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Often easier to mention the good things happening to our players than any of the below.
Often the easiest for us to talk about. Freshman players (HS,college) making adjustments to new situations, new position, starters to relievers, batting 5th instead of 2nd. IF to OF. Pro players making transition between metal and wood, being away from friends and family. Tough school schedule. This is something we expect to happen and often not surprised when we see it. It's part of the process. Some parents become disappointed with son's progess. Why is my .500 hitter suddenly not hitting .250? Or why is he not in the lineup. We need to remember, coach has made some changes, player needs to feel comfortable with new instructions, set of signs, etc. Pitcher has to make changes in mechanics, learns new pitch, from starter in HS to reliever, then back to starter, maybe a closer at times, has never really known what "putting innings in bullpen" means, needs time to adjust. This is not HS anymore, or for many HS players this is not LL. By the way, this is the phase where we don't want to hear the term "redshirt".
Can happen at any time. Comes out of nowhere. Player can have a breakout fall, or wow them in spring training, or been a hot hitter suddenly can't see the ball, or the pitcher can't throw strikes. It happens to just about every player at any position. It happens for some about the same time every year, at the beginning or near the end of season. Best part is slumps don't last forever. After they pass, we forget it ever happened.
It's a bit more difficult to talk about this period than the adjustment period.
Things just seem to go from bad to worse, sometimes due to injury setback, long rehab, short rehab doesn't matter, confidance is down, player is removed from start, hitter from the lineup, which makes it worse because now not only do you not have faith in yourself, but you think others don't. It's also pretty bad when the player has never been through the adjustment or slump period and then out of nowhere it happens. Usually the slump spirals into the struggle. Player wonders what am I doing here, and this is the phase that can make or break a player in any sport. For many parents it becomes embarrassing, the player who did everything right has now been struggling for months and months. And the struggle comes at the worst time, senior year in HS, draft year in college, A to AA, ML, whatever, it's endless, sometimes there's a short glimmer of hope, but short lived. The most mentally challenging time for the player, sometimes physically as well. This becomes the sole searching time for the parent, what do you do, what do we say, how long to you have to watch your player struggle. When the player is no longer enjoying the game, his team, his coaches , there comes a time when one has to let go. You DON'T want to talk about it with anyone. You hope others aren't noticing. But you do know the inevitable will come someday if the struggle continues.
Not necessarily from injury, but from adjustment, slump or the struggle. This is the time when we can breathe easier, our player is happy, BA is moving up, ERA is going down, more starts, more at bats, less errors, in the groove, everything is working. Most times recovery comes when most needed, but recovery is not always permenent. Player can recover for the rest of the year, only to find himself back in the adjustment or slump or struggle phase all over again the following year. Recovery is happy time!

Adjustment, slump, struggle, recovery, the cycle.

Someone told me going through the cycle makes you a better player, the player that recognizes it as a part of his game, teh game, can learn to adjust and accept. The player that struggles and recovers, probably becomes the most successful. The game makes or breaks players based on failure. Strange concept.
Happens to everyone.

Don't be afraid to recognize it, talk about it, you'd be surprised you are not the only player or parent who has experienced it.
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Good post, how true. My son is going through this at the moment, from HS star to college freshman, sitting a lot. It is so hard as a parent to listen to this and not be able to do anything, except constantly reassure him that things will get better and to keep working. He will be a better person when he gets through this.
I agree, this is a good post. And timely, too, for my family.

We are experiencing a "slump" and "struggle" with my hs junior. We've never really been in this position before--a son having a tough time without much opportunity in sight to bolster his confidence. The baseball coach is a football coach trying to coach baseball. And actually, it's not just our son who is struggling, but virtually the whole team (4-12) and they have been playing horribly. One of the difficulties is that because the coach is coaching baseball like football, tossing bodies here and there to plug the holes, the opportunities to work out of it are limited.

Would a good baseball coach normally help a stuggling player or whole team out of their "funk?" What should or could we expect? With our team, we are not expecting any help from the coach. Sadly, with this coach, we are not expecting things to change next year, either. Has anyone experienced a similar situation?

TPM, you are right. It is frustrating and somewhat embarassing to us. But since the whole team is struggling, it is less so now. We were hopeful for a good junior year season, but at this point, his season is shot.

Any ideas on how to pick him up and move on?
Last edited by play baseball
My son had exactly the same problem in HS, terrible coach, (football coach as well) yelled and screamed but never showed them how. However, my son had a fabulous legion coach in the summer who was also his private pitching coach and he encouraged him and supported him all the way. he had a great summer in his junior year and that kept him going all through HS and then into college. My advice is find a good summer coach and/or good summer team.
Baseball is a team sport with its success determined by individual accomplishments. A few years back my son was complaining that his coach at the time knew little about baseball. After watching a few of his practices I would have to agree with him. Did I, no. Bill Parcells use to say (never give a player an excuse to fail) If I had said to my son your right the coach is terrible, I would have given him a reason to play poorly.

What I did tell him is to control what you can control. The coach doesn’t hit, doesn’t pitch, and doesn’t field. His team that year did do badly but my son had a pretty good year, the following year moved to another team and I think he learned a valuable lesson.

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