HOW TO DEAL WITH A COACH WHO HAS MORE NEGATIVES TO YELL THEN POSITVES TO SAY?

We have an excellent x’s and o’s coach. He knows the game well. He played Division I college baseball. He always has a great message but has poor delivery. That delivery comes at belittling the boys (his son included) across the diamond during a game at a high volume. He is never wrong with his advice or comment, but it’s the tone that he says (yells) it in. He also has little positive things to say.

What do we do?

COACH HENZE’S ANSWER

Very good question!

This situation is fairly common among all youth sports… I am not sure of the exact situation here (age, level, etc), but the coach needs to be informed of his behavior and how it affects his baseball players.

Many adults who have a ton of experience (ie. Division I player) think they “know it all” about the game. They tend to coach for themselves instead of making it fun for their players/kids. They expect kids to be as good as they were at their career peak. They expect everyone to “bow down” because of their expert knowledge of the game. These coaches, sometimes, have forgotten how they learned the game when they were younger…

Learning how to play baseball, both physically and mentally, takes time and patience (lots of it). That is why it is so important to allow the kids to make mistakes, teach from the mistakes and, most importantly, have fun! Kids will learn from their mistakes if coaches allow it. On the flip side, if a coach yells and/or is demeaning to the player, they will not learn and will probably be scared of the coach.

Be aware that I am not saying a coach cannot get mad at players for breaking team rules, not paying attention, not hustling, numerous mental errors, etc… There must be some sense of structure and what is expected. However, a young baseball player will hate playing for a coach that continuously yells at them for physical errors (not getting a hit, fielding errors, etc).

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If players are trying and giving 100%, don’t get mad. Simply encourage them to keep their head up and make the next play.

Most importantly, be sure to give POSITIVE feedback when kids do something good. If players hear their coach get excited when they make a good play or get a key hit, they will strive more and more to improve. This encouragement will go a long way in developing a player and team.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

To answer your original question, I think some parents need to speak with the coach in a very respectful way to make him aware of how the team is feeling. Ask him to meet you and a couple other parents for coffee and explain how grateful you are to have him as a coach. Then ask him if it would be possible to be more “positive” with your kids/players.

Have some data to show him if he balks at what you are saying. Literally, take notes at a game/practice to count how many negatives and positives he says to the coach. He probably doesn’t even know he is doing this.

If, after you meet with him, he doesn’t agree or doesn’t change, then speak with the association director about this. Make sure you encourage all of the parents to contact the director with their thoughts on this coach. Hopefully, the director will be able to help the coach make some changes to his coaching personality. If the coach is resistant to this change, the hopefully he will not be allowed to coach in the future.

NOTE: Remember to always be respectful and don’t start “casting stones” right away. This coach may totally agree and make changes which would be the BEST thing to happen for everyone, players especially.

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