Ask TBP – Dad vs. Coach! What’s a Player to Do?


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.

giangiulioCertainly 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 

catherine wrighterCut 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, SCdan schillaci

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

rob monacoI’m a coach and a dad. I believe that if a coach is taking time out of his busy life to coach your kids, it is not only important, but necessary that he listens to his coach.  But there’s another side to it…
If that coach is name calling, pushing kids too hard, that’s a meeting between the coach and parents. If the coach refuses to address it suggesting “I do what’s best for ‎my team”… pull the kid out of there, it’s a toxic environment. Furthermore, report that coach.  Find the head of that league and make sure he doesn’t work around kids again. That’s shameful.
That being said, about 2 weeks ago, my son played his first game for his team. He’s a very good player, high baseball I.Q., but after his base hit, there was too much chatter coming from the Bench from all the coaches‎… “Take a turn and see if you can get second!”… “Run hard!”… “Nice Hit!”… “Don’t take your eyes off the ball after you hit it!”… all at the same time. 4 coaches, FOUR different commands, ALL AT THE SAME TIME.   I immediately thought to myself, “How can a kid comprehend all this in 1 dose?” It was overwhelming for me as a spectator, I can only imagine my son’s anxiety rising. So, I walked over to him at first, he looked at me and I said “Just play your game. Take nuggets from your coaches and Play the game you know how”. He nodded and the game went on.
Constructive coaching is important. Sometimes repetition is. But to yell words for the sake of yelling them, being nasty to kids because “you’re the coach” is just not great coaching. My opinion.—Rob Monaco, Little League commissioner, coach and dad,Navigating Travel Baseball Book Cover Bergen County, NJ

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

greg and brodyThe 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 trThomas Hallavel 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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Angela Weight

Founder and publisher of Travel Ball, Angela Weight is still a little shocked to be running one of the most popular youth sports parenting sites on the web. Click the ABOUT US tab to read her story.

One thought on “Ask TBP – Dad vs. Coach! What’s a Player to Do?

  • April 26, 2016 at 1:40 am

    Talk to the dad. For sure the dad was wrong to say such a disrespectful thing in practice, and you want the kids to listen to their coach. However I have experienced myself where one coach thinks this is the only absolute way to throw hit pitch etc., and my sons trainer or pitching coach not only disagree but tell me its detrimental to my boys arm health. So the question I need addressed is how to address a coach when you are worried about what they are telling your child.


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