A common issue among the youth baseball community is the coach’s son. Often he gets more playing time and preferable treatment. Is this right? Let’s explore.
For a coach to be viewed as a good coach and increase their chance of retaining players, they must have certain qualities that parents deem valuable for their children. These qualities can differ in all situations, but in all situations, a coach should allow his players a fair opportunity at success and improvement.
A good coach can often be defined by how many players return to the sport or team the following season. If his son is put in the prime positions, top of the order, never sits the bench, and gets more repetitions, problems could soon follow. Even if he is the best player on a competitive team, in youth sports, all kids deserve an opportunity. These opportunities could be in practice or games.
Players that lead off every single game will see an extra 10-30 at bats throughout the year. Players that play prime positions for every inning during the season get many more repetitions at game speed. These are obvious advantages that should be avoided if a coach is coaching to maximize the development of the team.
Coaches must find a balance. Most likely they are there because they love coaching their son, but hopefully they’re there too because they enjoy teaching kids baseball. There’s always going to be some preferential treatment, but hopefully coaches minimize it.
The coach’s son does deserve a little preferential treatment. This may be as simple as getting more repetitions than everyone because they are always at practice and they always show up early. In some situations, where everything else is fair, but one or a few kids are in line to get a bonus, it’s acceptable that the coach’s son receive one of these bonus advantages. After all, the coach is volunteering a lot of his time and deserves a little something in return.
It’s easy to see though when this gets out of control. Often coaches blatantly and obviously give their sons a lot of advantages, and this shouldn’t be the case. Other parents might not have the availability to help coach, and their kids shouldn’t suffer from it.
Keep it fair, keep it fun. It’s youth baseball.