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My son is a Junior in high school and has started for his team since he was a Freshman. Last year a new coach came in the picture, with a very different outlook on the game. Unfortunately, this year the coach is really starting to take a negative impact on the team. I haven't said much and probably won't say much to my son about the new coach (despite the numerous complaints).

Where I come in the picture is my son has a very promising future; however, I think it is starting to get compromised because of the coach. He plays for a nationally ranked select team during the summer/fall and wants to just stop playing high school ball.

Below are just a few things this coach does that I have a difference in opinion on.

- When the team looses a game, he tells them "I'm going to make you run until someone quits" (5 miles on an average) -- a few good players have quit.

- Instead of focusing team practices on what the team needs to improve in, he thinks that running until they throw-up is more appropriate.

- He thinks that demeaning the players is motivation.

- He absolutely "hates" for members of his team to play select ball or participate in showcases during the summer -- no one cares!

As a parent, what do you do?
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I changed my tune after reading what he was doing to the players.

I NEVER get involved in how a coach conducts practices, but this is a health and safety issue that IMO needs to be addressed to the Athletic Director. You can't do anything about the demoralizing techniques...that will come back to bite him in due time. But, if he forces them to run until they throw up, I wouldn't be surprised if he pushes them too hard during hot days. At that point the school could end up having a reckless homicide lawsuit on their hands.

Just make sure you have the facts right.
Last edited by sandlotmom
Maybe he was supposed to be the track coach and arrived at the wrong field. Smile

Your son needs to work through this. Somewhere in the remainder of his baseball experience or adult life there will be a coach/boss change he won't like. This is a life lesson. He can be a bigger person by fighting through it. Let your son deal with it. Don't get involved unless there's physical abuse involved. If that occurs don't approach the coach alone. Make sure other parents agree.

How was the team last year? Did they have players screwing off? Maybe the coach is trying to find out who really wants to be there.

What do you mean by hates select ball and showcases? Is there going to be a price paid for participating or does he just look down on it?

I'm guessing he once heard Augie Garrido made the Longhorns run until they puked after dropping a doubleheader. The story gets grosser but I'll spare you. Sometimes high school coaches who don't know what they are doing try to model themselves after a master rather than be their own coach.
I'm beginning to believe you don't varsity experience to play at the next level. The previews came out in the paper today and reading them, there was one player who hasn't pitched one inning on varsity yet and already signed an NLI based on his play in the summer league. Most likely, will pitch this year now that he drew attention. That's a first in our area that I've heard of.

The way things are today, with these travel leagues springing up making the splash and players moving from legion ball to these travel teams, summer ball is the way to get noticed anyway and if you got a kook for a coach who's doing more harm than good and the player(s) can't work out whatever it is with these coaches, it probably wouldn't be that big a deal not playing for them and making sure you get on a good summer team where there's exposure.
Last edited by zombywoof
Well let me give another take on this. Running five miles will make some kids puke. For many others it will just be a five mile run. Some players when ragged on by a coach will get discouraged and use that as a reason to have a pity party and quit. For others it will cause them to be even more determined to not let that *** beat them. Some players that have promising futures are pampered and have a wonderful baseball experience their entire baseball career. They never have to learn how to deal with a coach like this. And then something happens. That wonderful guy that recruits them that they decide to play for in college. Turns out to be a totally different person when they step on the college campus. They have never had to deal with anything like this. They are away from home for the first time living on their own with the challenges of college academics , college baseball as well and they fold like a cheap lounge chair.

If running five miles and having a coach that talks down to his players causes a kid to quit at the hs level I wonder just how tough that kid really is. I also wonder how bad he really wants to play. And I seriously question if he will have the mental toughness to play at the next level.

If my son were in hs and he had a coach like this "and there are many like this" I would tell him this. "If you want to play then you will do whatever you have to do to play. If he says your going to run five miles then run five miles. If guys puke then tell them to get in better shape and be able to run untill he gets tired of seeing you run. If he rags on you take it like a man. If your team mates b*tch and whine when they get ragged on tell them to man up and not to let him ever see them pout."

Use this situation as a way to teach your son that he will not always play for a coach that he agrees with. He will not always be in a perfect baseball world. Teach him to man up and do what he has to do.

He will have a much more promising baseball future if he learns

Believe me your son is not in any situation that many players have not found themselves in before. A coach that may not know how to coach and uses conditioning as a means of attempting to motivate his players to play better. A coach that attempts to motivate by using negative means "talking down to players" etc etc. The ones that are mentally tough deal with it and come out on the other side even tougher and more determined. The ones that are not will simply quit.

Just another way to look at this situation. Good luck.
Originally posted by Coach_May:
Let me add if this coach is putting kids health at risk then he needs to be removed from his posistion. How you figure out if this is the case I am not sure. Good luck

I'm glad you added this. It wouldn't bother me if my son's coach made them run five miles. But making them run until someone quits or pukes is physical abuse. This is why I said the Dad better make sure he's got the facts right before going to the AD. If the players are being at all dishonest (he doesn't really make us run until we puke, he just makes us run) then it's just tough coaching and Dad should teach his son how to tough it out.
FWIW, I suggest you all read over Coach May's post, a few times.

I don't believe in demeaning players, not sure I like his technique of motivation, but if you or your player think that running 5 miles is abusive, don't ever consider sending him to a top program in the country. What some coaches do to toughen their players may seem abusive to many. In actuality, it's meant to seperate the wheat from the chaf.

This is why most have successful programs, they push the kids like they have never been pushed in their entire lives, mentally and physically and that's in practice or sometimes whne they are not happy with the team.

I understand now why Jack Leggett has so many players that go onto the next level, son has told me that spring training is a walk in the park compared to what he had to do at Clemson.
Personally I do not believe in running my players for any reason but if that is the way the boys coach does his thing then so be it--you live with it

My son used to return to campus from Xmas break two weeks before needed as did his team mates just to get themselves in shape for what was to come when official practice began in mid January

To me running a kid for 5 miles til he quits or pukes is not abuse--it just shows who is in shape and who isn't---as Coach May says if a kid cannot take it in HS what will he do in college or pros.

I ask why a kid in HS isn't in shape coming into practice, especially if he really wants to play at the next level.
Coach May,

I have looked at your posts in the past and have great admiration for your approach to baseball and the kids. You always seam to have a sound opinion on most of the subjects. This one may be a little off. I am all for discipline, mental & physical resolve and toughness, but 5 miles after each loss is absolutely pathetic. I ran track (sprinter) in the off season ( I was a D1 football player) and I can tell you that even the long distance guys rarely ran 5 miles. 5 miles is a long *** haul. Second, in terms of baseball, I don't see how the looming notion of running after a loss is going to loosen the kids up on the field to play carefree, errorless and with a little swagger. Lastly, baseball is a power/explosion sport. The last thing a team needs is to run 5 miles. If he wants to discipline them, have the boys run 60's or gassers, but not until you puke. Again, I have a lot of admiration for your knowledge and I understand what you are getting at, but I just see it a little differently on this one. Just my opinion.
Originally posted by TPM:
but if you or your player think that running 5 miles is abusive, don't ever consider sending him to a top program in the country. What some coaches do to toughen their players may seem abusive to many. In actuality, it's meant to seperate the wheat from the chaf.
I don't think you can "rubber stamp" a comment like that without first hand knowledge of all the elite programs, or for that matter programs at all levels throughout the country.

This is why most have successful programs, they push the kids like they have never been pushed in their entire lives, mentally and physically and that's in practice or sometimes whne they are not happy with the team.
Maybe it's also because they have better players and deeper rosters . I would go out on a limb and say most programs work their a$$ off and it is not limited by any means to the top programs

I understand now why Jack Leggett has so many players that go onto the next level, son has told me that spring training is a walk in the park compared to what he had to do at Clemson.
I'll also take any bet that most players will say that Spring Training is a cake walk compared to their college conditioning

Last edited by rz1
There are also a lot of coaches who believe that running distances help build endurance for pitchers,

I have known many HS pitchers who ran cross country for their HS in the off season so as to improve endurance

Keep in mind that pitchers need do different things in training than position players. I know college coaches won't allow their pitchers near a weight room--they want them to run run run
People of all shapes and sizes and condition run half marathons all the time. Those are about 13 miles and in order to do them they run about 13 miles.

I'm not saying I would ever do this as a coach but I'm with Coach May - it's not the end of the world. It will definately show who wants it and who doesn't. You never know what / where your breaking point is until you push yourself to find it.

So the coach is not the nicest guy in the world - once again not the end of the world. Whatever happened to the lesson of listening to the message and not how it's delivered? Trust me back in the day I was yelled at, insulted and dogcussed by the best of them (most of the time rightfully so) but it didn't destroy me or my emotional self worth. Yes my feelings were hurt and I was embarassed but I learned something. If I don't want to feel like that again then I better make sure I don't make the same mistake again.

The opening post talks about how his son is good and has a future. That's great but what about the rest of the team? Is the team having a successful year? Are they a great bunch of kids who respect the coach? Are they a bunch of jerks who try to get away with whatever they can under the sun?

I find it hard to believe a coach would act like this if things were going great. So this leads me to think there are some problems. Maybe this guy came in last year and faced a ton of challenging players and he has to teach them who the boss is. Maybe this guy knows he's got a bunch of jerks on the team and he wants rid of them since he inherited them. Best way to do that is run them off literally.

If their health is truly at risk then yes there is a problem and something needs to be done. But last time I checked doctors want people to run more because it leads to a healthy heart / body.....well that's what mine tells me when I tell him I have to buy new pants every so often because the old ones shrink.
I've heard of a few of these nightmare scenarios in the past. I've also heard advice from several folks that I consider to be good parents.
The advice I've heard is, 'quitting is probably not the best choice\ quitting is the easiest choice, quitting doesn't help you meet your goal - the goal was to play some baseball.

As a parent keep trying not to poison the kids' relationship with the coach.. it could turn around in a matter of moments, but will be harder if your advice is that the guy is an idiot (sounds like he is but the kids can figure that out without any help)

best wishes, try to find positives, and good luck

(from the coaching standpoint: if we are losing games, how the heck can we find time to run even one mile... we've got pitching, fielding, catching and hitting to work on.
Please read my post again. Did I say I agree with this approach? Did I say that I agree with a coach using conditioning as a way to improve his teams baseball abilities? Did I say that I believe you should talk down to your players as a way to motivate them?

The point I was trying to make is clear in the post if you read it. I was offering another way to look at this and possible ways as a player to deal with this.

I have used conditioning as a way to instill mental toughness and team unity. But not during the season , during off season work outs. I do not believe in demeaning players or talking down to them. I treat my players with respect and I get respect in return.

The point I was trying to make is this. Your son is going to have fires in his life. In his baseball life he is going to be faced with fires. If you become his fireman and are constantly running around putting out his fires for him you will not end up with a son that is capable of putting out his own fires. And further yet you will have a son that does not have the ability or the toughness to deal with the fires that can not be put out.

If the coach is abusive and putting kids health at risk then he needs to be removed from his posistion. We have no idea if that is the case. If a coach is making them run five miles and that is putting their health at risk there health is already at risk if this puts it at risk. Five miles? Seriously thats nothing.

My off season workouts are brutal and they are voluntary. Flip tractor tires up a hill. Pulling cut off telephone poles. Core work that makes them wilt. Running the football bleachers with bricks in their hands. Running gasers. And much more. All designed to challenge them and make them better. And designed to build team toughness which it does.

Again I have no idea if this coach is putting kids health at risk and is abusive to his players. What may be abusive and putting a kids health at risk for one player and parent may be viewed as totally different for another player and parent.

And some kids puke when they run 2 gasers. And some would rather swallow it than let you know you got to them.
Off season workouts are different than in season conditioning. 5 miles will take the team at least 40 minutes. What team conditions for 40 minutes during the season. When do they practice baseball? Is a five mile jog going to help them win the next game. Probably not. Now, if a complete lack of focus is the problem during a particular game, than possibly a "disciplinary" conditioning session may get their attention. But if running 5 miles is a common practice, like the poster suggests, than the coach's message gets dilluted and ultimately the players lose respect for the coach and tune him out. Probably why some guys on this team have already quit. I am not for quitting by any means.
BOF I spent so much time on two posts and you said it all in only a couple of seconds.

Something else I was thinking about. The parent mentions the fact her son plays on a great summer showcase team. It's not like this is his only baseball experience of the year. But it could be the most beneficial learning experience of the year. There are all types of coaches. And there are all types of baseball experiences. There will come a time when the parent has absolutely no control over the situation their son is in. The player will have to learn how to deal with it. Some times the player will have to buck up and do what he has to do to survive.

Running five miles and being screamed at may not be beneficial at all. But learning how to cope with a situation like this and deal with a situation like this is. Or you can quit like some of the other players did.
My major question is have you seen the practices in person?

This may be a guy that thinks he is R. Lee Ermey's character from Full Metal Jacketor he may just be a strict disciplinarian who has called the kids on goofing off one too many times. I'm not saying your son is lying but kids tend to exaggerate a bit, especially when they are forced to do things they don't like to do. The coach may be yelling about some kids and their lack of motivation and telling them that maybe they should quit but I don't think his team will be around very long if he is as bad as advertised.

I would attend, clandestine if able and actually see what is going on before I would go to the board.
I agree with cball in the last post. Finish the season. I would follow that up with a professional letter to the proper school authority that outlines the problems, and let them know that your son will not be back next year if this coach continues. If the coach is as bad as you say, I would think they will get 10 such letters and do the right thing.

If your son started as a freshman, you are at a smaller school and your son will have already gotten the recognition needed to play in college.

My real problem with this coaches actions is not so much your kid, but the kids that aren't wanting to play at the next level. The posters here talk about how this will separate the tough ones that can go on to college and pro ball, because they have kids in that category. But if you focus on the level they are playing at now and realize that most of those kids are finishing their baseball in high school, this coach is doing a huge disservice to the majority of this team.
Tom, personally I can't stand them either. And its a lot of fun to sit in the dugout the entire game and never say a word to my players but "Good job." "Nice effort." "Don't worry about it." While this coach is screaming and hollering. And then shake his hand after we have handed to them.

Coach your kids. Teach your kids. Inspire your kids. Make them believe they are special because they are. Give them respect and show them respect and you will have their respect. Demand greatness and expect greatness. And give it to them in return.
I hate it when I sound like my dad. There's no walking barefoot in three feet of snow, uphill, both ways, but .....

How many parents here played for coaches who were horse's rears thirty years ago and never told your parents what crazy stuff went on in practice? Or if you did they shrugged and the conversation was over? Did your parents even ask what the coach was like?

The only time I ever complained about a coach in high school was after a getting tied in a game we should have won, we ran the stadium (52 rows) in full pads and helmets for two hours on Monday. When I said something at the dinner table because I was exhausted, my father told me don't tie teams you should beat and you won't have a problem. Problem solved.

At fourteen when I complained about my daddyball Babe Ruth coach my dad asked me if I was going to whine and quit or shut up and play.
Last edited by RJM
When I was on the high school track team, we were required to run five miles, then a quarter mile for time. And ins and outs. And I'm a girl (or was - I'm a little old for that description now). If we were doing this runnning in August in Texas, it might have been a health issue, but it was spring. I never felt at risk. You have to put it in context to determine if it is truly a health concern, which is very difficult to do on this forum.

As a general premise, one of the great gifts sports gives to our kids is a chance to practice what life will throw at them later - failures, weak teammates, bad coaches (or bosses). Sounds like a life lesson.
My first year of HS baseball, we had the football coach take the job. He had his football players practice baseball, while the others ran laps and did pushups(I was one of the others). I lasted a few weeks, then quit and got a job. I'll never know how I would have done on the HS baseball field nor how much less trouble I would have gotten into if I had stuck with baseball.

My parents liked the fact I got a job and got on with my life instead of playing games like baseball.
Folks, you must be able to recognize the difference between "toughing it out" and putting up with abusive behavior.

Running 1 mile is toughing it out (this is not the track team we are talking about).

Running 5 miles during the offseason after building up from 1, then 2, then 3, then 4 miles is toughing it out.

Getting yelled at is toughing it out.

Running 5 miles once after poor attitudes is toughing it out.

Running 5 miles (for a baseball team) during the season repeatedly and until one of them quits is insane.

The coach is nuts. The coach is not going to be building a winning program at your school.

I am stunned and shocked that any coach here would condone this behavior.
Last edited by SultanofSwat
Been there, done that. Get thru it! You will both survive it and he will have some experience to fall back on when his next coach does something similar. No doubt you are concerned for your son and you are inviolved in his life because you are a good mom. Just being there for him will carry him thru these tough times.

I agree with the posters that say stay tough, become stronger and learn from the experience. I like coaches who demand a lot from their players.
But, IMO, a coach who is always screaming at his players, puts them down, and does more punishing than coaching will eventually lose his players. They will tune him out and lose their desire to perform for this coach.

Whether a player is 10, 17 or 27, he also needs positive reinforcement and recognition of his hard work.
Originally posted by fillsfan:
I like coaches who demand a lot from their players.
But, IMO, a coach who is always screaming at his players, puts them down, and does more punishing than coaching will eventually lose his players. They will tune him out and lose their desire to perform for this coach.

Whether a player is 10, 17 or 27, he also needs positive reinforcement and recognition of his hard work.

Right on the money here. Most good coaches don't operate that way. They know what do do to get the most out of their players. Berrating them and putting them down is counterproductive and just maybe they need to look in the mirror and see where the real problem lies.

When my son played, he thought his practices weren't tough enough and always liked tough coaches because it kept those players who weren't too serious on their toes, but at the same time, he tuned out the coaches when they went on their mindless put-downs that were doing nothing to help the baseball team. His teams never got much positive feedback from the coaches. That's the way they operated. It is what it is.
Last edited by zombywoof

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