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Parent Coaches

Jul 16, 2013
2,835
48
Pennsylvania
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?
 

Apr 12, 2016
295
18
Minnesota
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?
Rec ball would not survive without parent coaches. A lot of TB teams are coached by parents as well. There are good ones and bad ones. Daddy ball exists but my DDs played for several dad coaches who were great. Many organizations have paid non-parent HCs but rely on volunteer parents as ACs.

In your case I would do some homework and put my kid on the team she fits in best with. I would suggest finding a team where the coach's kid does not play the same position that yours does.

If you want to get all upset over your DD batting 3rd or 7th or playing SS vs LF teach your kid to swim.

Sent from my LG-H820 using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:
Oct 2, 2011
2,978
48
Florida
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?
Without parent coaches youth sports wouldn't exist.

And while there is lots of daddy ball out there, the non-parent coach can be every bit as bad and many times worse - especially they 'just out of college, 23 yr old working at the local bar' coach who has limited experience. And often you are paying extra for that as well.

For the most part, it is not whether the coach is a parent or not - it is 'do they actually know how to coach'. Having a kid on the team can complicate coaching but it is just one consideration out of many.


Thinking about it:
6 of the top 10 teams in my DD's age group (16U) in our state are coached by a parent (and often parents). 2 have parents in AC roles but non-parent head coaches. Only 2 are purely non-parent coaching staffs.
Interesting enough - many more of the 'middle' ground teams have non-parent coaching staffs.
 
Jul 16, 2013
2,835
48
Pennsylvania
Thanks for the reply [MENTION=14479]55dad[/MENTION]. While you offer some solid advice, our journey is over. DD is playing college ball. She continues to play travel ball at the 23u level. Yes, I am a coach.
 
Apr 12, 2016
295
18
Minnesota
Thanks for the reply [MENTION=14479]55dad[/MENTION]. While you offer some solid advice, our journey is over. DD is playing college ball. She continues to play travel ball at the 23u level. Yes, I am a coach.
Good for you! My DD's are both graduating from college this year and are done playing ball. One due to concussions and the other due to ROTC commitments.

I have been coaching our local 14U community "travel" team the last two years and will most likely move up to 16U with them. Fun times.

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Jul 16, 2013
2,835
48
Pennsylvania
Concussions are a scary thing. I wish her the best. Hopefully there are no lasting effects. ROTC commitments are not easy. I have a lot of respect for people that choose that path.

I always enjoyed coaching and really have no regrets about my time. I was definitely harder on DD than I was the other players, and that sometimes created some friction at home. But DD and DW both understood why I made certain decisions.
 
Oct 4, 2018
302
18
Pretty much all parents around here too. But lots of individual coaching from professionals, of course.

We focus very hard on not giving our daughters any preferential treatment. But at some point, the parents who volunteer to coach are also the ones who practice more at home with their girls. No a true correlation, of course. But there is a strong link there. We have parents who don't know the game (which is fine and normal) and thus don't help the girls at home. And when those parents ask us why their DD isn't playing SS, we have to simply tell them their DD isn't as good as the others. And the others often include our daughters, who we work with almost daily around the team practices. We explain all this.

My daughter is slow, but quick. Amazing reflexes. So I've worked her a ton at 3B, and she's great. I've explained to parents how her skills, weaknesses and practice have her best positioned for 3B. When we play others there they don't make the plays. Yet the parents sometimes still accuse me of Daddy Ball. Yet any coach would come to the same conclusion, and I've very open to letting other girls develop at the position and play it often.

What can you do? The girls are usually awesome and fun to be with. Sometimes the parents are a drag. I'm lucky that ours are mostly great.
 
Jun 12, 2015
3,583
38
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 :(
 

Strike2

Allergic to BS
Nov 14, 2014
634
18
I'm not sure that it makes any difference. There are good examples of each, and potential problems on both sides.

With a parent coach, there may be "daddy-ball" issues. However, as teams get older, the pressure to compete usually surpasses the urge to play DD at the expense of an obviously more capable player, especially when that more capable player can find another team in a matter of hours. From what I've seen, the coach's kids typically play pretty well, and it often sucks to be them.

I've seen two categories of non-parent coach...

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.

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.

Personally, I can better cope with Coach Dad. Coach Dad may occasionally favor his undeserving kid with a higher spot in the batting order, but he's the easiest for me to relate to. We're in the same spot in life, both understand the current challenges of work and family, and both want the team succeed. Because the team typically includes some of his DD's friends, and some of the parents are family friends, he's more personally committed. I accept that I'm not going to agree with every decision, but it's his team, and he's certainly not in it for the money.
 
Dec 10, 2015
468
18
Chautauqua County
as a coach and a father who coached 2 DDs and now a third one, I caught the most flak from my DDs and DW for being tougher on the DDs than the rest of the players. a lot of it was because I didn't want to be accused of playing favorites. some of it was just because they liked to trip my trigger. :)
 

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