Sunday, June 27, 2010

Baseball Tips - Unruly Parents - Here is a Solution

By Tom Read

You Know This Parent

My wife was a self described bad sport. She had been thrown out of games, argued with the other teams' parents, yelled at the umpires, and embarrassed my son and I. I would talk with her before and after games, reminding her to not get out of control, but it did not help. Someone from the other team would say something, or the umpire would make a questionable call, and she would start in. What was I going to do?

It Can Start At the Beginning

When I was coaching tee ball, I once had to break up a verbal fight between my first base coach and the other team's coach. Another time, I noticed that a dad, who had been to every practice and game, started missing the games. I asked him at a practice if his work was keeping him from the games. He told me no, Johnny was feeling too much pressure with him at the game. This is still tee ball. I guess it was good that the dad at least realized where the pressure was coming from. Most of the time parents do not realize that the things they say can put undue pressure on their kids.

Travel Teams Are the Worst

It seems travel teams have the most vocal parents, good and bad. I have always assumed the reasons for this are either one, they have spent a lot of time and money involved with this team and are expecting a big return, or two, they are on the road and friends and family are not around. But, on the other hand, I've seen travels teams stay home to play and behave just as badly. And I have seen bad behavior at recreational games. So it can happen anywhere.

Solution - Put My Wife in Time Out

Back to my wife; a few hours after the game would be over she would feel bad about her behavior. I thought about asking her to stay away from the games, but she really did enjoy watching our son play. Finally it came to me. I needed to remove her from the home plate area, get her away from the other teams' parents and away from our son when he was batting. We moved down the outfield line; pass the dugouts and about half way towards the outfield fence. Out there we didn't hear the other team, the home plate umpire couldn't hear us, and the game became real enjoyable. Our view wasn't as good, but that was a small trade off. We were having fun again.

It Is Easy to Involve Others

Other parents were asking us why we were sitting so far down the line. My wife did not hesitate to answer that she was in "time out". Like a child, she couldn't be trusted to behave properly when located near a potential bad situation. Soon, others that had the same problem were joining us. A few games into this idea, and half the parents were down the line with us. It became an enjoyable social event. Maybe it even helped a few marriages.

Start Your Own Cheap Seats Section

There are certain situations where adults will act like little children. If you have these types on your team, ask them to take a stroll down the line with you. Everyone, especially their sons, will thank you.

Preaching to the Choir

I know most of the people reading this are not the problem. Parents with bad behavior usually do not seek out advise. But in the right way you can make a difference. To see other baseball tips and stories I have written please visit my website at

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1 comment:

STATS DAD said...

Love the honesty in the post. We had a dad remove himself to the outfield a few years ago, unfortunately he is back in earshot again. Let's say he did not make any friends in the Cooperstown Tournament.