Since my playing days have come to an end, I have been coaching and instructing baseball players. I come across players and parents from all walks of life, but in this article I wanted to share the 10 types of crazy baseball parents and how they’re ruining youth baseball.
Crazy Baseball Parents #1) The my son is going pro parent
Listen, I’m a positive guy and I think it is great and even necessary to be positive in the game of baseball. I will NEVER tell a player that he cannot make it to pro baseball, especially when they’re at a young age. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the parent who really believes that their son is going to be the next baseball super star, tells everyone that, and even acts like he’s already made it. Let’s be realistic, the odds of playing professional baseball are less than 1% of all high school baseball players will play at some level of pro baseball. If you’re acting like your son has already made it, then you are killing his drive. Tell him he’s great and anything is possible if you put your mind to it, but don’t let him be an entitled little asshole out there on the field, because that’s your fault!
Crazy Baseball Parents #2) The Helicopter parent
Everyone knows this mom (yes, it’s usually a mom) that stays around their kid entirely too much, has to hear every word that is said to their kid, comes to the dugout during practices and games, and even helps carry his gear everywhere. Listen, I get it! He’s your baby. But you’re going to have to cut the umbilical cord at some point so he can grow into a man. If your kid is still looks at mommy after every swing, it’s your fault, you made him that way. Help him become a man and grow through the game of baseball. Don’t make him continue to be a little kid because you’re scared you’re going to lose him one day. It’s inevitable, he’s going to grow up. Wouldn’t you rather he be a man than a validation seeking little punk?
Crazy Baseball Parents #3) The I don’t give a crap parent
As bad as some of the other parents are, this may be the worst parent of them all. The parent who doesn’t care at all what their kid is doing. This parent usually drops their kid off at the field and then leaves and then comes and picks them up at the end. Or even worse, has someone else pick up their kid and drop them off. I know you’re busy, but try to make it out there to a few games. Even if you can’t make it to the games, ask your kid how it’s going, how he’s doing, and if he needs help with anything. Please show your kid a little bit of attention before he turns somewhere else for it.
Crazy Baseball Parents #4) The parent/coach
A lot of you Dads may have been asked to coach because there isn’t enough coaches at the youth level, especially for rec baseball. I’m not talking about you guys. I’m talking about the Dads who start travel ball teams built around their son and him playing his position full time because if he was on anyone else’s team he wouldn’t get that same opportunity (AKA Daddy Ball). You’re not doing him any good. Competition promotes growth. If he’s not competing in traditional team dynamics, he’s going to find out the hard way when he gets to the level where Daddy isn’t allowed around anymore. At the other end of the spectrum, I see some Dads who understand this, coach because they have to, but then don’t play their kid as much as they should be played because they don’t want the other parents thinking it’s unfair. Both situations are not good for the kids development. I’m not a Dad yet, but I plan to let someone else coach my kid and I’ll just worry about being a Dad to them. Of course I will help him on our own time but not as a coach of his team.
Crazy Baseball Parents #5) The need private coaching parent
This one is going to be bad for business. As a private baseball instructor, this is hard for me to say, but you don’t need private coaching. Now, with that being said, I wouldn’t be a private instructor if I didn’t think I was making a difference in these kids lives. But for the most part, what I see happening in lessons is too much of a focus on drills and not enough focus on the mental part of the game and building the confidence of the player. Anyone who comes to me for private instruction knows that. Even though my website is full of hitting drills, hitting mechanics, pitching drills, pitching mechanics, and catching drills, I pride myself on creating videos that inspire and promote the mental side of the game like:
Just remember what Yogi Berra said… “Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.”
Crazy Baseball Parents #6) The must specialize parent
Specialized training is getting more and more popular each year. Unfortunately, I think it’s the wrong way to go. Younger and younger players are committing themselves to one sport early on and they are missing out on learning different things. What if your kid turns 13 and doesn’t like baseball anymore? I think at an early age it’s a good idea to get them involved in numerous sports this way they can learn to control their bodies in different ways. I think baseball players should be athletes first and baseball players second. But what I see when parents have their kids specialize early is that most of the focus is on the skills of hitting and throwing and the athletic part becomes secondary. Not a good approach in the long term.
Crazy Baseball Parents #7) The my kid sucks parent
Hey, it’s ok if your kid sucks! He probably knows it too. You don’t have to tell him. Encourage him, help him, lead him, guide him, but don’t put him down. How is he supposed to grow if the people who gave birth to him are telling him that he’s no good? It’s ok to be honest if he asks, but if he’s having fun out there and being safe, then let him do his thing! Who knows, maybe he’ll quit baseball one day and end up being a world-renowned artist. Or maybe he never quits baseball, sucks the whole time, ends up only playing adult league baseball with great friends, and has the time of his life. How horrible! You get the point though, baseball is a game and games are to be played for fun! Especially at the youth level.
Crazy Baseball Parents #8) The over criticizing parent
“You’ve got to run faster to that ball”, “can’t you make a better throw than that?”, “why can’t you hit off that guy?”, “if you don’t start playing better they’re going to sit you”. As a good friend of mine would say, Caaaaaaaaaaaaaalm Dowwwwwwwwn! You think your son doesn’t know these things? You think he wants to be reminded that he made an error during the game? No! If you make it a point to only focus on what he did wrong, guess what is going to be in his head? What NOT to do wrong. On the other hand, if you only focus on the things he did/does great, he’s going to feel a lot more confident out there and perform better. Don’t believe me? Try changing up your approach for a couple of weeks and see if he doesn’t play a lot more free. Say something like “great game kid, that play you made in the outfield was awesome!” instead of “I can’t believe you struck out against that guy in the 3rd inning”. Baseball is a game of failure and we need to teach these young players how to bounce back from a bad day at the park and building confidence is the best way to do that. I tell you what, life has a lot of bad days sometimes too. Wouldn’t you love for your kid to come out of a bad day with a good attitude that tomorrow will be better?
Crazy Baseball Parents #9) The over committing parent
This parent is the one who puts their kid on multiple teams, has multiple trainers, and is just over committing their child. Why do you think your son needs to be on any more than one team? I’ve seen a few kids come to me that are on a rec team, on a travel ball team, guest play on other travel teams, train with me, train with other instructors, and then wonder why their son quits playing baseball at 13 years old. He’s burned out! That’s why. Not to mention, if his whole life is surrounded by baseball, what is he supposed to do when he stops playing? On top of that, think about all the stress you’re putting on his arm from throwing all the time. This goes back to the “must specialize parent”. Let your kids experience other things. Don’t let life be just about baseball when they are young. Learn and grow. You never know where life is going to take them!
Crazy Baseball Parents #10) The bad example parent
This is for the parents who just live their lives in a negative way. Your child will pick up many of your characteristics. I know you don’t want to be that way and you don’t want your child to grow up to be that way. But, I understand it’s hard to change sometimes. Just remember you’re doing it for your kid. Baseball is a game of failure, coached by negative people. Your job is to be a positive influence in your child’s life.
So I’ve outlined all the crazy baseball parents, but what is the ideal baseball parent?…
Let me describe what I believe is the best baseball parent. A great baseball parent will let their kid know that anything is possible with hard work. Even if it’s not baseball. A great baseball parent will let their kid grow and experience things with his team, without mom or dad there. A great parent will care and ask questions. A great parent will focus on building their child’s confidence through all sports and activities. And at the end of the day, a great baseball parent will let their kid know that baseball is a game that is played for fun and will support them in their dreams and aspirations.
It’s easy for me to talk about the crazy parents out there because I’m not a parent yet. But when I do have a kid, I won’t doubt if I’m a hypocrite in some cases. My father, however, did have a son (me), and I think he was a perfect example of a great baseball parent. I wrote an article that I strongly recommend you read called What my non-baseball Dad taught me about baseball. You don’t have to know a lot about baseball in order to be a great baseball Dad. READ IT NOW
Here’s another vid you might enjoy: 8 Types of baseball players that you DON’T want to be
I’m a positive guy and hate being negative but these type of articles tend to be shared more and make more of an impact. With that being said, please share this on Facebook/Twitter!