This will stir the pot but it is fall.  We talk about it here all the time and it comes up in my community all the time because of our high school coaches. 

Would you rather have a knowledgeable coach who has the skillset but lacks the personal skills and is a butt or not so nice a person on/off the field?  Or would you rather have a great ethical guy who lacks skillset but teaches your kid great life lessons and how to be a man/great role model?

I know the perfect is one who has both but I think that is less than 5% of coaches in my determination and I know my determination is not the same as many on here.  I think what you do off the field and your reputation as a person is part of the personal skillset. 

Original Post

My son played for the butthead in high school. It turned out he wasn’t a bad guy. I had a long conversation with him at a local showcase. But he lacked social and communication skills in general. He was more comfortable bossing kids around than dealing with adults. My son was afraid of him soph season even though he had a great year. Junior year as my son took his place at the top of the pecking order he laughed the coach off away from the field. 

I didn’t need coaches and teachers to be role models. We (parents) taught our kids what was right or wrong. It’s a plus to have outside role models. But it wasn’t needed. 

James G posted:

We talking choice for HS coach, travel, or college?

Your call between travel and high school.    I think when it comes to college it is different but I won’t limit discussion.   

I would prefer #1 in every area.   As long as they are not abusive I don’t care about their personality.   I have had a few, especially travel guys, that I have had to not allow my son to be around after we left the fields.   Lots of alcoholics in travel organizations in my opinion.  May be that comes with dealing with travel parents.  

We've also had a lot of high school coaches that were great guys but really had no business coaching high school ball.  I could live with it because hs is not where you get recruited.    Just have fun with hs and play with friends for school pride.  

The nice guy who doesn't know the game is a literal danger to Baseball players.  The pitch counts will get too high, he'll mess up a kid's hitting mechanics, he'll mess up throwing mechanics, and he'll do stupid things like take a kid off the mound after throwing 90 pitches and put him at 3B, or have a kid play Catcher in 6 games in 5 days, or have a kid play Catcher the day after throwing 100 pitches etc etc etc...

I don't want that guy anywhere near my kid.  And there are way too many of those guys in Baseball these days.

#1 worst coach — the guy who knew little about baseball, except that my son was better than his. Most devastating comment "mom, I think he likes me better than his own kid."

#2 worst coach — the nicest guy in the world. Most devastating comment "mom, I never know if i'm really doing things right or if he's just being nice."

Best coach ever — youth travel coach who taught my son to love the game. To love watching it and to love playing it, and to love thinking about it.

He's the guy we called for advice during the recruiting process, he's the guy who lined up 12 10-year-old boys to put on decent pants and shirts and come to my mom's funeral to support my son, and suggested that our team adopt families in need at the holidays and then stood back and let the moms run with it. This is the guy who, when we gather, still talks to the boys about baseball, but also about what it means to be a man and a father.

Coaches are always role models. Sometimes of what to do, sometimes of what not to do. And the more adults you have watching your kids and caring about them, the better off you are, and the better off your child is.

The problem is IMO this is all about levels. How bad of a guy? How little knowledge? What is the balance? Are there assistants around to teach skill sets the head coach can't?

Without understanding the baseline it is very hard to say...with all that being stated I am tired of being around assholes. I watch college coaches walk around thinking they are something special but based on the records they aren't. Coaching profession is an odd dynamic, it creates it owe little vacuum and then feeds itself. 

Find a good human inside that vacuum and you will be ok - most of the time. 


I agree with old_school that there are definitely levels to this. My son has had both types to some degree and there is good and bad in both approaches. I will say this; by the high school level, my son easily spent more time around his coaches and team than his parents and we were very thankful that he had a head coach that was a great influence in baseball and life.

They need somebody who will push them and get them to step up their own game, not a friend. Parents should be the influence and teach them life lessons on how to be(come) a man. There are some cases where a role model/fatherly figure might be better, but outside of some select circumstances the first coach is always the better option. The jerk coach is even more necessary for a talented player, keeping them in line and showing them they're no better than the rest of the team. Might be a jerk, but they don't need to have a relationship once he graduates

If the guy is a disaster as a human being, then he usually can't be a very good coach, even if he knows a lot about baseball. A coach needs to know how to deal with his's a major part of the job description.

   I had a coach when I was in my early teens who, it later was revealed, was a child molester. Sorry...i don't give a damn how much BB he knows. I know of another guy who constantly screams at players using profane, mocking and abusive language...again, sorry, I don't care how BB he knows. He's the sort of guy that would make my 16yo quit BB.

   I have no problem with a coach who calls players out for poor play and behavior, as long as he is fair. I actually like some of that. There are a few too many coaches around here who don't enforce discipline, i.e. threaten to bench players but don't, and the team morale as a whole suffers in the long term.

   Having said all that, the best BB coach I ever had was soft spoken. He seldom raised his voice. He would bench you if you didn't listen though, and move you out of key positions(SS. P, C, batting order)if you couldn't do the job. 

It depends on the level and it depends on the structure the player has around him off the field. In some cases the best thing that can happen to a kid is have someone in their life that can fill the void in their life. How long are they going to play the game? How long are they going to need the life lessons this coach taught them? Every kid is different. Every kids situation at home is different. Some kids have a Dad, Mom,Uncle, Sibling, someone in their life that will ensure they get the things from the game they need. HS baseball is 3 or 4 months out of the year. For some the best thing that could happen to them is have a Coach who simply teaches them things unrelated to actually playing the game. 

For me I would rather have a great guy who knows the game and can teach it. A great guy who treats my son like he was his own. A great guy who takes the time to teach life lessons through the game. Given the two choices give me the guy who is the great guy who knows nothing about the game. I can teach him that. His travel coach can teach him that. There are other resources that can help me teach that. The last thing I want is some a-hole taking the joy from the game before he's mentally capable of dealing with it. 

I personally failed more than I would like to admit. 



Coach May, 100%.  We have lots of people who teach our son mechanics.  I would choose a guy who cares about the kids, their future and helps them to love the game.  There are a lot of coaches that leave kids with less self confidence and less love for the game then they had when they came to them.

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