Bench Him? Or Keep Making Excuses?


Angela here…

This post shared with us by reader Chris Renn may seem a little harsh at first, but it offers thought-provoking insights that many of us parents haven’t considered…. or don’t think about enough. I have a feeling Mr. Renn meant this piece for someone in particular. Maybe they’ll happen upon it and get the message. 

In the meantime, give it a read and let us know what you think. 

The second baseman boots 3 balls in a game… Yank him!

The pitcher is throwing hard and isn’t getting the outside pitch. He gives the umpire an attitude because the umpire is “screwing him over”… Yank him!

The 7 hole batter is 0 for the weekend… Yank him!

The 13u left fielder drops a fly ball you would expect his 6-year-old sister to catch… Yank him!

The 3rd baseman talks back to his coach when his coach reminds him of the bunt responsibility the team just covered yesterday… Yank him!

The 4- hole batter strikes out and throws his helmet when he comes back to the dugout …Yank him!

The coach runs out to meet a player coming in from the field whose poor pitching performance early in season had him pulled from the rotation, to congratulate him on his hustle and taking advantage of an opportunity to prove himself on the mound. The player pulls away from his coach and aggressively proclaims, “yea, about time you gave me a chance… I would do this every time!”… Yank him! 

Ok, now remove “THAT KID” from any of these scenarios and insert YOUR kid…

Yank him?

Make excuses for him?

After all, he’s not the only one. There are other players with worse attitudes; committing more errors. He’s just having a bad day. The coach isn’t supporting him. The coach really should cut him some slack and worry about the real problem; “THAT OTHER KID OVER THERE!”

Moral of the story… parents have to stop excusing the attitude and lack of effort of their player and justifying it by their overwhelming bias and uninformed analysis of the rest of the team or performance of the officiating crew during any given game.

Is there really ever an excuse for a player to curse at another player, umpire or coach on the field during a game (or ever)?

What justification could possibly exist for a player to ignore a coach and refuse eye contact… regularly?

And does facial hair at a young age really make a player man enough to chest up to his coach and talk back?

(At least) In Colorado there is a critical shortage of umpires. The number 1 reason given; No adult is willing to be berated for hours by disrespectful juveniles and their enabling parents (and sometimes coaches) for $45/game.

The other shortage that’s quietly taking root… Youth coaches! If an umpire isn’t willing to take the disrespect for a few hours a week while being paid to do a job, why would someone be willing to DONATE 30-40 hrs/wk to work with these same players under the same conditions?

It’s not always someone else’s fault.
And it’s not acceptable to be disrespectful to a coach, umpire, fellow teammate, etc in the same way it will be unacceptable for these same young athletes to talk back to their boss some day, or place blame on co-workers for their work group failing to meet a deadline, or berating a police officer who contacts them for breaking a law. These attitudes and behaviors are universally unacceptable in the real world. We are not raising MLB stars. We are raising the next generation.

Please consider a little introspective analysis of the young athlete you are raising and the standards being set for them. Will they be equipped to perform well in their adult relationships and in professional life when baseball ends? Or will they be the type that can’t get or keep a job. The person who goes through marriage partners every other year? The type who kills someone, or themselves, in a DUI accident because the rules don’t apply to them?

OR will they be a model for others to look to because of their positive attitude, their work ethic, their humility, their kindness and empathy for others, their lead from the front approach to life?

Baseball will end! What will remain of your player when it does?


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.

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