Parents: Learn to think like a (good) coach.

It’s easy to criticize from the stands.

And not just at the higher levels of HS Varsity.  Not just at the competitive ball fields.  Sadly, even at the little league diamond full of 8 year olds, I’ll hear parents complaining about coaches…and even players!

It’s why I’m incredibly thankful that the parents of the (little league) team I coach are amazingly supportive (and great people).

Well then.  Here’s the confession.  A couple weeks ago I got to be a parent in the stands.  A game situation arose and I found myself in a moment of being doubtful and critical.  It was a short moment.  But still, shame on me.  I repent, and I mean that.

Here’s a video outlining all that I learned as I reflected on it this.  Here’s some timestamps for talking points:

  • 00:00 – Intro: Parents – learn to think like a (good) coach.
  • 00:53 – Question: Man on 2nd and 3rd, do you hold the runner on at 2nd?  Implications…
  • 02:45 – Why a good coach might choose to do something seemingly baseball-dumb (skill development/reps is one reason).
  • 03:18 – Chalk talk: how do YOU teach holding a runner on at 2nd base?  My quick take.
  • 05:25 – A better objective for coaches: player development!
  • 05:47 – Player development implication #1: What position(s) your kid plays.
  • 07:04 – Question: your kid is 8 years old. Should he be on a team where he plays only 1 position (outfield is one position at this age…let’s be real here folks)?  Why I think good coaches are biased towards player development at this age (NOT “wins”)
  • 09:07 – I invite and welcome the thoughts and reasons of those who believe 8 year olds should play one position.
  • 09:35 – A possible age to start transitioning to set positions and why.
  • 10:00 – Another example: pitch counts.  Letting a kid “struggle” for his own good.
  • 11:05 – The effect of “tournament only” teams on player development.  Why it can be difficult to be player development biased in the tourney environment.

On a related note…

One of the many reasons I think my wife is incredibly wise is that she refuses to watch games alongside negative or critical parents.  Even those who criticize “under their breath” with filtered mumbles.  She’ll just get up and move.

Okay folks.  Have any thoughts?  I’d love to hear them in the comments below.  Just remember to keep them positive and respectful.  Even if you think you know it all…try acting like you don’t.  😉

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  1. Even up to the JH level, the benefit of putting your best player, who may typically play SS, in a position that isn’t, teaches him to see the game from different angles. This will make him a better SS, if you explain why you are doing it and he isn’t a complete turd.