Head Coach v Specialty Coach

So you’ve made the team and you start practicing, but your head coach doesn’t like something you do with either your pitching or hitting. If you already go to a trained specialty coach then you may have a conflict of interest and some disagreements. Confusing the player is counterproductive and you will hinder progress and actually make things worse. As a player or parent you can handle it a few ways.

Tell your coach

Most coaches will ask at the start of the season who goes to pitching or hitting lessons and they may want to know who it is. That’s a great start, but some coaches will leave you alone and others will try to tweak. Make sure they know you get extra coaching on the side.

Explain yourself

You should be able to explain to your coach why are doing things a certain way. If your coach doesn’t like way you are stepping or using your hips, you should be able to explain it. For example: I tell my players to exaggerate movements on the tee and front toss drills so that these subtle movements become second nature when it’s time to go live.

Be polite

Yes sir, Yes ma’am, but ignore (but not always). Some coaches are jack of all trades but master of none. They may have passed down knowledge that they heard over the years “squish the bug”, “hello elbow”, “nice level swing”, or some other phrase that is repeated that can’t be explained properly. If a coach does point something out that you hear from your specialty coach then of course make that adjustment.

Have the coaches talk

This doesn’t have to be a cold war summit, so egos should be set aside. You both want the players to get better and confusing them with different drills that undo progress is detrimental to player development. It’s important to pick and trust a process. There are many different coaching styles and methods, but there should be common ground when it comes to doing what is best for the player.

Coaching your own child

What better way to relive your days as a player by coaching your kids. This could be a good or bad thing.

Treat them the same

Encouragement, instruction, punishment, all of it. There’s a pressure and temptation to be harder on your kid and you have to resist it. Treat them like any other player. Are you going to scream at someone else’s kid for missing a grounder? Nah, because that parent might come over and punch you in the grill. If you do scream at the other kids you may want to consider another path. Mistakes happen, they are counting on you for support. They know they made a mistake, you don’t need to remind them with your anxious anger. You are only making it worse and could lead to more errors.

Have fun

You are playing a sport to escape the everyday life of school and work. Yes there will be some problem kids that will try to ruin the game but you also have ones that counterbalance and bring the team up. Be a coach that brings everyone up and stop tearing down. I like to use drills that inspire competition. It doesn’t feel like work when it’s fun.

Enjoy it

It’s not going to last forever. What will they remember? A parent that helped them love the game or one that made them not want to coach, play, or even watch the sport on television. Don’t fall into the comparison game, every kid is different and some are way better than yours. Stay humble if that kid is yours.