Coaching My Son Is Difficult

By admin •  Updated: 06/02/14 •  11 min read

Coaching my 4th grade son this season has been an emotional struggle. We have a great relationship, but I find it difficult to put my “Dad” hat away when we are working on his baseball skills. I probably have too high of expectations, but all I want is for him to succeed at the game he says he loves…

When I start coaching him, he doesn’t necessarily want to listen right away. We end up very frustrated with each other and there have been times when he ends up in tears. That is NOT what I want to have happen. Baseball is supposed to be fun and not stressful, however I have much to share with him and want him to be a sponge and take everything in…

Over the course of time, we do resolve our differences and he actually does listen and become better. Over the past couple of weeks, there have been heated discussions and tears about helping him improve at hitting (he hasn’t swung at a ball for over 3 games). Finally, we have had a break-through and he is starting to hit the ball very well again.

Why does it take stress to get the point across?

Do you have any stories about coaching your own son? How do you handle these situations?

I love my son and really enjoy the fact that we share a love of this game. I don’t want that to end.

Share your stories about coaching your son by commenting below.

Thanks for your input!

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Jul 02, 2012

Thanks Brad

by: Coach Henze


Thanks for the great comment and especially the comment about continuing coaching your own child. That is exactly how I have felt in the fact that you really need work out a system with your child when coaching him.

Your suggestion about getting some older kids to come and back you up is a great idea!

Again, thanks everyone for your comments. I still would love to hear more of your thoughts.


Jul 02, 2012

Coaching your child

by: Coach Brad


My Name is Brad and I have been coaching youth sports for almost 7 years, between Hockey, Football and Baseball. I just started coaching my son who is 9 years old about 4 years ago in both Hockey and Baseball. There are plenty of days that we butt heads and he always thinks he is correct on plays, proper positioning, just everything.

I finally had a break through with him when I had some kids that I used to coach that were all varsity players in baseball, come to a couple practices. Once they showed up and started showing my son and the rest of our team the exact same stuff that I was doing for the last 1-2 months of practice, every kid kinda opened there eyes and said coach Brad does know what he’s talking about.

Since that moment I have had nothing but pure focus from my son and the entire team, I know that everyone will not have a younger mentor that they can have show up to practices, but it really helped. The varsity kids that I used to coach, I came in as there younger mentor and now they also see why it was so easy to relate to me back than as it is for them to relate to my son and the new group of younger kids.

I seen someone post something about maybe its time to stop coaching your son. Honestly, that is a weaker person taking the easy way out. There should never be a time that a dad can’t coach his own child. You have to find a whole different way to teach your own child and keep him focused. Using any means that you can, dont be dad, be the friend/coach.

Good luck,


Jun 29, 2012

Giving the baseball player input

by: Coach Henze

Hey Dave!

You and Tim had similar posts about giving my son some input into their development and even practice planning. I think that is a good idea and one that I will use.

By giving him some input into those things, he begins to think deeper into how the game of baseball is played and, over time, will know the game much better.

Great ideas!


Jun 29, 2012

Ideas Flow

by: Dave

Hey Coach,

I 100% think it’s awesome you want to teach your son new skills. I have a suggestion for your next session with your son. I’m not sure if you had thought of this or if your son would enjoy it, but, I believe it would be most beneficial to both of you if at the beginning, you state what you believe has been a little off, one at a time. (swinging the bat, focusing on the field, etc.) After stating one thing, open the floor for any suggestions your son may have to help him improve. Practice it a few times. If it doesn’t seem to change much, talk to him to see what he thinks is not making it work. You should take what he thinks and base your practice around that one area. Take it a step at a time, and let him tell you what he thinks is making him struggle. Let him suggest ideas to make himself better, and if they don’t succeed, explain to him why, and you can figure it out between the two of you. Let him say what he believes will help him, and you take those ideas and perfect them. Your advice has shown you are a great coach. Good luck to you and your son!

Jun 28, 2012

Thanks for the tips and sharing your experiences

by: Coach Henze

Thanks for sharing your tips Tim and thanks a ton for the help Jason. It is nice to hear from dads that have went through the same stuff.

Here I am… The president of MYB and asking for help from my visitors. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around???

I totally appreciate your willingness to help.

Any other suggestions, tips or experiences would be greatly appreciated.


Jun 28, 2012

I have experienced the same thing with my son

by: Coach Jason

I can completely understand where you’re coming from coach. I’ve coached my 9 year old son through several soccer, basketball, and baseball seasons. After watching him play these sports, it has become obvious that he is naturally better at playing baseball that the other sports. He loves playing baseball and can’t get enough of the attention parents and his teammates give him for the things he is able to do on the field.

He has a real problem with being too hard on himself. He gets very whiny when he makes mistakes and has even been on the field in a few games with tears rolling down his face because a ball gets by him or he makes a bad throw to 1st.

Most seasons, we would have either 2 practices a week or 1 game and 1 practice. I would also plan 3 or 4 times where just me and him would go practice. I would plan it just like I would our team practices like, Monday=hitting Wednesday=fielding Saturday=fielding and throwing etc… He did get better working on these skills with me but it didn’t seem like he was having fun. I can remember him saying the same think to me several times when I asked if he wanted someone else to coach him. “No! I want you to be my coach.” There were several times when we would both go home upset and aggravated at each other.

When I realized that I had to somehow get it to be fun to him again. It dawned on me. I was “boot camping” my son to be a good baseball player. When we played or practiced, I would comment on every play he made. Whether it was good job, nice throw, a piece of advice, or something criticizing. I was instructing him ALL the time. I decided to take some days to be his dad and just play some baseball. To have fun with no instruction and no drills.

Now we still do skill training days, but for every 2 skill days we have one fun day to play whatever he wants to. It may just be catch or me just pitching to him but I try very hard to just have fun with NO instruction on those days. He seems to be a lot more willing to learn on instruction days if he knows he has fun when we play ball together.

I want to be a good dad WAY more than I want to be a good coach. I guess I let my priorities get a little messed up in the heat of little league competition. I hope this helps some with what you’re going through. All your son wants to do is make your proud, let him know that it’s easier to do than he thinks.

Jun 28, 2012

Coaching Son

by: Tim

I have coached both my sons from Instructional up thru 12 year olds. I’d suggest engaging your son in some of your practice planning, let him know you’d like him to be your “player coach,” show him how you plan the line-up, and where kids the line-up rotation you plan to use. Seek his input on the types of practice activities he likes and what he think his teammates will like. Always keep in mind at that age it is to nurture the enjoyment of the game and keep it simple.

Jun 28, 2012

Coaching My Son

by: Coach Henze

Thanks for the comment Coach Todd! I think it is time for the “frank” talk with my son about this separation. Hopefully, that will help.

I do love the bond we create by me coaching him and his friends. According to what he says, he really enjoys it also.

Nobody said it was easy… Will get much better!

Jun 27, 2012

Coaching My Son

by: Coach Todd

I coached my older sons 12u and 13u travel teams and we had a great player/coach relationship that was separate from son/dad – he addressed me as coach when we were at baseball and dad at home – we were able to separate the two. This year I coached my 11 yer old in his in- house league team with a much different set of circumstances. He had a very hard time separating the coach from dad and we had to have a frank talk 1/3 of the way through the season to discuss our coach/player relationship versus our son/dad relationship. Coaching my sons has been one of the greatest joys of my life and I would not trade it for anything. You just need to set the ground rules early and treat your child the same way you treat all the other players and be consistent. It can be very rewarding.

Jun 27, 2012

Coaching My Son At Home…

by: Coach Henze

Thanks for the reply. I understand where you are coming from, but the only time stress arises is at home when we are working on a skill in the back yard. At practice and games we are usually just fine.

I asked him this afternoon if he would rather have me step back and he replied with, “No! I want you as my coach.” So, I guess things are just fine…

My son has worked EXTREMELY hard the past couple of days on his hitting. His determination is something I am very proud of. In tonight’s game, he didn’t perform as well and he took it as a step backward and was frustrated. I think he totally improved tonight, because he put good swings on the ball consistently. He didn’t get any hits, but he swung the bat… Before tonight, he hadn’t swung the bat for 3 or 4 games…

I love this kid and love coaching him. This coaching-son relationship is going to develop over the course of time. I need to learn more patient and he is starting to believe in what I am saying. I continue to be honest with him while being very supportive.

Please share your stories with a comment. What have you done to help your son?

Thanks again!

Jun 27, 2012

Maybe it’s time to stop coaching

by: Anonymous

Sounds like it might be time to consider stop coaching your son. There comes a time when someone else will coach him, maybe now is that time. Even though you may be a better coach than some others, consider sitting back and watching for a season. Or if you really enjoy being involved, ump or keep the scorebook. Let your kid be a kid and remove the stress on both of you. Kid sports is supposed to be fun, not stressful.