How to deal with no longer being the coach?

Long time reader, first time posting.

I am sure a number of you have gone through what I am about to this season. My son has reached the point in his development where it is in his best interests that I no longer be his coach. I will be taking a roll as just a spectator and it is not something I am used to. I have been his coach in some way shape or form since he was four. My son has accepted a spot on a new travel team with excellent coaches that focus on development, and so far seems to be a great fit. I have read, several posts about not being that parent, and the types of parents seem to range from constantly being in the players ear, to watching the game from the outfield fence. I don't think I fit into either type, nor want to be at either end of that spectrum. Trying to find a happy medium. I think it would be beneficial to hear how you as parents that have been in a similar situations have coped with the change in support/coaching role. Are there any support groups that I am unaware of... J/K Maybe I can learn from others successes and/or mistakes.

Hi, My name is TXBALLDAD and I am becoming a spectator...

Thanks in advance.

Original Post

I coached my son from 7/8 machine pitch through 16u when he was fifteen. When he played 17/18u I was just a dad fan. It's a long day of travel without coaching responsibilities. I spun back and forth over the day between quiet, analytical observant former coach and social butterfly. 

When the day was over I didn't jump on my son with my observations. We didn't talk baseball until he brought it up. Both kids (daughter played softball) said the trips in the car with me were among their best memories of growing up playing baseball/softball. Don't ruin that. 

Note: Coached my daughter all the way through 18uG. Not coaching my son seemed odd at first. But he started tuning me out at fifteen. 

Great advice, I think talking about the game should be held off until they bring it up even as a coach. Started that awhile back and it definitely helped the father son relationship. 

Not sure what I'm going to do with my new found free time. No more tournament arrangement, reviewing the score book, practice plans etc. Maybe I will take up knitting or turn to the dark side and become an umpire. LOL

Dealing with parents is one thing I will not miss. For sure... 

Which raises another question, is there a good way to help other parents to understand what not to do in the stands. Or should you just try to stay out of it? So far the new group of parents seem pretty good, but you never know.

Will also be trying to keep myself in check, to make sure, I don't do the things I hated to deal with as a coach.

 

TxballDad posted:

Dealing with parents is one thing I will not miss. For sure... 

Which raises another question, is there a good way to help other parents to understand what not to do in the stands. Or should you just try to stay out of it? So far the new group of parents seem pretty good, but you never know.

Will also be trying to keep myself in check, to make sure, I don't do the things I hated to deal with as a coach.

 

Nothing you can do.  Not your job. And sometimes, who knows, there may be a method to their madness.

 One of the player's on my son's HS team was drafted out of Juco last year & is going to a ranked D1 instead.  Really good kid, really great player, and dad is a super nice guy. But at the game, jeebus. Kid's hitting near .500 his senior year but every time he makes an out, no matter where you're sitting you hear HORRIBLE!  HORRIBLE!  THAT'S HORRIBLE! WORST AT-BAT EVER! OH. MY. GOD!!!! 

Kid struck out  just once his senior year, looking ... you can bet that ump can still hear dad lighting him up.

Generally, it's pretty easy to tell the parents' who've coached and the one's who haven't.  The ex-coaches quietly watch their sons, cheer for good plays and stay away from drama.  The other parents are typically the ones yelling at the umps, criticizing their kids and discussing playing time with the coach.  

TxballDad posted:

Dealing with parents is one thing I will not miss. For sure... 

Which raises another question, is there a good way to help other parents to understand what not to do in the stands. Or should you just try to stay out of it? So far the new group of parents seem pretty good, but you never know.

Will also be trying to keep myself in check, to make sure, I don't do the things I hated to deal with as a coach.

 

I wouldn't engage the other parents that way.  The only thing I had to do is explain what is supposed to happen vs what actually happened.  We once had a vocal dad get on a catcher because the first baseman cut a perfect throw home allowing a run to score.  He was ranting that the catcher should say something.  I "politely" informed him that the coaches teach if you don't hear anything let the ball go home, only cut when told to and throw to the base indicated.  Mistake was on the first baseman, not the catcher. 

Which raises another question, is there a good way to help other parents to understand what not to do in the stands. Or should you just try to stay out of it? So far the new group of parents seem pretty good, but you never know.

My advice is 'set the example' and 'be a man of character'.  My kid's team has a couple of Great Santini's in the stands (not that you're this extreme).  Their intensity, ridicule (about every kid - not just their own) and all around poor sportsmanship often ruins the game for the rest of us. I know it takes the joy out of it for their kids (you can see it on their faces).  

I "get" that they are at a different phase in the college game so they have different expectations of the kids (my kid was a 15yo rookie on the 18U team this summer and the older kids are recruiting/committing). Still, I make a habit of not sitting near them b/c they bring my anxiety level up significantly just by being complete jerks. Plus, it's just plain embarrassing to be associated with them in when they get like that. 

The fact that you're already self-aware means you'll do it right. 

AD2018 posted:

Generally, it's pretty easy to tell the parents' who've coached and the one's who haven't.  The ex-coaches quietly watch their sons, cheer for good plays and stay away from drama.  The other parents are typically the ones yelling at the umps, criticizing their kids and discussing playing time with the coach.  

^^^This.

Cheer for good plays and when the drama happens walk away.  Don't chastise the parents yelling, it's not your job or place and it will only cause drama.  And do NOT join the mob yelling at the umpire "It was a strike for the other team! Oh come on BLUE!  Freaking get some glasses"...etc...etc....etc. 

While I never coached my son I was an athlete and have a similar mentality that was stated above.  I often find myself needing something urgently from my car when it gets ugly on the field, because honestly half the time I have the urge to laugh at these ridiculous "adults" making a scene.

Thanks for the great feedback. I think I will be the guy that will have to go get something from the car, or go to the bathroom a lot, to help get me through the first season. Hopefully I will find my place in this new world. I think my wife will be helping me stay in line. She sees to have a pretty good handle on the whole spectator thing.

 

I'm generally not a vocal fan but I always made sure that I was more vocally supportive of the team as a whole and other players' good play than of my own.  If son or daughter did something particularly well, I would applaud but let others take the vocal lead...  unless I had opportunity to make light of things and play down the play or event.

A trick I stumbled upon over time... when engaging in dialog with other parents in the stands, ask a lot of questions about what other interests their player has, about their other kids, about what they like to do away from baseball, etc.   After a while, it seems to add balance and perspective to the home bleachers.

Who knew, just being a decent human can be an effective strategy. 

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