball and is rarely in the batters' box when the ball gets there. As a coach, I will not put up with comments that are overly discouraging. My strategy is usually to take the two or three best players aside sometime, emphasize their leadership role, and that they are setting an example for the rest of their teammatges. I tell them they need to step up in leaders by encouraging their teammates, not discouraging them. This age kid will respond to that. "We need everybody on this team to contribute, and x kid needs to be encouraged to contribute, etc."

    Maybe you need to find the Mommy Coach on your team, rather than looking to the manager. It is hard for some coaches to deal with this issue, because the snide kids are, in fact, also only 9 years old, and really can't be expected to be as mature as grownups. Also the coaches often have a lot of other stuff to deal with and don't see everything, and they almost surely don't see the worst stuff, which is usually outside their immediate presence, whereas you are trained on your kid all the time. Kids at this age, even the best players, have their own insecurities and issues, a lot of which come out when there is an easy target. This is true of one kid on my team who I believe is the best player in the league. We want those kids to understand their role and be big enough to encourage rather than discourage, and a lot of time, they're not gonna get there on their own without help.

    So my first suggestion is to see if there is a Mommy Coach who is locked in to the dynamics of the team. Sometimes a well-placed comment or two from this person will reduce the ribbing.

    The other strategy might be to talk to the manager. Don't think of this as complaining to the manager. Hit him where he lives. Say, look, I know little Jimmy isn't the best player, and I'd like help him improve. Do you have any suggestions for things I can work on with him? I was thinking of ... (fill in any number of the fine suggestions given above, like working through situations on a piece of paper, maybe a video game - Backyard Baseball is fun, etc.). Oh, and also, little Jimmy really gets down on himself when his teammates get on him for mistakes. I think he might be able to focus better if he got a little more encouragement from his peers.

    Sounds like this isn't true, but who cares. This is the language the manager speaks. He can sell "we are a team, we need to play like a team and encourage each other so we can all be our best." He can't sell "Don't be mean to the dorky kid."

    I don't see any reason to place a label on the kid as explanation for his play. It's a manager, not an MD. It is no secret that there is some issue, whether it is "just" a coordination problem or "just" a focus problem, or those problems because of some underlying condition, doesn't matter at all to the manager. If he cares at all, it is about how to solve the problem (hence your request for how you can help little Jimmy at home). It's not like he's gonna say, oh, an Asperger's kid, why didn't you say so before; I know just how to change my approach to work with him.

    If this doesn't work and the negativity can't be controlled, I think those are not the right kids for little Jimmy to be around. Doesn't matter if little Jimmy wants to or not; you are the parent and you gotta call 'em like you see 'em. You have already made this call on schooling. I agree best case is for it to work out, but if it doesn't work out, Plan B is to find better kids. Maybe you can play out of district, or talk to other parents about other managers with a better approach. That might change everything. Manager's kid is usually the best player, or one of them; while the manager's coaching matters, his parenting matters more in this respect - if he raised his kid to be a good kid and his kid encourages instead of discourages, the other players will fall in line.

    The sociological dynamics of a little league team are interesting and finely balanced. A single comment from a high-prestige kid either protecting or attacking your kid could either insulate that kid for the rest of the year or open him up as fair game. There is an interesting book called With the Boys, written by I think Gary Alan Fine, about the sociology of the little league dugout. It is a little dated and with Major level kids, but still an interesting read. Maybe someone has updated work on the topic since, don't know.

    Best of luck.

  2. Turn Off Ads?
  3. #17
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Bellefontaine, Ohio
    Posts
    26,574

    Re: Some Little League advice really needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Marge'sMullet
    Tools of Ignorance,

    You are RIGHT Quitting because some kids are jerks is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

    IMO, I think some of you are missing the mark as far as competition. Winning is important and doing well at something is more important to a child self esteem then be labeled different because of a medical condition.
    It's not about being labelled - it's about educating people. His son is being labelled out of ignorance to his condition. You educate the coaching staff and parents, and they, in turn should talk with the kids.

    Telling (and teaching) your son to QUIT is not a good lesson to be teaching him as he grows into adulthood. Quitting adds to, and complicates, the insecurities these kids already have.

    And quitting because some kids are jerks is definitely not the way to go - what message does that send you kid as you prepare them for adulthood? It's not going to get any easier then when they are in the real world.

    I've seen two instances in our league over the last couple of years where the parents, coaching staff, and yes, even the kids, rallied around a child and really helped them to fit in and feel wanted when they were educated and asked to get involved. They responded.

    I had a friend last year who had a son (11) who LOVES baseball, but because he has a disease of the bones that will put him in a wheelchair by the time he is in his mid-20's he sat on the sidelines with that look that told everyone he wanted to participate, but was fearful to because of his condition. The disease, which caused him to have very poor gross motor skills, and well as causing him to lose the sight in one of his eyes, also created his insecurities.

    We can't cure the disease - but we can do something about the insecurities.

    He'd come to our practices and watch, and one could tell he wanted to play really bad. I let him participate, and the following year got him on a team.

    Yes, he was a terrible ballplayer. But the coaching staff and parents, once they learned of his condition, really became attached to this boy. Just being out there for 1 or 2 innings and getting a chance to participate brought such joy to this child. They, and the coaches/parents could care less if this kid struck out or misplayed a baseball once they saw the joy it brought the child.

    He went from bring an outsider, to being an insider. That is all he wanted.

    Do you think that kids want to be different and looked at as someone who needs special help or leeway in order to compete in the same game? I would say, NO, they would be better server to overcome any short coming that they might have and succeed.
    They can't completely overcome what you define as "shortcomings". No more then a child with autism or down syndrome can overcome theirs. These are "special needs" children who have a disability.

    Competing TO THEM is secondary. They want to interact, feel acceptance FOR WHO THEY ARE, and to fit in.

    His son doesn't need to change (he can't). Those around him though can change (attitude).

    So if you really want to help your son, try and make sports and games more serious to him. I think that the trap that a lot of parents fall into is that they view it only as a game to have fun.
    No - the trap that many parents fall into is that winning always translates into success, and that failure is totally unacceptable. It doesn't.

    For a child it is only a game to have fun. It is about fitting, participating, and more importantly - ACCEPTANCE. Winning at that age is secondary, and any coach worth his salt will tell you that.

    Participation alone isn’t the answer
    Respectfully - yes it is is. You need to research the characteristics of Aspergers. One of the main problems with Asperger children is interaction with their peers, and being able to "fit in" and aptly communicate themselves.

    Winning and performing well and above the rest will do more for a child self esteem then just showing up and participating.
    Maybe, with a "average" child. But you are placing a "burden" or hill before an Asperger child that an average child doesnt have to face. And if they fail, will cause further withdrawal and damage to their self-esteem.

    Success is not always defines as winning alone.

    I have never made excuses for my son, and also push him when I, as a parent, see it is needed. I don't allow his "disability" to be an excuse to not try or to fail. But one must still understand the boundaries and limitations also involved.

    I just simply speak from experience. Being accepted by your peers is far more profitable/beneficial to an Asperger child, who get to know and understand their disorder. I've seen it work.
    Last edited by GAC; 06-11-2006 at 09:23 PM.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

  4. #18
    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Pittsburgh
    Posts
    7,063

    Re: Some Little League advice really needed!!

    This thread is kinda making me teary. Heck, just print it out and take it to the coach.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

  5. #19
    Member SandyD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Kenner , LA
    Posts
    2,719

    Re: Some Little League advice really needed!!

    GAC, unfortunately, I'm not sure it works in all social groups/settings. I can understand TOI's concerns, and frankly, I hate labels. By the same token, in an ideal world, I agree that having the discussion with the parents/coaches is the best way to go. Only TOI can decide if it can work for his family.

    I like the idea of private coaching really because it can help him with his motor skills, and because he will learn what it means to work for what you want. But it would take the right coach to do the job. Maybe a fitness consultant with a background in/passion for baseball.

    TOI, do you think you can keep the label private from the rest of his youth/teenage years? I'm just curious. Kids can be cruel, and increasingly so over time. Especially when they don't understand the situation.

    Wish you and your son the best.

  6. #20
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    34,167

    Re: Some Little League advice really needed!!

    TOI, forst of all I deeply sympathise with your situation. I do not mean this to sound cold but I think the best interests of the child should outweigh the interests of the parent(s). It is truly sad the other kids make fun of him because of his lack of physical skills but if he does not mind and he enjoys playing with these kids, I think you have to let him whether the coach does anything or not. I agree with you about not wanting to hurt him socially by revealing his condition. You may have to go through some heartache for a while in order to not reveal his condition. If you say too much to the coach he may start to get suspicious and wonder why. Now you might want to do some research into situations similar to yours and see what they have done as far as revealing his condition goes.

    Kids can be cruel. We all know that. They always pick on the kids who shows some differences from the norm whether he is overweight, wears glasses, dresses funny, whatever. But in a way that is a form of acceptance. If the other kids like him outside of baseball, then it may not be that big of a problem. I am not saying that those kids making fun of your boy is right but it seems to be hurting you more than it is hurting him. Now if he knew he was being made fun of and it was really bothering him, that would be a whole other thing. But he seems happy and that is all that should matter.

    You might want to do some more research into kids with that condition and decide if private lessons can help his motor skills or if it would be a waste of time and money. The skull sessions may be a good idea as long as they are not overdone and he likes them. Presenting it in a form that he has excelled with is a good idea too. You say he hits the ball decently. If he wants to continue with athletics, perhaps golf would be something he could do. If he can hit a moving ball, he might be able to hit a ball that is sitting still. It is an individual sport so he does not have to worry about teammates hollering at him for making a bad shot. It seems like you are well off and live in a good area so access to a golf course and lessons would not be a problem. If you golf yourself, when he learns to play you can take him out and play together and it would be a nice father son thing to do. Good luck whatever you decide.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160

  7. #21
    Joe Oliver love-child Blimpie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Lexington
    Posts
    4,888

    Re: Some Little League advice really needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum
    This thread is kinda making me teary. Heck, just print it out and take it to the coach.
    "Booing on opening day is like telling grandma her house smells like old lady."--WOY

  8. #22
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Bellefontaine, Ohio
    Posts
    26,574

    Re: Some Little League advice really needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by SandyD
    GAC, unfortunately, I'm not sure it works in all social groups/settings. I can understand TOI's concerns, and frankly, I hate labels. By the same token, in an ideal world, I agree that having the discussion with the parents/coaches is the best way to go. Only TOI can decide if it can work for his family.

    I like the idea of private coaching really because it can help him with his motor skills, and because he will learn what it means to work for what you want. But it would take the right coach to do the job. Maybe a fitness consultant with a background in/passion for baseball.

    TOI, do you think you can keep the label private from the rest of his youth/teenage years? I'm just curious. Kids can be cruel, and increasingly so over time. Especially when they don't understand the situation.

    Wish you and your son the best.
    I agree with private coaching Sandy to help the child. But we talking about a neurological disorder that greatly retards gross motor skills (among other things). And who, besides the parent, can afford to spend/sacrifice that much time (and it is gonna take alot of time and patience) to help his son get ready for the season?

    I'm not saying the sacrifice shouldn't be made - just be prepared for a long, tenuous, and very trying sessions, because its not only poor motor skills, but also a combination of cognizant abilities.

    And even then, Adam Dunn would still look like a GGer.

    Here is a question that I asked myself concerning my son playing little league....

    Am I wanting him to play because I played? Is it more for my benefit then my child's? Am I really putting the pressure on him, and forcing him to do something that he really doesn't want to do, but it's more to soothe my ego?

    I believe in making your child try new and different things in order to see what their interests are. But one can only push them so far before they realize this is not for my child.

    And that is where solid and sincere parent-child communication must come in.

    If you see that the child really wants to play and interact with the other kids (and that is really what it's all about) - then I agree that you, as a parent, must really help that child privately (backyard, taking them down to the field, etc).

    But you still should, IMO, have a heart-to-heart with the coach(es) and educate them on your son's condition. I believe the coaches and other parents, once they learn his situation, will embrace that child as their own. And they will also deal with their children who may feel tempted to tease/ridicule them.

    And that, in and of itself, is a great lesson for children when they encounter someome who is different.

    But I agree that TOI has some tough decisions to make concerning dealing with his Asperger child. I've had to make them for the last 10 years.

    But my decisions always came down to - what is best/beneficial for my child in the long run, and not me.

    Maybe even try to build relationships with those kids your son does interact with, and play some sandlot(backyard) baseball.... and get all the kids involved in helping to teach your son. Take them all to DQ or McDonalds afterwards and act as that "mentor" to build that trust and relationship with those kids, while it takes the pressure off of your son as they get to know him. I think they would become more understanding and sensitive when it's all said and done. You're then not only building up his baseball skills, but also relationship bonding with the other kids.
    Last edited by GAC; 06-12-2006 at 08:07 PM.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

  9. #23
    Member smith288's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    New Albany, OH
    Posts
    7,248

    Re: Some Little League advice really needed!!

    I think those players making fun of your son needs a beatdown... but thats just me.

    JK. What I think needs to be done would be for you to communicate with the coach about your son's condition. If you think he is a good guy and stuff, he would understand. Also, kids are funny... If people treat them like people instead of talking animals, they behanve like people rather than little talking animals.

    What im saying is if these kids are sat down (seperate from yours) and told exactly the reasons for your sons akwardness, etc, they might behave a little more understanding rather than using ignorance as their only resource for the ridicule.

    Thats my opinion. We have a kid with downs on my tball team and everyone is very understanding of his condition and they NEVER ridicule him.

  10. #24
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Worthington, O-H-I-O
    Posts
    114

    Re: Some Little League advice really needed!!

    I greatly appreciate all of your responses. I also thank those who PM'ed me about this issue.

    My one huge question is: Does anyone in Columbus know where to get some private instruction? I have called around, but it seems they do groups, or only older kids.

    To clarify some things....

    He wants to play. It would be easier for me if he quit. There is no "Daddy" agenda here.

    His doctors advise heavily against telling people about his diagnosis. It doesn't change what his weaknesses are, but only gives something to discriminate against. Besides, is it OK to bully and discriminate against someone just because the don't have a named problem? Is is OK to trip someone on crutches or laugh at them unless you know they had polio or spina bifida? Is it OK to bully and make fun of a poor athlete unless they have some known problem such as Down's or Asperger's? Of course not.

    Part of the reason my child's doctors (pediatric psychologists and psychiatrists) advice us this way, is that he is really such a fringe kid. He will live his life in a "normal" environment. He will go to college, get a job, and hopefully have a social life and family like a "normal" kid. Only goofier. Labelling him (according to these experts) gives him absolutely no advantage. So telling the coach the true issue, is counterproductive (according to the experts).

  11. #25
    Member Deepred05's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    1,518

    Re: Some Little League advice really needed!!

    Sometimes coaches need to be reminded why they are there. Not an easy task, considering most of the parents I encountered were out for blood.
    I had a similar situation while coaching, a very small kid wanted to quit my team because his teammates picked on him.

    After his parents approached me, I felt very guilty because I realized that I was neglecting some of the kids on the team for my own selfish reasons. Long story short, I spent "extra time" after every practice with any of the kids who wanted it. I put the kid in situations where I knew he had the best chance of succeeding. (weaker pitchers, pinch running..........)

    He never did grow that much, but he turned out to be a pretty good little ballplayer, starting second baseman for his high school team......

  12. #26
    Member SandyD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Kenner , LA
    Posts
    2,719

    Re: Some Little League advice really needed!!

    TOI, do you have connections at OSU? Seems like a grad student might be interested in making some extra money. Wouldn't really take a professional coach.

    If you can't find a coach, maybe try to do it yourself. Or with others in your family. Could be fun (and healthy) for everyone. There are books out there with drills, and videos/DVDs.

    Good luck with it all, and let us know how you all do.

  13. #27
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Worthington, O-H-I-O
    Posts
    114

    Re: Some Little League advice really needed!!

    An update for those who are interested.


    I was in a real quandry about what to do. What I eventually did was the following:

    1. I saw the "ringleader" sitting on the bench by himself. I sat down next to him and said "Hey Andrew, I want you to stop giving "my son" such a hard time. Do you understand? He said "What do you mean?" I said "Andrew, you are really a smart kid. You know exactly what I mean. Do you understand me?" He said "Sure". Done with phase one.

    2. I saw one of the other best players who was being a jerk. This kid is ultra competitive, basically a decent kid, but was a jerk with the "ringleader"'s prompting. I said, "Hey "*", you really pitched well and played great the last game. Do me a favor. "my son" is really having some problems throwing and catching. Since you are so good, could you help him get better? I know it would help him."

    3. The third kid is the coach's son. He is good friends with the other two, and joins in sometimes, but I have actually heard him defend my son when he gets a good hit. I don't know him that well, so I didn't talk to him.

    The last two games, I haven't heard any of these kids laugh or give my son grief (they did each of the two prior games). In fact, at the last game, my son's team fell behind by 3-0 in the second inning (they were the home team). My son came up, and hit a ball into center (he hit it well even though it was over his head) to drive in the first run for his team. The other kids cheered him on. He later scored. His team went on to win easily. He had two good hits, and walked the third time up.

    Did I do the right thing? What do you get when you mix an Elephant and a Rhino? Elephino! Whatever, the teasing and bullying seems to have stopped for the last two games. He is enjoying the game. My stress is down. My anniversary was Friday, Father's day is today, my birthday is tomorrow, I am going to Wimbledon next Saturday for my wife's 40th, I am going to the US Grand Prix the day I get back, and I am preparing for a week backpacking in the Sierra Nevadas with my son and brothers in August.

    I feel pretty good right now. Thanks for all of the support.

  14. #28
    Member smith288's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    New Albany, OH
    Posts
    7,248

    Re: Some Little League advice really needed!!

    Sounds like you did the right thing and caught these kids at the right age to respect your request and your son came through by shutting them up with performing on the field.

    All good news!

  15. #29
    Member SandyD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Kenner , LA
    Posts
    2,719

    Re: Some Little League advice really needed!!

    Great to hear, TOI.

    Good lesson for the other kids, too.


Turn Off Ads?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Board Moderators may, at their discretion and judgment, delete and/or edit any messages that violate any of the following guidelines: 1. Explicit references to alleged illegal or unlawful acts. 2. Graphic sexual descriptions. 3. Racial or ethnic slurs. 4. Use of edgy language (including masked profanity). 5. Direct personal attacks, flames, fights, trolling, baiting, name-calling, general nuisance, excessive player criticism or anything along those lines. 6. Posting spam. 7. Each person may have only one user account. It is fine to be critical here - that's what this board is for. But let's not beat a subject or a player to death, please.

Thank you, and most importantly, enjoy yourselves!


RedsZone.com is a privately owned website and is not affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds or Major League Baseball


Contact us: Boss | GIK | BCubb2003 | dabvu2498 | Gallen5862 | LexRedsFan | Plus Plus | RedlegJake | redsfan1995 | The Operator | Tommyjohn25