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Well, if you go back to my post of several weeks back, you'll see I made an offer of compromise to that player.

Today, the player brought me a letter he typed that said he understood my policy, and he would be here for the Friday game, but would miss the DH on Saturday, and therefore knew he would sit out the next 4 games.

So I guess my offer was essentially rejected. This means that player will now miss about 1/4 of our season. I guess I just have a very different point of view than most folks that it is important to NOT miss games during your season unless it is absolutely necessary.

And I DO understand that it may be out of this player's control, and may be his Parent's choice, not his. But I guess I still just don't get that either.

Hey, it's a much more interesting world when we have people with differing ideas about things,isn't it?
My son (8th grade)has his tryouts next week for his middle school team. Don't know what's going to happen, just hope he makes it, as well that he goes on to make the HS teams! As a parent who's been going to baseball games since he was 7, I can't imagine missing 3 Varsity games that I could be watching him play. I totally understand there are sometimes reasons we can't make a game/practice, but they did have plenty of time to plan so that he could make atleast two of the games. Over the years of baseball there were always the kids that missed several practices and or games, and some of those kids have already dropped out of baseball (now 12-13yr olds). I'm not talking about rec baseball games either, but all-star & travel games. We've gone to all lengths to get our son to games & practices when situations arose. I know some other parents did too, but others just didn't have that same commitment. I feel bad for the kid because it may be out of his control. If the parents were "concerned" (I guess) I think they would have worked something out. I just know one day I hope to be able to watch my son play on his HS Varsity team. If he does he will most likely never miss a game or practice, unless he is very ill, or death in family, or something along those lines. BUT, that is just me though (and my husband)we've always been that way, even in our own jobs. I am not going to knock anyone who says let him go, don't penalize him. I am not saying my way of thinking is the right way. The truth is we all want to do the RIGHT thing by our children, and we just hope our choices are the right ones. It's all we can do. The jury is still out on whether we made all the right choices for our kids, there still growing up. I'll get back to everyone on that in about ten years! lol
Is it not possible that when a kid misses games it is a sign he does not have the dedication needed ?

We have kids on our travel team who miss games due to college visit or other valid reasons but they inform us ahead of time so we can make the needed adjustments----but these are legit reasons

DEDICATION--we have had kids tell us they would be away for the weekend on a visit and then call us from the road saying they were on the way and would be there for the Sunday games---let me tell you that kind of stuff goes a long way in a recommendation when talking with a college coach
Last edited by TRhit
An interesting update, for anyone who read/remembers this thread (and another of my threads about kids going away on a non-mandatory school trip to another country).....

The same player discussed in this thread, regarding Grandma's birthday, has now informed me that he will be going with the Spanish club to Spain for 10 days during this season, missing 6 games. I now have to determine whether to keep him on the team or not. He also chose to NOT play summer baseball at all last summer before this, his Senior year.

Another Senior who has never missed games, and who played Summer baseball for us, and who would likely be our Number 3 pitcher has also opted to go to Spain. Just another one of those things that a high school coach has to agonize over every year....Sigh.... are correct. He's not on the team; that was my misstatement. The proper question is "Do I keep him when he tries out?" He probably has the physical talent to make the team, but he knows my rule that if you have 3 unexecused misses, you are off the team. He wants to make the team knowing he will miss 4 or 5 games and a couple of practices.

And if I keep these two players, I will probably have to cut 2 other players who would not miss any of the practices/games.

As for this being "school first" 20dad: this is not a requirement. It is a voluntary school trip that the kids have to pay for; not all of the Spanish class students go on the trip. I'm not sure how it is any different from a baseball trip? The school would never let us miss 3 or 4 days of school to go play at Yankee stadium, I guarantee you that!
"Do I keep him when he tries out?"

No, he has told you that he has other obligations that will keep him from fully participating.

I would encourage him not to try out.

These are his choices.

Keep the two players that will be there and can participate.

Why would a band member be in the band and not be able to participate?

Why would a cheerleader be on the squad and not be able to participate?

Tell HIM to make a choice.

Either be on your team (if he makes it), or do something else.

Your indecision is making me start to wonder if this is a kid that might be able to pitch, or his dad is the AD, the principal's son, or is VP of the booster club who does not mind cleaning up the concessions stand...........

Tell him to enjoy his trip to Spain.

This kid will never be on your "team".
Last edited by FormerObserver, my indecision comes from wanting to have a successful season and knowing that these two players could help our team, if they were dedicated to the team. The question is: Is leaving to go to Spain a "lack of dedication to the team", or is it just kids who want to participate in TWO activities instead of ONE.
Is this trip during spring break or during regular school time? If they are missing class the principal needs to step up and say something because this is a trip that can be taken during the summer or spring break (which probably still doesn't help you any). At my last school our Spanish teacher took her kids to Spain and Mexico but it was always after school was over.

If this was an isolated case then I would probably be a little more understanding but this is two years in a row "something has come up". When it comes to school activities there has to be some flexibility but at some point you have to make a decision and commitment.

My last school had this technology class that always took a trip to NYC to do something (I always felt it was a shopping trip for several of the women teachers). It lasted from Wednesday to Sunday so they would miss 4 days of games / practices if they went. I told my freshmen they could go if they wanted no harm no foul but after that no way. I could see this being a trip of a lifetime but it didn't need to be an annual event.

I say tell them to take a hike.
If you keep these 2 players, "because it will help you be successful" you will become an unsuccessful head coach because now the players are running the program. In regards to school comes first....This is not school....This is not mandatory....This is not helping their grade....This is not about baseball. This is about 2 family's not making their kids show a true commitment level to something they are doing. I would do the following place a statement in your rules saying that if a player misses 5 days during the season they will be removed from the team. Have the players take this home to have the parents sign before try outs begin. Then cut them because you know they can not live up to this commitment.
you obviously are tired of dealing with this year after year. Only you can stop it. You make the rule and the word gets out; You only have to enforce it once and every year after everyone knows it up front.

A trip to Spain or wherever may be seen as a once in a lifetime thing but playing HS baseball is also a once in a lifetime thing.
Another Update:

Talked to my 2 players who are going to Spain. Explained that after much soul searching to make sure I was doing the right thing for the right reasons, I had to tell them there would be no point in trying out as I would not keep them.

Was told today that both sets of parents have asked for an audience with the Principal and the AD to discuss the need for my termination as baseball coach.

Guess we'll see what happens!!
Here's another situation... I'm looking for some advice on this one. We are taking a Spring break trip this year. Two of our players are also in chorus which is taking a trip to New Orleans over the same dates. The kids have not come to me to mention anything about it yet. Their teachers came to me to inform me that two of my players (likely starters, but that is irrelevant) will not be able to go on our trip because of their commitment to the chorus. Perhaps my real problem is that the players have not yet told me about this and the way that the chorus directors (who I otherwise get along with very well) have handled it.

I honestly am not thinking about wins and losses on the trip. Since they are obviously not conference games, I am more concerned with the development of our team than I am with record.

However from our other trip I know that the kids have a great time and really bond well. It is a positive all around. I feel that we should let the kids decide which to attend. However I am afraid that the kids will feel put in between the two groups. I will not pressure them to come on the baseball trip, but I have a feeling that the chorus directors will.

Am I handling this situation right?
Has anyone bee in a situation like this before?
TC my thoughts and well wishes are with you during this meeting. I know exactly how you are feeling right now because when I first became head coach there was a small movement of parents who did everything in their power to get me fired as well.

I'm going to give you some advice that someone gave me a few years ago and (in my opinion) is perfect for situations like this. At the time I couldn't appreciate it because I was a young coach and this was my first head coaching job and it would ruin my career. But looking at it now it is so true.

If this is a school and administration that will fire you over something like this then it's really not a place you want to coach at. If they are going to bow down to parents like this then at some point they will fire you for something that will be the wrong reason. If this is the case then you deserve to be in a place that will back you and support you all the way. If they can't or won't support you then getting fired is a blessing in disguise.

BC - I'm going to say tell them to make a decision and if they choose chorus over baseball then you can / need to do without them. Now I can see how I might be contradicting myself from my previous posts but I feel that a younger player can be excused for school trips but once you become a JR or SR then it's time to be depended on.
Last year the starting left fielder a Jr. (son's friend since 2nd grade)missed a spring break tournament to go sking with his family. The player that replaced him at the tournament did well and opened the coaches eyes and kept the spot the rest of the season due to his play. The Jr. opened the door for the other player. The replacement player made most of his opportunity. The Jr. that missed the tournament sat the bench most of the season. Team is going to the same tournament this year again at spring break. The player that missed the spring tournament last year has already told my son that if his family goes sking again he is not. He will not miss the spring tournament for anything. In this case I believe the player learned a lesson about being a part of a team from suffering the result of his decision to go sking. Sometimes a player will learn more from the bench than from being cut.

As a parent I understand your point of wanting dedicated players. We have always told our son once you are a member of a team you attend every practice or game. We have arranged family outings etc. to see that son fulfilled is commitment.

This morning the teams starting shortstop a Sr. had dental surgey on his two front teeth. This afternoon he was at teams practice with a swollen face. He did not participate but couldn't stand the idea of missing a pracitce. He watched and helped pick up balls, soft toss, etc.. I know he made an impression on the coaches but even better he made a big impression to the underclassmen about being a member of the team. I believe a player is either dedicated or not he can not be forced into it.

TC - Good luck with your meeting. You sound like a coach I would love my son to play for.
Last edited by gimages
Pretty hard core group. From a parents perspective, I would rather have my kids get to go to Spain, see NY, sing in NO and be well rounded adults. I know I am the minority, but this "my way or the highway" is pretty harsh. What if the football coach says play in summer camps and spring football or you can't play in the fall? Are you OK with that coaches decision? What if it is a religious retreat? Are you going to make a kid give up something that he loves just to play baseball for you? Miss out on family functions? Why would you make a 15 year old make a choice like that? A little flexibility will go a long way IMO. What is best for the Student-athlete? Student being the most important part of the equation.
Originally posted by BCRockets:
We are taking a Spring break trip this year. Two of our players are also in chorus which is taking a trip to New Orleans over the same dates.

Is the chorus a high school course? Have they been in the chorus since the beginning of the year? Or this semester?

The chorus is also a team, and it likely doesn't have bench singers. The players may be more important to the chorus than to the baseball team. And, suppose that the chorus director decided to "cut" the players from her team. Would those players get an "F" in chorus?

If the chorus has been together since before baseball season, it seems to me that the players have a prior commitment, and in order to not let down the chorus, they have to go with the chorus.

I'd be inclined to excuse the absence. It shouldn't be too hard to give the whole team a good rationale. Of course, maybe I don't see it correctly: I'm neither a coach or a chorus director!
Last edited by 3FingeredGlove

And that's why I don't begrudge these players the right to make the choice to go to Spain. Inside I might be ticked off that I'm losing them, but outwardly I make sure they know that I respect their choice and they know there are no hard feelings. I would choose differently then they chose, but then, I'm not them. Nor am I their parents.

I take umbrage at the "its my way or the highway reference". I don't think I say that. I say that I want everyone to commit to this team and put it first for about a month or so, except in the case of school or serious family situations.
Maybe it wasn't you, but the general tone of the thread is pretty brutal. These are kids with more than one priority in life. As they should be. Plus, they generally have very little say in what their families want them to do. I know that when I was in HS and my Dad said we were going on a fishing trip for a week during the season, I didn't have the option to say no. I know that you and most coaches are going to do what is best for the kids. I just don't see the point in kicking a kid off of the team, reducing his playing time or not putting them on the team because of some schedule conflict. How many kids, 20 years later, are going to say "Thanks Coach. I am glad you made me miss that (fill in the blank) so I could play for you."
Spanish club, 10 days, 6 games, optional trip is a lot different to me than the chorus weekend...
What especially comes into play for me is that if you have to CUT kids who would be there every day like gimages shortstop with the swollen face feeding tees....

I don't have to cut where I'm at now (I have before and I HATED it)... it would just be very hard to cut some kid that says, "hey I want to be on this team every day until school's out" instead of a kid who says, "Because I have more talent, I will choose if I'm available to you or not, coach."

good luck tcb1...
I do think the kids should have spoken with both the chorus director and their coach as soon as the conflict became known to them. I also know that teenagers frequently duck this kind of responsibility, in part because they hope that the adults will handle the difficult decisions for them if the kids just wait it out. No matter how this plays out, I think the coach should use the opportunity to teach the kids about accepting responsibility.

Actually, if this really is a case of two school-sponsored activities conflicting with each other, then I think the school should have a policy to handle this, without repercussions to the kids. I really don't see how either activity can claim priority, nor do I think that kids should be required to take part in only one activity just to avoid this kind of conflict.

If the chorus is an actual for-credit class, then the priority was already set when the school scheduled the New Orleans trip.
It is in fact a school sponsored choir trip to New Orleans. Again, I am not concerned about losing games because we are missing players or anything like that. My main concern is that the kids (and the director) have not handled this correctly.

3Finger- I agree that there should be some sort of a policy for events like this. I know a few years ago we had a student who had a similar situation and went to a wrestling meet over a choir concert. So it seems as though there is no real rule as to which the kid should choose. If there isn't a rule about it, I think the decision should be left up to the kid. The problem is that many times they will get pressure from either the coach or director or both that will put them in a very difficult situation, but guess what, life is full of difficult situations. I agree that they are probably hoping that we will make the decision for them and then they don't have to.

I believe I stated in my previous post that I will be excusing the absence if they go to NO since it is a school related function.

Met with the two players and explained to them that after much consideration, I had to remain true to my previously existing rule that going away over spring break on a non-mandatory trip would result in their not making the team. They would be gone for 5 games and for 3 or 4 practices. My rules also have always stated that punishment for an unexused absence from a game results in sitting out double the number of games missed. Unexcused absence from a practice results in punishment (generally running/conditioning)

The principal and AD had me in to meet with them to discuss my policies and the situation in general. Several points were discussed:
1. My policy has been clearly stated for several years.
2. I do not believe my sport is more important than any other activity, but everyone has to make tough choices in life.
3. This trip is another extracurricular activity they may have to make a choice about; if they loved playing s****r, golf and football, which are all played during the same season, they would have to choose one; they couldn't play them all.

The AD and Principal asked if I would "re-form" how my policy reads, but keep it essentially intact. I had no problem with that whatsoever.

The AD and Principal met with the two sets of parents over a 2 hour period the next day. They supported my decision, told the parents that and while they listened to the parents, they held firm that my rules for the team were acceptable.

One father called me several days later and asked if I would meet with him. I told him, "Absolutely". We met in a restaurant and after about 15 minutes of cordial discussion with some respectful disagreement, he stood up, yelled at me that I was wrong and that I was putting myself and the baseball team above the school and student athletes, and stormed out.

Now, 5 days later, I received a cc: letter that says:

Mr. "Principal",

After long consideration, we want to reiterate the injustice in punishing our son, BP, more severly than athletes that have had discipline or academic probation. BP is an honor student with a 4.4 g.p.a.. He represented X High School in the state "other sport" in the fall. He was a student ambassador at the recent Athletic Hall of Fame dinner. BP has never received a demerit in his four years at X High School. And yet, he is banned from participating in a sport that he has committed to the past three years.

After recent discussions with BP, BP's Father contacted Coach TCB1 last Friday. Coach TCB1 was open to meeting with BP's Father. We appreciated Coach TCB1 taking time to explain to BP's Father his rules. We were disappointed that he was not interested in our concerns. BP's Father told Coach TCB1 that his rule was wrong. He was not supporting the school or players' education. Coach TCB1 said that baseball is an education. We all agree that there are learning experiences in sports. However, comparing one week of baseball to an one week International experience is ignorant.

Your support of Coach TCB1's rule has sent a lasting, negative message to student athletes, your teaching faculty, as well as BP. Everything written in your school handbook portrays High School X as a unique experience of developing the "whole" student. This rule defies the principles on which you base your school. Your lack of support towards the student athlete undermines every reason we sent our children to School X.

We are taking a strong stand on this issue because it is wrong. We have expected and demanded much from our kids as it relates to ethics, moral obligation and integrity. How do we teach young adults to be advocates for righteousness if they never experience it personally? Therefore, today we are writing to you as advocates for our son. We are proud of the choices he has made to date. BP is not intellectually gifted, his g.p.a. is a reflection of his work ethic. He has earned our respect. We believe he should have earned the respect of Coach TCB1 as well as you. We understand that a varsity "other sport" player missed the first week of "other sport" to play "other sport" overseas. Also, students from every spring sport will be represented on this trip without consequences from their coach. Gratefully, all the coaches do not share Coach TCB1's philosophy.

As a senior, it is disappointing to not play baseball. However, there is no doubt in our minds as his parents, that he is equally disturbed by your support of Coach TCB1. We feel an obligation to expect more from High School X. We ask that you consider your obligation towards the student athlete.

We are disappointed to end our High School X experience with disillusionment. We would appreciate any feedback or consideration from you.

BP's Mom and Dad

I don't think I will respond to this email unless the AD/Principal want me to. I'd LOVE to, but I think it probably will serve no purpose. Some thought I should not have met with the Father, but I still feel it was the right thing to do despite the fact that it did not seem to have any positive effect. I also find it interesting that while I kept this matter just between myself and the players/parents, those same parents not only brought the AD/Principal into it (no problem with that, since that IS one of their functions), but they also cc'd both of the teachers going on the trip as well as about 5 other faculty members (not sure why) and about 20 baseball parents.

Not looking for affirmation or argument. Just thought some of you might be interested in the developments and that it might spark some more discussion. I'm pretty sure we'll remain pretty equally divided on the policy.
At my son's high school if a player (including the studs) misses Monday's practice he doesn't play in the game Tuesday, no exceptions, no excuses. When a mother asked about Easter vacation in the middle of the season the coach said it's fine to go on vacation as long as the uniform is turned in before departing. He added playing baseball isn't a school requirement. But it's a commitment if making the team.

In all the sports my son has played from age four in s****r (dumb decision) and seven in other sports into soph year of high school, he's missed seven games. He missed a rec basketball game to injury, four LL games to injury and two 15U travel basketball games when the baseball coach told him his basketball season is over when baseball tryouts start. My daughter, with the same kind of schedule into college never missed a game. We schedule all family activities around sports. Sports schedules aren't flexible. Our schedule is flexible.
Last edited by RJM
quote:, my indecision comes from wanting to have a successful season and knowing that these two players could help our team, if they were dedicated to the team.

I just read through this entire thread and this statement bothers me.Shouldn't matter if they can help the team or not, if your making a rule then make it.When you say things like These guys can possibly really help me and thats why you cant decide. If they were marginal players would you feel the same way, if they were bench guys? Just curious, maybe I am reading into it wrong, which I do when thigs are on a internet site because words are do one dimensional.
My own son never missed a practice except once when he had to leave early to take a class to study for SATs.He wouldnt want to go on a trip, didnt sing, or play an instrument, not very well rounded I suppose.Although I tried, he just wants to play ball. Not that that is a good thing either. comment about the players was just the truth that sometimes having a rule and sticking to it is more painful in some years than in others.

If these two players were less-skilled players or kids who probably wouldn't have made the team anyway, it would have made me grumble less. When these players, who might have contributed to some extent, made their choice, it certainly made me unhappy as a coach who wants our team to do well. Any time you have a player who could help you, and you lose him, doesn't it make you a little unhappy?

I understand my own rule, and I know that it can result in this type of situation. It just makes it that much tougher when it was a player who you never expected to be in this situation.

Coincidentally, since all this has happened, I've looked at our team and I don't think we're losing as much as I first thought; I think it opens up some opportunities for some younger players who may prove to be more talented than the players who we lost. A lesson I learned a long time ago, but might have kind of forgotten: Sometimes there is addition by subtraction.
Last edited by TCB1
The principal and AD had me in to meet with them to discuss my policies and the situation in general. Several points were discussed:
1. My policy has been clearly stated for several years.
2. I do not believe my sport is more important than any other activity, but everyone has to make tough choices in life.
3. This trip is another extracurricular activity they may have to make a choice about; if they loved playing s****r, golf and football, which are all played during the same season, they would have to choose one; they couldn't play them all.

The AD and Principal asked if I would "re-form" how my policy reads, but keep it essentially intact. I had no problem with that whatsoever.

The AD and Principal met with the two sets of parents over a 2 hour period the next day. They supported my decision, told the parents that and while they listened to the parents, they held firm that my rules for the team were acceptable.

Who needs to put up with all this. Then you wonder why coaches leave. You make a rule. You enforce it and you have to put up with the above? the good thing is that the administration backed the coach. but look at all the time and agravation spent in dealing with the issue of a player breaking the rule. I coached high school for 25 years. I still teach. Most parents are fine but there are those that believe discipline is great as long as it is not for their son or daughter.

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