Baseball Parenting Tips for Communicating with the Coach
The last thing that a baseball coach wants is a last minute surprise like the starting pitcher can’t make the game that starts in 10 minutes. Parents can make the life of a coach so much easier by communicating important information. In turn, the coach may even be able to help with an issue that is proactively discussed. Lets take a look at some Baseball Parenting Tips for Communicating with the Coach that will help build a better relationship between the parents and the coach.
#1 Vacation or Leave of Absence
A traditional family vacation is definitely a piece of information that should be reported to the coach immediately. Any vacation or time missed should be reported to the coach as soon as possible. The more time the coach has to prepare then the better the team will be prepared to function without the player. During my coaching days, I would get the feeling sometimes that parents would withhold this information for fear that their child’s spot or playing time might become jeopardized. If a coach becomes passive aggressive because the child has to miss some time then that is an entirely different issue all together that will need to be addressed. The right thing for parents to do is to report a leave of absence by the player as soon as possible. It is then the coach’s duty to handle the news appropriately.
Sometimes parents will use a child’s baseball participation as punishment for poor behavior. I personally have no problem with this. However, before reaching this level, parents could proactively speak with the coach about their child’s poor behavior. The coach could then help support the parents in helping with the child’s behavior. Maybe the coach could check in with the player before games and practice. It is important that the adults are all on the same page when taking this team approach. If the child’s behavior does not turn around then the coach could explain that they(coach & parents) are in full agreement of the player being held from a game or games due to the poor behavior.
Baseball games that happen during the school year can sometimes be difficult on a coach. The coach might get a phone call on game day from an angry parent who is not allowing the player to go to the game because of a poor report card. Again, I personally have no problem with this type of punishment. However, doing it proactively will help the coach and may even help the coach to help the player before the situation reaches an escalated level. For example, parents could inform the coach that the player’s grades are subpar and if they don’t improve in a few weeks then game suspensions will be the punishment. This will not only give the coach advanced notice of a potential suspension but also time for the coach to process the situation with the player. A baseball coach can be a useful resource for a parent but only if there is proper communication.
Emergencies are always going to arise and a coach being notified of a player’s absence on the day of the game is going to happen once in a while. However, problems are going to mount when the coach gets game day call outs that should have been communicated much earlier. The biggest problem that can occur due to this type of lack of communication is forfeited games. Not only is the game a loss for the team on the field but it is also wasted time for everyone at the field who was expecting to participate in a baseball game.
During my coaching days, for some reason communication about players missing practice did not command the same level of respect as communication about players missing games. I can assure that both communications are equally important to a baseball coach. The more notice given about players missing practice then the more preparation the coach will have to re-organize the practice. Also, a coach may choose to cancel the practice based on low attendance. However, the coach can only make these types of decisions based on proactive information.
#6 Pick Up
People are busier than ever and work more than ever. Some parents may not be able to attend the game or practice of their child. They may only be able to pick them up after the game or may even have to send someone else to do the pick up. In this case, there will need to be detailed communication between the parents and the coach. The coach is going to need the precise time of the pick up and exactly who will be picking up the child.
#7 Drop Off
Again, some parents might have to drop off their child at the game or practice and then leave for another obligation. And, again, there will need to be detailed communication between the parents and the coach. The coach should let them know the absolute earliest time that the child can be dropped off to avoid the child being unsupervised.
Parents who have concerns should voice them. Parents do not have to sit back and wonder why the coach is doing something or why something is the way it is. Parents should not feel like they can’t approach the coach. Done at the right time(when the coach is not busy with the team) and done appropriately, communicating concerns can be a way for parents to build a better relationship with the coach.
The biggest disagreements between parents and coach that I see is over positions or playing time. And, sometimes, parents will vent to others and become passive aggressive for weeks before finally blowing up on the coach. This doesn’t need to happen. Again, parents should approach the coach at the right time and appropriately. The answer that the coach provides might be the total opposite of the way the situation is being perceived. For example, Junior wants to be the short stop but has never received a chance to play the position in a game. The parents ask the coach why Junior hasn’t received a chance to play the position. The coach responds that Junior has been playing short stop in practice but lacks the arm strength at this time to play the position. The coach adds that Junior is a fantastic infielder and next year should have the arm strength to be considered for the position.
#10 Other Team Functions
Any league function like a fundraiser that either parents commit to or commit their child to will require communication with the coach for absence. Again, the more notice given then it gives more time for the coach to re-organize the function.
Communication between the parents and the coach is one of the most important factors that could make or break a baseball team. It is important for all the adults to be on the same page because this will make the baseball experience a more positive one for the children who are the number one priority.