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The coach always picks the star players for my 10-year-old son's little league team, leaving the other kids sitting on the bench, except for the required 2-inning play rule. Should I speak up about this?


Derick Wilder Replied: Unfortunately, your issue is a common one, as many Little Leagues are built around a "minimum play rule" as opposed to an "equal play rule". When combined with a coach's aspirations for the team, this can lead to a negative experience for those participants who are not the "stars". Here are a couple of suggestions to deal with the situation. 1. Find out how your son feels about only playing part of the game. Make sure you are supportive in his efforts and encourage him to always try his best when he does play. Explain that it is a team game, and every person has an important role. Sometimes that role may be include simply being supportive of teammates and the team. Also, one of the benefits of playing in a league is the relationships that are made with the other players. In short, there are still positive aspects that can come from playing league sports, even under these circumstances. 2. There are probably other parents who feel as you do. It might be best to speak to them first and then go to the coach as a group with a common concern. Also, most leagues have a mission statement, which may even be distributed to parents. If the league's goal is to teach the game to all of the children, then you could speak to the league coordinator about maintaining the correct priorities. 3. If you have a choice of coaches, find out the philosophies of the other ones. Some coaches are more focused on teaching the game and its values while letting everyone participate and have fun than on just the win-loss record. In the end, children playing for those coaches will get the most from their Little League experience.
Posted On 2004-04-12 18:55:42
Bernie Pepchinski Replied: I've seen this many times and often thought, who is complaining here, the parent or child? Often the children know who the star players are anyway. They are happier going to school on Monday proudly wearing the team colors than getting even playing time on a losing team. You might first talk to your child to understand his feelings, before you risk embarrassing him.
Posted On 2004-04-08 19:45:16
Steve Virgilio Replied: You are in a very difficult situation, the standard of "required 2-inning play for all" are set at the beginning of the season. If he is not one of the better players he may find himself on the bench quite a bit throughout the season. This may not bother him since he may find pleasure in being a part of the team and relating to his peer group. Carefully examine your child's feelings about this issue - -is he happy?, is he having fun? It is very possible to teach your child about the true benefits of sport, and not leave it up to a Little League organization or volunteer coach - this will take some patience and understanding on your part, but worth the effort. Try these strategies: 1) Never discuss your child's performance after a game - make general comments, " Good Game". 2) Never complain about playing time in front of your child. 3) Show your support by attending all games, and be a positive spectator. 4) Talk about baseball with your child, and take them to a local high school or college game. 5) Get to know the coach better - this is a casual way of letting the coach know you are interested in your child's progress. If you find he is a "win at any cost" type of coach, you may want to express your feelings in private. 6) Play ball with your child - simple games of catch are fine. This will show your child that you care about his interest in baseball, regardless of his current level of play. 7) When your child feels down about not playing so much, striking out, or making an error - remind them that it is only a game, then find something to say positive about their personal characteristics such as," I liked the way you supported Bobby when he struck out, I know he appreciated that - you are a great team player."
Posted On 2004-04-08 19:43:18
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