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Thread: Dealing with a delusional parent who thinks he is a coach

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    Checking out the clubhouse Benny13082's Avatar
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    Default Dealing with a delusional parent who thinks he is a coach

    This will be my 5th year coaching the same girls. We went 15-0 and won our fall league last year. I get along so well with my assistant that i call him my co-head coach. Everything is great, except for one parent who is living in a parallel universe.

    This person did not grow up playing baseball, and only knows what he thinks he knows about softball from a pitching coach he has taken his daughter for the last couple years. His daughter is almost 6' tall at 13 years old and throws mid 50's. His pitching coach thinks she has 7 different pitches, and the father has been trying to get her to paint the corners for a couple years now, even when she couldn't keep from walking girls. He insists on throwing a change up that is literally 32mph and inaccurate, compared to fastball which has been clocked at 56mph. This is a useless pitch and never works, yet because he thinks she has to learn to throw this pitch in game situations, he will call it on 3 ball counts, regardless of the situation. We let him call pitches because we are afraid he will pull his daughter from the team if he can't. We don't think it's fair to her to be pulled from her friends, and it's also going to mess up our season if we lose her. He isn't a coach because he didn't sign up through the league, is never at practices, his daughter misses all the time because of volleyball, yet he had the nerve to ask the other coach randomly if he could be in our team picture (he doesn't talk to me because he knows i don't care much for him). My assistant was surprised by the question and essentially said "it's just a picture, i don't really care who is in it". Might be true in a way but i definitely care if he's in it, and almost all of the girls and parents will also be either annoyed or confused by his presence.

    I could go on and on about how ridiculous/obnoxious/disconnected/selfish this person is, but i'll save everyone from the sob story. Just looking for peoples' opinion on this situation. I want to pretty much tell him he isn't a coach, i don't want him at practices, and he doesn't need to be calling pitches, and he sure as heck doesn't have any reason to be in the team picture, knowing that he will probably throw a fit and try to pull his daughter from the team. At that point we aren't sure what will happen. it will be his daughter and wife likely wanting to stay on the team, and him wanting her to leave. If she did leave, we would lose any opportunity of competing in some tournaments we have already paid for (we are a true rec ball team that can beat travel ball teams), and will also ruin our chance of winning our rec league. My assistant would rather deal with his stupidity throughout the season rather than all the consequences of him pulling his daughter from the team. Looking for some outside opinions.

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    Chris Delorit Fastpitch Chris Delorit's Avatar
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    Hi Benny,

    You say you're in your 5th year as the head coach of this team?

    Reading through your post, what's really clear is your disillusion. The father is really the head coach. You and your assistant are only assistants. He's run the scheme through a "common asset", you've fascilitated it.

    You've allowed yourself to be baited into a highly toxic & unhealthy scenario. Naturally, the other parents don't care because your winning and their kids don't have to face her as an opponent. The good news is, your beginning to see the light of day.

    Do you team guidelines? Do you have any expectations?

    My recommendation is to be tactful and with consideration to the young athlete. Talk with the parent & the player. Have a team meeting to re-inforce any guidelines that you may have had. You've let it get this deep, so it's on you. If your season is well underway, do what you can with what you can control through season's end. If this causes the psuedo-head coach to stir, then you may encounter some difficult decisions. With hope, your season continues to be fruitful & enjoyable for the players.

    Next year, you step up to the plate as the head coach.

    Best of luck to your team!
    Chris
    "Weeeell, I didn't know you wanted to get in on the conversation Mr. Helper!" - Professor Turgeson

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    Wannabe Duck Boat Owner Greenmonsters's Avatar
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    Sounds like you need to decide if it is time to tell the Emperor that he isn't wearing clothes.
    “It is what we learn after we know it all that really counts” - John Wooden

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    Certified softball maniac Sparky Guy's Avatar
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    You don't say how long this girl has been playing for you. Is she new to the team this year? Has she been playing for multiple years. If she has been playing for multiple seasons what happened in the past?

    My guess is she's new to the team this year and you saw a big kid with speed and the dad snuck in under your PITA parent radar.

    Here's how you stop him. Teach your catcher how to call a game. Let her call a few. Tell the OTT dad you're trying something out. That'll get him out of the dugout for a time. Oh, he'll protest that no one knows his DD better than he does. blah.. blah.. blah.. At some point you need take control of the team back. You're letting this guy call the shots by holding his DD over your head.

    Sometimes addition by subtraction is the best thing for the team.
    WOC: "Only the names change."

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    Certified softball maniac YOCOACH's Avatar
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    Pure and simple...tell Dad that he's a spectator only from now on. If he threatens to pull his DD, say Goodbye. If your team's failure or success depends on one player, then you need to step up your coaching game.
    Win the games you're supposed to, win some of the games you're not and make the rest of the teams know they've been in a battle to beat you.

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    Certified softball maniac grcsftbll's Avatar
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    If you lose her, that's ok. Any team that's winning 100% of their games is playing in the wrong league anyway. Sometimes the girls on those types of teams never learn to lose with any grace or sportsman ship. It's not worth having a tyrant around to keep one player. Coach up your other players, take your lumps if you need to.
    Softball Mom

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    I can talk softball all day Snotbubbles's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by Benny13082 View Post
    This person did not grow up playing baseball, and only knows what he thinks he knows about softball from a pitching coach he has taken his daughter for the last couple years.
    What is the PC experience with pitching? What's yours? Need more information. Spending years learning from someone who is highly knowledgeable about what it takes to be a pitcher, how to call a game, and what his DD should be doing in games might make him more knowledgeable than you on this topic.

    His pitching coach thinks she has 7 different pitches, and the father has been trying to get her to paint the corners for a couple years now, even when she couldn't keep from walking girls. He insists on throwing a change up that is literally 32mph and inaccurate, compared to fastball which has been clocked at 56mph. This is a useless pitch and never works, yet because he thinks she has to learn to throw this pitch in game situations, he will call it on 3 ball counts, regardless of the situation.
    I see nothing wrong with this. He's trying to develop a pitcher, not a thrower. You're trying to win some meaningless plastic trophy. Hopefully 10 years from now that kid will have gotten a free education from softball while you can reminisce about the 15-0 rec league title.

    We let him call pitches because we are afraid he will pull his daughter from the team if he can't. We don't think it's fair to her to be pulled from her friends, and it's also going to mess up our season if we lose her.
    Sound like you have no control over your team and this kid must be pretty good for you to allow this family to do this to you. That plastic trophy must be really important to you.

    He isn't a coach because he didn't sign up through the league, is never at practices, his daughter misses all the time because of volleyball, yet he had the nerve to ask the other coach randomly if he could be in our team picture (he doesn't talk to me because he knows i don't care much for him).
    Just because she's not at your practice doesn't mean she isn't putting in the work. From the sounds of it, this kid is carrying your team. Maybe your practices aren't worth going to. In any event, kids shouldn't be tied down to one sport and should be free to play multiple sports.

    I could go on and on about how ridiculous/obnoxious/disconnected/selfish this person is, but i'll save everyone from the sob story. Just looking for peoples' opinion on this situation. I want to pretty much tell him he isn't a coach, i don't want him at practices, and he doesn't need to be calling pitches, and he sure as heck doesn't have any reason to be in the team picture, knowing that he will probably throw a fit and try to pull his daughter from the team. At that point we aren't sure what will happen. it will be his daughter and wife likely wanting to stay on the team, and him wanting her to leave. If she did leave, we would lose any opportunity of competing in some tournaments we have already paid for (we are a true rec ball team that can beat travel ball teams), and will also ruin our chance of winning our rec league. My assistant would rather deal with his stupidity throughout the season rather than all the consequences of him pulling his daughter from the team. Looking for some outside opinions.
    Enjoy your plastic trophy.

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    Softball Junkie sbmom19's Avatar
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    You are being held hostage by this parent and are going to continue to be until you confront him or find an excuse to get him out. You didn't say what age group your team is but I agree with Sparky Guy - teach your catcher to call the pitches. DD has been calling the pitches from behind the plate since she was 13. That will eliminate him being in the dugout. Also in many leagues and ASA/USSSA, all coaches have to be background checked - so if he hasn't been there is another reason he can't be in the dugout. Plus if this continues, what happens if some other "parent volunteer" decides that they have something to contribute and want to come in the dugout? I understand wanting to keep a good pitcher but this situation is only going to get worse. Go recruit another pitcher so you don't have to pay the ransom...
    Play for the name on the front of the jersey and they will remember the name on the back.

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    Checking out the clubhouse Trojans29's Avatar
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    This is the other coach in the above scenario. Some of you have made some wrong guesses/assumption regarding this situation. First of all, to the poster that said you assume the pitcher is new, that is incorrect. She has been with the team since 8U, before she ever entertained being a pitcher. To the poster with the plastic trophy comments, this is way off base. For me this situation has always been about the athlete in question, and not the trophy. In fact, being a true, all from the same school district, rec team, we even split these girls up every other year to field 2 competitive teams rather than chase a trophy.

    This girl is not carrying this team by any stretch, but she does allow us to enter travel tournaments and be competitive. The issue in a nutshell for me is that I don't want to punish the girl for her father's actions. If he pulls her off the team, I wouldn't be surprised if she gave up softball altogether. As a coach, I feel like this it is my obligation to stand up for the athletes on the team, and I would do the same for any of the girls, pitcher or not.

    The reason it got to this point in the first place does have to do with what another poster said. When she started pitching lessons, we fully acknowledged the pitching coach likely knew more about pitching than we did. He has been a pitching coach for a long time, and developed good pitchers. Since the father is at all of the pitching sessions, at first the thought was that he had a better idea than us what pitches worked best for her. Because of this, we let him call the pitches. The problem comes now that she has 7 pitches, but can only throw maybe 3 accurately, but he still insists on calling all pitches in all situations regardless of what is going on in the game. I contend that practice is where to develop pitches that you can't yet control, and add them in to game situations as you get better throwing them.

    This is getting long, so I'll wrap up. We tried having our catcher call pitches in our first scrimmage, which worked well until he showed up late and immediately started complaining about the lack of X and Y pitches being thrown. Again, my only concern is that the athlete continues playing softball and having fun, which I don't think will happen if the father pulls her off the team.

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    Ex "Expert" Cannonball's Avatar
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    This dad won't be the first or last pitcher's parent to try to take over a team simply because the team is afraid to lose his dd. I coached this girl as well. No, not this particular young lady but "this girl." That dad tried to create a rivalry between his dd and mine and then, naturally, attempted to take over the team. The HC was given an ultimatum at a tournament that this guy's dd was going to pitch the championship game or they were leaving the team. Our HC laughed at him told him the truth about his dd's abilities and then helped him in his decision. They were a cancer. They young lady started out nice enough but it didn't take her long to show that the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

    BTW, this dad that I dealt with began telling everyone how much better his dd was than mine and that his dd had verballed to U of Texas. A couple of months later, it was UCLA. So, I went up to him in the stands and in front of everyone there asked him which it was and that a liar has to be able to keep his lies in order. LOL His dd washed out at a very bad D-II school. She had exactly zero innings in the circle. He is responsible for that.
    My opinions here are simply that, My Opinions. I'm an ex expert. I no longer care to have to be right.

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