Baseball Coaching Tips: Working with Parents in Travel Ball

Baseball parents are as much a part of your roster as the athletes. Strengthen that relationship with these Pro Tips.

Managing youth baseball has plenty of ups and downs. While you might think that all experiences stem from on the field, they can oftentimes begin in the bleachers.

The relationship between parents and coaches is vital to team success. Without it, the two schools can be out of sync and impede the enjoyment of the athletes. Working with parents and ensuring the best for the kids is one of the many responsibilities of a coach. Take these tips from the PONY League World Series so you can improve relations with your team’s top fans.

BE STRAIGHTFORWARD

A key ingredient to any relationship is understanding expectations. When speaking to baseball parents, it’s important for coaches to be upfront with them about responsibilities and roles. Addressing these points before the upcoming season or tournament can alleviate headaches down the road. Everyone is on an even playing field and can hold one another accountable if things go astray.

“I do believe that’s the key, is telling people upfront what your expectations are,” Dave Barr, PONY Baseball manager from Hagerstown, Maryland, says.

SET PARENTAL EXPECTATIONS

Just like each player has responsibilities, so too should their parents. They should understand they will be responsible for multiple factors that can dictate an athlete’s ability to play. Knowing these factors ahead of time can make your life as manager much easier.

“It’s important for the parents to know, I think, upfront when you’re, you know, either on a travel ball club or a league team that may go deep in the all-star experience that there are finances involved,” Simi Valley, California, manager Ken Gill says. “It does get to be pricey.”

Despite finances and extended time away from other activities, Gill notes that parents can share in the enjoyment their athletes experience from winning late-season games.

“There is no better experience, for sure. It’s well worth the trade-offs,” he adds.

BE REALISTIC

Being upfront with parents can allow you to explain your projected game plans without surprise. This means establishing that, despite parents’ best wishes and beliefs, their child is not the greatest to ever play. While most mean well, parents must be realistic with you and understand your role.

Youngtown, Ohio, manager Scott Ruark notes being realistic with parents expecting their kid to play every inning can help smooth potential tensions. Also, creating this sense of understanding pre-season or pre-tournament can allow everyone to focus on winning as a team.

A good rapport between parents and coaches can help you focus your attention and lead to on-field success. Confidently coach your team to victory with a strong cheering section in the stands with these Pro Tips.

Coaching youth baseball isn’t all serious business. Use these Pro Tips to find that perfect middle ground in balancing competition and having fun.