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I just wrote this post Should there be winners and losers in youth baseball?  I gave a few of my thoughts, but I'd love to hear from parents, players, and coaches on the subject.  

Do you think there should be winners and losers in youth baseball?  Where is the right balance between emphasizing winning vs.having fun?  How do you know if parents, a player, or coach have gone too far to either extreme?  

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Doug, Alex and Larry - I think you have hit the nail directly and solidly on the head. Of course there should be winners and losers. One of the greatest problems in our society today is that folks think everyone should win. It's kinda' like awards day at school. It takes all day because the politically correct thing to do is to make sure every student gets an award, including the child that every teacher wants out of their class because they refuse to participate. It also goes along with the thoughts that our government should support every citizen by providing food, shelter, drug money and by the way, raise my children too please.

@ Jason, Tom was just being honest. I have coached for over 20 years at levels from 7-8 year olds to college. I have said for most of that 20 years that players, coaches and officials would all enjoy the games more if parents were at another location watching on a large screen TV. Are there some good parents that actually participate in things that are needed? Absolutely. Are there far more parents that are a complete pain in the arse? ABSOLUTELY! Parents want little Johnny to pitch and play SS when little Johnny couldn't catch a cold buck naked in Alaska in January. Sorry, but that is the 100% honest truth. They fuss about playing time. They fuss about positions. They fuss about costs. They fuss about the calls that coaches make. They fuss about game times. They fuss about practices being too long or too short. They fuss because (fill in the blanks). I am so glad my sons are grown and I don't have to ever hear "he plays that position because he is the coach's kid".

 

Sorry to rant, but if coach's could have the players without parents, life would be so much easier. Players want to learn and be challenged. Heaven forbid that a parent disagree with how you coach.

yes I am not an idiot I know there difficult parents I have and still coach baseball and football at the 12 yr old level . I know all about parent issues however they are looking out for there kid and I see nothing wrong with that . Also yes it would be easier for you or any other coach if the parents were not there but its not really about you is it ? I am not discounting opinions at all just trying to give mine . I have found that in the past if you layout your rules and your plans ahead of time then there less problems with parents so maybe some more for thought in the beginning may help in the long run  

Jason, you are no more an idiot than I am. I have 23 years of coaching between 7 - 23. I have coached exclusively at the middle school & high school levels for the past 15 years. I am fully prepared at the beginning of each season and review and distribute a player's manual that explains our team goals, rules, practice and game schedules, etc. 10 years ago this was not as big of a problem. You still had the occasional parent that was a little tough but not a huge deal. Over the past 10 years or so the landscape has changed drastically. What we are facing as coaches now is the age of the kids raised strictly on video games or television instead of parental involvement combined with the thought that "If I throw enough money at it, little Johnny will be a superstar and it must be the coach that doesn't know what he is doing." With 12 - 14 year olds playing over 150 games a year they get burned out, but mom and dad have so much money and time invested they don't understand that little Johnny has had enough.

In our program it certainly is not all about me. It is strictly about player development. I don't charge kids a dime when they want to spend Saturday at the field in the off season hitting or stay late after practices to field more ground balls, even though both of my sons have graduated and gone on to college ball and careers. The only money I am paid for coaching is what the school district says I have to accept to be considered an employee and covered by their insurance AND every dime of that (plus a lot more) goes directly back into our program. What I said was "PLAYERS, coaches and officials would enjoy the game more if parents were at another location watching on a large screen TV". Players are the game, not coaches or officials. BUT, if parents continue to bombard coaches and officials with uneducated comments while the coaches and officials are trying to help little Johnny become the best that he can be, then yes they should be watching from somewhere else.

Yikes Mike lol...so may great comments.  That ties into a nonprofit I'm involved with...Beyond Athletic Life Lessons ("BALL").  BALL deals with the parent thing through teaching kids about the history of baseball.

It's mission is to teach Emotional Intelligence and develop Competitive Greatness through youth baseball (among other sports) by using John Wooden's teachings and tying them into baseball greats.  BALL teaches that winning and losing is NOT a zero-sum gain.  We also design the lessons to bring the parents INTO the game by teaching their kids the same things that the parents need to learn...most of the the parents just don't realize it at the time.  Teaching kids the history and skills of the game has its advantages when you are back-dooring a life lesson at the same time lol.

It amazes me to see how different (i.e., better) those same parents are the 3rd or 4th time through youth sports.  Most of the "bad" ones aren't really bad, they're just lost in the moment and don't know how to deal with it.  If they could only be videotaped and shown to themselves when they're in a "normal" state-of-mind! 

Attached are a few lessons (Clemente and The Power Of The Change up) in case you know of a team that could use them.  They're all distributed for free for the asking to youth sports teams and schools.

Attachments:

100% YES!!!!

I can't tell you how many times I've hoped my youth teams not only get beat but get beat bad. It's all part of the process. Some losses should be remembered and some should be forgotten. 

Kind of sort of on the same subject I remember way back when a pitcher on our A ball team was mowing through the teams every start and was holding teams to minimal hits and this was for about 3-4 straight starts., A buddy and I were sitting on te bus having a few cold ones and this same pitcher, who usually sat right behind us, leaned forward and told us both that tomorrow he was going to throw a no hitter. I told him really!!! Go for it and have fun. Well, his no hitter lasted till the 2nd pitch of the game was thrown and so did the shut out. This kid was never the same after that and it was a shame because he did have good stuff. His confidence got way to high and then his confidence was shattered when he figured out it wasn't always going to be easy. Keep an even keel and PLAY THE GAME. 

I appreciate reading the comments about this issue.  I have always been a big proponent of learning from your wins and losses.  I believe all of this teaches kids about competition in the real world.  With the way things are going today where we are not keeping score and everyone is a winner, I believe we are setting our kids up for a rude awakening when they get older. 

What age groups are we talking about? 

The 5-8 year olds need to focus on learning and fun.  From what I've seen when they get to be 7 or 8, they keep score among themselves even though scores are not kept officially. We do not have wins and losses for this age group.

When they hit age 9, I can see keeping score and having standings for sure.This is a good start and the kids want it as well.

One thing I'd like to see go away for kids under 12 is the individual stats!  It drives me nuts to hear a 10 year old say that he had a .985 OPS.  Are you kidding me?!? Yes, coaches should keep score and track stats, but there is no need to share it with the kids. 

Far more than most other sports, baseball is a game that contains many important life lessons when you are at the ballpark.  Winning and losing is part of this but there is plenty of time for winning and losing after you've developed the basic skills of the game.

I think you make a great point about the young kids.  I find that most are keeping score among themselves as you pointed out.  I also agree that the individual stats have gotten way out of hand.  I think that the basic individual stats should be kept (batting average, homeruns, rbi's) by the coaches, and the players should be able to see them.  All of the new stats I think are a little excessive.  I believe that we need to keep teaching our kids that even though we are individuals, we are playing this game most importantly as a team.

OUR HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL COACH WHO WAS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE AREA . " HE WON MORE GAMES BY OUT COACHING ANOTHER TEAM, DOZENS OF TIMES IN HIS CAREER ".

THEN WHEN THE ECONOMY WENT IN THE CRAPPER. PAY TO PLAY FEE STARTED AND THE NIGHTMARE BEGAN. ERGO: THE SUPERINTENDENT GOT COMPLAINTS FROM PARENTS THAT LITTLE JOHNNY WASN'T PLAYING EVEN THOUGH HE DOESN'T SHOW UP FOR HALF HIS PRACTICES AND IS A GENUINE P.I.A.

THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS CALLS COACH IN THE OFFICE. THE EXCHANGE BECAME HEATED ,THEY HAD TO BE SEPARATED BECAUSE THE SUPER WAS GOD , HE THOUGHT.

SUPER SAYS THEY ALL PLAY, " I'M THE BOSS ". COACH SAYS, "SEE YA" TELLS HIM,  "YOUR RUINING THE KIDS .THEY HAVE TO EARN IT ".

THE SUPER WAS OBVIOUSLY ON THE GEEK SQUAD AND PROBABLY PICKED ON IN SCHOOL AND DOESN'T KNOW WHAT A BALL LOOKS LIKE.

SAID BASEBALL COACH QUITS . GETS AN ASSISTANT VARSITY JOB IN A TOWN A FEW MILES SOUTH.          " THERE MAJOR COMPETITION ".

  THE VERY NEXT TWO YEARS, NEW TEAM HE WENT TO, NOW HAVE THE TWO BEST COACHES IN EASTERN MA..THEY HAVE  GONE ON TO WIN THE DIVISION ONE STATE TOURNAMENT TWICE.AND HAVE SINCE MOVED ON TO THE COLLEGE LEVEL.

NEEDLESS TO SAY THE SUPERINTENDENT DIDN'T GET REHIRED AFTER HIS CONTRACT WAS UP.

THE PAY FOR PLAY FEE WAS SCRAPED. TOO LATE!!! THE DAMAGE WAS DONE BY THE ARROGANT SUPER!!!!  THE TOWNS SPORTS TEAMS HAVE DONE NOTHING IN YEARS. . ALL THE GOOD ATHLETES GO TO PRIVATE OR CATHOLIC SCHOOLS. IT'S MATRICULATED DOWN TO THE LOWER LEVELS OF YOUTH SPORTS NOW . EVERYONE PLAYS. "YOU'LL HURT THEIR FRAGILE EGOS". WE'VE BECOME THE LAUGHING STOCK OF SPORTS IN THE AREA .

I COULD RIGHT A BOOK !!

Amen Bob!

Jason,SNAP OUT OF IT. You don't realize it "but your one of "THEM" parents". That we go nuts dealing with.

 You are so far off base your gonna get picked off.

Re-read Mike's post again and again, until you figure it out.

Snap out of what Bob ? I am one of the parents you bet I am I am also a manager and Major division director and an a umpire . I have the time at this point in my life to dedicate some time to our program . What exactly is wrong with my thinking , that I give respect to the kids, the parents and the game . I could care less where the parents are during the game or if they would like to talk to me to see if there kid could play more . I am completely honest with them as to why the situation is what it is . This is youth baseball you dont get to have the option of anonymity from the players family . If you are unable to handle conversations then do not coach or manage .

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