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Thread: Parent Coaches

  1. #11
    Certified softball maniac marriard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strike2 View Post
    The first is the 20-something former player who can't quite identify a viable career outside of softball, so they try to give lessons and coach an organizational team. They could be making more money working a fast-food counter, but they are going to take your DD to the scholarship Promise Land. They might, at some point in the future, be a good coach. However, right now, they don't know how to teach, manage a game, or deal with parents 10-20 years older than them. As they have no kids on the team and no friends behind the fence, they usually have zero personal commitment to the team they're coaching.
    Our org pairs one of the parents with these coaches - sometimes as HC - but more commonly as Assistant Coach/Team Manager. Their job is to deal with the parents, support coaches decisions with parents, block parents, support and guide the head coach, etc, etc. After 3-4 seasons if the coach starts to build their experience we then slowly take away this coverage. It had worked well for us.

    BTW the WORST situation - and one that is NEVER good - is the 'non-parent coach team' that is really being run in the background by one (or a group) of the parents. Basically they bully the non-experienced ex-player nominal head coach into doing their bidding.

    The second is the experienced older coach...usually a guy, and you can't quite figure out why he's there dealing with adolescent girls when he probably would have more fun umpiring or simply staring off into space. While there are some kids other than my own that I like being around, there are others who I can't wait to put in the rear-view mirror. This older coach may run an organization where he's charging big dollars for some promise of a college playing opportunity...somewhere.
    This is why I umpire. In and out - if I don't want to, I don't have to. Once DD is in college I will likely umpire more and more but I also suspect I will very likely get dragged back into being a head coach or assistant or something at some point down the track. But no rush. I suspect it will be a personal favor to someone when it happens.
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  3. #12
    Allergic to BS Strike2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marriard View Post
    This is why I umpire. In and out - if I don't want to, I don't have to. Once DD is in college I will likely umpire more and more but I also suspect I will very likely get dragged back into being a head coach or assistant or something at some point down the track. But no rush. I suspect it will be a personal favor to someone when it happens.
    I may umpire when DD is in college. I think an argumentative coach is preferable to a temperamental teenager. I can't see myself coaching once DD is done playing, unless she asks me to be her AC.

  4. #13
    Certified softball maniac FP26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grcsftbll View Post
    In 6 years we had one season w/ a non-parent coach. It was not a good time. We've had few problems with daddy ball. It seems like most parent coaches are aware of the stigma and try to be fair. Some do better than others. Daddy/mommy issues seem to be more of a problem with assistant coaches IME. Running a team is a huge pain, tons of work, practically a full time job during the season which here in GA is most of the year. It's not all that common for someone with no kid on the team to want to sign up for that. Plus there's not a good way to pay them an amount that would actually compensate for their time, since just the TB expenses have gotten so wildly out of hand. I can't believe how much more tournaments cost now than just a few years ago. There's so much drama and team hopping and complaining and coaching from the stands - it's hard for me to imagine why someone without a personal/family investment would want to deal with it all.

    They are out there and some of them are really great. We brought a coach on for this year who obviously really cared and was invested in the team. Sadly he passed away just as our season was starting
    My very first experience with travel ball was at the 12u level. I had no intention of coaching, but the head coach knew I coached rec, so he asked me to help. I reluctantly became an assistant coach and was typically the sounding board that several of the parents would come to in order to complain about the head coach. They accused him of 'daddy ball'. Honestly, I think much of it was overblown. She typically played CF and batted low in the line up. She may have sat a little less than some of the other players, but she did sit. There wasn't anything blatant in my opinion. Him and I talked about the situation a few times. His attitude was pretty simple. He dedicated much of his time to the team. He spent money out of his own pocket to get things for the field or gear for the team. Ultimately he felt justified in playing his daughter a little more than the rest because of the commitment that was made. He would often say in private "If someone else wants to coach this team, they can be my guest". While I didn't agree with everything he said, I could understand why he felt that way. Several of the parents on that particular team took his time and commitment for granted.

    NOTE: His daughter is now a senior in high school and is one of the best CFs in the local area. Great kid and good player. She was treated differently just because her dad was the coach.
    "Once you stop learning, you start dying" -- Albert Einstein.

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  6. #14
    I eat, sleep and breathe softball quincy's Avatar
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    We have had daddy ball issues but in general the HC's DD is one of the best players on the Team. They are usually really good.

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  8. #15
    I eat, sleep and breathe softball grcsftbll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quincy View Post
    We have had daddy ball issues but in general the HC's DD is one of the best players on the Team. They are usually really good.
    That's another thing - often the coaches' kids have been playing since they were 5, have spent hours and hours of free time at the field hitting and fielding (pitching or catching too maybe), and they have at least one parent taking it seriously. They're usually well rounded and know the game better than their peers at the younger levels. You can tell which girls have parents who put in the extra time, coaches or not. By nature, coaches are willing to put in that time so on average, at least through 12U, their kids are better than average, in my experience.
    Softball Mom

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  10. #16
    I can talk softball all day murphdog's Avatar
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    DD is a college freshman and started playing travel ball at age 8. She played for 2 teams with non parent coaches during those 10 years, one for 1 year and the other for 3 years. The 14U one year non parent coach was a decent coach but if a parent bullied him it was at the expense of other players and many players including my DD were affected by it. The other she played for her last 3 years of 18U and I wish we had found him sooner. He had coached both of his daughters, coaches a high school team, is a high school guidance counselor and truly loves the sport, easily the best coach she ever played for.
    She also played for a dad coach for 3 years who was great when she was younger but she aged out before his daughter so we moved on. Then there are the 2 daddy ball coaches who cared more about their child who was statistically in the bottom skill level of the players yet played 100% of the time and batted lead off.
    I think a good dad coach during the younger years is fine but as the player gets closer to college a non parent coach has a bunch of benefits and readies the player for high school and college when parents are less and less involved.

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  12. #17
    I'm a fan CanOfCorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FP26 View Post
    I'm just curious how prevalent it is to find rec or travel ball teams (softball or other sports) that don't have parents as coaches. I see all the negativity regarding "daddy ball" and just wonder what the options are. As an example, I know of nearly 30 travel ball organizations within a 50 mile radius of my home. Every one of them have parent coaches. I cannot name a single one within that distance that does not. So what are the options? Just eliminate youth sports completely?
    To respond to your original thread (with several kids who have played various town and travel sports I will provide my local experience)

    Recreational League are 99% parent coaches with a few exceptions like HS kids or similar coaching a team once in a while.

    Town Travel or All-Stars are usually parent coaches since in general they are town or league wide all-stars. Once in a while a former parent-coach will jump in.

    For lack of better word we will say Actual Travel programs vary by sports as below.

    * Soccer is usually non-parent say 80/20 and oftentimes a college age former player and many from overseas. Applies from grade school up.

    * Volleyball is usually non-parent say 80/20 again with lots of former players, club enthusiast and HS coaches. Applies from MS and up.

    * Baseball is about 60/40 non-parent with former college players very common as coaches. Generally town-travel teams donít play with these travel teams in same league. Applies to MS and up.

    * Basketball is about the 60/40 with some parent teams (usually because the parent has experience and many members came from a town all-star team). Applies to MS and up

    With basketball and baseball, grade school age have different leagues and more parent involvement. By MS there are town travel teams but they will play at a different time or on a different schedule so kids do both town travel and AAU travel. Serious players move out of town during MS age and by HS players generally drop town and have non-parent coaches for Showcases.

    * Softball is 30/70 non-parents with the non-parent teams either former players or a few where parent stuck around after kids went to college. Applies to grade school and up.

    IME it is much more common to find parent coaches at every level in softball and in female sports in general but the number of parent coaches in Showcase softball is still astonishing to me.

    CoC


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  14. #18
    I'm a fan Rick M's Avatar
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    DD has played for both a dad coach and a professional coach. They both have their merits and drawbacks, here is a summary of our experience.

    Coach #1 ran a one-team organization and was the father our our team's weakest player. This is an unusual situation -- as others have pointed out, the more involved parent-coach usually sets their daughter on an early path and it's much more common to see high-level teams whose stud players are children of parent-coaches. Most arrive there because they get frustrated by how their high-level girls are treated by other coaches and decide to take charge themselves. There are a lot of teams like this around me -- dad #1 has a stud pitcher, he approaches dad #2 who has an elite catcher or hitter, and they set about building a team around their core. The high talent level attracts other high talent, and it works for many players and parents.

    But back to coach #1. He played D1 baseball at a P5 school and had a solid understanding of hitting and fundamentals. He was patient with all of the girls, enjoyed teaching them things, and definitely made DD a better player. His biggest downside was that he was so competitive, he couldn't stand to lose a game. The result was that he had his nine starters, and that was it. Everyone played one position and the batting order never changed. The two or three girls who were not locked in saw little to no playing time, and nobody got to play out of their #1 position. This went for pool games, scrimmages, friendlies, whatever (10 & 12U). I never gave it too much thought, until we started the spring season with DD on the outside looking in. As I said, his daughter was the weakest player on the team, so it was a little hard to see his DD play every inning despite her shortcomings, but I was honestly okay with that part of it because he brought so much to the table as a coach that his DD deserved the playing time. The biggest problem was that the #1 pitcher was asked to carry such a huge workload. There were more than a few Sundays when she threw 300 pitches and my daughter never even warmed up. When #1 pitcher's dad grew concerned with his daughter's health and left, the coach disbanded the team since they would not be competitive in his estimation.

    Coach #2 is a non-parent professional who is on the staff of a large organization. She has many years of coaching experience, including a stint as the head coach at a D1 school. She's great with the kids, and runs a great practice. She also has connections all over the softball community, which should come in handy in the future. She's older than most of the parents, so there's no issue with her being intimidated by anyone -- she knows that she's the boss. One drawback has to do with the dynamics of a large organization with paid coaches. Unlike coach #1, coach #2 makes it a priority to get everyone into every game. Players move all around the field, and every lineup card is like a surprise. That in itself isn't too much of a problem, the only issue is that she uses the same approach on an elimination Sunday as she does in pool play and friendlies. Surprise! They've never won an elimination game. We've honestly never seen a lineup with only the top nine players on the field. Coach #2 is a little too concerned with being fair to everyone, which you would expect from someone representing a large organization that is collecting dues from all of the parents.

    So, you can find pluses and minuses on both sides. When we were doing the tryout circuit last summer, I asked a number of the coaches about having a paid professional vs parents. The most common defense of parent coaching that I heard was that the parents are so into it, they will play games and have practices as much as possible, while someone who is being paid is unlikely to seek out more practice and playing time than their agreement with the team calls for. That has not been our experience so far, but we may have gotten lucky.

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  16. #19
    Super Moderator sluggers's Avatar
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    Playing time on a Daddy TB team is the equivalent of a participation trophy--everyone gets playing time.

    It is no coincident that parents like Daddy coaches better...Daddy coaches accommodate the players and the parents to keep everyone "happy". So, none of the players really earn playing time. Some are better than others, but playing time is more or less divided up equally.

    Again, I was involved with a large travel organization with dozens of teams...and, every Daddy coach in the organizationdid the same thing. They would play every kid enough so that the parents wouldn't complain. So, the criteria for playing time was based on (1) the big mouth of the DD's parents and (2) the skill level of the DD.

    The problem is that it does not prepare kids for high level sports specifically and life generally.

    The main competition on professional, collegiate and good HS teams is between teammates, not with the opposing teams.

    At some point, players have to earn the right to be on the field or on the court during the games. Players do that by proving to the coach at practice and during the games that they are better than their teammates. It is a harsh reality...but there are only 9 spots on the field and there are 15 players on the team.

    On college teams, about 3 or 4 players never see the field/court. Why? The players aren't good enough. (Parents will always blame the coach, not the deficit in their DD's playing ability.)

    It is understandable for TB...parents are paying the freight, so the teams should be ran to keep them happy. The problems are that parents tend to get delusional, and have no real idea how good (or bad) their DD really is.

    Coaching parents are essential at the lower levels.

    But, if you want your kid to be a really good player, you have to cut her loose and see what she can do on her own.
    Last edited by sluggers; 12-06-2018 at 11:49 PM.
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  18. #20
    I eat, sleep and breathe softball grcsftbll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sluggers View Post
    Playing time on a Daddy TB team is the equivalent of a participation trophy--everyone gets playing time.

    It is no coincident that parents like Daddy coaches better...Daddy coaches accommodate the players and the parents to keep everyone "happy". So, none of the players really earn playing time. Some are better than others, but playing time is more or less divided up equally.
    Again, generalizations. True sometimes, but certainly not always. Not even most of the time from my experience, both playing on teams with parent coaches and watching how other coaches do things particularly on higher level teams. Around here the big 3 in 12U all have parent coaches.
    Softball Mom

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