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THAT Parent

Discussion in 'Coaches Corner' started by LoweTek, Nov 15, 2018.

  1. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    1,282
    Last week, two games left in the schedule, 10U Fall Rec baseball. Parent approaches me, saying "I don't want to be THAT parent but..." and tells me his kid is bored out of his mind playing the outfield and he wants me to let him play 1B or 3B, essentially being exactly THAT parent. I told him I would think about it for the last game.

    I was forced by skill limitations to relegate this kid to the outfield after a few innings at 3B early in the season. I would never play him at 1B as I hope my explanation makes clear why it would be an irresponsible safety risk.

    This kid can't catch the ball above his waste because he has not learned to turn his glove upward. He attempts to catch the ball, every time, with his glove in the underhand position. He usually misses it completely unless it's below his waste.

    He made one put out all season. He was in LF and got a low looping can of corn hit right to him. It was slightly to his left (glove) side, slightly behind his shoulder. He did not move his feet to try to position himself to catch the ball. He reached up above his glove shoulder, glove in the underhand position (like a 1B would if scooping one in the dirt), and nearly falls over backwards catching the ball underhanded.

    Despite repeated coaching all season long, this kid would never turn his glove fingers up to catch a ball, never. I encouraged him to try to play 3B in practice because he said he wanted to play 3B. We do an infield drill where a grounder is hit to each position and the base to throw to is called out as the ball gets to the player. The idea is to get the kids to cover their bags and to always be in the play and pay attention (by far the biggest challenge at this age).

    So for example, a grounder is to the SS, "get one!"

    He throws to 1B. As the 1B gets the ball, "Go three!" He throws the ball across to the 3B, etc. Sometimes we call out several bases in one play during the drill.

    Kid in question is in the rotation of two or three kids at 3B. Thrown ball flies by him 90% of the time if he's paying enough attention to get to the bag and even see it coming. My assistant coaches completely agree, other coaches in the league completely agree this kid can't be in the infield.

    So it turns out the last game of the year has playoff seeding implications. In this league, starting at 10U we begin to gently introduce merit based competition to the kids. E.g. best player at a position plays the position. I still have all kids in the batting lineup regardless. All kids regardless of skill, take their turn on the bench. Not all coaches do this.

    I decide I can't put this kid in the infield. I arrive at the game, post the lineup, kid and Dad see it and quit on the spot, leaving the premises. I get a very sarcastic if not hateful, "Thanks a lot coach," from the parent as they depart.

    I report the incident to the Board later in the day. I receive their full support.

    I start getting text attacked by the mother later in the day. She is shocked at my expression of concern for her kid's safety. She wants to argue. I provide an explanation and do not engage further.

    Two days later, text attack from the father accusing me of ignoring his wife and playing the "safety card." I tell him It's very clear to me he does not agree with my decision. I consider the matter closed and will no longer be responding to either he or his wife. I block both numbers from my phone for texting and calling.

    I report this incident to the Board. Once again, they are in full support of my actions and pledge to contact the parent again.

    Today, I get forwarded text of a complaint the father input online. He continues to 'mis-remember' important details and is quoting various sections of the web site. Board is satisfied the matter has been handled.

    Not meaning any self back patting but I have been coaching (usually the manager) in this league for over 13 years, more than 20 Fall/Spring seasons all together, every age except T-Ball: 18U, 15U, 12U, 10U and 8U. I've never had my own kid on any team. I've never had anything close to this happen before.

    I'd like to hear the thoughts of some of the coaches out there. Thanks.
     
  2. moondog80

    moondog80 heart is two sizes two small SoSH Member

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    It's really tough to stick a kid in LF or RF for the whole game IMO, especially at that age in rec league fall ball. Unless there is a severe safety issue -- like ADHD where he is never paying attention -- I always stick a kid like that at 3B for a couple of innings. I find that it's usually a tough play for anyone in rec league at that age, save for the best 2 or 3 kids on the team who will usually be playing elsewhere anyway, so it's the best place to 'hide' someone. I even think that CF is more important.
     
  3. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    I think you handled the situation as well as anyone could have... and better than most coaches would have.

    The only thing I might have done differently (and maybe you tried this and didn’t mention it) is early on provide both the kid *and the dad* with some drills to do at home to improve his ball catching skills. For a kid like that — all 10U and under kids, actually — I do one and two-handed catch-the-ball drills *without a glove* to burn in the proper hand positioning. Without the glove as a “shield” kids instinctively catch balls above the waist fingers up... or learn to quickly.

    By tasking the mom and dad to help junior do his baseball “homework” you’re (a) doing them a big time bonding favor, and more importantly (b) making mom/dad partly responsible for the “where does the kid play?” decision.

    Forgive me for being pedantic. Sounds like you have more experience with this than I do.
     
    #3 dhappy42, Nov 15, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  4. Old Fart Tree

    Old Fart Tree the maven of meat Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    7,355
    I’d have given the kid an inning at third and hoped the ball didn’t find him. But I defer to your better understanding of his actual skill level (which sounds quite low) so it seems like you did the right thing.
     
  5. Fred not Lynn

    Fred not Lynn Dick Button Jr. SoSH Member

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    4,621
    A good way to get a wandering-minded kid to be more engaged as an outfielder is to teach coverage/backup assignments for various things that can happen, and when the kid fills his assignment correctly give TONS of praise...
     
  6. PortageeExpress

    PortageeExpress Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    1,172
    In my opinion, it comes down to whether there truly is a safety issue. In 4 seasons managing 12U rec, I'd give every kid at least one inning in the infield each regular season game. If a kid couldn't make the throw from 3B, I'd try to hide him at 2B in the second inning (assuming we'd be facing the bottom half of the other team's lineup).

    Once we hit the EOS tournament, I was clear with the kids that I'd be deciding positions based on merit.

    If I felt a kid could truly hurt himself (rather than just suck), I would have talked to the parents early in the season to let them know what needed to improve to get playing time in the infield.

    I've had "that parent" complain during a all star tournament in which it was made clear that there was no guarantee of playing time. She stopped complaining when I pointed out that her kid and my kid were getting equal time in the field.
     
  7. The Big Red Kahuna

    The Big Red Kahuna Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    You played the kid in the OF almost the whole season in a u10 rec baseball league?

    Yeah. No. The parents sound nuts (and not condoning their subsequent actions at all), but they have a right to be a little pissed.

    How was he in such mortal danger playing 3B an inning here or there?

    (Edit: if not clear, the u10 rec league were the key words to me... my boys have played anything from casual leagues - mostly basketball and lacrosse - to elite club level lacrosse... and the difference in expectations for all involved is clear depending on the level and age of the league)
     
  8. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    I don’t understand the “shame” of playing the outfield, especially at 10U. A fair amount of batted balls are hit through the infield and end up being played by outfielders. If a kid gets bored or can’t pay attention in the outfield, he’s usually the kind of kid who’ll lose focus playing infield too, putting himself at some risk of injury. Tell parents Mookie Betts plays RF.
     
  9. Ale Xander

    Ale Xander Member SoSH Member

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    18,293
    I'm neither a parent nor a coach but the minute I got the "safety card" comment from the PARENT, I would have contacted Child Services.
     
  10. BroodsSexton

    BroodsSexton Member SoSH Member

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    8,175
    Nobody said it was shameful. It’s boring. 10u is almost all strikeouts and walks. Let him play third for an inning or two. It’s rec league.
     
  11. moondog80

    moondog80 heart is two sizes two small SoSH Member

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    I’ll say it’s shameful. Well, maybe not shameful, but there is absolutely a stigma attached to it. The worst kids play most of their time at LF and RF.
     
  12. BroodsSexton

    BroodsSexton Member SoSH Member

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    That’s true—especially at that age. Either that or the least popular. I was responding to the facts as posited.
     
  13. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    So if 10u is almost all strikeouts and walks, how does that make playing third base so much more interesting?

    Shameful might not be exactly the right word, but at that age there is some stigma attached to playing outfield because that’s typically where the weaker fielders are parked.
     
  14. BroodsSexton

    BroodsSexton Member SoSH Member

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    Oh come on. Don’t be obtuse. you’re closer to the “action.”
     
  15. EddieYost

    EddieYost has a special friend in GHoff Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    The only way that I don’t give a kid an inning or two in the infield in a regular season game is if he or she doesn’t pay attention. It doesn’t matter that much if you catch it, but if you aren’t watching the ball you can definitely get hurt.

    That said it sounds like you handled it well.
     
  16. 21st Century Sox

    21st Century Sox Member SoSH Member

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    Prior to the last two games, did the kid ask to play 3B? U10 fall ball is the time to actually move players around the diamond, let kids try out positions that they would normally not play in actual LL. I would have put the kid at 3B, and hoped he had two balls hit to him, so when he fails to make the plays, experiment over. It sounds like 100% this kid will wash out of baseball, but in fall ball, if he shows to every practice, etc...I would have given him a couple of innings.
     
  17. ibrewbeer

    ibrewbeer Member SoSH Member

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    Bring the kid and the dad out to the field. Put the kid at 1B and Dad at second. Hit grounders to the Dad, and yell "GET ONE".

    When the dad bangs a ball off his kids face, he might understand.
     
  18. santadevil

    santadevil Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    3,441
    And this is exactly the problem
    Mom or Dad obviously haven't taken any time to play catch with this kid, ever. They expect their kid to be taught everything by coach LoweTek and feel their involvement doesn't extend beyond getting little Jimmy to the park that day.

    Now, I would still probably slot that kid into the infield once in a while. I sometimes like to put kids at 2nd base due to the shorter throw, but most of the time, my weaker kids were put into the outfield at that age, but it's been a few years since I've coached that age group.

    Either way, Mom and Dad are still 96% to blame for these issues, because they don't take the time with the kid and also are probably the parents that feel like the whole world is against their precious little all-star, not realizing they need to give him some tools to succeed in life
     
  19. RIFan

    RIFan Member SoSH Member

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    I think LT handled it well overall and the parent's did their kid no favors by taking him home. That said, I always rotated kids through the infield when I coached 10U. If I really had to hide a kid I'd put him at 2nd. You're lucky if there are 2 balls hit to second in a game. I don't think it's the end of the world to put a kid at SS either, particularly if the throw from 3rd is a little too much. Put a better fielder at 3rd and have him shade over towards the hole. Kids aren't generally cranking it right down the line so playing the traditional 3rd base spot is a waste anyways.

    FWIW, there is nothing wrong with a few bruises, it helps with the learning process.
     
  20. moondog80

    moondog80 heart is two sizes two small SoSH Member

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    FWIW, I think if you have one kid who is a 6 and another who is a 2, you will get more outs with the 6 at 2B and the 2 at 3B than the other way around. The 2 is going to struggle at either place, while the 6 will get a lot of the outs at 2B (particularly grounders to SS with a guy on 1B) and relatively few at 3B.
     
  21. tonyandpals

    tonyandpals Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    The parents are obviously not putting in the time here. That said, I still rotate all my players between IF and OF. The only spot I would not put a kid who couldn't catch is first. I flat out tell him/her that I can't play them there until they show me they can catch the ball consistently. That ruled out around half my 8yos last season. Anywhere else I didn't feel their safety was at risk.
     
  22. LeftyTG

    LeftyTG Member SoSH Member

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    1,212
    let me say, on behalf of Child Services, please don't.
     
  23. Doug Beerabelli

    Doug Beerabelli Killer Threads Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Fall ball rec league 10u, yeah, I'd let kids play positions they didn't excel at. Agree that you need a competant 1B, especially if your other IFs throw hard. I always put those kids at second - thought that was safest, and also increased chances the player would have a chance to get postiive reinforcement to make a good play. And rotate all players IF/OF. At that age and younger, I also did a thing with batting order where everyone would move up one slot, and leadoff would go to the bottom of order every subsequent game during regular season. Playoffs we set things up to be more competitive. I found this method kept most parents from complaining. Sounds like LoweTek did plenty of things to keep PT and opportunties fair.

    Parent was wrong to walk off the field like that. Totally sets your kid's situation back in the future if parents are known to be PIAs. Finish the season, thank the coaches for their time, and move on (maybe ask not to have LoweTek as coach in the future--which LT would be fine with--, or play in another organzation, or play soccer , etc). There may be value to making such a statement if the coach has an overall problem that many kids suffer under, but that's clearly not the case here with LoweTek. If I'm another parent or kid on that team, I see that, shrug shoulders, think "What a jerk," and continue with the season.

    Funny story about one kid 8u year. He was a fun, outgoing friendly kid. First practice, we do some throwing warm up drills as kids roll in, as we are evaluation what we've got. 20 feet apart. Player throws it to this kid, he misses it. Gets back to the line, and rolls the ball back. He repeats this a few times. I ask him, "Matthew, what are you doing? Why are you throwing like that?" "He says its the best way for him to make a good throw." I do best to stifle laughter, and tell him we will work and commit to learning to throw overhand, which he agrees to do going forward. Later in the season, he wanted to catch. Definitley a safety issue, but I finally let him do it. Our pitcher throws a pitch, and the kid actually gets out of the way of the ball. I'm watching this, commiserating with our pitcher but also trying not to laugh. Ump has become backstop. We instruct him to try to catch the ball. I actually walk down to parent to talk to her about it, and explain we wanted to let him try an inning, and we're both laughing about it. The kid was obviously not that good, and hadn't had a lot of training, but we coaches made the most of it, and he had a great attitude about the whole thing.

    Years later, I'm at a game watching some friends' kids play in playoffs, and he's on the other team, and he's become a competent baseball player. That was actually really good to see for me, and also a good lesson/reminder of the fact kids don't develop at same pace, and that the most important thing one can do as a coach is to instill a love of the game so they keep participating and striving to get better.
     
  24. TiredParent

    TiredParent lurker

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    34
    I do not understand the level of support the OP has received here. I have coached Rec baseball and basketball from u8 to u18, and there is simply no excuse to sticking a kid in the outfield for the season at U10. LTAD guidelines for this age group explicitly recommend all kids get experience in multiple infield and outfield positions. Safety concerns would be valid for first base, but any u10 kid can play second. Honestly, 3rd is not exactly the hot corner at this age/skill level. The most telling section of the post was the "So it turns out the last game of the year has playoff seeding implications " prior to "I decide I can't put this kid in the infield" . Playoff seeding should never even enter the thought process. It's U10 rec, who cares about playoff seeding? Plus, if he had been playing an inning or two in the infield every game or so up until now, you both would be more comfortable with the situation. I have seen many kids at that age that seem"hopeless" on the field or the court, who by U14, have become good( or at least passable) players. Sure, it is easier when everyone on the team is at least adequate, but this is rec. Shunting a kid to the outfield( or keeping him on the bench in basketball) will only cause him to quit the sport early.
    I do agree that parents can be the worst, and I do not disagree with how the OP handled that part of the confrontation. I wish every field/court was players/coaches only for games and practices.
     
  25. moondog80

    moondog80 heart is two sizes two small SoSH Member

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    My reluctance to put a "weak" kid at 1B isn't safety, but gameplay. Not so much winning or losing, but the game moves much better with a kid who can make outs at 1B, plus if the other infielders make a good play, I want to be ale to reward them with an out.
     
  26. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    Dumb, non-coach question here: why not catcher, for a game or part of a game? Kid will get hit by a few pitches, will have to chase many more, but gets a ton of action and practice without real risk of injury. It wouldn't be punitive to everyone else the way putting a sub-par athlete at 1B, SS or P would be.

    Not that I'd suggest changing how you handled this with the parents, but just in the abstract, I'm curious.

    In third grade, when the kids started pitching, I was already a terrible batter and was lucky if I could leg out an infield grounder. I got hit in the head a few times, and in the hands a few times, and as a result started cowering in the back corner of the batter's box, just hoping to draw a walk and not get hurt any more. I quit the sport at the end of that season and paid zero attention to baseball until I became a Pedro fan a decade later.

    But yeah, the learning process. Learning to bugger off from the sport and do something that's not a set-up for failure.
     
  27. riboflav

    riboflav Member SoSH Member

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    HERE HERE. It ain't about winning at that level. It's about improvement. Hard to ever get better if not given the chance. I would've been THAT parent long before the final weekend.
     
  28. RIFan

    RIFan Member SoSH Member

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    That's just shitty coaching and not remotely the same thing as I was getting at. Your coach was an idiot. There are coaching moments when you work with the kids to better understand how to prevent something from happening again. In your case, the coach should have used tennis balls and taught you how to recognize a ball that is really going to hit you and how to properly turn away. We did that for weeks before live pitch started.

    The kid that got stuck in the outfield and never had to risk getting a bad hop to the chest quits because that he's bored. I still remember the shiner I got from taking a bad hop off my face. I learned real quick to get my top hand out front like I was told. Baseball is a game of failure and it's real hard to get better if you don't get to fail.
     
  29. moondog80

    moondog80 heart is two sizes two small SoSH Member

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    4,831
    Passed ball after passed ball makes the game drag a ton, plus a runner on 1B would pretty much automatically get to 3B.
     
  30. BroodsSexton

    BroodsSexton Member SoSH Member

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    LOL. A runner on 1B is pretty much automatically getting to 3B anyways. (At least if they're stealing--even on the catcher).
     
  31. EddieYost

    EddieYost has a special friend in GHoff Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    No argument from me about rotating infield, outfield and bench for everyone in rec baseball and softball. It is participatory. If your team loses a lot, so be it. That probably speaks more to how the teams were picked or perhaps the other coaches playing to win too much.

    I do feel like pitcher, catcher and first base need to be manned by kids who can be at least a little successful. Walks, passed balls, and missed throws at first make for really long, really boring innings. If the games are boring, kids will pick another sport. Before you know it instead of having 6 teams your town is fielding two, and the better athletes are playing soccer or lacrosse.
     
  32. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I appreciate all the responses guys, both supportive and those not so much. I don't have a lot of time at the moment to to provide detailed answers to a lot of comments but I will say a few things:
    • I did play the kid at 3B several innings early on and it was ugly
    • I hope I adequately described how he tries to catch the ball - he does not put his glove fingers up, EVER
    • He throws the ball completely wrong despite coaching and cannot reach 1B on the fly from 3B
    • He has serious attention span issues
    • Playing him at catcher would be unfathomable to me - I'm somewhat shocked at the suggestion
    • There is actually quite a lot of activity at both 2B and 3B
    • Runners are free to advance on any passed ball or wild pitch - it usually decides outcomes, in fact
    • I did teach and emphasize backup roles for outfielders - he would do it one play and not the next
    I will address some of the more specific questions and criticisms when I get some time to do so.

    Once again, thanks to all who commented.
     
    #32 LoweTek, Nov 16, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
  33. BroodsSexton

    BroodsSexton Member SoSH Member

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    The thing is that all of that goes along with it being rec ball and the kids being 10 years old. If you were talking about 14U I would tend to agree with you. But in a 10U fall rec league the last thing on my mind would be a playoff seeding. And frankly, if you read your description of the events, your decision not to play him at third base seems to have been driven by the fact that it was a playoff seeding game. If it hadn’t been a playoff seeding game, you would have given him another chance at third base in the last game of the season. So maybe you were playing the safety card a little bit.
     
  34. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    4,784
    To me, those two are key and sufficient reasons to not play a kid in the infield. Being unable to stop — forget about catch — a line drive or a throw that might hit him in the upper body, face or head is a serious safety issue. Combined with inattentiveness, it’s an easy decision, imo.

    All the rest is irrelevant.
     
  35. Cumberland Blues

    Cumberland Blues Dope Dope

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    I had a kid like that in U10 (serious ADD, low skill level)...I'd hide him at 2B for an inning or two here and there. I'd put his best buddy (who was a real good player) in RF and tell him to play shallow and stay in the kid's ear to keep him in the game so he didn't get hurt with a liner. ADD kids parents were really cool tho - and appreciated that I gave the kid some chances in the IF.
     
  36. moondog80

    moondog80 heart is two sizes two small SoSH Member

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    Maybe I'm too lenient, but I've only seen one kid where I thought I could legitimately not play him in the IF due to safety issues (and I didn't). His skills actually weren't that bad -- maybe a bit below average, certainly passable. But off-the-charts ADHD. If the ball was hit his way 10 times, 8 of them he would not react at all. One time he was in LF and the ball was hit a few feet to his left and went rolling past him, and my SS ended up chasing it down, the kid never moved.
     
  37. Van Everyman

    Van Everyman Member SoSH Member

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    So I haven’t coached baseball, only softball where many of the girls wear masks, but I do kind of pause at the notion of “safety issues” for a kid at 2B. How many line drives are hit to that side of the infield? Has anyone actually seen a kid hurt playing there?
     
  38. OfTheCarmen

    OfTheCarmen Cow Humper Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Completely taking the specific coaching incident out of it, the whole "turning the glove out to catch" thing is a big hurdle. My son was exactly the same way until I got and started using something along these lines:



    I'm curious if baseball coaches could utilize something like this to help break the under-handed catch crutch.

    ** Edit - that's supposed to be an amazon link to a set of velcro targets that strap to your palm and tennis ball style balls that will stick to the target.
     
  39. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    tldr; I respectfully disagree and some items in my opening post may have been misunderstood.

    I'll use this post as the quoted one since it pretty much encapsulates the various criticisms.

    The playoff seeding was a passing reference. It had little to nothing to do with not playing him at 3B. There is base running - stealing and advancing on PB/WP. A 3B sees 3-5 throws per game from the catcher alone down there. The ball would be in left field every time. 3B would see 2-4 grounders or pop-ups per game.

    Maybe I wasn't clear. He can't catch, does not play his position (e.g. would be more likely to be looking at something outside the field than moving to cover the bag or field a ball), and he can't throw. He has no sense for the game. For example, he would not know to throw for a force at 2B or to step on his bag. He is never baseball ready.

    To address the comments regarding 10U winning, etc. It's the mission of Fall Ball to teach and to prepare the kids for the Spring and acclimate them to a game where there is base running and kid pitch. Up to 8U there are rules requiring play in multiple positions and everyone gets a participation trophy, etc.

    However, beginning in 10U is the age the league wants to begin to gently introduce merit based batting order assignments and consequences as well as appropriate position play, meaning where the skills give a kid a chance to succeed. Believe me, on my team the introduction was gentle. Other coaches made these decisions prior to the games starting. There was one coach who had no issues giving a kid his minimum play: six consecutive outs in the field and one AB and have him spend the remainder of the game on the bench. I never did that during the regular season. Playoff rules virtually require it due to a reduced number of maximum batters in the order.

    Apparently many of you would disagree but baseball and most youth sports teach kids some important lessons. Teamwork, merit, hard work and consequences for the lack thereof being probably the most important. Every one of these kids was given multiple opportunities early in the season to play the positions they felt they wanted to. The only exception to this was 1B. Six different kids had at least a few innings at catcher. 8 different kids had at least a couple of innings at pitcher (at least twice I can recall it negatively impacted the outcome).

    The kid in question got several innings at his requested 3B position. In addition, he was worked out at 3B at every practice I can recall. He never improved. He never learned to move. He never changed his fielding methods. He would usually forget to cover the bag entirely. Believe me, four different coaches worked with him and even the tennis ball thing was tried for his catching. I have seen him get hit by a thrown ball more than once in practice - both because he was not looking and because it thrown above his waste and he tried to catch it underhanded. The ball would be thrown to 3B during the drill I described earlier and he would be standing four feet off the bag with his arms folded as the ball whizzed by him. Several throws going by him hit the girls at softball practice in the adjacent field. I finally had to assign a rotation to backup 3B during the drill.

    The first half of the season challenge was simple: if you want to pitch, prove you can throw strikes. If you want to play catcher, prove you can catch the ball, reach all the bases in the air throwing and pick and block at least a little bit (e.g. pitches in the dirt, etc). You want to play infield, by the season's halfway point learn the position, be able to catch, show you know what to do with the ball if it comes to you and show effort and improvement.

    It was made very clear to both parents and players at the beginning of the season positions would be assigned by preference for the first half and by merit in the second half. This gave kids every opportunity to earn playing time wherever they wanted. Every kid who demonstrated basic competence at a position continued to get a chance to play the position all season. One kid, who initially demonstrated he could not play the infield, worked hard at practice and elsewhere to improve and he played in the infield again later in the season.

    The number one team rule for my teams is Have Fun and there are only four rules. Every kid on the team (or his parent) personally told me he had the most fun ever playing baseball and learned more about how to play the game on my team than any other team they played on, including a kid who very similarly wanted to play 3B and wasn't successful. He must have personally thanked me 10 times at the end of year pizza party the other day. In fact, he won my award for Most Coachable/Most Improved.

    To say I feel I accomplished my goals and did right by these kids as their coach would be an understatement.

    The kid in question is the only exception.
     
  40. BroodsSexton

    BroodsSexton Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    8,175
    Sounds like you made a strong effort. I didn’t mean to suggest anything else (though I’m flattered you quoted my post!) So what exactly were you looking for here—just confirmation that you did the right thing? OK—you did the right thing. Sucks. The kid probably doesn’t want to be playing anyways, and it’s just his parents forcing it.

    I mean, I don’t know. The flag football team I coached this fall lost the championship, maybe because I insisted on rotating the kids through, to a fault. (Though somehow we managed to make it to the championship! Must have been the coach. lol.) The other coaches certainly didn’t do that. It’s just my mentality. I’d rather live as a team and die as a team—in rec league—and let the kids learn the lesson that rec league is ref league and if you win it’s great, but there are other values, like inclusiveness for kids who are having difficulty, that are also valuable.

    If you thought it was a legit safety concern, then yeah I wouldn’t put him out there. But if you worked him out there and gave him multiple chances, it wasn’t that bad of a safety issue. And if that’s the reason. and you know the kid is having issues, maybe have the safety talk proactively with the parents before you post the line up, not in a way that makes it sound like you could be covering with excuses. So just be honest with yourself as to what you were doing. Which may be fine—I’m certainly not judging you.

    Thanks for coaching. Kids need coaches who care about them—and one way or another it’s clear you do.
     
  41. DeJesus Built My Hotrod

    DeJesus Built My Hotrod Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    25,212
    I haven't coached U10 baseball in a while but in my experience is that, aside from 1B, you can play kids in the IF without it being a huge safety issue (though the aforementioned difference in the rate of development means that there are some kids capable of barreling up a ball sprinkled amongst the more common swinging bunters). And to put it bluntly, OF is generally a holding pen at that level as even the good fielding 9 year olds dont have a lot of experience tracking flyballs.

    That said, the parents did one and perhaps several things wrong. First and foremost, telling your kid its ok to quit when they don't get what they want is horrible parenting for obvious reasons. The other thing is how much, if any, extra work the kid put into improving. I wonder how much encouragement the kid received to work on improving their game. Parents can use these situations as teachable moments where kids learn to work towards a goal.

    Our fall ball has no practice time except right before games so its impossible to coach up even the most receptive kids during the season. More to the point, even during the spring season, finding enough time to work one on one with players is challenging at best and more often than not impractical.

    What has worked, for the right kid with the right attitude is when we have encouraged them to do work outside of practice to improve on certain aspects of play. For example if a kid wants to catch we will encourage them to watch technique videos and practice drills on their own or with friends and family members. Sometimes these kids don't have access to other people (parents schedules dont permit it or have health considerations etc) but even the kid puts in time by themselves, they can improve enough such that they deserve a shot. Its pretty gratifying as a coach when a kid does extra work and you can reward them by giving them more opportunities.
     
  42. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,282
    I didn't really get into the parenting aspect of this but I agree with DBMH. Quitting is a poor lesson for the kid. Keep in mind also, I am responsible for a consistent and fair message to 11 other kids and their parents. If I were to fold under this parent's pressure, regardless of tactics, I set a poor example for the others. I would generally label that bad leadership.

    As I said, although I would rather not expose the negatives, I was forced by circumstance to tell the other kids the truth, not the whole truth mind you, but what I told them was true. It was a coachable moment and I think a lot of the kids appreciated not hearing something vague. I didn't add judgement words. I just gave them the facts.

    What Coach does is much more important than what he says. Kids notice and respond. This should be no surprise to anyone involved with coaching, teaching kids or in a leadership role (applies to adults too).

    My son was in the Marines. He was OCS and they pegged him early on for extended leadership training. He used to tell me about all his leadership courses. I'd ask him, "Did any of them tell you, 'Do what you say you're going to do?'" When he said no, I'd tell him none of the other stuff matters if you don't do that.

    I also didn't really touch on the kids need to learn hard work and practice get rewarded and laziness and indifference does not from somewhere. So many of these kids are coddled and babied by their parents it's amazing to this old ball player. They have to learn to fail and deal with it and the consequences. They have to learn there are consequences to their behaviors, what being a bad teammate really can cost personally. If baseball doesn't teach you that, nothing will.

    Finally, to those talking about winning being a questionable pursuit at 10U, kids love to win. I had two kids on this recent Fall team who I'd had in 8U when they had never played baseball before (identical twins in fact). The 8U team they were on with me won the championship. They still talk about how much fun they had. I see kids I had recently on that team and others playing for other teams in 10U and other divisions all the time. They tend to be the better players on their teams. They always come up to me at the ballpark and reminisce. I Make no apology for teaching kids how to win while balancing fairness and balanced assignments and teaching them baseball.

    I have coached more than 20 different Spring and Fall seasons and I have had one kid, one, I thought worked hard enough and was skilled enough to have a shot at D-1 money or MLB. I had a couple this Fall season who made the list grow to three though. I don't need two hands to count the number of them over the years who made high school teams. The value to kids of youth baseball is the reality they face if they're not willing to put in the work and learning to deal with failure because will be an often revisited experience during their lifetimes.

    I do what I can to keep that in mind as I coach them.

    A belated thanks to all who responded. I really appreciate all the comments.
     
  43. Rice4HOF

    Rice4HOF Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,705
    The coach is always right. Period. (Unless, I'm umpiring, but that's a discussion for a whole separate thread. In that case, the coach is always wrong)

    Even if he does have a son on the team and plays him at SS or P 100% of the time, while other kids sit out multiple innings.
    If parents don't like this, they could have volunteered to coach and put up with all the abuse that you get.

    I had the almost opposite incident, in "coach pitch" (U9?). Early in the season, I wanted to give everyone at least a chance to play every position. One game I started "Billy" at 1st base. His parents see this and right away tell me in front of Billy "I don't think that's a good idea....". I say "Nah, he's pretty good, I've seen him play, he can handle it" (trying to instill some confidence in the kid). Well the inning starts and as soon as the pitcher gets ready, he sits down and starts picking grass off the shale. I gently reminded him to stand up and where to stand etc, but it was for naught. At one point a ball was hit towards 2nd, and he saw it, looked at the 2nd baseman going to get it, and.... sat down! Everyone is yelling at the 2B "One! One!", so he throws in that general direction without looking. Luckily it didn't hit him but it went out of play. I asked him to go get it, and he just said 'I don't want to". I used to rotate positions every 2 or 3 innings, depending on how many kids showed up, Billy played the outfield from the 2nd inning on, and his parents thanked me for moving him there.
     
  44. EddieYost

    EddieYost has a special friend in GHoff Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    7,435
    Wait... so your league doesn’t require that everyone is in the batting order in a rec league?

    I am pretty sure that even when I played in the late 70s and early 80s everyone batted. I recall being surprised in All Stars that some kids (like me) only played 2 innings and got one plate appearance.

    I have been coaching since high school and the only times that we haven’t batted everyone is competitive situations such as All Stars, AAU, ASA softball, school teams.

    If that’s really the case that’s pretty backwards in my opinion. Not passing judgement on you at all, but maybe your league.

    That said if that’s the type of atmosphere that you coach in, kudos to you for anything that you do to try to keep more kids involved.
     
  45. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,282
    It is a rule to bat the entire roster during the regular season. Some coaches just scam it.
     
  46. bankshot1

    bankshot1 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    14,978
    If the kid in question can't field properly and can't throw properly, and assuming most batters are RH and "pull" for the most part, you could play him at 2nd on the probablity of fewer balls hit to him, a safer distance than the hot corner, a shorter throw to first base.

    And the suggestion that the kid play catcher seems sadistic.

    And as a full lefty who was assigned to play either 1st base, LF or RF as a LLer, many moons ago, I take exception to the claim that corner OF suck. I just liked playing.

    Does the lefty can't play C & in-field still hold in LL/rec ball?

    Good luck dealing with parents
     
  47. EddieYost

    EddieYost has a special friend in GHoff Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    7,435
    It’s fairly common in my area for lefty’s to play those positions especially at the younger ages. As they get older catcher is tough if no one has a lefty catchers mitt.

    One of my boys is lefty. Big first baseman type. I was assistant coach for his fall team this year. The coach wanted to give him more IF time by sticking him at 3rd or 2nd. I told him that I’d rather he spend that time in the OF because there is 0 chance that he will play those positions in high school and honestly, he needs work in the OF.

    But more athletic kids can pull it off.
     
  48. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,282
    One of the best SS I ever had was left handed. He figured it out. 10U. Made every play.
     
  49. PaulinMyrBch

    PaulinMyrBch Don't touch his dog food Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    8,129
    I think you handled it correctly. No one, specifically not the father, has a better understanding of his skill level than you do. Sounds like the kid is scared of the ball and that is effecting his ability to work on using the glove properly. Putting him in the infield is dangerous to him. I’m not familiar with the bats they use at that age now, but when my kid was 10 we had several kids hitting 210’ home runs, most using that Techzilla. They eventually changed the bats, but they were legal (and hot) and on 46/60 with those bats I told everyone who listened that someone was going to get one in the forehead one day, and I was talking about kids who could play the infield. When they moved to the big field they had to use drop 3’s, so that issue was gone after the 12 year old season.

    About the only exception I would have made would have been a planned inning or two against the bottom of the order of the other team if you had a good pitcher throwing. Rec ball at that age was always 2-3 sticks, 2-3 that could battle some, and the rest were usually auto outs. So putting him in against kids that were likely going to K would have made him feel closer to the action. But letting him play IF if 1-4 was due up would be crazy IMO.

    I know you don’t have unlimited time with him, but teaching him to catch a tennis ball bare handed, then with the glove, then baseball bare handed, then glove may work. He needs to get over his fear and using a tennis ball sometimes works. But it doesn’t sound like you’re going to see him again.
     

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