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I am sure others have been through this with their sons and their teams and hopefully you have some suggestions on how you handled this situation.

My son is 14 years old, his positions are a pitcher, a first baseman, and an outfielder. Currently,he has the highest batting average and best ERA on his summer select/traveling team. He absolutely loves and appreciates the game. He sometimes loves the game so much that his competitive spirit gets together with his emotions and it shows. In other words, he gets pretty ticked off with his fellow teammates when they do not focus on the game like he thinks they should. He also is the loudest most complimentary cheerleader in the dugout, he encourages his fellow teammates to do better in hitting the ball, run the bases and play the game to the best of their capabilities.

I always thought my son would make a good coach someday if playing baseball never worked out for him.I know he wants the best out of his team he currently plays with and he is going to do the most he can do individually to make sure his team has a chance to win. Unfortunately, it looks as if others on his team don't have that same passion, love, and focus of the game.

I can't say I really disagree with him with his thoughts at times, there is nothing worse then to pitch an outstanding game and have your defense commit a total of 5 errors behind you and allow 6 unearned runs. There is nothing worse then to see half of your team act like they could careless in being there and look like they are trying out for the next episode of Dawn of the Dead. I have told him over and over you can only do what you can control and always look forward to the next at bat and the next game, that is the beauty of baseball. Don't get too high when things are going good and don't get too low and upset when things are going bad.

However,after seeing a variety of competitive baseball teams play this year of different age groups ranging from 14U to 16U, I have to say there are a lot of lazy out of focused players out there. Is this the age that some of these players are only playing baseball because their parents want them to or is this the representation of the lack of a work ethic society we are raising that is showing up on our baseball fields across the country?

Any more suggestions for my son from those who have experienced this? Do I need to find a team that will give him a better batch of more focused players surrounding him next season. Should I place him on a competitive 16U team when he is 15 years old?
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I say this in only the most constructive way: No matter what, you son always should be supportive of his teammates. Baseball is a team game. The players need to be confident in one another. It will serve them all well. And, keep in mind, baseball humbles us all sooner or later. The kid making the game losing play tomorrow could be your son. When that happens he will apprectiate his teammates.
Originally posted by Kokomojo:
You could also consider having him get his GED either this summer or next and then jump right into Junior College. Wink

That is really funny.

rain delay,
Not sure what you or your son are expecting from 15 year olds. Proball players?
He needs to learn to be a better teammate. Someday he will play with players better than him and he will make mistakes, does he want the same in return?
I agree with all of your answers and he has improved tremendously over the past couple of years. Maturity does help and has helped. I do understand that all players make errors, my son included, we all have when we have played the game. However, this is the problem I have with players on my son's team as well as players on other teams. When they do make an error, they have the attitude they don't really care and they really don't want to learn to make sure that particular error doesn't happen again. That is where I have an issue. In a way they need to be better teammates for those who do try.
Originally posted by rain delay:
there is nothing worse then to pitch an outstanding game and have your defense commit a total of 5 errors behind you and allow 6 unearned runs.

Sure there is. If you're a fielder, there's nothing worse than playing stellar defense and getting timely hitting only to watch your pitcher serve up a gopher ball to lose the game.

There's two sides to every coin. It's not fair for him to judge his teammates, unless he wants the same treatment...which he doesn't. We all make mistakes, physical and mental, including your son.

Originally posted by rain delay:
That is where I have an issue. In a way they need to be better teammates for those who do try.

CPLZ say: When finger extended, better to be pointing inward than outward.
Last edited by CPLZ
Errors are part of the game. To visibaly demonstrate frustration or agitation over comiting one only puts a player at a disadvantage when it comes to making the next play. If a player is consistantly making the same error than he may not be in his best position, based on his "tools", and/or the coach may need to spend additional time working with this player or find a replacement.

Some players (especially at younger levels)seem to play harder for for some pitchers vs others. If they really like you and respect you they will sacrifice their body to make a play. I have seen it where pitchers that did not have their teammates respect could watch pop ups in shallow right field fall in for base hits or skied balls fall to the ground untouched. Double plays that get one pitcher out of trouble seem to be a fantasy for pitchers that do not have the respect or "love" of their defensive team mates.

Be a good team mate and you will earn the respectof your team mates, and good things will happen.
Last edited by floridafan
Also, if you count on your defense to lay it all out there, as a pitcher, bad mouthing your teammates won't help much his cause. A player can claim to be the biggest cheerleader in the dugout but if the player's bad mouthing his teammates, then that cheerleading in the dugout will come off as a phony and will come off looking like the game is all about the player.

I think I have a little insight on this since my son was a team captain in his winter sport in HS and his American Legion baseball team and was a vocal leader on his varsity baseball team even though he wasn't a captain. He knew on his teams who cared or didn't but the last thing he'd ever do is to rag on his teammates. Let the coaching staff deal with attitude issues.
Last edited by zombywoof
The situation you describe is not at all unusual, especially right now.

First, I agree with everyone here that it is simply not your son's place to voice his displeasure with his teammates' mistakes. Your son will make his own mistakes, no doubt, and this is a true "Golden Rule" situation. No matter what is happening on the field, he has a behavior lesson to learn here. You are the parent, and that makes it your responsibility to administer that lesson. If you do not, you can expect that eventually someone else will get their fill of your son and administer the lesson another way. That could mean a coach benches him, or it could mean that a teammate punches his lights out. Take your pick.

That being said, it has been my observation that while travel teams were once the realm of competitive players only, they are pretty much becoming the norm for even the weak players. Partly this is because recreational leagues have bailed on the whole notion of teaching the game in favor of having their coaches behave more like Barney the Purple Dinosaur, so that families are forced to look elsewhere to get even a rudimentary baseball experience. Partly it's because among the competitive boomer parents, there seems to be a mindset now that Little Johnny HAS to play travel ball to prove that he is as good as anybody out there. And partly it's because of the prevalent phenomenon of the player or dad who gets miffed and decides to show everyone by starting his own team, times a million.

The result of all this is that a lot of these travel teams are little more than glorified rec ball teams. And trying to make your current roster into a bunch of killers is a "silk purse out of sow's ear" situation.

There are always going to be teams who do collect only the best players and who play pedal to the metal baseball. It sounds like you need to find one of those teams, instead of the one you're on.

But be forewarned, if your son has developed a reputation for being a bad teammate, and if the parents have a reputation for being enablers of his bad behavior, when you find that team, they may not want you. So, first things first, clean up his act, and hope too much damage hasn't been done already.
Last edited by Midlo Dad
I second Midlo Dad's information and will add a little story of my son. When he was 11, we were in Little League district playoff and starting pitcher was giving up hits. We were going to lose the game, son tells pitcher he was reason team was losing, not that the bats were quiet. That boy's dad is still preaching this story to me and others 7 years later. Now I did not condone this behavior, son was 11, what can one say other than he was wrong. That pitcher is in college and doing quite well, and was drafted out HS. Now fast forward to 2008 and college coach tells a confident who recommended they look at son that he had "bad body language". That one really floored me because son has greatly improved at that point. It has made me be more observant of other players and I will tell you that it is very easy to spot if you know what to look for. Son is on loaded summer team and we have a couple of real "body language types". And heaven forbid hope your son doesn't vent in public.
I am wondering if he shows negative behavior towards his teammates, why the coach has not said something.

Or perhaps he really doesn't show his displeasure, he can deal with it, but dad can't.

I have been posting here for many years, have never read any parent speak out against their sons teammates other players their age as you have in this post.

You made a statment about perhaps the kids of today being lazy and not caring and no work ethic, to me you are a good example of perhaps how the parents of today are and if so am glad I am not there to witness it. If you want or think that everyone is going to be as serious about the game as your son, you will be waiting years before you see that or never. You can't expect others to be like your son or what you think they should be like. CP brought up a good point, there will be times when it's frustrating for a pitcher because his defense didn't back him up, or no run support, and times when you hit a grand slam to help your team but the pitcher just pitched like poop that day. My son is 23, I know it's been frustrating at times pitching your best game and losing, but have never heard him speak out negatively against his teammates on any team and he learned many years ago, you can't be a one man band in this game. This is another part of the game one has to accept, or don't play.

I suggest you do find a better older team for your son, since you think he is beter than everyone else at his age, but you won't find things much different. There will still be errors, mostly mental, and I am sure your son will make some of them.

FWIW, if he is really showing this behavior towards his teammates, better clean it up fast, a college coach or scout gets a whiff of that and he is scratched off the list. As yor son gets older, it's about showing NO emotion in those situations, in any situation, that's noticed, don't think because your son acts like he cares more he will be more attractive to those who wish for him to play for him. You can be very competitive but keep it under control.
Last edited by TPM

At the age you son is reaching you just do not "place" him on a team---it is about skill, tryouts and invites from here on in for the top level teams


I do not think there is anything wrong with showing emotion on the field as long as it is controlled--college coaches and scouts like to see emotion
Last edited by TRhit

One of the great assets of a player, is the ability to block out the negative, especially self inflicted negative. Just because your perception is that the players just shrug off their mistakes, doesn't mean they don't take them seriously. It's their job to shrug them off...there's another pitch coming in a couple of seconds. If they couldn't or didn't let them pass quickly, that would be more harmful to the team.
Last edited by CPLZ
Originally posted by TRhit:

I do not think there is anything wrong with showing emotion on the field as long as it is controlled--college coaches and scouts like to see emotion

This is about showing negative emotion when your team mates make a mistake. I repeat you show NO emotion in those situations, or any situation that involves your displeasure with your team.

College coaches like to see that? I don't think so.
My son is also a pitcher and has been faced with giving up unearned runs due to errors. He would never say anything bad about a teammate. We have talked after games on the way home Nd I may mention that such and such a play should have been made and he just kind of says he knows. But he would never bring it up and complain. I told him not long ago that something he needs to work on is preventing unearned runs from scoring. Guy gets on on an error, he really needs to work harder to keep that run from scoring. He agreed.

Errors are going to happen. Period. As a pitcher, how do you respond? That is a big, big part of who you are as a ball player. Take responsibility, work harder to get around those mistakes.

We had a kid on one of our teams a few years ago who would throw temper tantrums if things didn't go his way. He would get mad at the umps, his teammates and even himself. Got old quick - we wound up kicking him off the team because he was a cancer. He was a pretty darn good player too. None of the kids or parents complained when we did it. They thought it was long overdue.
Rain Delay,

Tell your son to just play the game and to enjoy the game.
Thats all.

Just play the game - hard.

He doesnt need to worry about the other players performance and he doesnt have to worry about what non-players (other than his coaches) say about him.

He has no control over that. Its a waste of time to spend even one second thinking about it.

He just has to play the game the way he wants to play the game. He has control over that.

Thats all he has to do. At 14 years old - its time to start understanding that - IMO.

Good luck.
Last edited by itsinthegame
I have seen teams not play as well when a particular pitcher is on the mound. It is the case of the pitcher calling out his position players every game he pitched. The players said they wouldn't play hard for him and did not care if he failed because they were tired of hearing his crud.

I think if a player is supportive your teammates will return the support.
The players said they wouldn't play hard for him and did not care if he failed because they were tired of hearing his crud.


I bet you wouldn't want one of those players you described above playing for you. I know I wouldn't! You don't play hard for whoever is pitching... You play hard because that's the way your supposed to play... No matter who is pitching.

I totally agree with you but let me ask you this--how many coaches did you play for where you didn't get along with the coach? How many teams were you on where you didn't get along with every player ?

Probably as many as I have; but you still played hard because as much as baseball is a team game it is still an individual game because it is you against the ball whether at the plate or in the field---YOU ALWAYS PLAY HARD
Thanks to everyone for your input on this subject. First of all, TPM and everyone else. I do not think my son is any better than anyone else's kids. Everyone has their talents and everyone has their shortcomings. That is life. My son just loves the game, wants the best from his teammates and his teammates seem to love and respect him and his talents. Good friends. He just gets frustrated sometimes and is learning to control his frustration and not show his emotions on his "sleeve" through his body language. He has a good reputation in the local youth baseball community. However, I do see a shortcoming in my son, and as a good parent should do, try to help him learn to control his emotions on the baseball field as well as teaching him those lessons for life. That is my job and the coach's job. I was just looking for suggestions from those who have been through this before with someone they know. As far as laziness with the youth in our society and on the baseball field? Being a teacher,not getting assignments from students when those assignments are due and the parents really don't care about the success of their kids in the classroom, as well as not receiving fees from their parents for the baseball team when those fees are due, along with the attitude of not putting your best foot forward from the kids on the field may give me a little insight on this subject and allow me to ask this question. I think we all agree it is only youth baseball and it really doesn't matter win or lose. It is only a game. It should be fun. The chances of my son making it very far out of his teenage years in baseball is remote at the best. However, since baseball in a way is like life, you can see those who are willing to work and those who are not from observations on the baseball field. I think.
Last edited by rain delay
rain delay,

One of my son's was like yours. Showing his emotions often. It was not ever directed towards teammates or coaches, his emotions revolved around his own failures.

He grew out of it (somewhat) Smile

Personally I can't stand that frustrated look some people have when a team mate screws up. However, if you look closely you'll even see it in the Big Leagues once in a great while.

If you really think it's a problem... Take video of him when he shows frustration. Once he sees himself in action he will stop!

PS, I tried this on my wife once. She has a way of replying to "only" me in a not-so-friendly way at times. I would tell her and she would say... You're full of it or something like that. So I carried a tape recorder around and got her on tape. After listening to it she was really nice for awhile. It didn't last long though! Things are back to normal!Big Grin
I think the only lesson you should worry about your son learning is that he can only control his own behavior and emotions. There will always be people that disappoint us or don't make the decisions we'd make - whether on the field or at work. That's life.

I don't ever recall seeing my son show anger, disappointment or frustration with a teammate at any level. I would have been very disappointed if he had. As you said, we all have our strengths and our moments... teammate means just that.
lafmom beat me to most of my advice but she is right.

1. Control what you can control

That would be emotions, attitude, hustle, effort, work ethic.

2. Be a positive role model

Everything is contagious - bad habits and good habits. If you want others to work like you then make yourself someone they would want to work around.

3. Always assume the right people are looking

This gets back to the old quote about integrity - that is doing the right thing when nobody is looking. Always assume someone who can help you advance is watching you at all times.

4. Golden rule - treat others as you would want to be treated

Before you say something ask yourself "how would I react if someone said that to me?" and "if I say this will it actually help anybody get better?"

5. You can't make others love the game like you do

In fact you can't always get them to respect the game. I tell my guys all the time that I don't expect them to love the game as much as I do. I understand some love other sports more than they do baseball. But they better respect the game. If you run into a person who doesn't love or respect the game then look back at rule #1.
Dang PG, are we married to the same woman? Only, if I carried a tape recorder, I don't think she would have been nicer, probably would have hit me over the head with it. Big Grin

Rain, alot of good advice here. Have your son take a deep breath and regroup after something bad happens. Our emotions come from what we think about a particular situation. He needs some thoughts to replace the ones he has when a teammate does not perform to his expectations. He needs to slow down, look at what he is thinking and replace his thoughts with some that are more realistic. Many good ones given here already.

There is nothing wrong with being competitive and wanting to win. Emotions need to be kept in check - especially those towards teammates. This will not change overnight. It will also not change with out a lot of work on your part and on your sons part. Good luck to you.
I remind mine when he is pitching that a walk is equal to an error. He showed his emotions too much this season in the game that dictated the conference championship. He stared at the first baseman for letting a ball go through his legs. I reminded him that the first baseman of everyone there that day hated that he missed the ball. My son walked the next batter and I told him later they were all even. The first baseman let a guy get on first and he put one on first so life is fair.
I believe God has a way of evening things up. Seems every time a pitcher stares at a fielder for missing a ball they will do something to make it worse right afterwards, walk, passed ball, hit batsmen. Life has a way of equalling out.
Early on my son rarely showed emotion outwardly. As his parent I knew when he was stewing, but few else did. When he made a mistake his face did not change. Some may have perceived that as not caring. Nothing could be more far from the truth. If a teammate or parent watching would have made comments or critiqued him for lack of caring, it would have thrown him off and been innacurate.

Fast forward to first year in college. In the middle of a rough inning the coach yanks him and comments that by wearing his emotions on his face, he was giving the other team an advantage. I,of course, agree with coach.

HOw much a player cares about his own performance and the performance of the team is not necessarily measured accurately by others. Showing your emotions does not necessarily give you an advantage.

Agree with some things....Dovetail with others...expand into some new ground...

Regarding mistakes and lackadaisical play.....understandable...players 14 are not developed either physically, emotionally, or technically...they make mistakes, are trying to find, themselves and their way, are growing into "new" bodies, and brains, and emotions.... errors and technical growth and the resulting challenges are endemic to the game at that age level. Mistakes are OK, lack of effort is not. Second, with kids playing 100+ year round games per year they are bound to be tired and get "zombied". Third, it is at about that age that we begin to see who is going to up their game with a passion and stay and who are going to shift other directions like skateboarding and video games.

Will agree completely with the body politic. Do your Job. Control what you can leave the rest. Lead by example....but let’s take this discussion another step, into the rarified air of real leadership....a place where many are called few will ever answer... 14 is very young, but if your son is REALLY interested in leadership then now is he time to begin to set the foundations for a future leadership.

Your son’s frustration is an excellent development in his career. This means that he cares. Caring and frustration leads to change and betterment. Caring and frustration opens minds to other new and exciting possibilities in a way that success and complacency cannot. Real opportunity exists here.

There is a reason while there are few really outstanding coaches, leaders and teachers. Most people simply do not have any desire to learn the nuances of the craft, particularly in out culture. Easier to disengage and “do my thing”, Then scream and demand when I don’t get what I want, without first building a foundation of trust and understanding that one can use to create team success. And it’s endemic to our culture now.

If your son REALLY wants to learn the craft then this is a great opportunity. The highest calling of a coach/teacher/leader is taking real straw and making gold. The highest calling a player is getting to a point where you not only play yourself at a high level but you find quiet ways to get the players around you to do so as well. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant come to them or not, both got frustrated with their teammates early in their careers and called them out without success....but in the end after a few years realized a different way and achieved to the pinnacle of their own athletic ability by understanding that the top level of playing is to find a way to get your teammates involved and engaged, and not only by yelling and showing anger, but by encouraging, understanding, getting into their heads, setting an example, working with them, offering constructive suggestions, taking extra time, learning the game cold and offering knowledge, being sensitive to knowing when are where to approach each player, knowing each player individually so to know how they respond and how to get them to achieve...and in the process creating an environment and a culture of success. NOT simply and always separating them from the team community with anger (though this is another tool to be used, but sparingly).

Here is the challenge...There are many ways to lead. Verbally demanding a high level of play at game time is not the only way, and is perhaps only the most simplistic way. At worst used by those who do not “get it” at best used sparingly because players simply shut down to it when over utilized. (See Stan Van Gundy’s halftime speeches at the NBA final, he screams every time at the exact same pitch and volume...the players, having seen it all before lounge.) Using a hammer where a toothpick might be the most important tool. Maybe they are simply not capable. Maybe they do not have the tools. Maybe they do not know how good they can be. Maybe they need someone to believe in them. Real leadership and coaching comes from looking at a player/team taking stock of where he stands nor and seeing what he can be with the right mental, physical and technical input and support. This may take time, and work and understanding. The ability to get their trust and get them to see their own potential. Many players need to be worked (NOT coddled), but worked and polished. This is a hard thing for an adult much less a player on the rise, but like I said, there best time to begin to set those leadership foundations in ones self is now.

As a coach I need help and I REALLY value those who get it and help provide leadership. I need team leaders to help set a tone, to help create a culture. Very hard for me to do it alone. Great teams bring freshman up, and inoculate them with the culture of winners, in the hopes that they someday engender this kind of leadership, past success and winning culture.

Again your son is young, but if you plant thsoe seeds now, they flower later and the bloom is simply magnificent!

Cool 44
Last edited by observer44
I agree with what most have said here.

Because a player doesn't show his emotions does not mean he cares any less than a kid who does show his emotions.

IMO if a player lets his frustrations known to a fellow teammate over errors or lack of caring (in his eyes) he will quickly become irrelevant as far as a leadership role goes. He will accomplish the exact opposite of what he thinks he is doing. ie leading. He will be labeled a bad teammate and selfish player.

Would your son want a kid who makes an error to jump up and down and stomp his feet to let others know he is upset with himself? I don't think so.

Players, in any sport, have different ways of preparing for and playing games, and handling adversity. Because someone is laughing or joking before a big game does not mean he is uninterested, less passionate or not ready for the game. I think I'd rather have the guy who is loose and having fun playing a sport he loves.
Originally posted by catchersdad:
Speaking of GOLD , observer44 has just spun another golden one!


ob44 - that is an awesome post as usual! I believe the words winning and leadership are almost the same thing.

Along with the other great posts in this thread, itsinthegame's post above also was excellent!

Here is a slightly different take on controlling emotions. The time to learn how to control the emotions is before the pitch is pitched not after. Lets assume your son is pitching and there is a guy on first base and his objective is to get a ground ball for a potential double play. Before letting the ball fly he can quickly go down the list of outcomes in his mind:

1) If I get a ground ball, at minimum I have done my job.

2) If my teammates turn the double play, I won't pound my chest but point to them so they get the credit for making the play. Always make it about the other guys.

3) If the teammate screws up, nod to him and tell him you will try and get him another ground ball. Let him know that you have his back.

All these things can be imagined before the play occurs. When something happens, you already know how you will react. Always make it about praising another teammate for a job well done or picking them up if they make a mistake. You do this and you will get guys making full-extension dive plays behind you because they "love" playing with you. You do these things and your teammates will make you look like a better player than you actually are.

This all gets back to leadership as ob44 so elequently described above. Leadership is about caring about the welfare of the team more than one cares about the welfare of themselves. The leaders always take care of themselves last.
From a pitching perspective.

Tell your son that everytime a teammate makes an error, it opens up an opportunity for the pitcher to shine. The one thing that every scout, college coach, or other coach loves to see is a pitcher shine in the toughest situations. For us who have made errors (I believe that would be all of us) it's a good feeling when that error doesn't lead to disastor.

Tell your son to actually enjoy those errors because they give him a chance to show just how good he is! People who count notice that!
Originally posted by PGStaff:
From a pitching perspective.

Tell your son that everytime a teammate makes an error, it opens up an opportunity for the pitcher to shine. The one thing that every scout, college coach, or other coach loves to see is a pitcher shine in the toughest situations. For us who have made errors (I believe that would be all of us) it's a good feeling when that error doesn't lead to disastor.

Tell your son to actually enjoy those errors because they give him a chance to show just how good he is! People who count notice that!

That is unbelievably good advice!

I nominate this thread for the Golden Forum!
Originally posted by ClevelandDad:
Originally posted by PGStaff:
From a pitching perspective.

Tell your son that everytime a teammate makes an error, it opens up an opportunity for the pitcher to shine. The one thing that every scout, college coach, or other coach loves to see is a pitcher shine in the toughest situations. For us who have made errors (I believe that would be all of us) it's a good feeling when that error doesn't lead to disastor.

Tell your son to actually enjoy those errors because they give him a chance to show just how good he is! People who count notice that!

That is unbelievably good advice!

I nominate this thread for the Golden Forum!

I was thinking that the entire time I was reading through this thread.

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