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What to do when a coach teaches something blatantly wrong and dangerous

Nov 22, 2019
93
18
My 9-year-old DD just started playing for a 10-U travel team and was in the batting cage and not having a good day. The HC is watching and goes to her your elbow is too inside when you swing and you have to extend your arms, and she then promptly shows her a casting swing where the hands extend over the plate (mind you, she isn't showing her extension after contact). Earlier this fall while playing rec ball, my daughter broke her thumb with a coach pitching in part due to her casting.

Trying to be tactful I tell the coach I think she is getting mixed messages, as the private instructor she's started working with pitching and hitting is telling her something different. She promptly freaks out at me, walks away, and calls another coach over (who is her son who played college baseball). He then goes over a proper swing with my daughter that doesn't include extending the arms, and he works with her, including taking a video. After practice I go to the coach to apologize for getting involved, but tell her when you swing that your back arm has more of a hinge motion and that you can't extend your arms before contact, that's casting. She then goes off on me again telling me I'm wrong that she still plays softball and that is how she teaches everyone and that's why her daughter hits the ball and mine doesn't. (This is is in front of her assistant coach son who knows she is wrong, but he seemed scared to say anything.) I send the video to my DD's private instructor, who identifies the issue largely as leading with the elbow and not with the knob on the bat, and my DD has a great session with the private instructor the next day with the drills she was given.

Did I make the right decision to say something to the coach, and is it time to move on from this team not knowing if she'll get picked up by another travel team? At worst, she can return to her rec league, although it's not really ideal. My wife thinks I'm becoming "that" parent, but this seemed like it was just too big of a safety issue to ignore, especially given her past injury.

Any advice is appreciated.
 
Jun 12, 2015
3,848
83
I think your approach was reasonable and her reaction was not reasonable. Is she young? I wonder if she has a lot of older-than-she-is dads trying to tell her she's wrong a lot. That she actually IS wrong about this wouldn't make her feel any better even if she believed it. If you're keeping it about your DD and not her ("She's learning a different style from her hitting coach and I don't want to confuse her" v. "Your way is wrong so stop teaching it") she should be willing to respect that. I don't see how it's any different from a head coach interfering about pitching technique.
 
Jun 23, 2018
77
33
Texas
I agree with Westwind 100%.
We have always had the conversation with DD's coaches up front that she sees a hitting coach that is working on her swing. Only once have I had to have a conversation with a HC to say that is not what she is being taught by her hitting coach and he respected that and backed off.
As long as I am paying for a hitting coach to work with my DD, the HC can make suggestions, but leave the swing alone. If your HC cannot respect that you are going the extra mile by having a hitting coach, might be worth looking at what options are out their. HC teaching something that you don't agree with doesn't bother me as much as her reaction (twice). If she reacts that way to something simple, what will be her reaction to something big? That is what I would be most worried about.
 
Sep 29, 2014
2,384
83
I would take the "I'm sorry about the other day, my DD is working with a private hitting coach and I just want to make sure she doesn't get confused. I understand if while she is learning she might not be the strongest hitter on the team but I would hope you can let her and her hitting coach work it out and we will see how it goes as the season progresses."

Ahhh...now I'm going with elephant in the room, you said the coaches son played college baseball and she plays softball is the coaches DD just very athletic or does she actual have sound mechanics in spite of mom's teaching. All that to lead into how long has your DD been going to this hitting coach and is she showing any improvement. One thing that worries me a little is you said your DD broke her thumb in coach pitch by casting her swing, kids don't usually swing their thumb into a ball it's just an unnatural instinct thing, how exactly did it happen? I'm just wondering about coordination issues as well as possible vision (depth perception issues).

I'm not bailing out on the team without a lot more negatives, coaches try and teaches kids wrong stuff all the time, her reaction is troubling but what are other things going on that would cause you to think about leaving? As a coach I always respected kids that were getting private coaching but if your kid can't hit they may get less time or a lower spot in the lineup you still have to perform....where does you DD hit now in the lineup?
 
Apr 20, 2018
1,919
113
SoCal
My DD was tryingout /guesting for a team and AC was saying things like "swing down, top of the ball, stay closed, blah blah blah."
I email the HC my concerns and threw in a Antonelli video. She emailed me back and said she understands my concerns and that she found the video very interesting.
In your case, I would be long gone. In So Cal there are sooooo many teams that finding another is very simple. I suggest all parents go to multiple tryouts and guesting opportunities. Listen to the coaches. If the coach is a old stick in mud/ i have always done it this way/ I been doing this for 25 years/arrogant type go elsewhere. And never pay someone to holler and scream at your daughter.
 
Nov 22, 2019
93
18
I would take the "I'm sorry about the other day, my DD is working with a private hitting coach and I just want to make sure she doesn't get confused. I understand if while she is learning she might not be the strongest hitter on the team but I would hope you can let her and her hitting coach work it out and we will see how it goes as the season progresses."

Ahhh...now I'm going with elephant in the room, you said the coaches son played college baseball and she plays softball is the coaches DD just very athletic or does she actual have sound mechanics in spite of mom's teaching. All that to lead into how long has your DD been going to this hitting coach and is she showing any improvement. One thing that worries me a little is you said your DD broke her thumb in coach pitch by casting her swing, kids don't usually swing their thumb into a ball it's just an unnatural instinct thing, how exactly did it happen? I'm just wondering about coordination issues as well as possible vision (depth perception issues).

I'm not bailing out on the team without a lot more negatives, coaches try and teaches kids wrong stuff all the time, her reaction is troubling but what are other things going on that would cause you to think about leaving? As a coach I always respected kids that were getting private coaching but if your kid can't hit they may get less time or a lower spot in the lineup you still have to perform....where does you DD hit now in the lineup?
Her DD doesn't cast, her mechanics are fine.

My DD broke her thumb at practice (when she as with her rec team) when an assistant coach from the HS was pitching to the kids. She was throwing harder than my DD, or any one on that team, was used to (that team was pretty bad), and it appeared the ball had spin and broke in on her. But she also cast - I think that's the only way the thumb would be exposed.

My DD has been going to her private instructor for about 4-5 weeks for an hour, with a focus on pitching and hitting, but more time has been spent on pitching. As a side note, Monday everything clicked with the pitching (throwing strikes with a proper motion) , so she was very excited. She's in competitive dance and seems to be starting to pick up pitching, so I don't think it's a coordination problem. Vision I'm not sure, but on Monday the private instructor was throwing little balls and having her hit it with this skinny, heavy stick as a bat and she was killing it. But Sunday I know during one drill she was just way, way ahead of the ball. She generally hits very well off the tee.

She only got back from injury for the last tournament of the season, and I think she batted 7th out of 12. This incident happened during the 2nd off-season winter hitting session in the cages. The first week my daughter actually did fine and was hitting the ball.

My biggest issue wasn't just that what she taught was wrong, but what she was instructing her to do is dangerous, as a cast swing (fully extending your arms as you swing) basically puts your hands over the plate.
 
Nov 22, 2019
93
18
I think your approach was reasonable and her reaction was not reasonable. Is she young? I wonder if she has a lot of older-than-she-is dads trying to tell her she's wrong a lot. That she actually IS wrong about this wouldn't make her feel any better even if she believed it. If you're keeping it about your DD and not her ("She's learning a different style from her hitting coach and I don't want to confuse her" v. "Your way is wrong so stop teaching it") she should be willing to respect that. I don't see how it's any different from a head coach interfering about pitching technique.
I think she is older than me, as she has a son who graduated college. Yes, I initially tried to frame it as her not needing conflicting messages, but that did not go over well.
 
Feb 20, 2019
60
18
I had a coach teaching my DD slapper to show her bunt early when she was trying to drag bunt. I immediately stepped in and corrected him. Similar to your situation, he immediately grabbed another coach (the head coach) to team up on me. However, the head coach agreed with me and corrected the assistant.
 

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