Little League Parents

As a Little League baseball coach for the past two years, I’ve noticed several disturbing trends amongst some of my players’ parents. Most distressing, I believe, is the amount of pressure they place on these 7 and 8 year old children to perform like super athletes, as if million dollar contracts are at stake, and they’ve blown it by missing that grounder that cost us the game. It’s a GAME people, to be PLAYED by the children, for FUN. But what REALLY burns my ass is when the parents have the audacity to question ANY coach about ANYTHING they are doing for the kids, i.e., my kid should be playing first, or batting first, etc, etc… I’m sure there are some really inept coaches out there, but I’m also sure they’re doing their best to provide an enjoyable learning experience for the kids. Some parents don’t seem to realize the amount of time we coaches spend organizing practice schedules, phoning parents about playing/practice times, getting sponsors to pay for uniforms, ordering uniforms, buying equipment with our own money, plus, providing what basically boils down to a free babysitting service for a couple hours a week. All in the name of fun. I implore any of you who see yourself above, give us a break, 'cos if you could do it any better, YOU’D be out there, not us…and for the majority of you who truly help, bless you, you are REALLY appreciated…ahhhhh, that felt good…thanks.

EVO95, I couldn’t agree with you more.

As a coach of youth sports, mostly basketball, for over 20 years, I too have run across more than my share of unruly and/or ungrateful parents.

Coaching aint easy. I have been acosted by opposing fans, been told that my substition patterns suck, that my offense sucks, that my defense sucks, that my hair is too long(?) to coach and that I’m fat.

My reply, your kids are having fun in practice and the games and as for my coaching style, your kids are learning the fundamentals of the game, teamwork, and we win 2/3 of our games.

The parents that really struck me, were the ones that never seemed to get their kids to practice on time, sometimes not at all, and wondered why little Johnny was not getting the same playing time as the others. I would explain that by your kid missing all those practices, he did not know what his teammates were doing out there, and it’s not fair to the kids who do come to practice, to play some one who only shows up at the games. I had a rule about playing time, No practice, No play. League rules require that everyone play, so these kids did play, but it was the minimum.

This may seem harsh, but most parents did find a way to get the kids to practice on time, once little Johnny expressed his desire to play more. Having grown up during a time when equal participation was not stressed, I knew what it was like to not play as much as I would have liked. So, paticipation by all was a focus for me, that’s why attending practices was important, so that everyone knew what to do.

I don’t know how much longer I can do this, my youngest is 11, and he wants me to be the coach again, like I did for his sister and brother.

At least 1 more year.

Rick Reilly wrote a wonderful essay on this very subject:

Some people just shouldn’t have kids, I tell ya.