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Dealing with insane parents


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#1 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 11:53 AM

I would love to hear any advice on dealing with a situation that is adversely affecting one of my kids.

My daughter is our team's catcher. Our other catcher is a really good kid who works very hard. She is not as experienced as my daughter, and I have gone to great lengths to train her, and show her the nuances of catching. She's very coachable, works very hard and listens well.

Here is the problem, and it's been going on since September when she joined the team. The mother is pushing her too hard. She goes to speed and agility training twice a week, lifts weights, take catching lessons, batting lessons......it's just off the charts. She's probably doing extra work six days a week, on top of team practices. We had scrimmage games in the fall where she would come from a catching lesson, and she looked so mentally fried that we were afraid to let her catch. I am the last person to tell a kid that she is working too hard.....heck, my daughter lifts and takes extra batting and catching work also. But the amount of work is more reasonable and allows her to have a life, do her schoolwork, not become burned out..etc..... This kid is just fried.

Her mother is a single parent, and I had coaches who wanted to cut the kid in the fall because she wouldn't stop complaining about everything. I have diffused a few situations, because she's a great kid, and I would hate to see her suffer because her mother is intolerable.

She has gotten better, but the proverbial shit hit the fan recently. The kid was complaining about a sore arm, and the doctor sent her for an MRI. After the MRI, they were concerned enough to order an additional MRI. This is usually not good. She hurt her throwing arm doing dumbell curls with too much weight. So this mother has her continuing to go to her school tryouts and play through this against doctor's orders so that she will make the team. She wanted her to play for us still also, but we shut her down until we have medical documentation that she is OK to play. Her grandfather even says that he can't reason with the mother, and actually thanked us for shutting her down. She has actually lied to us about the situation and we caught her in it.

Now we're not even sure what is going on. Supposedly, she has had three MRIs now! And now she says that the results came back and it is something that will just heal. She says she is now going to take her to an ortho, and that she has only seen the pediatrician thus far. I have never heard of a pediatrician ordering three MRIs without sending her to a specialist.

We know that she is going to push for the kid to come back, and frankly, we are afraid that she is going to damage her arm to the point that it affects her softball career. I wouldn't be surprised if she got a fake doctor's note that she could play.

The whole thing is just mind-boggling at this point. I can't believe someone would be so unreasonable dealing with their own kid's health. We don't know what to expect now. We're still not letting her play.

Edited by Purpose Pitch, 03 April 2008 - 11:57 AM.


#2 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 03 April 2008 - 12:34 PM

How old is the player? Does she play any other sports? Who designs/supervises the weight and other training she is doing?

There's nothing wrong with lots of hard work, at the right ages, volumes and attitudes - but hard work only works if it is the RIGHT work.

Edited by Fred not Lynn, 03 April 2008 - 12:37 PM.


#3 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 12:35 PM

How old is the player?


13 - 8th grade

#4 Winger 03

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 12:37 PM

PP:

You are in a tight situation. Here are my two cents (as a father of 3).

I think you either cut her or do not let her see the field until you are 100% convinced that she is ready to safely play. It may look strange since by keeping this girl off of the team your daughter gets more playing time, but who cares. I look to my kid's coaches as doing what is best for them in an area where I might not be so experienced. Granted this mother is waaaaay over the top, other parents will see you play this girl and wonder what is YOUR problem is because you are supposed to know better.

Really, do you want to be party to this girl potentially getting hurt when you could have done something about it?

#5 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 12:45 PM

There's nothing wrong with lots of hard work, at the right ages, volumes and attitudes - but hard work only works if it is the RIGHT work.


My kid works very hard, and many others that I know and coach......but this is just so over the top. the kid just looks burned out half the time. She gets this vacant look in her eyes. Sometimes she is confused, because she has so many voices trying to teach her mechanics.

PP:

You are in a tight situation. Here are my two cents (as a father of 3).

I think you either cut her or do not let her see the field until you are 100% convinced that she is ready to safely play. It may look strange since by keeping this girl off of the team your daughter gets more playing time, but who cares. I look to my kid's coaches as doing what is best for them in an area where I might not be so experienced. Granted this mother is waaaaay over the top, other parents will see you play this girl and wonder what is YOUR problem is because you are supposed to know better.

Really, do you want to be party to this girl potentially getting hurt when you could have done something about it?


We're not going to cut her, but yes, we would have to know that she is 100% healthy before she could play. We actually just added a talented catcher to the team because of this and some other injury problems (she plays SS and 3B also). So my daughter wouldn't play all the time. The new kid will actually push my daughter harder than the one who is hurt. We had no choice but to add her when we found out she was available....we really got kind of lucky there. An unfortunate side effect of this though, is that Mrs. Crazy will probably now push her kid to come back even more. We're doing the best we can to tread lightly here. If the kid is eventually healthy, she'll get some time behind the plate and she is a good outfielder also.

#6 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 03 April 2008 - 12:47 PM

At 13, I'd be very skeptical of any weight training. You can't go 100% by chronolgical age in terms of whether the athletes body is ready for weight training - but generally 13 is at the very, very young end of the window where one may be ready, and even then starting with the learning of weight training principles and techniques with little or no actual weight. if I were you, I'd take a more wholistic approach and look further into who is providing the guidance in her weight training. My suspicion - no one with any credible credentials, training or experience.

I'd also say she's probably losing out on valuable long-term athlete development by not playing a few more sports at this age. You need to develop the child as an athlete first, then as a player of a particular sport. Early specialization is NOT the best approach towards developing young athletes.

#7 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 01:01 PM

At 13, I'd be very skeptical of any weight training. You can't go 100% by chronolgical age in terms of whether the athletes body is ready for weight training - but generally 13 is at the very, very young end of the window where one may be ready, and even then starting with the learning of weight training principles and techniques with little or no actual weight. if I were you, I'd take a more wholistic approach and look further into who is providing the guidance in her weight training. My suspicion - no one with any credible credentials, training or experience.

I'd also say she's probably losing out on valuable long-term athlete development by not playing a few more sports at this age. You need to develop the child as an athlete first, then as a player of a particular sport. Early specialization is NOT the best approach towards developing young athletes.


My daughter started weight training at 12 years old. She really wanted to go to the gym with me, and my gym happened to be the only one around that is insured for kids 12 yrs old. She insisted on getting a memebership the day of her 12th birthday. Her doctor said it was OK, if it was monitored by a pro. She saw a trainer, who laid out a program for her. She is 14 now and has never gotten hurt training and has gotten much stronger.

This mother claims that someone who does the speed and agility training is guiding her, but then she said that she was hurt when she tried to increase the weight for curls. Sometimes I think she pushes this because my daughter has a strong arm and the mother wants her kid to get stronger to compete with her.

I agree with playing other sports. But this kid doesn't really have any interest in playing anything else. My daughter is a very good point guard. At one point, before she really blossomed as a softball player, I was advising her to play AAU basketball. Coaches were after her. But she doesn't have the drive in hoops that she does for softball.

Frankly, I'm not sure if she will play hoops in high school next year. She plays like a lunatic and gets hurt sometimes. She's 4' 11" and not going to play college hoops. She really wants to push to play softball in college. as always, I'll leave the decision to her.

Edited by Purpose Pitch, 05 April 2008 - 10:11 AM.


#8 Carmine Hose

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 01:05 PM

Do these kids have any real chance at getting a college free ride from softball? If not, what's the point of pushing it?

#9 Rick Burlesons Yam Bag


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Posted 03 April 2008 - 01:06 PM

You are doing the right thing not cutting her but shutting her down. It is almost certainly important to the girl not to fail her mom, as irrational as the mom is.

Have you thought about holding a class on effective sports teaching (which basically tell parents and coaches not to be assholes) and requiring all parents to come? There are lots of these courses out there and you can get materials pretty easily. One of the coaches in a local lacrosse league did this for his team and his problem with two of the parents who were awful declined significantly.

#10 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 01:20 PM

Do these kids have any real chance at getting a college free ride from softball? If not, what's the point of pushing it?


Our organization has had a 100% success rate the last two years getting kids college money (not all free rides). There are nine seniors in the org currently, and all of them have signed letters of intent, four of them to D1 schools.


Burleson.....I like that idea a lot.

#11 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 03 April 2008 - 01:30 PM

Do these kids have any real chance at getting a college free ride from softball? If not, what's the point of pushing it?

What't the point of participating in sport at all then? Does there have to be tangible financial benefit for an athlete to be the best he can be at his game? The joy and challenge of self-improvement was always enough for me...

Frankly, if love of the game, and the thrill of challenge and competition isn't at the heart of what drives the athlete, he'll never really get that good anyway. Financial consideration rarely supplants passion for sport as the primary motivator of athletes.

#12 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 01:45 PM

Usually, it's the parents thinking about college and not the players. The extent to which we play and practice all year is such that kids that don't completely love the game have dropped out long ago.

My daughter has worked extremely hard for a long time, even back when I didn't really think she was talented enough to play in college. Now that she has really busted out, and is starting high school next year, I discuss it with her as a way to motivate her to do her schoolwork.

But she knows that I love coaching her, and will do it as long as I can, regardless of whether she plays in college or not. And I think she will keep busting her ass regardless of whether she is being recruited or not.

#13 SoxFanSince57


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Posted 03 April 2008 - 06:04 PM

Be careful of possible legal actions if she is Ms Crazy. Make sure you talk to the AAU-ASA-USSA-PONY-NSA regional rep in your area for advice and guidance.

I liked the idea of appealing to "Grandpa". I would keep looking into who Mom trusts, respects and will listen to. Does Mom come to games or practices with a friend/confidant? Perhaps a friend can be approached?

Does she know other travel team coaches? Can you get in touch with 2-3 travel team coaches, explain the situation and get them to agree to help Mom see the light if Mom were to call them? If Mom is targeting HS softball, perhaps the varsity coach can say something.

As others have said, if you find some literature on the web, perhaps an article or two will get Mom to see the light.

"This mother claims that someone who does the speed and agility training is guiding her, but then she said that she was hurt when she tried to increase the weight for curls." --Can you get the name of the coach and contact him/her? Dollars to donuts he/she is not aware of the doctor's reports and MRIs.

I agree, you do not want to "cut" the player. That would be really counter productive. Is the kid coming to practices? I would let her. I would have her run bases and serve as a coach's helper. In other words, I would show her that I cared for her and loved it that she was on my team. I would talk about my own sports injuries and what I did to recover. I would talk about other players who had arm injuries and how much time they can take to recover from. I would smile wide when I saw her and go out of my way to find things to laugh about. Separate any angst you and your coaches have with Mom--make the girl feel good and accepted by everyone eventhough she is injured. She is a member of the team whether she can dress for the next game or not. Talk with the other players and make sure they understand your commitment to the player and your expectation that they keep the player feeling a part of the team. There is a natural tendency to separate from the injured player and to move on. Don't let that happen. When you go out to meet the umps before the next game take the player with you. Tell her what will happen and what you and she will be doing and learning when you exchange line-ups with the other coach. Introduce her to the group at the plate...etc...etc...

#14 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 08:16 PM

Wow.....a lot of really good thoughts there, SoxFan. Many good ideas for me to think about.

We have invited her to practices and games and we let her be the captain like you described. I have really taken a liking to this kid from day 1. She has no father involved and she really is a great kid. She has gone from a kid who could barely track a fly ball to our starting CF when we played at the dome in February. Sometimes she suffers from confidence issues, so I am constantly pumping her up and telling her that I am proud of her.

Even if she is out for the year, I want to know that I have had an impact on her, and set her up for success in the future. We'll be moving up to 16U/18U in August, so this is my one shot with her. I don't want to let this Mom ruin her future playing by having her throwing with a bum arm. At practice tonight, I was told that she left a strange message on the other coach's voice mail, and was kind of evasive. Something is up that she's not telling us. It may be a torn tendon. Still waiting to get to the bottom of it. She wasn't at practice tonight. I feel so badly for her, as hard as she has worked.

#15 RedOctober3829


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Posted 03 April 2008 - 10:01 PM

At 13, it is too early to start lifting weights because the body is continually changing so it's not surprising with all of the extra wors she does that she got hurt. My high school football coach is a registered strength coach and he advises kids not to start lifting until they are at least 14 and sometimes not until 15. Girls are more apt to get hurt then guys for some reason. I would just not play her until she gets cleared from a specialist.

PP, has your organization thought of hiring an athletic trainer to cover events and be available for practices and games? Many high schools are going this route and it covers you from making medical decisions that you shouldn't be making.

Parents have been a problem and continue to be a problem at all ages. I work in a college athletic department and there are still a few softball parents who constantly question the coach and try to coach their daughters from the stands. No matter what you do, it will still exist. Like others said, try to educate parents on the risks of burnout by giving them material to read or bring in a high school or college coach if you could. They might not respond hearing it from you, but another voice always helps.

#16 leftfieldlegacy

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 10:22 PM

You are dealing with some very difficult and complex issues here. Your actions (and sox 57's advice) about involving the child in the team's activities are excellent. She will feel supported and not abandoned by an important male role model in her life.

BTW, has the mother accused you of playing favorites because your daughter plays the same position?

From a liability standpoint, I would insist on a lettter from the treating physician prior to allowing return to full play. As stated by Sox Fan since 57, your league may have a specific policy that deals with this.

I agree that 3 MRIs from a pediatrician sounds wrong. The mother might have taken daughter around to different docs trying to find one who would ok her return to play. Just from an insurance standpoint this is unusual as most insurance companies wouldn't pay for 3 MRIs for a relatively minor orthopedic injury. So the Mom might be paying privately for this testing, and not sharing all of the results with the pediatrician or the specialists.

Is she getting treatment for this injury? Whether it is a minor strain/sprain or a more serious tendon injury, almost all orthopedists would start a course of physical therapy to properly rehab the injury. At some point, a good ortho / sports PT would begin a structured throwing program under strict supervision. Maybe you could ask the Mom if there is anything you could do to help with her rehab program.

One last concern will be the child's (and Mom's) reaction to being pushed down to #3 on the catcher depth chart. Would she accept playing another position?

#17 leftfieldlegacy

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 11:09 PM

At 13, it is too early to start lifting weights because the body is continually changing so it's not surprising with all of the extra wors she does that she got hurt. My high school football coach is a registered strength coach and he advises kids not to start lifting until they are at least 14 and sometimes not until 15. Girls are more apt to get hurt then guys for some reason. I would just not play her until she gets cleared from a specialist.

I disagree. I understand where you're coming from but I think you have come to a wrong conclusion. Resistive exercise is perfectly fine for young teens. The key is that the exercise program must be structured and supervised. The resistance must be appropriate for the size and strength of the child and the technique must be taught and supervised until the child has learned the safe way to perform each exercise. The problems arise when kids are turned loose in a gym and allowed unfettered access to all the weight machines and dumbells without proper instruction. That is when the injuries occur and lead people to conclude that weight training is unsafe. American Academy of Pediatrics statement

#18 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 08:07 AM

BTW, has the mother accused you of playing favorites because your daughter plays the same position?


I won her over pretty early on. She and her father both like me, because I have taken the kid under my wing and spent a lot of time with her. Let me clarify one thing: I am not the manager. I am the 3B coach, so I run the show on offense. I organize practices and am heavily involved in running the team. We are very good at making decisions as a coaching staff together. Some touchy matters are handled by just the manager and myself. I'm kind of the right-hand man, so to speak.

The kid sees a D2 college coach for catching instruction. When I started working with the kid, the mother would actually interrogate me to see what I was teaching her. She became comfortable early on that I was reinforcing a lot of what she was working on, and in some ways, I can get more in depth with her because I have her for more time, and get to coach her in game situations in practices and games.

I take her to catching clinics and classes with my daughter, and introduced her to a former pro player who is a D1 coach that I have a relationship with. She runs fantastic clinics all over the tri-state area.





Is she getting treatment for this injury? Whether it is a minor strain/sprain or a more serious tendon injury, almost all orthopedists would start a course of physical therapy to properly rehab the injury. At some point, a good ortho / sports PT would begin a structured throwing program under strict supervision. Maybe you could ask the Mom if there is anything you could do to help with her rehab program.

We are still trying to get the whole story out of her. It's like pulling teeth. They didn't show at practice last night.....just left the mysterious message on the voice mail about getting a 3rd MRI and now going to an ortho.





One last concern will be the child's (and Mom's) reaction to being pushed down to #3 on the catcher depth chart. Would she accept playing another position?


She mostly plays outfield. My daughter catches most of the time. Our tournament formats are three games on Saturday, and Sunday is elimination after the teams are seeded from Saturday. The kid will catch one game on Saturday, and if we seed high and have an easy game on Sunday, we'll start her the first game. Otherwise, nobody is comfortable with her catching an elimination game against an elite level team. They'll run wild on her. She has actually developed into a very good outfielder.

The new kid was a difficult situation. She's actually a former player on the team. Her father is another nut-job. He used to complain, saying that we needed to go play in ASA tournaments in Florida and Texas and Cali and play against the best teams in the country. There was a mutual parting of ways in the summer. They weren't happy with her new team and quit recently. The father came back with his tail between his legs asking if she could come back. We fretted over it for a couple of weeks. There were many meetings and discussions. She would absolutely help our team and make us stronger. She plays C, SS and 3B....and we have no depth at those positions. We could still use another Sunday caliber catcher so we don't kill my daughter.....not to mention that our backup SS is our starting 3B and my daughter is the backup 3B.

After much deliberation, we said "no". We didn't feel it was fair to the 'kid who is now hurt' after how hard she had worked. It was a painful decision, because the kid who wants to come aboard is clearly a more advanced catcher right now. We tried to do the right thing there. So the Dad is emailing and calling coaches left and right and won't take no for an answer. We are just blowing him off, but then we have this injury issue. Also, our starting SS has a strained hip flexor and a mild concussion (don't ask). We eventually decided that we had to do this. Another very strong club team from central Jersey was after this kid, and we were in danger of my daughter being the only catcher left on the team. Our manager's sister is an ortho, and said that a 2nd MRI is usually bad. It is usually to confirm a bad diagnosis. Even if it's a strain, my experience tells me that it could be a month or two before she can throw all out again without aggravating it. We play up to six games a weekend. You can't just throw anyone back there at this level. So we invited her to play this past weekend, and said we'd see how it goes. My daughter took a foul ball off her bare hand, it swelled up so bad I thought she broke it. Thank heavens we had this new kid there. She caught two games, and my daughter felt better and caught the third. The SS suffered the concussion that day, and we decided that we had to add the kid. We were down to nine healthy players at one point (our original roster was 12, and now this new kid/old kid makes 13).

Edited by Purpose Pitch, 04 April 2008 - 08:09 AM.


#19 Luis Rivera's Cleats

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 10:39 AM

Wouldn't it make sense to keep the kid off the field until there's a letter from a physician saying the kid can play? If the woman is a nutjob, what would stop her from saying you playing her caused the injuries? I assume parents sign a liability waiver of some sort before the kid sets foot on the field, wouldn't requiring a physicians approval possibly solve the issue?

#20 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 04 April 2008 - 10:50 AM

I disagree. I understand where you're coming from but I think you have come to a wrong conclusion. Resistive exercise is perfectly fine for young teens. The key is that the exercise program must be structured and supervised. The resistance must be appropriate for the size and strength of the child and the technique must be taught and supervised until the child has learned the safe way to perform each exercise. The problems arise when kids are turned loose in a gym and allowed unfettered access to all the weight machines and dumbells without proper instruction. That is when the injuries occur and lead people to conclude that weight training is unsafe. American Academy of Pediatrics statement

One of the problems with this subject is that it is habit to use chronological age as a guideline - and in fact a particular athletes physical readiness for weight training can vary widely from their actual chronolgical age. A good trainer will be aware of these issues, and design a program accordingly for the individual. They say the best sign of a childs readiness for weight training is actually the presence of pubic hair - although coaches are discouraged from directly checking this particular indicator.

One thing I have found very enlightening are the principles of "Long Term Athelte Development" that are being adopted by many sports governing bodies in Canada (with the support and "encouragement" of the federal government). The LTAD concept is based on many principles developed by Eastern European sports systems during the communist era (minus the more sinister methods used by the USSR, GDR et al), and places an emphasis on developing general athleticism in youth, at an early age, rather than skills in a particular sport.

This website contains a gret deal of information on LTAD: LTAD Canada

I think there are some tweaks needed to LTAD, in particular three areas; 1.) Lack of a "free play" component to the practice:compete ratios 2.) The implication that athleted development just stops at physical maturity and 3.) Lack of more emphasis on sports orgs actually co-ordinating activity to the LTAD principles.

I guess this is sort of a thread hijack - but I think you guys might find this material to be of interest. There is some information there about guidelines on weight training and ages to begin, as well.

#21 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 11:33 AM

That's interesting info, Fred....and certainly pertinent here.

Luis, we wouldn't put it past this Mom to get some fake doctors note. But that really is the current plan, to deactivate her until we get a definitive medical clearance. I have been told that we are not allowed to speak to her doctor to confirm, due to confidentiality laws. I think we may try to appeal to the grandfather if we get a medical clearance, just to ensure that it is legit.


Here is the latest: supposedly she has a "bad bruise" and a strain. Mom said that she will do therapy and can throw in a week. We are very, very skeptical right now. Why did they send her for three MRIs if this is the case? Why did she get three MRIs before she even saw an ortho? This is getting crazier every day.


You know, I never thought I would have to protect a kid from her own mother. You get into coaching to be involved in your kid's life. Then, you find that you establish relationships with the other kids, and grow to care for them like they are your own kids. This is not the first time that I feel like I am the most stable adult influence in a kid's life. Some parents are really looney....especially parents of athletes.

Edited by Purpose Pitch, 04 April 2008 - 11:35 AM.


#22 AusTexSoxFan

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 11:43 AM

I am willing to bet that this Crazy Mom never played team sports while growing up. That is a dynamic that often proves itself out. I think parents who played team sports growing up understand that their kids' coaches have a job to do and let them do it, just like they were when they were young athletes.

A 13 year old girl lifting weights? That is ridiculous.

I am also of the opinion that if a boy or girl is talented enough in a sport, then that will become abundantly clear and people who are experts (like high school or college coaches) will be able to help with obtaining a college scholarship. A parent pushing for a scholarship can only end badly.

I coach high school rowing down here and consider myself lucky with the parents of the kids I coach. This is mainly due to the fact that they know nothing about rowing.

#23 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 12:05 PM

I am willing to bet that this Crazy Mom never played team sports while growing up. That is a dynamic that often proves itself out. I think parents who played team sports growing up understand that their kids' coaches have a job to do and let them do it, just like they were when they were young athletes.

A 13 year old girl lifting weights? That is ridiculous.

I am also of the opinion that if a boy or girl is talented enough in a sport, then that will become abundantly clear and people who are experts (like high school or college coaches) will be able to help with obtaining a college scholarship. A parent pushing for a scholarship can only end badly.

I coach high school rowing down here and consider myself lucky with the parents of the kids I coach. This is mainly due to the fact that they know nothing about rowing.


According to Grandpa, Crazy Mom was a great player with a strong arm who lost interest and gave up sports. This may explain a lot. I'm sure she is on one hand living vicariously through her daughter. And I would be willing to bet that part of her is scared that her daughter will take the same route as her (losing interest). Ironically, her actions may burn the kid out to the point that she doesn't enjoy it anymore and does quit.


I really couldn't disagree more about 13 being too young to lift weights. My daughter is very short, but strong and muscular. I consulted with doctors and trainers when she kept pushing me to go to the gym with me. I consistently heard that it is great for her (just turning 12) as long as it is a regimented program factoring in her age, size, strength and sports. She loves it, and has gotten in much better shape because of it. She does cardio, mostly machines for weight training, but also some free weights (just light dumbells). She will only try to increase weight if something starts to become so easy for her that she's getting nothing out of it. She talks to me before she tries anything, and there are a lot of great people at our gym who also talk to her and give her advice.

#24 RedOctober3829


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Posted 04 April 2008 - 12:09 PM

I disagree. I understand where you're coming from but I think you have come to a wrong conclusion. Resistive exercise is perfectly fine for young teens. The key is that the exercise program must be structured and supervised. The resistance must be appropriate for the size and strength of the child and the technique must be taught and supervised until the child has learned the safe way to perform each exercise. The problems arise when kids are turned loose in a gym and allowed unfettered access to all the weight machines and dumbells without proper instruction. That is when the injuries occur and lead people to conclude that weight training is unsafe. American Academy of Pediatrics statement

If I were to suggest any kind of resistance training, I would suggest manual resistance over weight training for kids that age. Use another person(preferebly someone with knowledge of weight training) to give her the resistance that weights would give. That way the person could control the amount of resistance. I did manual resistance training during high school and some in college as an add-on to any weight training. You use the person for any type of shoulder or arm exercises and let her do squats or any leg exercises on her own with no resistance but control the time she is bent down at almost 90 degrees.

I see your point on the structured program but I wouldn't let any of my athletes start weight training until 14. Learning the proper way to work out is more important than the amount of weight you use and a lot of people have that backwards and it leads to bad habits and more importantly injuries at a young age that sometimes can turn out to be chronic problems.

#25 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 04 April 2008 - 02:43 PM

I really couldn't disagree more about 13 being too young to lift weights.

I am inclined to think that our disagreement here on appropriate age to begin weight/resistance training may be a function of terminology. Maybe those in the debate ought to really elaborate on what excerciese/types of resistance we're talking about as being appropriate at which ages...

#26 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 04:36 PM

I am inclined to think that our disagreement here on appropriate age to begin weight/resistance training may be a function of terminology. Maybe those in the debate ought to really elaborate on what excerciese/types of resistance we're talking about as being appropriate at which ages...



My daughter has done a similar regimen since she was 12, and it includes cardio training of some type, most of the weight training she does is done on machines, so she can isolate her muscle groups and not risk injuring secondary muscles with poor form. The little she does with free weights is dumbell work. She does curls with 15 pound dumbells at this point. Remember, she's only 4' 11", 113 lbs.

Because of our crazy softball schedule, neither one of us works out often enough to do different muscle groups each day. I try to work out three days a week, and she goes 1-2 times a week. We'll both do a full body workout because of how seldom we go. She does all her shoulder, chest, legs, triceps work on machines. I have her doing deadlifts with light weight for her back (30 lbs). She does crunches on the bench.

She'll probably shut down in the next week or two until her school and local travel team schedules are over. Once she's just playing club ball (end of June), she'll start going again. She'll take a break from playing ball and working out completely in August. She'll start working out regularly wtih me again in September.

#27 leftfieldlegacy

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 05:39 PM

Apologies for the long post.
If this needs to be broken out, please do so.
The evidence is mounting that resistance training for children is safe. The American College of Sports Medicine stated this in a position paper in 1998 and again in 2002:

Scientific evidence and clinical impressions continue to indicate that strength training should be part of a comprehensive
health-enhancement strategy for all boys and girls, including those with a disinterest in physical activity. All major medical and
fitness organizations now support participation in supervised youth strength training activities, and a growing number of children
and teenagers are now strength training in physical education classes and after-school programs.

American College of Sports Medicine

..and not just for athletic kids

While aerobic exercise has traditionally been recommended for obese youth, a growing body of scientific evidence indicates that resistance training can be a safe, effective, and enjoyable method of exercise provided that appropriate training guidelines are followed and qualified instruction is available. In addition to favorable changes in body composition, regular participation in strength-building activities gives obese youth a chance to experience success, feel good about their performances, and gain confidence in their abilities to be physically active. Moreover, participation in resistance exercise gives youth with a high percentage of body fat a chance to be exposed to a form of exercise that can be carried over into adulthood.

Presidents challenge

...and not just for pubescent or older kids

Many seven and eight-year-old boys and girls have benefited from strength training, and there is no reason why younger children could not participate in strength-related activities, such as push-ups and sit-ups, if they can safely perform the exercises and follow instructions. Generally speaking, if children are ready for participation in organized sports or activities, such as Little League baseball, soccer, or gymnastics, then they are ready for some type of strength training.
The goal of youth strength training should be to improve the musculoskeletal strength of children and adolescents while exposing them to a variety of safe, effective and fun training methods. Adult strength training guidelines and training philosophies should not be imposed on youngsters who are anatomically, physiologically or psychologically less mature. Strength training should be one part of a well-rounded fitness program that also includes endurance, flexibility and agility exercises.

ACSM

....and here are some suggestions on how to do it

For children, especially in the years surrounding the onset of puberty, experts recommend the following activities to help build bone:
Mode - impact activities such as gymnastics and jumping activities combined with moderate resistance training
Intensity - high, but with appropriate weights for resistance training (no more than 60 percent of the maximum amount a person can lift one time)
Frequency - at least three days per week
Duration - 10 to 20 minutes with multiple sessions within the same day potentially being more effective.

ACSM

One other note. Utilizing manual resistance can be an adjunct to using mechanical resistance but requires a very skilled person to apply the resistance properly and is not at all convenient or cost effective when considering the general population. It is very appropriate in a therapeutic “rehab” setting where the therapist wants to control the resistance manually while tissue is healing.

#28 SoxFanSince57


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Posted 04 April 2008 - 07:13 PM

What do you really know? What do you know about the MRI(s)? How "damaged" is the arm? Is it at all possible that the player only has a "dead arm"? Is your only source of information the mom? Is it possible Mom is running to multiple doctors? If the child is injured Mom may be in a panic and simply getting every orthopod in the county to look at her kid. And each one calls for an MRI, because that is what they do and that is how they protect themselves legally. Could the player have a "regular" sore arm and Mom be over reacting?

Mom: "My child is complaining of a very sore arm and I must get her diagnosed properly."
Doc: "Since my clinical examine indicates she has a sore arm, let's get an MRI to see if there is anything structurally wrong"
Mom: "okay, let's do it."

Doc: "The MRI doesn't show anything wrong structurally. Let's rest for 1 month and then rehab it for another month".
Mom: "You mean she should not resume playing for 2 WHOLE months?"
Doc: "Correct, we should shut her down for at least two months and let's see how rehab progresses?"

Mom to friend--"I've got to get another opinion."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On the other hand
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My son injured his elbow at 14. He lost range of motion. His arm hurt to throw. We went to a ton of doctors. When he finally got an MRI it revealed the dreaded "Osteochondritis dissecans". Lack of blood to the elbow caused the bone to start dying. A portion of the bone at the elbow turned a dark color on x-rays/MRIs. Continued use would have caused the bone to break off resulting in further loss of motion and more pain. There was only one course of action. Only one. He stopped playing baseball for 2 years---------------and that my friend is the end of a boy's dreams.

If you want to learn more about elbow injuries caused by OVER USE check out these sites.

http://www.hughston....ha/a_16_1_2.htm
http://www.athletica...owers_elbow.htm
http://www.athletesa...ague_elbow.html
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Some real irony in this thread--elbow injuries and weight training...........

Lots of kids are getting into weight training 12-13. If properly surpervised there is no problem. The key is proper surpervision. For those who are concerned, perhaps you should look into the use of cords. There are a bunch of throwing-specific and hitting-specific exercises that the cord will REALLY help with. My daughter was a highly competitive softball player who used cords actively when she was young and got into weight training when he hit HS. I am a fan of both. I like the isolation cords provide and the very specific throwing and hitting muscles they work. But you gotta get into weight training at some point in HS if the player aspires to play in a D-1 school. Weights build core strength like nothing else will.

My oldest son (arm-above) got into weight training to ease the emotional pain of not being to play baseball. Eventually, when his arm healed, he was too far behind the really elite players in the region and that killed it for him. You can't really miss 2 years at that age and pick up the "baseball skills" required to play the game. In any event, my son worked his ass off in HS and early college and is now a pretty accomplished power lifter (Bench-410+; Squat 500 and Dead Lift 595). Morale of the story--kids will find another sport if softball/softball is taken away by injury and kids can start weight training at 12-14 if they are well supervised.

Edited by SoxFanSince57, 04 April 2008 - 07:16 PM.


#29 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 07:32 PM

One good thing I did find out tonight: Apparently, we actually can confirm with a doctor that his clearance is legit. We are just not allowed to discuss any details of the injury. He is allowed to simply say Yay or Nay that he did sign off on the doctor's note. I think that's all we really need, just to know that she will not play unless a legit doctor OKs it.

Thanks to everyone for your contributions to this thread. This has been one of the most difficult things that I have ever dealt with in coaching, and I appreciate all of your input.

I'm still holding out some hope that this kid can play at some point this year. I really do like her, and she has worked so hard.....I feel for her.

#30 leftfieldlegacy

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 07:46 PM

Our manager's sister is an ortho, and said that a 2nd MRI is usually bad. It is usually to confirm a bad diagnosis.

This is often the case. Also possible, (I would say likely) is that the first MRI produced a diagnosis that mom didn't like so she switched docs, got another MRI, didn't like that diagnosis and then got a third.

Here is the latest: supposedly she has a "bad bruise" and a strain. Mom said that she will do therapy and can throw in a week. We are very, very skeptical right now. Why did they send her for three MRIs if this is the case? Why did she get three MRIs before she even saw an ortho? This is getting crazier every day.

You should be skeptical. A "bruise" comes from an external blow to a body part. A severe muscle strain (from over lifting) could cause some muscle fibers to tear and bleed which could give the same appearance as a "bad bruise", but the severe strain injury is obviously much worse.
The mom is not being straight with you. You can't force her to give you any medical info on her daughter, so you are back to protecting yourself by using league policies that govern return to play guidelines. CYA on this one.

#31 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 08:50 PM

We're playing a triple header up your way on Sunday, jacksoxfan. Neptune, NJ.

#32 leftfieldlegacy

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 09:14 PM

We're playing a triple header up your way on Sunday, jacksoxfan. Neptune, NJ.

I'm even farther north than Neptune (about another hour). Weather looks OK for Sunday-cloudy and cool. 3 games in one day, wow, tough kids you got there. Good Luck

BTW. found this today, might interest you and other coaches.

Working With Overzealous Parents in a Youth Sport Setting

acsm

#33 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 09:46 AM

3 games in one day, wow, tough kids you got there. Good Luck



The beauty of softball is how fast it moves. We play seven inning games in less than 1:30 usually. We're on a time limit in tournaments, so pitchers learn at an early age to work quickly.

#34 leithbones

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:02 AM

Your multiple references to 'fried.. burned out.. vacant eyes' haven't really caught much in the way of response, but should be the main topic of this thread.
Have you done the requisite "written goals" pre-season thing with the team? If you include semi-probing "What do you wish you could change? / What do you not like about softball?" questions, the answers can be surprisingly candid. Children don't want to disappoint parents, and you're right to be alarmed that "stage mom" is forcing such a level of intensity on a reluctant child.
Occasionally even psychos can sober up when faced with black&white feelings written by kids presented to them by another adult. I've seen it, facilitated it, and had parents thank me for bringing it to their attention (golf is my bailiwick). Usually accompanied by "I really thought Billy wanted to be on the PGA Tour." No, YOU wanted Billy to be on the PGA Tour, but all he wants is for you to be proud of him (and maybe, if he's very lucky, spend a couple hours with him just walking the back nine together-- the two of you and nobody else). Happens very frequently in individual sports.
Nearly all kids at this age want to play 1) To be with their friends 2) Because they love the sport 3) They like competing.
Only mom & dad are thinking about tuition.

Edited by leithbones, 07 April 2008 - 12:30 PM.


#35 BroodsSexton

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 01:03 PM

I won her over pretty early on. She and her father both like me, because I have taken the kid under my wing and spent a lot of time with her.

You haven't said, unless I missed it, that you actually spoke to the mother about these issues. Why don't you tell her that she's hurting her daughter, not only in the short-term, but in her long-run ability to develop skills. I assume this has already been tried, but if not, I think the first thing to do is talk to her about what you see.

#36 biollante


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Posted 07 April 2008 - 02:13 PM

I agree with the weight comments. Weights build core strength.

However, I couldn't resist this sentence:

"My daughter was a highly competitive softball player who used cords actively when she was young and got into weight training when he hit HS"

#37 SoxFanSince57


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Posted 07 April 2008 - 06:27 PM

I agree with the weight comments. Weights build core strength.

However, I couldn't resist this sentence:

"My daughter was a highly competitive softball player who used cords actively when she was young and got into weight training when he hit HS"


Oops--she not he. Rosemary wouldn't like that slip one bit either.

#38 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 11:38 AM

Your multiple references to 'fried.. burned out.. vacant eyes' haven't really caught much in the way of response, but should be the main topic of this thread.


You haven't said, unless I missed it, that you actually spoke to the mother about these issues. Why don't you tell her that she's hurting her daughter, not only in the short-term, but in her long-run ability to develop skills. I assume this has already been tried, but if not, I think the first thing to do is talk to her about what you see.



We have spoken to the kid about it, and tried to get her to admit that she is doing too much, but she claims that she wants to do all the work. Her eyes tell me otherwise. I think that she doesn't want to admit that it's more her mother than her.

And we have also spoken to the mother on several occasions. She also claims that it is all the kid. I really don't believe either of them. I have coached kids who are really driven, and do a ridiculous amount of work. They are all a certain type personality, and you can tell that they are just nutso about playing ball, and all they want to do is play and train. This kid really doesn't strike me as that type. We could be misreading the situation, but I feel pretty strongly about these suspicions and so do all of the other coaches, and also parents who know the family well.

Last night her grandfather said that she can play this Thurs. Even though she just started therapy. The kid looked so depressed last night I really felt sorry for her. I just wanted to take her into another room and ask her wtf is going on here? She seems like she is hiding something, and she looks really uncomfortable when I bring the situation up to her. It will be interesting to see if they come up with a doctor's note by this weekend.

#39 BroodsSexton

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 12:04 PM

We have spoken to the kid about it, and tried to get her to admit that she is doing too much, but she claims that she wants to do all the work. Her eyes tell me otherwise. I think that she doesn't want to admit that it's more her mother than her.
...I feel pretty strongly about these suspicions and so do all of the other coaches, and also parents who know the family well.

If this is the case, then, as difficult as it might be, I think this whole thing is a no-brainer--regardless of whether they come up with a doctor's note. Of course they'll come up with a note. They always do.

You go to the player and first explain that the conversation between you is completely confidential--that you won't tell her parents about what you're about to say or anything that she says unless she wants you to. You explain to her that as a coach, you have an obligation to not only do what's best for the team, but to also look out for the players. You tell her exactly what you've observed in terms of her emotional and physical preparation for the team, as well as your conclusions about the pressure she is receiving from her mom and the effect it's having on her. You don't necessarily need to go into detail on every conversation that you've had that led you to this conclusion, but I think you need to give her enough detail so that she knows you know and so that she knows you've thought this through. You explain to her that (at her age and level, particularly--though I wouldn't say that) sports is supposed to be fun, and that she can't possibly have fun in such a physical and emotional state.

You tell her that at this point, regardless of what the doctor says, she can't continue to train with or play for the team; most importantly because you don't want to risk her injury, but also because it isn't helping the team to have the unhealthy distraction. (Undoubtedly the other players know what's up, too.) Tell her the choice is hers how she wants to handle this; whether she wants another role with the team while she "recovers"--manager, whatever--whether she wants to simply resign, or whether she will be cut. Tell her that if things settle down, and she still wants to play, she can come back out for the team next year.

At thirteen, she really needs an adult who will assist her in taking charge of her own life. Her parents are acting to her detriment, but you don't have to enable that. And you shouldn't. You're doing her a favor by requiring her to stand up to them (or standing up if she won't), but you should allow her some way to take control of the situation.

My advice might be different if you told me she was 17 or 18; but at that age--as she's just starting to physically develop and get involved with more serious organized sports--I think you owe it to her as a coach to take a more aggressive stance. She can play next spring if she's emotionally and physically ready. Plenty of kids don't start serious organized sports until 14.

#40 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 12:17 PM

But don't you think that I would be kind of undermining her mother if I did that? I have had many thoughts about doing what you just described, but I want to be careful not to paint her mother in a bad light to her. Nut-job or not, it's her mother, and I feel reluctant to say anything to the kid that may tarnish her opinion of her mother and her motives.

You may be right. Someone needs to look out for this kid.

#41 BroodsSexton

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 12:50 PM

But don't you think that I would be kind of undermining her mother if I did that? I have had many thoughts about doing what you just described, but I want to be careful not to paint her mother in a bad light to her. Nut-job or not, it's her mother, and I feel reluctant to say anything to the kid that may tarnish her opinion of her mother and her motives.

You may be right. Someone needs to look out for this kid.

Yes, you are undermining her mother. And in fact, based on the facts you've supplied, that is your obligation as a coach in this instance. You know it. The other coaches know it. The players undoubtedly know it. Hell, the mother and the child probably know it. You are not a potted plant, especially when it comes to the development (or misdevelopment) of your players. Insofar as you don't want to make the mom look bad, you don't need to "tarnish" her mother at all. You simply make your observations about the girl's development -- physical and emotional -- without attributing fault. And then you state your conclusion, i.e., she is not in any shape to be training and/or playing for the team, but you like having her as part of the group and would welcome her in another role if she'd like to stay involved.

If you prefer, think of it as the manager taking the ball out of a pitcher's hand, even though the pitcher is saying he still has something left in the tank. Of course, that analogy is totally wrong, because there you are dealing with professionals and there isn't a real and immediate risk of permanent and/or emotional injury. This is a 13 year old girl. You are the coach, not her mom. If her mom wants to force her into private training, and she can find a trainer willing to put this girl through hell, so be it. You don't have to be that guy. And you shouldn't be. Sack up and make the call, coach. I bet the girl is relieved, and politely declines to become team manager.

Edited by BroodsSexton, 08 April 2008 - 12:51 PM.


#42 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 01:27 PM

Well, she is more than welcome to remain a part of the team no matter what. I really don't want her to just leave.

I would like to speak to her, but I'm not sure how forthcoming she will be. She told me yesterday that she can play by the end of the week. We're just kind of flabbergasted at this point. It's hard to know what to believe. But there is a possibility that she shows up this weekend with a doctor's note wanting to play.

I would have to see her throw first, and may consider playing her in the OF if she looked OK and had medical clearance. But I would need a demonstration that she has her arm strength back to 100% before I would throw her behind the plate.

#43 BroodsSexton

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 02:04 PM

Well, she is more than welcome to remain a part of the team no matter what. I really don't want her to just leave.

Of course she is. She probably won't want to, though, when she finds her 'out.'

I would like to speak to her, but I'm not sure how forthcoming she will be. She told me yesterday that she can play by the end of the week. We're just kind of flabbergasted at this point. It's hard to know what to believe. But there is a possibility that she shows up this weekend with a doctor's note wanting to play.

She's not going to be forthcoming; she's 13 and thus, by definition, dealing with ridiculous amounts of irrational social pressure. Laden on top of that her mother, and you have a guaranteed recipe for self-confusion and delusion, issue avoidance, and denial. If you're "flabbergasted" (as are others), it's because there's something seriously fucked up in this situation.

I would have to see her throw first, and may consider playing her in the OF if she looked OK and had medical clearance. But I would need a demonstration that she has her arm strength back to 100% before I would throw her behind the plate.

Dude, she's 13. The whole notion that you're trying to analyze her arm strength and get her back in the game as soon as possible like she's Clay Buchholz or something is pretty perplexing to me. Even if there weren't all these peripheral indications, I'd probably tell her that she should sit for the Spring, or do nothing more than rehab. With the additional issues, it's--as I said--a no-brainer.

That's probably my last post on the issue. Please let us know how it goes.

Edited by BroodsSexton, 08 April 2008 - 02:06 PM.


#44 Rick Burlesons Yam Bag


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Posted 08 April 2008 - 08:24 PM

Yes, you are undermining her mother. And in fact, based on the facts you've supplied, that is your obligation as a coach in this instance. You know it. The other coaches know it. The players undoubtedly know it. Hell, the mother and the child probably know it.



I would like to speak to her, but I'm not sure how forthcoming she will be. She told me yesterday that she can play by the end of the week. We're just kind of flabbergasted at this point. It's hard to know what to believe. But there is a possibility that she shows up this weekend with a doctor's note wanting to play.

I would have to see her throw first, and may consider playing her in the OF if she looked OK and had medical clearance. But I would need a demonstration that she has her arm strength back to 100% before I would throw her behind the plate.



OK, I am going to be pretty blunt here.

Brood Sexton's advice is the worst advice ever given to another individual in the history of the universe, possibly bar none.

You need to step back and get a better grasp on this situation. You are painting a picture and you may be forcing the pieces to fit into that picture and the potential downside is enormous; to the point that it could greatly hurt this girl and ruin you as a coach permanently.


This girl and her mother have been through a divorce. You don't know the details behind the divorce at all. You don't know what else this girl is going through. You have no idea where the head of a 13 year old girl in this position's head is at. Wedging yourself between the mother and her daughter and assuming that you have her daughter's best interests at heart moreso than the mother is about as slippery a slope as you will ever step on.

You have assumed that softball is the number one thing in this girl and her mother's life....and that may be more a reflection of your values than anyone else's. You made a few statements about your program that were, frankly, a little on the scary side given that these girls are 13. Listen, I played varsity level rugby in the UK for a school that was one of the top 20 in the nation, I know scary commitment to sports and when people have lost perspective. It is a fine line between being passionate and going overboard and sometimes we can see it in others but not ourselves. Clearly you believe that softball should be taken very seriously.

But for this girl and her mother softball may be their outlet. It may be where they blow off steam. It may be the platform for which they address other, more serious issues indirectly. They may care a hell of a lot less about wins and losses and more about the participation and the process. You say you are friends with the dad and you get along well and he disagrees with the mom.........well, how fucking surprising is that given the circumstance?

You need to do due diligence with respect to her participation in that she should have a doctor's note and you should follow league rules and guidelines very closely. But to stand up and say "I don't believe the doctor's note and I need to take a stand here" is to:

a) Question the integrity of a medical professional. As the spouse of a physician I can tell you that you are lining yourself up for a shitstorm.
b) Tell a parent that you have a better understanding of their child's needs, and you are more invested in their child's well being than they are. Good luck with that.

Don't listen to the rabble on an internet message board. The path forward is clearly defined if you put the matter in context.

#45 Rick Burlesons Yam Bag


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Posted 08 April 2008 - 08:28 PM

We have spoken to the kid about it, and tried to get her to admit that she is doing too much, but she claims that she wants to do all the work. Her eyes tell me otherwise. I think that she doesn't want to admit that it's more her mother than her.


I meant to quote this in my prior post. Why are you trying to get this girl to admit she is doing too much? Is her schoolwork suffering? Is a doctor telling you this?

You guys are painting the mom with a broad brush because of some of her behaviors, but the mom's behaviors can be addressed through far better forums.

#46 Purpose Pitch

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 10:07 PM

Dude, she's 13. The whole notion that you're trying to analyze her arm strength and get her back in the game as soon as possible like she's Clay Buchholz or something is pretty perplexing to me. Even if there weren't all these peripheral indications, I'd probably tell her that she should sit for the Spring, or do nothing more than rehab. With the additional issues, it's--as I said--a no-brainer.


I believe you are misreading me on this. No one is trying to "get her back in the game as soon as possible". Frankly, she is not even one of our nine best players. It is more a matter of this family pays a lot of money for the kid to play on this team, she has worked extremely hard to play on this team, and if she is medically cleared to play, there is no reason why we should not play her. My initial concern was ensuring that we knew for a fact that any medical clearance is legit. We are concerned about the kid's welfare, much more so than "getting her on the field". But if she is cleared by a doctor, and she wants to play....we owe her the playing time that she has earned.


You have assumed that softball is the number one thing in this girl and her mother's life....and that may be more a reflection of your values than anyone else's. You made a few statements about your program that were, frankly, a little on the scary side given that these girls are 13. Listen, I played varsity level rugby in the UK for a school that was one of the top 20 in the nation, I know scary commitment to sports and when people have lost perspective. It is a fine line between being passionate and going overboard and sometimes we can see it in others but not ourselves. Clearly you believe that softball should be taken very seriously.


Frankly, I find this insulting. I don't believe softball should be taken any more seriously than anyone wants to take it. My daughter and I are very into softball. She wanted to play for this organization because they are more serious than some others. The results are reflected on the field. I am pretty proud that my daughter would rather put a few more hours in playing ball and working out than adding to her AOL instant messanger frequent flyer miles. I don't begrudge anyone who wants to play on a less serious team, or put less time into softball. Some kids have other interests, and some don't want to put all that time into one thing. I have coached hundreds of kids, and I have coached all kinds. Some of my favorite kids ever would never play for our team, because they don't want to put that much work in. My daughter has insisted on everything that she does relating to her sport. I have to tell her no a lot because she wants to go to every clinic within 100 miles.

As far as this kid is concerned. Trust me, her and her mother do put softball #1. Perhaps a bit too much.

I'm not sure what you believe is lost perspective. My daughter is a bright kid who gets good grades. She has plenty of time to do her schoolwork. She spends way too much time on her phone and on the computer. She plays basketball, goes to dances and out with friends. I honestly wish she was busier than she is. She is on the instant messenger and her phone way more than I would like. When many kids are putting in their extra hours on the myspace.....my daughter and I are throwing, hitting, learning, competing....getting in great shape and generally having a lot of fun. Not sure what you believe is overboard.

#47 BroodsSexton

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 10:10 PM

Sweet. Sucked back in by the personal attack.

OK, I am going to be pretty blunt here.
Brood Sexton's advice is the worst advice ever given to another individual in the history of the universe, possibly bar none.

I aim to be superlative, in every (of course) respect.

The key to my opinion was the following passage.

I have coached kids who are really driven, and do a ridiculous amount of work. They are all a certain type personality, and you can tell that they are just nutso about playing ball, and all they want to do is play and train. This kid really doesn't strike me as that type. We could be misreading the situation, but I feel pretty strongly about these suspicions and so do all of the other coaches, and also parents who know the family well.

I don't really disagree with RCYB, in principle, that you should question your own (and others') assumptions. That said, when everyone seems to know what's up and sees the elephant in the room--everyone but the mother and the daughter--you might take that as good evidence that, in fact, their behavior is aberrant. If, on an informed and reasonable basis, you believe that a 13-year-old's participation on your team is likely to harm her emotionally and/or physicially, I believe that you have no obligation to facilitate destructive behavior. In fact, as a coach of children, I think you have an obligation not to enable it.

YMMV

EDIT: Refund the money, if that's an issue.
SECOND EDIT: Talk to the doctor before you make any decisions.

Edited by BroodsSexton, 08 April 2008 - 10:14 PM.


#48 Rick Burlesons Yam Bag


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Posted 08 April 2008 - 10:28 PM

Frankly, I find this insulting. I don't believe softball should be taken any more seriously than anyone wants to take it. My daughter and I are very into softball. She wanted to play for this organization because they are more serious than some others. The results are reflected on the field. I am pretty proud that my daughter would rather put a few more hours in playing ball and working out than adding to her AOL instant messanger frequent flyer miles. I don't begrudge anyone who wants to play on a less serious team, or put less time into softball. Some kids have other interests, and some don't want to put all that time into one thing. I have coached hundreds of kids, and I have coached all kinds. Some of my favorite kids ever would never play for our team, because they don't want to put that much work in. My daughter has insisted on everything that she does relating to her sport. I have to tell her no a lot because she wants to go to every clinic within 100 miles.


Your response validates my original post. I never mentioned your daughter at all - I mentioned you - and you turned this towards your daughter. You got very defensive, just as this woman would. And frankly, if you have coached 100s of kids and truly think that your daughter is driven hardcore to your sport solely because of pure love of the game......

Broader point. You take softball very seriously. You view on field success as being very important. You are seeing everything through that prism and it is dangerous here.


As far as this kid is concerned. Trust me, her and her mother do put softball #1. Perhaps a bit too much.


And you are missing many points here. I will try to put it in a language you can understand.

In "City Slickers" Daniel Stern has the quote about how he loved baseball because when he was growing up and he was a teenager baseball was the thing that he and his dad could use as neutral ground, something to work through their problems on. You view softball as the objective. It is not. Softball - and sports in general - is, for most kids, a developmental exercise and a tool for outlet, channeling and communication.

Let's toss out a hypothetical that is sadly all too common. Let's say that this girl is dealing with some depression issues related to her parents' divorce. Let's say her dad is a great dude in public but not all that supportive in private - Example: my ex brother in law is beloved by the sports leagues in his local area and has never missed one of his son's baseball games.....but he has missed multiple support payments and has gotten shitfaced drunk while the kids were with him so many times that he is currently not able to spend time with them alone. Softball may be a tool that this girl uses to vent, and discussions of softball and how great, or unfair, or whatever else things are related to softball may serve as proxies for much more difficult discussions that neither of them feel like having. In your worldview the mom is pushing her towards a world of professional softball, but in truth softball may be the common ground they use to deal with the shit that a 13 year old and her single mom in tough circumstances deal with.



I'm not sure what you believe is lost perspective. My daughter is a bright kid who gets good grades. She has plenty of time to do her schoolwork. She spends way too much time on her phone and on the computer. She plays basketball, goes to dances and out with friends. I honestly wish she was busier than she is. She is on the instant messenger and her phone way more than I would like. When many kids are putting in their extra hours on the myspace.....my daughter and I are throwing, hitting, learning, competing....getting in great shape and generally having a lot of fun. Not sure what you believe is overboard.


I never said your daughter was overboard. I said you were overboard and it tarnishes your ability to hold perspective on this. Your defense of your daughter reinforces my statement that challenging the mother with the statement that you have the girl's best interests at heart is a terrible approach.

Hold a class for all parents and coaches. Don't get in between this. You got into this to teach kids how to hit a ball. Don't try to overextend your reach without more knowledge of the situation. Address the symptoms that impact you directly.

#49 Purpose Pitch

  • 271 posts

Posted 08 April 2008 - 10:48 PM

You are making way too many assumptions here, and that is dangerous.

Results on the field are not the ultimate goal for me in softball at all. That is not what I am all about. What I'm saying is that I have seen it all in the travel softball world, and the teams that put the time in are the ones who play at the highest levels. That is it. We have been involved with teams with losing records and had fantastic experiences.

The reason I bring up my daughter is that she is the only reason that I am as involved as I am. She has continued to hammer at me year after year to pursue opportunities that have presented themselves to her due to her talent and ability. I coached her in little league through age 10. I didn't even have her try out for a travel team until she was 11 yrs old. I know kids who have played travel ball since they were 7 yrs old. When she was 10, she was picked to play on our town's team for the National Little League tournament. She heard about tournament level travel ball and begged me to let her try out. When she made a team, I stepped back completely and did not even coach for a year. I wanted to let her learn from more experienced coaches, and I was still learning the differences between softball and baseball. As she got better, better teams sought her out. I became involved just helping out at practice. I found that I still enjoyed coaching and started to get into it, so I would know what I was doing. I was asked to coach our town's travel team and it just expanded from there. Every opportunity I have received, I have received because of her. I have gotten more involved with her club teams, and when she wanted to join this organization, I was completely prepared to step back again. I figured the coaching staff at this level would already be pretty much intact. The coach respected my knowledge and asked me to get involved, and I have put more and more into it as I have learned and worked with our girls. He asked me to coach 3B and run the show on offense, so you're damned right I take it seriously when I have trained groups of coaches trying to steal my signs. I owe it to my girls.

But however much I am into it, you are way off base suggesting that I have no perspective and all I care about is how a group of teenaged girls do on the field. I have relationships with some kids to the extent that they are like my own daughters. Other families I know are the same way. We have each others kids sleeping over and going on trips together. We help each other's kids out with their issues. These girls are like sisters. That is what it is all about. Some of my daughter's best friends are former and current teammates. I already described how we wouldn't initially take a very talented player on the team because we did not want to take away a lesser players opportunity that she had earned. We have cut kids in tryouts that were talented players that we did not want around our daughters. Believe me, we all enjoy winning and playing deep into the afternoon on Sundays.....but we have arrived home from trips with losing records with big smiles on our faces. we enjoy our experiences regardless of wins and losses. But when things come together and you make progress as a team whether it's a W or a moral victory.....there is no better way to teach your kids the value of hard work.

Edited by Purpose Pitch, 08 April 2008 - 10:50 PM.


#50 SoxFanSince57


  • Carrie Nation


  • 10,048 posts

Posted 09 April 2008 - 12:26 AM

1) Ask your daughter to talk with the other players and see if she can get some info on what is happening. The girls talk. I always could learn what kids were feeling by listening to the other players on the team. (I knew who was unhappy with playing time; who was drinking/smoking; who was sexually active; who was looking to quit the team after the season etc…It is all talked about on the rides to tournaments and in the dugout—you will have fun as the kids age up—believe me—enjoy those little kids!)

2) I agree that you should be concerned as I have mentioned in posts above. But I also really encourage you to not get between the player and her mom (never have a 'confidential' conversation however it is couched or positioned). I really, really don’t like the idea of a serious one-on-one. Perhaps the goal is valid, but you need to get the information much more indirectly.

3) Is there more evidence/information than this?
a-the player has a sore arm;
b-the player's mom said that she had 3 MRI; and
c-the player's granddad says that she is starting to rehab (but can also begin to play?)
You have every right and responsibility to protect the player from serious injury. If the mom produces a doctor's note okaying participation, but you and other coaches see that she is really injured then you don't play her. Again, consult with your league or with one of the sanctioning bodies. Remember if you are SURE that she is injured just don't play her or give her 2 innings.

4) Most of what you have written about is your and the other coaches' angst--Mom is pushing the player; the player looks and acts exhausted; the player has a sore arm; she went to the doctors for MRI (do you know the results--any info from the docs?)

5) Watch for the "spring" in the player's step--how does she move even before she takes the field? In my experience, young kids who are injured or who are not having fun telegraph their emotions and their physical pain. IMO, you or one of the coaches should be able to see what is happening by observing her closely.

6) If the player is injured, then you will see it in 2 hours. If you don't see it, then put your concerns under wraps for awhile. Remember, the truth of this will reveal itself. Time will tell. If her arm is for shit, it will become apparent to everyone. I had a SS once that f'ed her collarbone--she dislocated it repeatedly--she kept coming back, but eventually had to bag it for the season. She kept playing until she couldn’t. If you get a doctor's note and the player does have some "hidden" injury she’s probably not so injured that she is in danger of damaging herself for life. If something undiagnosed is there, her arm will begin to hang and she won't want to play and will make it clear that she can't.

In sum, if there is a doctor's note let the kid play. If there is an injury it will get worse and then the coaches and the player will see it. Stop fretting and let the situation reveal itself.