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Looking At Your Player
Through "Rose Colored Glasses?"

by: Bob Howdeshell
High School Baseball Web

Once again a topic that has "sprouted" from the message boards. Are you looking at your son through "rose colored glasses?"

This topic (like many on the forums) went in two directions. The first was about good and bad high school baseball coaches. The other direction was regarding parents who's opinions of their son's abilities was different than those of the high school coach.

For this article we will address only the parental issue, and leave the editorial about coaches for another day.

One comment that I hear quite frequently is this -- "my son played summer ball with Tommy Smith and was always better than him, yet Tommy is playing and my son is sitting on the bench, for their high school team."

Understand that many (most) high school coaches do not follow summer baseball teams to watch the future players coming into their programs.

Since the coaches do not have the "years" of watching their incoming players decisions must be made regarding which players make the team during the try-out period.

Some players will carry enough "local reputation" into a program that they will make the team even if their try-outs are sub-standard. Other players do not.

After the team has been selected the coach must then base playing time on what he and his staff see each day at practice.

I think that this is absolutely the right way to determine playing time. Not based on past performances on a summer team, but on what the players are doing each day at practice.

I have always said that there are three great separation periods for youth baseball players. The first usually comes at the 12/13 year old period. The next comes at the jump to the full size baseball field (especially pitchers) and the third comes with the entrance into high school.

The jump into high school baseball is not always a difficult one from a "skills" standpoint. Many players see better competition (overall) during the summer travel season, than that of many high school programs. This makes the transition much easier.

The biggest change going into high school is the social one. Player's are no longer involved in what many of us call "Daddy Ball."

A player may have been the shortstop and batted third in the order for his travel team. On the high school team he may be asked to play outfield and bat 8th in the order. Some players (and parents) cannot adjust or accept these changes.

I really liked the comment (test) posted on the message board by AParent and offer it here for everyone.

"Parents: If you have problems with a single coach then you probably have a coaching problem that definitely needs some serious work. If however, you have problems with coaches at several levels, or on numerous teams (or several teachers) then perhaps it is time to take off the glasses and deal with an expectation problem."

"Coaches: You will always have some players and/or parents that are dissatisfied with some part of what you do. That is the nature of life, simply deal with each difficult situation as it comes up. If however, you often encounter difficult players/parents then perhaps it is not necessarily their problem, but yours. If so, it is time to look at your methods of coaching and make some improvements."

PARENTS -- Give your player a chance to grow up and learn about life. Coaches are not foolish. They want to win as much as anyone. Their goal is to put the best team on the field each day. I find it hard to believe that there is a coach out there anywhere that would rather lose a game because he is playing a "favorite" player over your son.

Coaches are not gods and they do make mistakes when evaluating talent. However if your player continues to work hard and give 100% effort each day in practice and when he gets a chance to play in a game -- AND if he is a better player than the player ahead of him -- your player will eventually get his starting position.

Parents should not complain and moan about a coach in front of their children. The message sent is that it is okay to whine and pout. It does not send the correct message.

The way to get ahead in life is to out work, out hustle and out think your competition.

I love the saying: "The harder I work the luckier I get."

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