Believe it or not, most coaches that your kid will play for do not start coaching so that they can begin plotting the demise of your kid’s career. We love the game, and believe we can make a difference. Over the last 15 years that I’ve been coaching summer baseball, lots of things have changed. The cost, schedules, etc.. However, one thing has remained the same. The single biggest reason I get from young guys as to why they don’t want to coach…. is parents. I’m sure you all know that parent who is never happy, and always has the same complaint. The one that if you were to make a “summer ball” letterman’s jacket for players, their kid’s would look like a NASCAR jacket with 20 logos on it.
Coaching, despite what many think, is very difficult. Sure it can be easy if you want…. Just write a lineup and then stand there while the kids play. But if you want to really be good at it, it takes a lot of work. The fact is that good coaches don’t just think about the team when they’re at the field. We are constantly thinking about how we can get a kid to figure it out offensively, or what we’re missing on a kid that’s keeping him from succeeding. For those that take it seriously, coaching is a ton of work and stress for extremely little to no money. That’s just the baseball part.
PARENTS: One of; if not THE, worst things you can do to a coach, especially a young one, is to bring a complaint to them after a game. Especially one that is a major team success. Coaches are the ones that put in all the work, organize everything, strategize, and receive the large portion of the blame for all losses. So, when the team has a big win or a really good performance, the coach needs to be allowed to enjoy that.
We give up our free time for a large portion of the year to try to create a positive, successful experience for a group of kids. Now, you may say, “well they agreed to do it, nobody forced them.” This is true. However, they agreed to all the challenges of coaching a baseball team; not to deal with parent complaints. Coaches are human beings just like you.
The other effect of complaints that parents often don’t realize is this…. Once you get that reputation, it WILL follow you; and if it gets bad enough; it WILL cost your kid opportunities. The coaching community is a small one. We all talk, and we will do right before a fellow coach above anything else. What does this mean? If a friend of mine comes to me and says he has a kid that wants to play for him; and I know his parents are an issue; that is all coming out of my mouth before anything about his ability. I can tell you that I have passed on players that were more than capable of playing for me because I didn’t want to deal with their parents. Also, and this is a big one too, I have decided to not recruit kids to my school because on their visit to campus their parents made it abundantly clear that signing the kid meant signing them too. No thanks.
I want to lay out some bullet points that hopefully serve as guidelines for you when your at home making your voodoo doll of your kid’s coach:
- However upset you are over a loss, your coach feels worse. He/she 100% cares, and is wearing all of their frustrations, as well as all the kids frustrations. They don’t need to wear your frustrations as well.
- If people hear your player’s name, and think of you before them, you’re doing it wrong. Let the focus be on your player. They deserve it.
- They are not getting paid “a ton of money to do this.” WE DON’T DO THIS FOR THE MONEY. If you are coaching for the money at any level below college, then you are a bad life planner. One year a friend of mine and I decided to do the math; and based on the hours that we put in through the year, we were making around $2.50 an hour. So we were being asked to put up with parent complaints for basically 2 packs of Bubblelicious gum per hour. Again.. no thanks.
- When a coach screws up, they know it. We don’t need you to make us relive our screw up, and offer your opinion of how we may have done it differently.
And my last, and maybe most important thing to note as a travel ball parent.. IF YOU CONTINUE TO BROW BEAT A COACH ABOUT THINGS, YOU WILL ULTIMATELY COST HIM HIS PASSION/DESIRE TO COACH, AND YOU WILL ULTIMATELY BE LABLED AS A PROBLEM PARENT…. And those are the real effects of your comments to the coach..