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is there a way to approach HC without being a jerk

May 6, 2015
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DDs 4th team in three years, she is 2007, team of 2008, couple 09s (12u B/C team, could be B). DD has bounced a lot for various reasons, but generally all her coaches have appreciated her effort, attitude, etc.

this team is in same org as her 2nd team, but different head coach. HC from DD's prior team in this org is head of org, and DD still takes lessons with them (catching and hitting). back when she was on that team, she had guested for current/new team one weekend.

she is one of two 07s on team, HC says he wanted them both to be real leaders of team. they are both stepping up to it pretty well, working over some rough patches (ie occasionally a little to critical, but HC talked to them, and they are developing as leaders).

current HC is great guy, and this is to me and DW at least becoming an issue, he is too nice a guy sometimes! HC and all ACs (4 of them, although one is more like co-HC) have kids or grandkids on team (one GD AC is FIL to another AC). the one AC (whose FIL is coach) is constantly doing side work and warmups with his DD, not having her warmup with rest of team. meanwhile, DD is trying to make it a point to warmup with different girls all the time. This DD also generally seems to have poor attitude. I think the history is she is used to pitching (probably 4th or 5th on their pitching depth chart right now, ie not seeing any circle time in games, and from what I have seen, this is appropriate) and being star on the team (she is athletic). She appears to specifically have a problem with my DD, not certain why, other than she is new to team and moved right into leadership role. seems to be sulking. One game, first inning, first bracket game against very good (maybe best in state ) A team, DD (catcher) throws rocket to get runner stealing , has runner dead to rights, this girl at SS, catches throw about 12 inches high directly over point of 2B, stands straight up holding ball, expressionless, no tag. they get mercy ruled in 4 innings. similarly, has played 1B some, and on balls hit 2-3 feet to her right, does not attempt to field, moves directly to 1B to cover. when at SS, has not once charged a slow roller. once, sitting in dugout on her turn to bat, told that PU has her on clock, has to stop to put gloves on, etc.. this sunday, they lose in championship game of tournament (nothing special, ASA B level one day), and her Dad and GD refuse to go out and get medals with the team, "second is first loser etc." (meanwhile, team they faced was all 12 yos, very good team, and they were in game until the end, went to ITB). basically, she exudes bad attitude, but nothing is being done, because Dad and GD are ACs.

meanwhile, practices are not up to standard DD is used to. they have had problems since first scrimmage judging fly balls, pulling up short, etc. DD asks HC every practice, can we do some fly ball work, very little done. part of it is I think girls are scared to make mistake, but first year 12u fall to me at least is where they need to try to get every ball they can in the air, rather than letting them drop, to develop that judgement. no instruction for players at 1B and 3B on how to receive pickoff throws (player who is seeing most time at 1B, lefty, is standing with foot on corner of bag, stretching like recieving throw for force, while DD has been trained to put the throw low and on the inside front corner of bag to make tag, since it is not force). too often, all the girls are doing same drill, with the ACs not directly involved off to side commenting/talking

AC/co-HC does third on offense, but is also trying to do GC on his phone. we have a parent doing paperbook. I just think he is ending up doing two things mediocre to poorly rather than one well.

Basically I am struggling not to go to this coach (again, great guy, but this is part of issue) and tell him:

You need to give clear directions to all the ACs, and if they do not follow them, dump them. can only be one chief. No one takes their DD off separately, team warms up together, no private BP in between innings during games, etc.

with that many ACs, except for when doing full field defensive drills (which should never be more than 25% of a practice, too much else to do), no reason for any drill/station to have more than three girls, two preferably. spread them out, get LOTS of reps in, with corrections as needed. too many practices (granted, have rarely had more than 8 out of 11 at practice due to rec fall ball, soccer, and DD has missed as well, HC said for fall he is OK with girls playing multiple sports) all the girls are doing same thing, which results in one or two of them doing something, with the rest wainting their turn. and it is hard, as at practices. can have 0-2 ACs instead of all 4.

also, on game days, again, each AC needs to have specific job during warmups (nets/tee setup (which HC usually tries to do while doing lineups, etc., tee and soft toss, fielding warmup, rundown drill, etc.), and games (OF positioning, infield positioning, coaching the battery, etc.). right now warmups are haphazard, little to no plan that I can see, because HC is trying to do it all, instead of having a plan and delegating.

and HC is talking about wanting girls to match completely in spring (unis, shoes, batting gloves, fielding masks), I think convinced of this by the one GD and Dad pair (they basically have two households doing fundraiseers for one girl). to my eye, got much more important things to deal with. as long as jerseys are all same, and pants all same color, and socks all the same, we are good to go, maybe helmets as well.. DD will NOT be replacing any of her catching gear to match team colors (white helmet, gray chest, and legs do happen to match). that being said, we will go with whatever HC decides.

I try as best I can to support him, a lot of the parents who came from 10u seem to be caught up with winning, are questioning lineups, etc. I get what he is doing, using fall to see what he has, what combos work, etc. and am trying to preach patience to other parents, that this if fall first year 12u, lots of adjustments to be made. most of the parents, their kid is either only child, or oldest. We have been through a lot with older DD (not in softball, but in other club/travel sports, she is sophomore in HS now), so have seen a little more.

we are committed for spring (unless things really go south, then we will look elsewhere), so my question is how can I improve exp for the team and thus my DD?

sorry for the length. Is there a way I can approach him (as a former coach, albeit only rec, so I kinda of get it) with what I have observed, and possible suggestions, without seeming like a jerk (or even seeming like a jerk, I am OK with that if it improves things overall)? I also get everyone has a life outside of FP (hard to believe), and HC did just change jobs. DO I go to head of org with my concerns?
 
Last edited:
Oct 4, 2018
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Wow, I cannot believe it's tolerated for one girl to warm up differently than the rest of the team. Wow.


I'd completely let the uniform issue go -- pick your battles, and basically who really cares at the end of the day. But that one girl's attitude needs to change for sure. Sounds toxic.
 
May 29, 2015
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If you have a relationship with the org head and agree with his philosophies, then I see no issue going to him first. However, go to him to ask his advice on how to handle this, not to complain about it.

If it is a true organization of teams, the org head should be able to provide coaching for the coach.
 
Sep 29, 2014
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Sounds like you have a "nice" HC being run over by 2 ACs with a would be diva in the making....but then again it's just your prospective.

Some of the things you describe as far as level of play is what you get with a "B/C" team; honestly depending on where you are it may or may not be above rec all star level.

If it is just too toxic sure you might have to leave but just from the outside looking in if you make it 5 teams in 3 years at some point some one might say it's time to look in the mirror (sorry if that is too harsh and I do understand somethings are out of your control) and it might have more to do with decision making about what teams are a fit than anything you or your DD are doing once on the team.

Although I might pick some low hanging fruit and approach the HC with a couple things #1 warmup is a team activity period (as the HC I'll let the pitchers and catchers know when they can break off but otherwise we are all together) #2 we win and lose as a team that includes coaches if you can't be with the team when we accept our trophy then you aren't part of the team. [Funny story from my LL days, we lost our LL championship because of some cheating by other team (brought in an ineligible kid last week or two of season who stuck out everyne and hit bombs on everyone) my Dad coached our team and the leauge wouldn't do anything about it at closing ceremonies we stood and smiled and got our certificates but at the car I crumpled it up and threw away, Dad looked at me but didn't say anything, you can do or say whatever you want in private but it was understood in public you always had to display good sportsmanship]. All that to say these two specific things are about being a TEAM so I think they are the easiest things to approach the coach about versus other things you might be seeing....good luck
 
May 6, 2015
1,217
83
If it is just too toxic sure you might have to leave but just from the outside looking in if you make it 5 teams in 3 years at some point some one might say it's time to look in the mirror (sorry if that is too harsh and I do understand somethings are out of your control) and it might have more to do with decision making about what teams are a fit than anything you or your DD are doing once on the team.
[/QUOTE

we have learned a lot along the way, but still too trusting I guess. 1st team we left after one spring because they played one tournament the entire spring, and DD basically filled in for whomever was pitching at "their" spot. 2nd team we played a fall and a spring, very accomplished team, HC (the one in charge of the org) basically still offered DD a spot, but said they would probably see no more and maybe less PT, and even suggested somewhere else might be better for her development, no hard feelings either way (obviously). 3rd team we left after one fall season, HC was a jerk, plain and simple, complete D level (for daddy) ball. he lost like 4 players out of 11 after fall.. 4th team we left after last spring, they moved to 14u, we wanted DD to say at 12u another year. we will be on team 6 after this year as well, as this team will stay 12u, and DD has to move up. current HC I trust, just think he is loosing sight of the forest for the trees, getting too bogged down doing things ACS should be doing (ie setting up nets, tees, herding girls to correct next field, etc.).
 
Sep 9, 2019
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Part of the tryout process should involve observing the coaches and learning about the structure and hierarchy. This ship has apparently sailed. This will not get better with parent coaches at 12u. As the former post indicates, 4 teams in 3 years might indicate something else. It's tough. but I'd sit back and not comment to the coaches or your DD and make sure this is about her. If she is miserable, then move. Keep up private lessons. Observe other teams warmups and coaches at tourmaments to see who may fit better in the future. It's not easy I know, but try and relax and observe. At 1st yr 12u, there is plenty of time and experience to gain.
 
Sep 29, 2014
2,068
63
Yeah I guess I didn't focus on the first year 12U part. At that age it is kinda hard to figure things out and why I'm not a huge fan of 8 yr olds playing travel ball but I do understand it especially if the kid really loves the sport...just follow your gut on whether or not you can stick it out....bigger question might be how does your DD feel, if she likes the coach and the team minus this one girl then you might be able to stick it out if you can be the adult and overlook the drama....now if your DD is miserable I wouldn't stay.
 
May 6, 2015
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DD gets along with most of the girls great, her and other 07 on team (#1 pitcher) played together before, and were like "what are you doing" "I dunno, what are you doing?" after they both got offers from this team. DD can stick it out, she will basically just ignore the drama. but I want this year to be useful to her development wise, and for that need more organized coaching.
 
May 29, 2015
1,051
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My daughter went through three or four teams, most early on. Our first mistake was starting her in 14u (the coach that recruited her thought she was older). After that, like the OP’s daughter, she had an odd birthday and was always caught in teams moving up. Coaches wanted to hold her down to “lead” the new group. The other part of that was the rate at which teams fold around here ... there are some loose-knit groups, but no real organizations to speak of.

After I started umpiring, being able to see so many different teams gave us a better perspective on the general state of things. She stayed on her last team for three years, and we constantly talked about moving on (wasn’t real happy with the coach’s game day approach) but we saw enough to know the grass wasn’t that much greener ...
 

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