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Dad too demanding on daughter


Softball fan
Feb 28, 2008
Montreal, Canada
Here is a question for you parents. I was asked this question this week and was not sure how to answer the gentleman.

He has an athlete who is extremely hard-working and motivated. She is a pitcher. She has great family support.

The coaching staff has noticed that she does better and gets more out of practices when her dad isn't around.

The dad is demanding and will provide a lot of feedback all the time when she practices and she feels the pressure.

How do you tell a parent (as a coach) that they approach might not be the best one and that is is actually detrimental to the development of the kid without sounding like you are trying to tell them how to raise their own kids?
Nov 21, 2008
I think every coach has seen this. At our parents/players meeting I make it very clear that I do like input and will use it if it makes sense, but only at the appropriate time. During practice and games parents are only there to encourage their daughters and support the team, we do not allow parents to coach from the stands, nothing takes a kid out of the game faster than having a parent yelling from the sideline. Sometimes it is hard but you have to tell the offending parent that practice is for player and coach interaction and nothing else. On the flip side you cannot be a fly by night coach, you have to do some research and plan your practices well or the parents will turn on you.

May 5, 2008
Maybe suggest to the parent that instead of him telling her everything he saw, have him try asking her what she thought of her own performance and what she thought she could do better.

Let him know that he can help his daughter out even more by teaching her how to evaluate herself - turn his "feedback" into a discussion vs a lecture. Encourage him to let her take part and explain to him that she is more likely to get more out of it and remember the help he's trying to offer if he gets her more involved in the "feedback session" vs him just telling her what he thinks.


Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
It is a difficult problem. It might help to approach the problem as an educational issue. The Dad doesn't know that college coaches will find his behavior unacceptable. Further, if a college coach ever sees him doing this, it might kill his DD's chance to play in college.

Therefore, he needs to learn to be quiet during the practices. Better yet, tell him it is time to stop coming to practices.

It is tough. A parent thinks that he/she needs to be there to push the DD. He has to be told that his conduct is unacceptable. (I was the worst Daddy in the world.)
Jul 17, 2008
Troy, Illinois
Marc, years ago I was fortunate to get to hear Don Meyer give a presentation on basketball. In doing so, he issued the typical handouts. Primary to those handouts was a link to his website. I'd recommend all coaches go to this website and check out the various links. Spend time in the Parent's section with regards to the topic you addressed here. Have players checkout the player's section. Don Meyer is truly a great coach!


I've handed out "How to establish rapport with your athletic child" to my parents for years! I hope you enjoy the reading.
Dec 28, 2008
1. I like the "here are the team rules and that is not allowed" take as option 1. I once assisted a team where the coach pulled the player out the very next inning every time her dad screamed from the sidelines. He never said why to either DD or dad. It only took 2-3 games before DD caught on and she told dad to keep quiet and told him why. Dad was quiet for a few games. Opened his mouth again, and out came the player next inning. Dad never opened mouth again the remainder of the season. Kind of like a shock collar around dad's neck. :)

2. Provide dad an alternative route to getting his say. Come up with scouting report type cards, papers and ask him and daughter to scout the batters and pitcher on Team X in between games for a tournament. Suggest that she write her opinions on 1 sheet and that he write his opinions on another sheet and then between innings compare notes on what they observed about the batters weaknesses and whether the pitcher through to those weaknesses or fed her pitches that were her strengths. This should do 3 things: A. help the pitcher learn herself to study players instead of just goofing off with friends in between games and help her see how the right/wrong pitch could produce completely different results. B. Hopefully dad will see that pitcher really does have a great head on her shoulders and is thinking about things that are probably way beyond what he's even seeing. C. Hopefully DD will see that dad really does understand things and hopefully the activity will spark conversations like "when you play this team you should really think about throwing XYZ to that girl." Most parents really do want to help they just don't have the right creative outlet to feel like they are helping. If he can have his say hopefully that reduces the amount of input he feels required to blurt out during the game.

Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
The baseball coach that my sons' had would have no problem in telling the dad to move on and be quiet.

Once it is done once, no other parent crossed the line.


May 7, 2008
"How do you tell a parent (as a coach) that they approach might not be the best one and that is is actually detrimental to the development of the kid without sounding like you are trying to tell them how to raise their own kids? "


As a coach, YOU don't tell him at all.

Print out copies of my story "Sports, Kids and Parents" and give one to each parent. That way you are not singling any one parent out from the rest.

Do that and you are not telling any of them anything, I AM.

This story was ran as an editorial and ended up being the most re-published story in SOFTBALL MAGAZINES history. It was rerun in hundreds of other magazines, journals and newspapers around the world.

High school coaches all over(and not just softball coaches) print this out and make it part of their "Parent packages" they send home with their players at the start of the season.

It is chapter 2 of my book and it sells here on your site.

I just posted the story at the following link;

May 7, 2008

Hey there, ya'll!

I am a parent of two elite athletes 12u/14u (baseball/softball) and my husband coaches. Additionally, I work in youth sports. I believe the coach(dad)/athlete(child) dynamic is unavoidable, and I have yet in my experience, to observe a flawless experience. It is a boundary issue. It is a mother's a responsibility, before the coach, to serve as a mediator. The key point is that mediators are mere substitutes for the most effective communicator, the athlete. It wasn't something that came easy to my children. I began encouraging age appropriate ownership of their sport in small ways (i.e. carrying their bat bags, washing uniforms, etc.). Addressing their coaches and/or dad came slowly and took time to build appropriate boundaries and articulate their concerns. She began leading her practice schedule...which pitches and drills she was going to practice on what days. She wrote emails to communicate. They developed "knock it off" signs. My daughter is stronger-willed, and the dynamic is still there at times, but she can now effectively communicate where the boundaries are. I believe this prepares them for communications in their future in school, athletics, and family endeavors.

Hal, we also use Codes of Conduct for Coaches, Parents and Athletes :)

That's my take...
May 31, 2009
There was a dad that kept coming to practice and constantly telling his daughter do this and do that and you could tell that it was upsetting his daughter (and the others). The coach finally went over to the dad and told him to knock it off and leave. Coach said, when she's here at practice she's our kid, when she's at home, she's yours.
The dad turned and walked away and didn't come back.

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