This week’s question:
Got a new teammate the other day. During his 1st practice on our team, his dad tells him, ‘Don’t listen to him!’ referencing the coach. This was HIS FIRST PRACTICE for our team! Cut ties now or talk to the dad & see what happens? —Appalled Team Manager
Travel Ball Parents neither endorses nor opposes any of the responses below. We’re Switzerland.
Certainly not a great first impression for dad and son, but a manager defaulting to ‘Cut ties now…’ isn’t exactly one either. The procedure for resolving conflict in general is pretty simple and fairly universal. Problem arises————>Talk to the parties involved. Remember, your job as a coach isn’t simply to instruct in the ways of the greatest game on the planet. You are also instructing boys how to become respectful young men. Showing them the proper way to try to resolve conflict is one such way to do so. Pull the dad aside after practice and simply talk to him. Try to find out why he feels the need to chime in as he did. He could simply be gun shy from a horrific prior experience where an inexperienced and not so well meaning amateur coach really did some harm to his son. Maybe his son has a personal hitting and/or pitching coach and he would prefer for you to speak to them about any proposed changes in his mechanics before implementing them, and he simply took the lazy way out as he’s a man of few words. Or, maybe he’s simply one of those ‘Dads From Hell’ that you hear about but have prayed that you’d never have to see one face to face. The point is that unless you take the time to address him directly you will never know. I wish you good luck and patience in handling the situation. But maybe bring some Holy Water with you to the chat, you know, just in case.—Christopher Giangiulio, baseball dad and coach, Berwyn, PA
Cut ties! I’ve had my share of problem parents and this one sounds like a gem. I bet he’s really fun during an actual game!-—Catherine Wrighter, high school volleyball coach and travel sports mom, Lexington, SC
If you don’t listen to the coach, you don’t play for the team. If the dad thinks he knows all of THAT about baseball then he should start his own travel ball team. What a lousy example he is setting for his son!!!—Dan Schillaci, travel baseball coach, Pleasanton, CA
I have to admit, my first reaction was “cut ties” immediately, simply because we’ve all seen how parents like this can be such a cancer for a team. But that is not fair to the player. I would approach the Dad and express my frustration and astonishment that he would interfere on the very first day of practice. Remind the Dad that you are the coach, and that if this happens again, his son will be immediately cut from the team. No further warnings will be given.—Tony Midea, baseball coach, dad and author of Navigating Travel Baseball: 7U to 14U-What Parents and Players Need to Know
The first thing I would do is talk to the dad. I would hate to take the opportunity away from the kid because of a knuckle headed dad. I would talk to the dad and explain to him what I expect from the kid and most importantly from him. In most cases the dad will get on board with you and everything will work great. But if things don’t change, and the dad continues to be a cancer, you have no choice but to ask the dad to find somewhere else for his son to play. As a coach, you cant let one bad apple spoil the barrel!—Greg Slaughter, Little League and travel baseball coach and dad, Dexter, GA
Cut ties now. Obviously he does not respect the coaching. What is the kid not suppose to listen to? Oh , I get it. He is not suppose tolisten to what he needs to improve on?! #getyourstuff Heard it from a coach this weekend during a tournament game. Kid was getting mouthy with his coach, “do not listen attitude.” Coach told him to get his stuff and go home. —Thomas Hall, recreation league and travel baseball coach and dad, Chesterfield, VA
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