In my years as a Private instructor, travel ball coach and even as a player, "politics" in sports is something that is unavoidable. Although this is a part of most teams, is this really why your child isn’t getting the playing time they and you think they deserve? We hear it from parents a lot here at Baseball Rebellion that their child isn't playing because of 'politics' on the team. Well, today you're going to learn ways to help your child break the barrier and get themselves on the field. Here are some reasons why your child isn't playing and ways that they can improve that.
Most travel ball teams are coached by volunteer dads who have minimal playing experience or none at all. These parents give up their free time to help manage the team when they play and practice and should be appreciated no matter what. Sometimes it’s obvious that the kids of these parent coaches are playing at the most sought out positions and bat in the middle or top of the line-up. Does this mean that they are the best and deserve to play there? No, it doesn't but if they are the coach's kid chances are they are still going to get those spots! At the end of the day, every single parent is biased towards their kid and they want the best for them. Volunteer coaches who have players on the team will most likely be the same way. Therefore the comments such as “that kid only play shortstop because his dad is the coach” are completely irrelevant.
As I have said before every parent is biased towards their kid and that’s ok. But at some point, you have to ask yourself, how good of a player is your kid? Compared to the best players on your team or players that they compete against. When they are challenged do they succeed and compete with the best of the best? Or do they continually fail to make no adjustments at all? If you want your kid to become the best they can be you cant always look at them as “your child”. Instead, look at their performance from a coach's perspective who is trying to win games. If your kid isn’t performing at the plate, makes errors on the base paths and makes errors in the field what makes you think they deserve to be in the line-up?
Baseball and softball are two of the hardest most dynamic sports out there. These sports you have to train diligently for, you can’t just show up on game day thinking that you’re going to do well if you haven't done any work! Each player's value is determined by five tools that hold true whether it’s softball or baseball. The five tools are hitting for average, hitting for power, arm strength, fielding, and speed. Be honest and identify what needs to be worked on. If you are small and weak get a trainer and start lifting some weights. If you can’t hit water if you fell out of a boat, get some hitting lessons. If you can’t throw strikes get pitching lessons. Bottom line is that there are ways to get better and there are ways to get stronger. You either go out and find ways to get better or someone else will and that someone will be the one who is playing in the game.
No coach has EVER not put a kid in the lineup because they had too many hits. Whether it’s hitting for average, power or a mix of both those who hit in the games will stay in the line-up. Now that doesn’t mean you can just forget about fielding and running the bases. Making errors in the field and on the base paths is a one-way ticket to the bench, just saying. At the end of the day, those who bring value to the team and help the team win will most likely play. Those players who are in the line-up every day pay attention to what they do in their free time. I bet you they are training, lifting and learning how they can keep getting better. That is why those players dominate the game and earn playing time instead of waiting for something to be handed to them.
Now to revert back to what I was saying earlier about “daddy ball” and the politics of the game. Guess what you can be one of the best players, have the best tools and still get limited opportunities based on what your coach thinks is best for this team. I found myself in certain situations in travel ball at a young age and when I was in the minor leagues with the Washington Nationals. This really messed with me mentally because I was working hard, performing in games, and still got limited opportunities. I started to worry about the opportunities I wasn’t getting rather than focusing on the opportunities I was getting. You can only control what you can control.
Parents are realistic on how good your child is and if they need to get better get them help. If you are not willing to get them professional instruction do not get on them if they fail to play well. To me, that is my biggest pet peeve I see. How can you demand your child to play well if you don’t help them get better? After you have identified what your kid needs to get better at its time to get to work. The hours and hours spent are not only going to benefit them physically but mentally as well. It will teach them that nothing is given but earned and that will help them for the rest of their lives. Teach your kid to earn their spot and don’t blame it on politics that’s just an excuse. Excuses get you nowhere but the bench and in return leads to frustration. The goal should be to play so damn good that they have to play your kid. I really hope this article shed some light on this “daddy ball” or “ that's the coach's kid” phenomenon.