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Transfer Portal Phenom
  • I'm looking for a little advice about how folks would approach a coach regarding lack of playing time for their kid. My daughter plays softball for a Catholic Middle School and is getting the minimum of 2 innings per game. One of the tenents of the league is that it is about participation.

    She is very frustrated and doesn't understand why she isn't playing more. Not to be father like, but she is one of the better players on the team. That makes it worse when she sees kids on the field screwing up.

    She makes all the practices, when some kids don't, but has missed some games due to other conflicts. The coach new she would be missing some of these games. This is the only thing that I can think is causing the problem.

    Would you say anything to the coach and if so how would you go about it?
    If she's getting to play every game she's there for, then the coach is meeting the league's participation requirement, so not much of a gripe there. However, if you really feel she should be getting more time because of her talent and not because she's your kid (I have two daughters myself, albeit quite a bit older than middle school age, so I definitely can empathize) then simply ask the coach where your girl needs improvement. If you don't come off as combative, chances are the coach will tell you what he/she feels you child is lacking. Keep in mind that few of us on this board agree on which players should be starting for the Buckeyes, i.e., see talents of players differently, so don't be surprised if the coach overlooks some of her strong points you may feel are obvious and sees some weak points you can't see. We all see people differently.
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    This is a good question...

    From a coach's perspective, I would suggest approaching the coach with a question about what your daughter can do to improve her skill as a player. This opens the door for a dialogue by putting the coach at ease instead of assuming you are one of the psychotic all-star parents looking for a confrontation. With the coach willing to discuss the issue, you can learn his/her view of the situation and probably find a compromise.
    The coach should then be able to give you direct reasons for her weaknesses as a player from his point of view. That way you can infer from his answers why she is not playing. If he is indirect, then you can pursue the questioning further to gain the specific answers you are seeking.

    Also, the missed games is a cardinal sin (I realize your situation is different from that which I am referring). We actually cut kids who miss games consistently due to other obligations.

    Edit: Should have read all of Mili's post before reiterating points...
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    I agree with the above posts, but also add that I would talk to the coach one-on-one away from anyone else and not tell your kid that you are going to or did talk to the coach. Give him your card and ask him to call you when he has a chance.
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    I was going to give the same basic response as Grad21. Approach it as a genuine question, not an accusation. "What can my daughter do to get more PT?"

    I coached youth sports for over 10 years and I was often amazed at how differently two people could see the talent level of the same kid. Baseball expecially offers so many dimensions to focus on and coaches/parents often lock on to only one of those as the most important.

    This is a very awkward subject and the natural response of the coach will be to get defensive if you don't approach it gently. The only time I ever agreed with the coaches assessment of my sons talent was when I was doing the coaching - and then I was probably wrong.
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    Mili and Grad21 have pretty much hit it on the head!

    Others have stated the following and I will reiterate it as well, in light of what happened tonight. When you talk to the coach be discreet. Do not let your child know about it or other players. Tonight one of my player's father approached me after the game (a hard fought 9-8 victory achieved in our last at bat) to ask about his son and playing a certain position (SS). Unfortunately, while the team is celebrating the exciting victory, this boy saw his dad talking to me and his head dropped.

    Even though it doesn't matter, but it does underscore what Mili, Grad, and Oh8CH stated, the boy in question doesn't have the arm strength or range to play SS. His dad talked about his good glove (a positive) but hadn't noticed the negatives (lack of range and arm strength).
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    You've probably already looked into it, 'Bri, but, if not, it's worth looking at the PT that most or all of the others are getting. It might not be too far off from your daughter's. It may not be your situation, but it is possible that from a numbers or strategic perspective that 2-3 innings a player might be "normal" on a team. I have played on teams where a few "stars" (generally not me, but it has happened) have played a lot of minutes and everyone else gets rotated. I've also been on teams that by design rotate everyone to keep fresh bodies in the game (like our DL last year and possibly LBs this year).

    Finally, my wife runs the middle school of a private K-12 and they often run into numbers crunches with players and PT because there aren't enough opposing teams/games at that age. They have a no-cuts policy, because if you're paying upwards of $10k every year, your kid ought to at least get to wear the jersey, so their 2nd through 4th teams wind up playing a lot of scrimmages.

    PT certainly isn't always indicative of talent, at least that's what I keep telling myself. I hope your daughter doesn't get too discouraged at such a young age. Best of luck.
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