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I can only speak for myself, but I suspect that most of us are in this position: At this point in his journey, no matter how much I read/listen/study, my son knows more than me about gameplay and his own place in it. I feel that my best value to him is, in order:

  1. Being a loving parent, however he needs that role to be (head cheerleader, target of venting, etc.)
  2. Helping guide his attempt to play at the next level
  3. Asking questions to help me understand ("In that AB, were you trying to hit behind the runner?")
  4. Asking questions as an outside observer that may give him a reason to think about where he could make an adjustment/improvement ("The pitcher was really setting the pace against you guys and was working fast. What if you stepped out and adjusted your gloves, called time a few times, etc.?"), and accept it if he shuts me down

I've definitely not been perfect in adhering to the above, but over the past 18 mos or so, I've been really trying to stick to it. It makes life a lot happier in the end for all of us.

My style is that the only questions I ask are:

1). Did you have fun?

2). Are you hungry?  What do you want to eat?

And, if something significant happened in MLB, I’ll ask about that:  “ hey, did you hear Mike Trout hit 2 HR’s today?”  That kind of thing...

Every kid is different.  But that works well with my son.  He’ll end up talking to me about all kinds of things that happen in his games, but I let him take the lead on that.

I can't remember getting angry at my kids for something that they did on the field. Exasperated but not mad.

In my experience the dads (almost always, it's the dads) that do get angry with their kids (and with other kids) are guys who haven't played the game much, or haven't played it well.  I've heard about ex major leaguers going ballistic on their players, so I know there are exceptions.

I do get mad at other stuff unrelated to players but I refuse to talk about that until my 2022 completes his senior HS season.

I will share one example, though: It makes me stone-cold bonkers, ape-sh.t crazy, certifiably cuckoo when a starter is pinch hit for after their first at bat. It makes me even more nuts when the pinch hitter hits safely.

But that's just me.

If you're getting mad at your kid for something they did you are making the game about you and you need to CTFD. The game is not about you. You are investing in it on behalf of your son, and it's up to him to reap the return. If you can't deal with failure because you feel like your investment is being wasted, then either pull the plug or stay away, and stop viewing the results. Nothing and no one is perfect. Baseball is truly a game of failure.

Most kids are trying their best, unless they truly don't want to be there and are looking for an excuse to exit the sport.

In either case, it's not about you and you need to calm down. Try talking to your player. Yelling and getting mad for imperfection is selfish behavior.

Thankfully, by 16U or so most parents have learned just how difficult it is to achieve any level of success on the field and they are grateful for the opportunity, rather than trying to steer the process. The complainers and schemers wash out more and more the higher you go. Thank god.

Last edited by DD 2024

The other thing nowadays is:  most Dads have zero clue how hard Baseball is.  Even the ones that played Baseball.  I was a Basketball player, sure I played Baseball up through age 15 but that was a long long time ago.

My 2021 D3 bound kid has faced pitchers throwing in the 90’s many many times.  15-20 years ago a pitcher throwing in the 90’s was almost a sure fire early draft pick.  Today?  No big deal

But yeah, Mr Big Mouth Dad, you get in there and face 90 mph with movement.

The non athlete parents are always the worst.  

During a Basin Leaqgue Championship Game in Valentine, Nebraska, Ron Perranoski [future Dodger pitcher] was pitching a 1-0 game and a "Booming" voice from 2,000 people chanted "paranites" I can see you ears wiggle". From 1st base I looked at the "loud mouth" then his voice said "four eyes" your next.

Next inning while at bat I fouled a ball in his direction. He was quiet after that.

"True Story"

Bob

I will add, it is amazing what young players are doing today. I played all through high school and had several JUCO offers (FL) but decided to join the military after High school. I also played catcher like my son does. He is a more technically/fundamentally sound player at just under 14, then I was when I graduated. He may not have the strength and power that I had then. But I would say he is already a better "player" then I ever was.

Only thing I ever get upset about is when he gets down on himself after a mistake. He is very competitive (like his mom LOL). That is the only thing we ever talk about after games. It is a learning process and I am just hoping it is something I can help him outgrow. He is reading "The Mental Game of Baseball" right now, and I think it is helping. (Great book, highly recommend).

Three rules, that if not followed I would get angry.

1. sub-par effort

2. Unsportsmanlike behavior

3. Talking back to a coach (regardless if they were wrong or an a-hole)

If the effort was there, I wasn’t as concerned with the results.

When son was 11, he asked me to not sit in the bleachers and stay in my car during the game. The previous day, we had a rather contentious father son practice. Our field had a parking lot that was elevated above the field. So I honored his request and stayed in the car. First time up he looked at a called third strike, I honked my car horn. Everyone knew it was me, parents and players. Everyone was laughing even my son. To this day it’s still brought up and we laugh about it.

@K9 posted:

I've seen that the further along you get the more restrained the parents are.  I'm sure its not a coincidence.

At East Cobb there are the upper fields (full size) and the lower fields (little fields). It has always shocked me how on the lower fields there is always a crazy energy.  People yelling and screaming, with the occasional fear of a fight.  Go up to the upper fields and it is so quiet compared to the lower fields, you feel like you could take nap.

PO, stories like that just break my heart. I’m so paranoid I don’t even ask my son baseball questions much any more. I try to listen more than I talk (which is EXTREMELY difficult for me). The last thing I want my son to think is I see him as a baseball player. I want him to know his dad thinks he is a great young man that just happens to have some skills throwing a small white ball. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to talk baseball. I just let him guide and direct the conversation. I catch myself often telling him that he is more than a baseball player and that it does not define his life. These are MUCH different thought than I had when he was in HS, I’m ashamed to admit. Being a parent is hard and I will never tell someone else how to parent. That doesn’t mean I haven’t seen some of these examples and felt for that kid.

@younggun posted:

PO, stories like that just break my heart. I’m so paranoid I don’t even ask my son baseball questions much any more. I try to listen more than I talk (which is EXTREMELY difficult for me). The last thing I want my son to think is I see him as a baseball player. I want him to know his dad thinks he is a great young man that just happens to have some skills throwing a small white ball. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to talk baseball. I just let him guide and direct the conversation. I catch myself often telling him that he is more than a baseball player and that it does not define his life. These are MUCH different thought than I had when he was in HS, I’m ashamed to admit. Being a parent is hard and I will never tell someone else how to parent. That doesn’t mean I haven’t seen some of these examples and felt for that kid.

+1 When i hear from my son....we talk about everything in the world except baseball unless he brings it up.

I’ve seen so many kids over the years who dropped out of Baseball by the time they are 18.  There are exceptions, but there are invariably one of two scenarios that are a big influence on the kid dropping out of Baseball (or both):

1) the kid is pushed way too hard by their Dad.  Their whole lives and self image revolves around Baseball

2). The kid is treated like a local child celebrity and told by his youth coaches and parents that he is a future MLB star. By the time they are 16 or 17 and reality sets in and they realize they are more likely a D2/D3 guy, or that they will have to work incredibly hard to be a D1 guy, or that they really are a pro prospect but realize how much work goes into it, they drop out...

Here is when I got most pissed at my kid.

1) When I coached them during the last year of rec league and one complained about the pitch I called after it got hit (forget that I signaled for it to be pitched outside the zone).  After the second time of snapping off from the mound, I pulled him.  Normal kid I probably would have talked to him and asked what was wrong, but it pissed me off too much.  I then put in his brother, who finished the game (actually really had a great time that season outside that incident).   

2) Whenever I umpire a game with that same kid and he disagrees with one of my calls.

Those two are the downside of having too close of a relationship with your kid.  I just hope I never have that kid in one of my classes.

He's harder on himself more than I ever could be.   I've never been angry when my kid had a bad game in travel, high school or college.   Quite the opposite.  I find myself amazed at some of the things he's done on the mound, at the plate and in his professional life.   He certainly had his share of bad games, but he never let it get to him.  I remember one non-conference game when he had come back from a year long injury.   His first pitch back went over the fence...swampboy was there with me.  Son kept after it, and pitched a beauty the following weekend against a ranked team.  It was the same demeanor in both outings.

When he was playing in college, it was exactly as 3and2Fastball described:

1). How did you feel out there today? Did you have fun?

2). Are you hungry?  What do you want to eat?

Keep it simple.

Last edited by fenwaysouth

I biked up to a high school game in Maine today. I chatted with the umpires in the parking lot. The state is forcing them to call balls and strikes from behind the mound.

The umpires said of course they’re going to miss more calls than normal. They sometimes get fooled on the location of breaking balls since they’re not on top of the plate.

They said they tune out a lot. But some parents have been so unruly and constant this year they’ve tossed a parent every game. Today is game five of the season. It was quiet today. It was also 8-0 after three.

Coaches are afraid to control the parents out of fear they will complain to the district and get them suspended or fired.

Last edited by RJM

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