Youth Baseball Coaching Question
How parents deal with negative youth baseball coaching is crucial to help kids enjoy sports.
My son’s coach told his players they (10 year olds) were “…all chokers…” How should parents deal with a “madman” coach?
There is no simple answer here and I am not sure this coach qualifies as a “Madman,” for one mistake. Although, he certainly is out of line with that statement, the heat of the moment causes competitive people to lose their mind, occasionally. Of course, there is no place for statements like this, so inaction is not an option.
First, it is never a good idea to confront the coach in front of players, especially when emotions are high, as in this case. This situation could easily get much worse, so parents must be careful not to put additional gas on the fire. As mentioned, this is too heavy a statement to let just slide, but in front of the players is not the time or place for action, no matter how inclined parents may be to confront the coach, then and there.
Of course, parents may find out about the statement later, as it came only to the players. It is necessary that all parents watch for any abnormal player behavior after games and practices, so situations like this can be dealt with at the time.
Parent’s first concern should be their child’s take on the statement. Some kids blow it off as “Coach being coach,” and others may take it much harder. Next parents should ask and discuss how their child felt about the “chokers” statement. It is definitely one of those “teaching life lessons” moments that parents must take advantage of now. Parents should explain that sometimes coaches say things in the heat of the moment that they do not really feel that way, that you definitely do not agree with the coach, that you will talk to the coach about it later, and that not all future coaches will have the same attitude. It is important that kids know you have their back and that you will go to bat for them, so to speak, when necessary.
Next, parents should talk among themselves and discuss whether they want to contact the coach individually about the inappropriate statement, or as a united front. Either way, the coach must realize he went outside the line for dealing with 10 year old players and a coaching apology to players is needed.
The best-case scenario has the coach never again saying anything so out of perspective, after getting the message from team parents.
Some coaches are “Who they are” and if the negative pattern of behavior does not end after talking to the coach, parents have a bigger problem. The main thing is to keep the issue away from the players, as much as possible, and deal with it behind the scenes. When kids are leaving practices and or games very upset, removal of the coach may be necessary. When that is not possible, and players are miserable about going to games and practices, finding another team for the players may be necessary, unfortunately.
Finally, a lighthearted comment about the coach as, “Did the coach go off again today,” said with a laugh, can let your kid know that they should not take the coach seriously. Trying to diffuse the situation with a little humor may help kids not take things personally, but talking to the coach by the parents is always necessary. The good news is that kids learn to be more resilient, when parents deal with bad youth baseball coaching situations in a positive way, which is necessary, as they may encounter similar coaches in the future.