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My son is 9th grade, a lefthand pitcher that thoughs unofficially in the 80's has a mean circle chang, curvball and slider that he gets around the dish. He can hit the ball over 300 ft. oppisite field and is being professionally trained, he is 5'9" 195 lbs, wears size 13 spikes and hasn't really hit his growth spurt yet. I'm afraid that the high school that he is zoned for the coaches play favorites and get the info from outside sources such as father/coaches that will push thier kids, friends etc. out front. I'm not in a position were I can be around all the time due to my job like other fathers. it will be very frustrating seeing jr. odd man out due to the politics in all the high schools in our area...
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Politics can and do exist at every level of baseball.All you can do is make sure your son is well prepared.If he is good enough, any good coach will have him on the field.You cant wory about politics, just focus on what you can do.ANd dont go into the HS season thinking that will happen. Be positive, and dont mention politcs and all that to your kid.Let him just play and have fun.
You could sum it all up with two words from the third sentence of your post ---- "I'm afraid" ----
Fear Not! Dog you're just experiencing the emotion that all parents feel when they want ONLY the best for their child and you know that might not happen. Matter of fact you KNOW it won't always happen. You can rest assured your child will have the opportunity to do good. He will have his share of game winning hits or get the save in a big game but he will also strike out with the bases loaded and hit into a double play when the team is counting on him. He may even take the "L" in a game ---- Stay positive and welcome to the life of being the parent of an athlete....
Originally posted by war dog:
My son is 9th grade, a lefthand pitcher that thoughs unofficially in the 80's has a mean circle chang, curvball and slider that he gets around the dish. He can hit the ball over 300 ft. oppisite field and is being professionally trained, he is 5'9" 195 lbs, wears size 13 spikes and hasn't really hit his growth spurt yet. I'm afraid that the high school that he is zoned for the coaches play favorites and get the info from outside sources such as father/coaches that will push thier kids, friends etc. out front. I'm not in a position were I can be around all the time due to my job like other fathers. it will be very frustrating seeing jr. odd man out due to the politics in all the high schools in our area...

Not sure where you got your info about the High School Coach, but it sounds like it came from disenchanted parents? We had a similar experience. We were told by some Parents of upperclassmen that it was all about politics and that their Sons were not playing because the Coach brought up 2 Freshman that were highly touted but unproven. One of those Freshman is now playing AA in the Cardinals organization and the other got a D1 scholarship! So, maybe the ones that are saying this are parents of less-than-talented kids?
My Son went through 4 years of this program with absolutely no issues!

Other than the annual intrasquad scrimmage, I never attended a High School baseball practice. Why would you need to? Most Coaches frown on it. Some prohibit it.

On another note, if your Son has a future in baseball, his High School adventure is not near as important as his Summer exposure. Get him on a top-notch Summer team that provides good training and exposure.
Going into HS, son had a new HC, he started on JV, I never worried about his playing time, son took care of that. I have found that parents who worry about their son's future playing time know in the back of their minds junior isn't the best. Now I'm sure there are some places where politics may play a role, but really if your son is a top notch player ( you should know by HS) playing time will not be an issue. I think 99% of coaches want the best chance to win. Even in our son's situation, the new coach wasn't his best supporter but had to because of his abilities as a catcher. And it just so happened the coach's son was our #1 pitcher. So it worked out for son, he and others on his team did not like playing for this man due to his attitude.
This can be much ado about nothing---I have found in my experience that if the player has the talent there is no probem with "politics"---then "politics"
seem to effect the parents of the players of lesser talent who feel their child is being wronged

Let you son do his thing on the field and all will be right with the world
I agree with all said here. Most coaches want to win. Last year on our team, the three starting pitchers were a freshman and two sophmores. There were 2 senior pitchers and a junior on the team. I think when we started the season, the parents of one of the seniors was very disgruntled. However, over the course of the season, he saw how his son performed and how the younger guys did. He wasn't real happy, but he quit grumbling so much.

There will always be some politics. Seniors will usually get preferential treatment, unless an underclassman is head and shoulders above him, but generally the coach wants to win and will play those with the talent to help him do that.

If your son is that good, I wouldn't worry too much. The other thing I wanted to say is, I wouldn't try talking to the coach and promoting him too much. Maybe let him know that he is there so the coach knows generally who he is before tryouts begin, but don't pump him up too much. Coach probably hears how good a parents kid is ad nauseum. And he hears it from parents whose kids really are good as well as from those whose kids are very bad. He has no way to know until the kids hit the field. If your kid has the stuff, he will play. Be confident in that.
If you see a huddle of parents away from the stands with their arms crossed and they don't smile very often, stay away from them. This is the "politics" crowd. They know everything. They alternately award themselves the title of Mr. Baseball. They know more than the coach. They know more than anyone about who should be playing.

I was warned about politics when my son was in middle school and on JV's his freshman year. When he started as a soph the only politics I heard about were the ones I supposedly played to have him be the first soph to start opening day in six years. The dad of the first freshman to ever start opening day heard the same thing. What the complaining parents overlooked was our kids had been playing up in travel for two years and already made 18U scout teams for the upcoming summer.

"Politics" happen to marginal players. The "politics" are the coach decided the player other than the complainer's son has better potential. I've never heard screams of politics from the parents of obvious starters.

Relax. Tell your son to work hard. Have him read How to Make the High School Team.
Last edited by RJM
Originally posted by Fungo:
Fear Not! Dog you're just experiencing the emotion that all parents feel when they want ONLY the best for their child and you know that might not happen. Matter of fact you KNOW it won't always happen. You can rest assured your child will have the opportunity to do good.....Stay positive and welcome to the life of being the parent of an athlete....

True, double-true and triple-true! Wink

wardog - You're feelin' the same way most parents feel when this HS thing begins. Try and relax and let your son's ability do the talking. Haven't met a HS coach yet who didn't want to win. No way (well at least 99 times out of 100) will a coach cut loose a kid who can help him win. Yes, there are a small handfull of knuckleheads out there...but FAR fewer than most parents believe.

Side note: Someone on here made a comment about summer ball being more important than HS ball. That may well be true in many circumstances...probably was for our older son. But I just want to comment that our younger son's HS coach (different HS than older one) is as good as it gets...been doin' this for 25 years, over 500 wins and many, many players on to college and pro ball (including MLB). So in this case, HS ball is at the very least AS important as summer ball, maybe moreso? And this has been confirmed by EVERY SINGLE college coach we have talked too with regards to this HS coach and team and our son's situation. But he also plays in one of the top summer programs...and as one college coach told us, "You've really got the best in both worlds." So don't write off or overlook either one.
I think this topic will always come up here at the hsbaseballweb. Excellent comments thus far...

I have no doubts politics exist at some level in every organization or endeavor. It is part of the human condition imho. With respect to baseball, there are some tools to overcome politics:

1) You cannot control the coach's decision so never discuss politics with your son. Encourage him to lay it all out on the line and let the chips fall where they may. If he comes up short, encourage him to be the best team player on the planet and be prepared for future opportunites.

2) Versatility can defeat politics. If you are a shorstop and the coaches son is a shorstop, it might be a tough gig to beat that kid out. If you can slide over to second or third, you have tripled your chances of playing. If you can play outfield, you have increased your odds even more.

3) For non-pitchers, if you can hit they will find a place for you in the lineup.

4) For pitchers, throw strikes and let the chips fall where they may. It is hard for a coach to have confidence in a kid who is afraid to throw strikes imho.

5) Only focus on those things you can control like...

a) first to arrive last to leave
b) have the best attitude on the team
c) be the hardest worker on the team
d) have the dirtiest uniform on the team
e) be the guy who hustles the most
f) be the best teammate
g) do any team dirty work that might need done like field maintenance, carrying the water cooler, shagging balls, picking up equipment, etc. etc., etc.
h) never hang your head
l) always concern yourself with your teammates first

These things can get you noticed and help you stand out in a crowd. Never ever make excuses. Even though politics may exist, never let it be an excuse. A big part of baseball is learning how to overcome the excuses.
war dog,
I don't like talking specifics about my son but I will tell of his HS situation because it can relate to you and all freshman players/parents.

Freshman year he did not make JV although he and I thought he was among the top couple of freshman players. Up to 5 or 6 freshman got JV time that year. Son was very upset. My advice? Go out and do what you do and things will work out.
Son went on to be the best hitter on the freshman team and never got an inning on JV. (Every year at the year end banquet the coaches give individual stat sheets to every player)

Sophmore year, same thing. Didn't make varsity. Extremely disappointed. Wanted to quit HS ball and wait for travel. Me? Same advice as freshman year.
Same results, best hitter (stat sheet) and power hitter. Although called up for V playoff game, not one inning played.

For the first time in my life I did call the JV coach to see if my son had any discipline issues for not playing. No issues, but he also didn't understand why not called up.

Junior year. Makes varsity, starts 1B, bats 3rd every game. Breaks HS season HR record, hits almost 500 and makes many post season all star teams.

I don't think it was politics with my son, maybe a coach with an agenda. But whatever the reason is that a kid doesn't play he should continue to play the game as he has up to that point.

The moral of this story is that if the talent is there it will be noticed and appreciated eventually, if not immediately. Don't let your son use politics or disappointments as a crutch. You will hear two things many times on this site, "just worry about what you can control" and "it's a marathon not a sprint". Two truer phrases you will never hear. If the talent is there they will get what they earn sooner or later if we, the parents, and outside nonsense stay out of the way.

Now back to our originally scheduled program!
Last edited by fillsfan
These have been excellent posts. STAY away from the complainers , the whiners , the people who constantly talk about politics , the negative folks! They are miserable , they want another member to join their team. What is really sad is in many cases they have already made their son miserable as well. Do not listen to their stories that they will tell how this kid did this and this kid did that and then the coach did this and then the coach did that. They will spend four years of assisting each other in the negative environment. Once in awhile one of their kids will become a starter and they will fade from the club. Sometimes they will come right back as soon as he doesnt start. Well most of the time.

Do not concern yourself with the parents that appear to be gaining an advantage for their kids by playing apparent politics with the coaching staff. It serves no purpose to do this only than to cause you to worry about something that does not matter. Do not concern yourself with what these parents say about other players or the team. If you listen close enough you will rarely if ever hear them say anything positive about the other players unless the player is a son of one of the negative parents club. If you listen closely you will hear them constantly being negative and constantly pumping each others kids to oneanother and constantly putting down the players that play in front of the negative parents clubs kids.

Let it be fun and a positive experience for your son. Let it be a fun and positive experience for you. When its all over and this quick four years comes to an end you will be very glad you did. And if you dont you will wish like H ell you had.

The proof is obvious how this all works. Observe the parents that come to the park and cheer for the team and enjoy the games. Watch how they have a good time. Now observe the parents negative club. They only enjoyment they have is in seeing failure by the players in front of their kids. Using this as a way to validate their negative attitudes. Also observe how their attitude quickly changes when one of their sons earns a starting spot. Quickly that member is no longer wanted in the club. And that member is no longer feeling like they want to be in the club.

The people I am talking about are obvious. You will quickly learn who they are. You have the opportunity to make the right decision. I hope you do. Good luck to your son he sounds like a talented young player.
Last edited by Coach_May
I think I have mentioned this before but I think it bears mentioning again with regard to politics in HS baseball

My sons senior year in HS saw a political move in town to remove the longtime baseball coach---it took place just before practice began in the spring--my son was devastated when he got the news

If you have a strong AD things can be averted-- he was forced to remove the coach but he took over after that---his search committee was himself, the Asst Principal and my son who was the team captain--I objected to my son being on the committee but he, my son, talked me out of it because he said he knew what was going on and he wanted a piece of the action--they got the highly successful football coach to apply, he had been a baseball stud at the Division II college level, ---he got the job and all went well---my point is that if there is a strong system in place the politics can be aborted

Funny thing is that some 15 years laters we all touch base every now and then
I can speak from the point of view of a son who had the rare really bad H.S coach. He played JV for 2 years, did his work and got what he could out of it, played on excellent summer teams for good coaches and is playing in college, the only one to do so in that coaches ten year H.S. career. He knows the coach is just a rotten human being and now that he is out of H.S he does what he can to steer the local kids who want to pursue their dream to avenues where the ****** coach has little impact. He even is the pitching coach for the middle school kids during the summer. I could not be more proud. The adversity in my opinion made him a better player in the long run, he learned life is not fair, some coaches are to be avoided if you can, and you can still prevail in the face of adversity.
I agree with all the advice given...very good stuff...

However, being a good ball player is not always good can be the best kid on the team and if your attitude sucks, well, some coaches will send you packing...

This happened at my kid's school last year...the kid, clearly the best kid on the team. Yet, he felt entitiled and did not have to work hard to keep a spot on the team because he was the best player on the team. He was also a bully, who picked on others. As you would expect, he had an overall bad attitude. The coach gave him two years to mature and develop, but then decided he could tolerate it no more...and cut him in his senior year.

Devastating to the kid and his parents would be an understatement of how they felt. Getting cut in your senior year when you're trying to manuever to get into the best school and BB program you can and then get cut? Wow, this could seem like the end of the world to a kid. Indeed, the dad came so unglued at the coach he had to be escorted off the school campus. Not a good situation.

Anyway, the point is that no matter how good your son is he needs to keep working and striving to get better while respecting his teamates, coaches, teachers and fellow students. To remember playing the game is a privilage and not a right. Your son will play at the discreation of the coach and he should respect his decisions. Do not complain about the coach in front of your son because nothing good ever comes out of this. Have your son focus on his skills and try to ignore and forget anything else.

Play your game and not the game of politics...
Last edited by Coach Waltrip
If you play long enough , if your kid plays long enough , you will encounter situations where you feel you or your kid is getting the short end of the stick. Hey , thats life. Now how are you going to deal with it? That is what is important.

You focus on why you are really there. Your kid to play baseball , be a great team mate and you to support him and the entire team and enjoy the experience. When your focus shifts to the BS it all becomes BS. All of it.

There will come a day when you have zero control of the BS. And there will come a day when its not going exactly as you would like it to go. So what? Its baseball. Sit back and let your son battle , claw , fight , learn , adapt , adjust , overcome. Listen , encourage , give advice when needed and shut up and listen when they want to talk and just let them know you will be there if they need you. And then let them do what men have to do. Or you can become part of the problem.

The lessons we learn when faced with adversity are far more valuable than lessons not learned by avoiding it because of fear of failure. Its not such a bad thing to have to learn how to deal with this stuff at these ages. Because sooner or later they will have to in life as well. Baseball teaches alot more than how to play a game. It also can teach lessons that help you in life. If you let it.
My son is a freshman in HS. The politics talk started at the first preseason meeting of the year. School had been in session for 3 weeks.

We blew it off thanks to some excellent advice I had read on here over the years. I did notice that it was the parents of kids who hadn't been promoted past their grade level the last couple of years. One parent even said that we didn't have to worry about politics because we were good friends with one of the starters on varsity's parents and we had an "In" with the political crowd.

It was pretty amusing but it annoyed my wife quite a bit.

Thanks again for all of the great advice on this site. It is a life saver and has reduced my stress level by a large amount. Keep up the good work guys and gals.
Wardog- print this advice and keep it handy. Read it once and read it many times if you think things aren't
going your son's way.

You have gotten great advice from the best posters in the world. Follow their advice and keep your comments to your son positive and things will work out.

Welcome it looks like you found the right site just in time. Relax and try to enjoy the ride- it goes waaaay too fast.
war dog, I wish I could get back all that time and energy that I wasted worrying about politics, worrying about what the other parents were thinking, and even being mad at some of them when I learned that they thought he got his playing time due to "politics."

Now I know that none of that stuff matters! What matters is what he did, and continues to do, on the field. Not what happens in the stands.

Follow the advice you're getting! It will be hard sometimes, but do all you can to avoid the negativity. It's bad for your health!

There is one more thing your son can control. His grades. You'll hear it over and over again, and it is the truth. Good grades really do open doors.
Last edited by 2Bmom
Politics do exist. Unlike some people the one's who told me about the politics were a couple guys whose kids ended up playing D1 and a couple whose kids ended up playing pro ball. At times it was pretty blatant. At times things seemed pretty fair. Even so all you can do is try to be so good that the politics don't matter. Not every player has that luxury.

You'll be a lot happier if you convince yourself that there aren't any politics regardless and as some others have told you don't get your son worried about politics.
Last edited by CADad
Wow, so many posts with the same message I'd give you. Stay positive with your son, expectations effect outcomes. Focus every bit of energy on what he can control, he'll start influancing the others things outside his control. Understand his job is to make the greatest contribution to the program's success he can. No program can ever get enough of a kid like that.

Last season most of the dozen or so kids from a club team I'd coached for a long time played together in HS. There was a lot of concern about PT and who was playing were, what games kids would pitch etc.. We came up with a short saying to deal with all of that; "shut up and hit". Most of the time it's really that simple, don't let yourself get caught up in things you can't control, work hard and rake.
Last edited by 3rdgenerationnation
I would like to thank all for the responses.
I do follow a lot of the advise given sublinamally. I would like to say that it's not a worry as much of a concern with the politics since this is his first year of high school and baseball hasn't started yet.
I have to say for jr. is basically oblivious to the politics, he just sees what has gone around him in the past and the positive thing I've seen is it has given him the desire to work harder and push himself to get better.
As for me I probably sound like a broken record telling him "to do what you", "be positive" and "keep smilling"; he does and has fun doing it. He always has a great attitude eliminating the stress or stressors for the people around him...
For me when I do get a chance to watch my son play I watch from a far enjoying the competition of all and at the end of the game I walk up to all say to them good game or good job and when I get to jr. I will slap him five tell him that I'm proud of you. No matter the out come is...

PS. I'm Relaxed.
War dog, one thing I know for sure: Regardless of politics, if your son exudes confidence — I don't mean cockiness but just confidence in his ability — the coach will play him. TRhit is right in his definition of talent. Attitude is a big part of it. If the coach sees him intimidating batters with confidence and ability, I don't care how bad a coach is or what his good-ole-boy mentality is, your kid will play. I guarantee it.
This is all great advice except that sometimes a kid needs experience to get better and exude confidence. In our case, the HS coach was dealing with heavy donaters to the Booster's Club with a pitcher son. That coupled with the fact our son was an unknown to him, caused him to not put him in until the end of the season. It was one of those far reaches into the bullpen when the coach had exhausted all his pitchers. That kind of pressure without the experience didn't make for a good presence on the mound and made the HS coach reluctant to put him in the next season. I've seen this with batters too, the coach doesn't put a kid in until the 6th or 7th game and then by then the kid feels so much pressure to do well that they fold. While son still played on the HS team(mostly sat on the bench), we found him a coach on a travel team that did believe in him. Amazing what can happen when someone gives you a chance. He became their starting pitcher and brought the team to their first ever tournament championship. When the HS coach finally put him on the mound, son blew him away. Now he is their go-to closer and is being looked at by several colleges.

Politics were definitely in play on the team as it is in many places. But we just stayed away from the gossip/negative parents, and got him the experience he needed to get better. If your son isn't able to grow on the high school team and becomes a victim of the politics, DO NOT WAIT! Get him onto a reputable travel team and when he's a junior, a showcase team.
Last edited by sandlotmom
We always here politics. I was the head coach at a high school for 25 years. I played the best kids. I did not know who their father was where they came from who they played for etc etc Despite what people say about politics there comes a time when all the "politics" ends. In my case it ended when they got to me. You either can play or you can not. I wanted to put the best team on the field. Maybe this is being old fashioned but what coach would bench a kid and play somebody else of less talent because his father or uncle or whatever is whatever? it is about TALENT. Coaches who get the squeeze because of politics be a coach and tell them to go to (*&&^%.
I agree, playing the best kids are what most coaches do, but I have to admit I have on occasion seen something else.

What I usually see is a coach (including myself) play a kid who they believed could not perform because they felt bad they didn't play enough or had been pressured by the parents or perceived pressure. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it does not.

I have learned as much as possible to ignore the politics when it is aimed at me (coach) because it will cause you to make missteps in judgment, which I have certainly done. When you play a kid because his parents have pressured you too you end up ticking off someone else. You find yourself in a lose-lose situation.

Let me give you an example...When my sons, Sam and Gabe were little I began coaching their little league team. Sam had a good arm, one of the fastest on the team, usually one of the top hitters and one of the best players in the league. My other son, Gabe was a big, slow and uncoordinated player was not very good, always one of the last to be drafted, but he wanted to play and to be with dad. No problem, I wanted him on the team and enjoyed it immensely.

About midway through the season a parent sent me a very long email detailing why I played favorites with Sam only because he was my son. She said I played him in all the good positions like SS/pitcher and ignored her more talented son. She said her son had low self-esteem and needed to pitch to show what he was capable of doing. The fact is her son had a difficult time hitting the broad side of a barn and he did lack confidence. I just didn’t have the practice time to work with him to throw strikes.

Anyway, I said I would pitch him if the situation dictated, but I explained to her as delicately as I possibly could that I was not going to pitch him in a tight situation or when the game is on the line because if he failed miserably how was he going to feel then? What was that going to do for his self-esteem?

In addition, when I pointed out that I had another son on the team she was surprised and said she didn't know that in spite of the fact I had given her a roster with all the players names. Unfortunately, Gabe played the minimum and was happy with that, but not his mom because she let me have it too! And that was worse than any was in person!

As a coach you will always find yourself in this position with some parents whether it is little league or high school, it is something you have to learn to handle. It goes with the territory.

As a coach I want my weakest players to get better. So it is in my interest as well as the individual players that they work to get better on their own and with the team. You never know when you need that extra bat or arm to pitch. As I have heard it said, 'You are only as good as your weakest player.'
Last edited by Coach Waltrip
Unfortunately, Gabe played the minimum and was happy with that, but not his mom because she let me have it too! And that was worse than any was in person!
A friend was president of our LL. When his son didn't make all-stars he spent a couple of weeks sleeping on the couch.

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