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Your son just went 4 for 4 or threw a no hitter. You probably have a good conversation after the game...Right? Always good to see the parent/son relationships grow after a ball game. That conversation is NOT the important one. The conversation that’s important is the one you have with him after he went 0 for 4 with 3 K...or... as a pitcher he got shelled in the first inning, was pulled before the inning was over, and got stuck with the loss. What do you say then? Don’t cop out and say “He wants to be left alone.” If that be the case, then you probably said the WRONG thing the last time that happened.
Your thoughts?
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After a bad game as after a good game I said nothing--I left it to him---I did not want to intrude on his world until he let me in the door.

It worked for us !!!!

What was more interesting to me was his demeanor before games, especially the big games--I could almost predict how he would do based on his pregame body motion and words.
Last edited by TRhit
Fungo, I do truly "leave him alone" unless he comes to me. I try not to make too big of a deal of the really good games or ones that aren't so good. Baseball is a game of averages. I want my son to realize there will be good days and not so good days at every level.

The only game he has ever needed consoling was last year after loosing in the state championship game. Our team was just flat and didn't hit. My son was the one going around afterwards holding up the runner up trophy to the crowd and consoling teammates. Then later I look over (he's driving separately) and see him crying as he's driving home. I couldn't wait for us to drive into the driveway. We walk into the kitchen from the garage and he bends over, hugs me and lays his head down on my shoulder and crys. A teammate told him "you're the leader of the team" and "everyone looks up to you" as they were leaving the park. My son said if he was the leader, why couldn't he hit that night and make a difference.

Some of these kids put such pressure on themselves and you just have to know your son. Sometimes they want left alone when things don't go well and sometimes they'll need to stand in the kitchen crying on someone's shoulder.

I think what is important is that they know you're there if they do want to talk.
Hopefully he remembers that, “Momma said there’d be days like these”.

If he’s already prepared, you probably won’t need to say anything, just have to listen.

A good time to prepare kids about difficult times is after a good performance when a little humility might be in order.
Last edited by SBK
After my kid pitches a game, I don't say anything at all except, "what do you think?" I let her go from there. If she wants to talk about it great. If not, I shut up about her pitching performance. I've also found that complimenting her teammates is a good way of getting her to speak. I have asked a particular parent to avoid talking to his son after the game until they got home. This was at the request of the kid. The Dad had good intent but was tearing up his son inside.
I also start the conversation with "Well, what do you think?" and take my queue from his answer. It's pretty easy to tell if he's feeling good about his or the team's performance and wants to do a play-by-play to re-live the moments, or is feeling bad about his performance and wants to hash it out, or just needs a little quiet space for a while. So I guess what works best for us right after any game is to just shut up and listen to what he has to say before making the first comment. biglaugh (Oh, and Hugs are always given liberally regardless of the game results.) Cool
This is an easy one!

You tell him how badly he stunk, and that he lost the game for his team and how he let his team down and embarrassed you.

Oh wait, you mean that's not what you should do? Heck I see it happen all the time........

Usually my first comment is something like "rough one tonight, huh" and depending on his response either drop it or talk about it.
Last edited by BigWI
I usually let my son initiate the conversation post-game. I found that if he had a rough game, and I try to cheer him up, he just says "Dad, don't church it up". I usually keep my comments simple ... great game, what do you think, etc. If he wants to talk about something good or bad, I just follow his lead. Generally, the game is over in his mind as soon as he walks off the field with his bag. If I noticed something specific I want to mention, I'll bring it up later. Usually anything I mention he has already analyzed and knows what he's going to do in the next game, bullpen, BP session, etc., ... he's just gotten to the point where he's so aware of his balance, mechanics, game situations, etc., that he already knows what he did and what he needs to change way before I open my mouth.

The good news is that he has a very even-keeled personality ... he doesn't get rattled, and he leaves it all on the field after the game is over.
Last edited by pbonesteele
We talk in great detail after every game about all aspects. Even after a bad outing there are still positive things to be learned.

Many times bad outings can be great lessons. Exploring why the mistakes were made is part of the learning process.

We discuss the game in very pragmatic and unemotional terms. We discuss the defensive plays, hits, strikes, pitches, etc. while they are still fresh in our minds.

He has learned that not being perfect is ok and he enjoys going over as much detail about his performance as possible.

Nobody plays a perfect game and nobody plays a game that you can't find something positive to talk about. It's obviously not for everyone, but for us, this has become a very important and special time.

good q fungo
when mine began playing in 1rst grade the plan was to minimize game pressure by critiquing only "skills exection" and not focusing at all on game results - ie - win/loss or stats
the thought was if the kids would just focus on executing the skills they had been taught & practiced, the win/loss thing would work itself out without them thinking about it - then later winning could take priority when they got older
after all somtimes a 4 for 4 could be the result of hitting poor pitches badly & an 0 for 4 could be "ropes" right at a guy

well the win/loss stuff really worked out very well, plus it also led to years of technical post game discussions, and very few "emotional arguments" - and - "we" never did turn the focus to winning, but kept it on "execution/evaluation of skills"

he's now a jr in college and comments or questions regarding the game are still technical - regarding "skills eval/exec", tho occasionally a bit of support thrown in if needed - - -
after which the 75 cent ice cream cone has been replaced by replaced by a more substantial (& costly) meal & treat Smile
Anyone who's ever played the game has failed more often than he's's the nature of the beast. How one handles failure is perhaps the most important key to long term success in baseball. After a subpar game, when he wants to talk about it I make sure he remembers that. He knows he'll never get criticism from me as long as the effort is there.

I am on the board of directors for a local youth sports organization. We do Baseball/Softball in the spring, S****r in the fall and Basketball & Wrestling in the winter. When I go to the games I hear that sort of thing all the time! And yes as a board member I do not hesitate in letting them know what I think about it.

When I was coaching a U14 select baseball team I kicked an adult brother of a player out of the park. The player actually came up to me and thanked me for it.
Our son usually needs a little "quiet time" after a win or a loss. I remember after one heartbreaking loss we were driving home on one of those long dark lonely "Carolina highways "and for some reason my son was a little put out with his father. They must of had a few words before we got in the car. I had to chuckle cause my son was text messenging me about the game on my cell and my hubby had no idea. He kept saying "what is that **** beeping noise I keep hearing". My son and I had a good chuckle about it and it wasn't long til he initiated some conversation with his Dad.
I like BigWI post
Usually my first comment is something like "rough one tonight, huh" and depending on his response either drop it or talk about it.

and take it from there. As much as you hate to see those lessons in humility, they are lessons. In and out of baseball people try to emulate our successes and learn from our mistakes. With any bad situation a positive of some sort will come out if you keep your eyes open and look deep enough, baseball experiences are no exception.
I watched my son break an all time record in the AAA Pacific Coast League. Most walks in one inning - 7. I couldn't think of one single positive thing about it. The record may stand for ever (the record that may never be broken) if that is a positive thing.

I got in my car and went home. Couldn't think of a thing to say (other than why did they leave you in that long) and didn't think he really had much to say either. I'm not into the hugging that much and it wasn't a funeral. I made sure I didn't miss his next game, it was much better, then we talked, everything was fine.
Jerry, I went through something similar with my oldest son. He was getting drilled in a "WAC" conference game that my wife and I were watching. My wife does not know much about baseball, but she roots for her boys and as he gave up about his 5th run of the inning, she looked at me like it was my fault and said "can't you do something"? I laughed and said that I would work at teaching him how to back up 3rd better. She had no idea what I was saying and just walked away and left me standing there. Smile The next day she told my boy what I had said and he just laughed too.
I found out a long time ago you know who your friends are when things are not going too well. You pick and choose your friends. Parents are a different story. for lack of a better terms kids and their parents are stuck with one another. Parents should always encourage their kids and praise them when they do well. The praising is easy. But kids have to know that they are there when things are not going well whether it be baseball or anything else. I found it takes a lot to build things up but just one comment or statement can bring everything down.

Your probably 100% correct, but I’ve never learned how to be the perfect parent. I know I’ve said the wrong thing many times and don't praise anywhere near enough. I’ve never been good at sugar coating anything and have always been envious of those parents who seem to know what to say and how to handle every situation.
We are all far from perfect. But in my experience around the game I have come across some parents that push push push. And it affects the kid in a negative way. No we do not want to sugarcoat things but sometimes their is a line we cross. What if your kid goes o-4 ks with the bases loaded twice and has 2 errors? How do you as a parent approach that? Get all over him etc etc? I have seen that and it is not pretty. A kid is exposed at that at 9 and 10 and pretty soon he gets tired of that and basebal or any other sport becomes a memory and not a good one at that.
Parents, Parents, Parents.
Parents are not perfect neither are coaches.

I am not just going to talk to my son when he does well. I am going to talk when he does not do well also. I will make it clear that "he" did not stink today that his performance needs work and we devise a plan to correct problems if needed. I am not just gointg to hug him and colddle him after a bad performance. That doesn' promote mental toughness or make-up. I also make sure that my son understands that he is not defined as a person by baseball.

Every kid responds differntly and it is important to understand that when dealing with players.

Communication between son and parent is a good thing.

But in my experience around the game I have come across some parents that push push push. And it affects the kid in a negative way.

I have seen parents that never push their kid at anything have a very negative effect as well. Anything to excess is bad.
What do you say when your son has had one of the best games of his life, but his teammates could not hold it together and the game, which should have been a win for him turned to a loss. We found this often to be the case, in HS.
So now you tell your son he did a fine job, but he is too upset to talk about the game. Reality is, you can't win a game by yourself. You try to teach players it is a "team" sport, but somehow the "team" did not show up to play that day. It is not all about him, whether he did a great job or not, he alone can't win a game by himself. You can't be negative about the team, which only adds to the frustration. The biggest obstacle we had to deal with was making him understand that would all change at the next level.
Any suggestions for parents who have to deal with this?

This happens in many many cases with HS pitchers-- trust me--they know the situation as well if not better than you

My son played on a HS team that did not win more than 6 games in any of his three seasons and he was the # 3 hitter on the team. He fully undertood that he and one or two of the other players were the only "baseball players" on the team--in fact he was the sole team memeber to play college ball-- he never let it get to him--he just went out and did his job-- one player cannot carry all the others at the HS level--

The kids know their own talent better than the parents in most cases--it is all part of the process-- We found that it took care of itself
Last edited by TRhit
I don't think there is a general thing that folks can say. Ironically the perfect saying in one case won't fit in the next. Fortunately the talking seems to go much better after everyone gets a good night sleep.

I did get a nice eye roll after one game when I told my son - "hey, at least you don't have to worry about your ego getting too big."
I believe, as parents, we "grow" along with our sons in their baseball lives. None of us are perfect parents from the start. We have to learn how to react to our kids as they learn how to play the game. Do we "push"? Yes. Do we "push" too much? Sometimes, especially when they're younger. That's our growing process.
Now that my son is in high school, I mainly focus on helping him with mechanics (if there's a problem) and his self motivation to do the right things that will make him a better baseball player. No. 1 are grades in his school work, then comes the baseball work.
It is a real pleasure to observe the "growing up" process in one's child. For my son, baseball has done alot to help him mature. Failure and overcoming adversity are two of life's best teachers and there's plenty of that in baseball!
Jerry and BBScout, Been in the same shoes before. This summer the cross-checker for the Brewers was at the Disney Complex for a final look at my son to determine if they wanted to
up the ante before his first day of college. Son started on the mound and 30 minutes later
he was still there-couldn't find the strike zone! 6 or 7 walks, hit batter, worst control
I've ever seen and wife turns and glares at me "Tell him something!!" as though it were my
fault. He finally got the last out and I'd never been so relieved. Next inning the same thing
all over and before my wife could say anything I left my seat and went back to the concession
area to hide and there was the scout-I said "He's had better days" and scout smiled and said
"We'll be in touch".

After the game when I saw my son I could tell he wanted to hear something positive and my first response was "Guess you're going to college". He said "Yea it could be worse" and I
said "Not Much". We both laughed but my wife wouldn't talk to me the rest of the day. Go

The things that I normally say to my sons after bad outings are to try to bring up times
that I had outings from H*** and to let them know it happens to everyone-EVERYONE-noone
escapes and that the good thing about baseball is there is another game coming.

Hang In There!!!
In my next life I am going to write a book and title it...How To Be the Perfect Parent...Know What To Say, How To Do It and Have a Wonderful Relationship with Your will become a made for TV movie, it will be an Oprah book of the month and I will be a wealthy woman Smile....but there is something called human nature...there are no directions with each baby born...each of us is an individual and have different responses to different are our children...what works for one will not work for another...most of us wing it and pray we are doing what is right...but what I usually tell my kids is that when they are on that psychiatrists couch please do not blame it all on me...I tried the best I knew how Eek
I agree with TRHit's 1st post on this one: let the kid decide when he wants to talk. I would have hated it if my dad had tried to "coach" me after a horrible performance...I was too upset to talk about it, and I wouldn't have really HEARD his message anyway. He let me talk when I was ready...and it made all the difference.
It isn't a parent's job to have this post-game talk anyway. As a head coach, I've seen many parents force their kids to go over it, and I don't agree with it. Let the player (it's his performance in question anyway, isn't it?) determine when he's ready to talk about it, then support the young man. Don't try to solve everything, don't point out the obvious, and stay positive. It is very easy to forget that these are KIDS...and they need to know that a parent's support is unconditional and unwavering. Good night, bad night...kid still deserves respect and admiration for doing his best.
Once the kid IS ready to talk, listen before you speak. Let him talk about the parts of the game that HE deems necessary - again, it's HIS season and career, not yours.
Last edited by Coach Knight
catchermom03 - Enjoyed the post. Let me be the first to put in an order for that book when its finished! Smile Now wouldn't you think that something as important as a child would come with its own instruction manual! Gees, they even sent a video with my new washing machine! biglaugh Without a manual I guess we all just have to keep using the trial-and-error method when it comes to baseball talks. Cool
TPM....the infielders still don't make all the plays at the 'next level'.

Last year when my son struck out 5 of the first six batters he faced in his college debut against Louisville I can't remember what I said, but it was pretty cool.

After he gave up about five infield singles in his first loss against Florida State, I told him that I thought he pitched great.......and after he gave up seven singles and a triple in the first inning against Wichita State I asked him why he was wearing his pant legs high in that game....????

My computer screen has a picture of him tagging a guy out at home against Wichita of only two outs he recorded in that game......he said it serves as a good reminder and motivator while he is home for Christmas break.
After giving this some thought, I think our response has changed depending on his age.

When they are little they move on to the next thing pretty quickly.

I always keep in mind that no one feels good about performing poorly and they don't need to be reminded of it. However, there is the opportunity to learn and grow. My husband will talk to my son about it later, if he feels he has a constructive comment or something to be learned for the next time. Sometimes they just have a bad outing and nothing needs to be said.

I don't know that much about baseball , so I just give hugs and support.
Baseball is a game of skills, techniques and mechanics...not what you feel.

After every game win or lose 4 for 4 or 0 for 4 the discussion is about what techniques were used, not used, about mechanics of the swing, location per pitch, things like that, etc.

After as shut out or a blow out, the discussion is about where was the plant foot, did he stay inside the knee, did he stay behind the ball...and on and on, ad-infinatum, etc.

My son knows what the discussion is going to be since it hasn't changed since he was 8 years old.

Sometimes he has done a good job of tracking his in-game progress and sometimes he hasn't. But one thing is certain when he didn't it showed.

When it is all said and done, the level of conversation is about improving or digressing. That's at the root of every conversation I have with him, and not only about baseball.

Feelings have nothing to do with it.
Last edited by PiC

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