Y’all, After reading my previous post, it comes off as harsh. What I was wanting to say is make sure your son knows the right way to condition himself and if something is missing from the program add it in. Additionally, it may help now that you know how to do video analysis of your son’s pitching mechanics but the ultimate goal is to have him be able to do it by himself. Eventually, he’ll be able to make the adjustments. Hopefully, he’ll be able to recognize during a game or bullpen what is wrong and make the corrections on the fly. I’m not trying to bite the hand that feeds me, just saying that as your son progresses, he’s the one that needs to recognize problems and make corrections. Cal
These discussions are interesting to read. This is my first experience in the forum world, but find myself at the same point many of you are at with some exception. I have been coaching my sons team ( travel and in house) for 7 years. I played high school baseball, but not college or professionally( my father played low A minor league ball). I realized when I started coaching that playing and coaching were very different. I dont buy into the concept that I played so I know more than you, concept. That just means you were good at one time, but has no reflection on being good now and being able to transfer the information successfully. The reason why I have purchased most of the material from Coach Mills, been to a personal training session at his place in beautiful Scottsdale with my then 11 year old son(1 year ago) and recently became a member of the insiders after two plus years of watching from the outside is one reason only. It is not because Coach Mills pitched in the big leagues or that Ryan was so successful. That is cool stuff and may provide some great insight, but honestly it boils down to one main item, they are “dead on” in their model!!!!! I spent two years obsessively researching pitching as my son started playing and I coaching, “kid pitch” I worked through (not used- just looked at and started shooting holes in them) all of the training concepts. Everyone in this group did or you wouldnt be here. I find myself in this position because after 4 very enjoyable, successful years of coaching my sons travel team( pitched 11 kids and had no arm injuries- need more proof?). I realized privately while coaching our team in Cooperstown ( one of the greatest memories I will never forget) that it was time to focus on my son only. Which meant we would have to tryout for one of the teams in our area. This is where my interest in this forum gets real. I have had some interesting discussions as you can imagine, in the past two months. I realized why I was coaching a team, but have made it firm that I will not again. I want to focus on my son!!! My son is fortunate to have shown well at the tryouts and been asked to play for all the local options. The right vs. playing time question, I now find myself playing out. I know that many in the area know that we had a very successful program, so I get some regard from most of the coaches and programs, when the discussion about my son begins. I would guess half the teams are volunteer coaches, the other half are paid to some degree. I really havent found an advantage either way. All are pretty average, but I dont want to coach a team so I will focus on the best option. We do have a start up academy in the area, which is where I am currently leaning, however, they have the parents need to let us do our job thought process as well, with most parents. I have made my thoughts clear on that approach in a very respectable manner. I made the comment that they must not be very good because they dont charge much. They tout, this guy played here, and this guy there, etc… I just asked, what does that have to do with coaching youth? I think because they are truly getting started it resonated a little and I am constantly asked my thoughts on things, in a general sense. I am not choosing this as our lead option because they are asking my opinion, they actually know about Coach Mills program and like it. They dont like long toss, weighted anything, they believe in pitching off mounds and are preparing the academy with video for everything not just pitching. On the surface it is headed in the right direction.Well see?? One point I dont believe that was made before now in the forum is this. If your boy is not in high school yet, why cant the general philosophical discussion take place? Do this before you committ to the team. I dont believe as a coach or parent in the wood pecker concept (continual questioning) in communication. I do believe you are within your right to discuss and question someone who has the control of potential injury and development within their scope at any age. This is not a playing time discussion and does not occur at the event, always allow 24 + hrs as a cooling off period for all parties. As a coach, I worried about 11 boys and having to address 1 situation right after will never end well. We had one parent engagement at a tournament about playing time in one game and even though the dad was a friend I thought much less of him after, for the manner in which he handled it. I was fortunate as a coach, no parent was at the level the 3 coaches were in preparation so we were honestly never questioned, except on playing time and we kept detail on every kid. I expect that of other folks coaching and that is where I have been disappointed so far. It gets a little touchier as they get in high school. Most parents should let their children communicate with the coach, just as they would with a teacher on day to day items. The philosophical stuff is where parents need to be engaged. I am on the local high school board and the reason many coaches tune parents out is that many parents try to handle items their kids should learn to handle. Like I said the philosphical items, training, injury prevention, rest, those are philosphical. Pitching produces injuries frequently and I ask how, they manage against those in their training and game readiness? That question is very non threatening in my mind. It allows you to discuss their philosophy. Do this in the fall, discuss it with the coaches during a non threatening time of year. Interestingly most do what they hear, not what they have seen results from or spent much time researching. I will state as a high school board member and relatively in tune with who the coaches are, I have these discussions. In my role they have to listen to me. It is my opinion, most high school coaches (not all) are what I would consider to be very average in philosophical development. Additionally, only some want to discuss it at all. They view parents as an adversary. If someone were to ask me how to discuss items with this model of coach I would recomend the candy vs. stick approach. Do so when they dont believe someting is on the line. Non urgent time of year, fall ball, after the season is over, etc…I do believe research based philosophy is a great backstop to have in the discussion. Finally, if you as a parent arent happy with the philosphy of the coaches and it is damaging to your son, move on. In pre high school move on now. In High School, just remember a high school coach was never fired because he employs long toss as a training model. My son is not there yet so I look forward to reading how folks handle these situations. I am fired up about working with my own son only and cant wait to see what develops. One item that all the coaches repeated when he was trying out was this, “kid throws hard!! I said to him and myself, “Hes not even throwing hard yet”, he broke his wrist badly last year and lost his fitness and sharpness. I will be the first to say the off season training program from Coach Mills works, we did it last off season along with swimming/water polo and he was very ready. We start in a few weeks again.
I can relate and posted some comments in the injury thread with my questions about the First-Pitch Strike Warm up and Recovery Program. My son is 12 and has played USSSA for ‘daddy-ball’ coaches for four years. A common theme seems to be the chord Matheny struck in his open letter about youth sports. We are the coaches and you should turn your kids over to us. No contact, no involvement with your son. The last three teams he played for have had rules dictating this. No advice, suggestions, recommendations are welcome. This is usually stated by the coaches as being what is necessary to prepare your son for high school baseball. My question is always, “and who is preparing your son?” The coaches sons, who often seemed to be among the best players on the team when I grew up don’t seem to fit that mold anymore. It seems the coaches are now most likely there to protect their son or surround him with better players to insure they are on a “good team”. They demand complete control and loathe the parents who are *invested* in their sons (although they welcome the higher level of hitting/fielding/pitching they bring). I echo the earlier poster who noted their desire to meddle with your son while their own son is seriously deficient in even basic baseball skills. I believe it is an attempt to have some part in the success your son achieves. My philosophy is you can teach my son how you want him to play bunt defense, how the team handles cutoff responsibilities, etc., but he already has Division I coaches he has been working with for five years for hitting, fielding, and pitching. I am invested in what he learns and who he learns it from. He doesn’t need skills advice. He has always been one of the best players on his teams while also playing up. And this is without benefit of being a big boy, simply more physically mature than the others. We attended high school baseball camp last year to ‘get on the coaches radar’. The coach is a 2-time state champion who was inducted into the states hall of fame this year. On day one, while taking some dry swings in preparation of taking BP, the HS coach asked my son what he was doing. “You can’t hit like that son!” Apparently, my sons open stance was a non-starter. “You’ll never be able to hit a fastball son!” Sadly, the coach can’t separate swing mechanics from pre-swing “style”. At the HS feeder team meeting this year the HS coach proclaimed baseball lessons “unnecessary”. “Just get out there and throw a ball against a wall” was his advice. Again, this is a state HOF coach. Despite railing against parents whose sons take lessons, my son was invited to the team as the only under age player… with an advanced personal phone call. My son attends private school and has an available option to play for the private HS as well. My son learned to hit from Jay Ward whom Coach Mills may have known and to this day he still uses Jay’s system of hitting. Jay had a brief stint in the Majors, was an accomplished minor league manager, served as hitting coach for the Yankees under Lou Piniella, and ran a hitting school in Florida with Wade Boggs. Would you put your faith in the HS coach whose philosophy is to either bunt or hit the ball into the dirt and then run or Jay Ward? The landscape is littered with dads and coaches who have very little knowledge. Ego seems to drive their closed-mindedness. They know what they know and they don’t want to know any more. They know what is best. Mike Matheny and the media have armed them with the ammunition that the parents are all that is wrong with youth sports. Make no mistake, bad parents are certainly playing their part in what’s wrong. But youth sports seems to be an area where knowledge is NOT king. Coaches/Dad Coaches are not to be questioned nor enlightened. Making certain your son is the best player on the team and having other options seem to be the only antidotes that have a chance of working.
For me, my son has been pitching for 2 years and is just 10 years old. Even so, he has been playing baseball, like most of our kids, since T-ball. When I was young, I was a big student of the game. I respected the importance of mechanics and proper technique in all aspects of the game and focused heavily on doing things right. When my son started playing ball, I would give him instruction that focused on developing proper mechanics. Granted, this is proper mechanics as I was taught and understood them to be. What I found out over time was that I had been taught fairly well. Sure, there are some techniques today that I was taught that are not considered as important or critical these days but, in all, I was lucky enough to learn a solid foundation. In respect to volunteer coaches in your local little league or Cal Ripken, Jr. league, I try to be as understanding, respectful, and patient regarding the good, bad, and ugly of what some of them try to teach our kids. I am not trying to make excuses for a person complete ignorance or unwillingness to even take the time to learn the fundamentals of the limited coaching materials they given, but I know that I must take into account that, right or wrong in their instruction of my son, incorrect instruction is not generally intentional and is born out of just a sheer lack of knowledge. In the end, the individuals coaching our children are people who genuinely just wanted to help by volunteering their time and, often times, money, to work with our kids. That said, just like everyone else, we all run into plenty of coaches, volunteer or paid, that just aren..t very good or knowledgeable at teaching the fundamentals of baseball, much less the fundamentals of pitching or specialty position play. What I tell my son is this….First, I am the final word on everything baseball when it comes to fundamentals. It does not matter if the coach is volunteer or paid or even hired by me to give private lessons. If a coach teach proper fundamentals, i reinforce those lessons and specifics with my son and let him know that he can proceed with doing what the coach is telling him to do in regards to that particular instruction. If I do not agree with any particular instruction from a volunteer coach, I will either take the time to speak with the coach about such instruction, not necessarily to tell him he is wrong but to ask him to better explain his reasoning for the instruction. If after this discussion, and sometimes some research of my own, I deem his instruction to be invalid, I tell my son to ignore it and proceed to give him what I have determined is the correct instruction. If I deem his instruction to be valid, I instruct my son to follow the coach..s teaching. If I have a coach that is trying to teach my son incorrectly and my son already knows that what the coach is saying is not correct, I tell my son to respectfully listen to his coach and then just go back to doing that particular skill in the proper way as he has already been taught. For any private instructor that I am paying for, if I see them teaching something that I believe is wrong or that I don..t think makes sense, I immediately stop the instruction, politely and respectfully though, and ask the instructor to explain his teaching. In the end, as a parent, it is likely that you have far more influence on your child than their coaches do. So, do your homework, soak up as much knowledge from those you respect as professionals in their trade, and be open to new ideas. None of us know everything about anything and you can..t let yourself get frustrated over bad coaching or coaches…there will always be good and bad coaches or teachers in your child..s life and you must teach your children how to think for themselves and deal with these variables that will exist throughout their entire lives….this is why I love sports…they teach you so much about how to interact with people and life, in general….I leave you with this summation….teach your children to respect people while continually challenging and testing the ideas they profess….seek the Truth in all things…and treat others as you..d like to be treated…none of us are perfect or right all of the time so keep your own flaws and boneheaded mistakes of the past in mind before your lash out at others….these are all values that are beneficial to a civil society…
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.