Parents and Playing Time (again)

We continued to have folks email about or comment on our article from several years ago, Parents and Playing Time. This time a frustrated mom wrote in about her son, Isaiah, who was a sophomore baseball player in high school who was not selected for the varsity. This was disappointing, but then midway through the season a freshman was brought up to the Junior Varsity team and Isaiah’s playing time diminished. The mom said her son wants to play in college and asked for advice on how to deal with this situation. Below was our response:

Thank you for your note. I will try to help the best I can. Sports like baseball can be frustrating because evaluating talent is so subjective. One person sees a player and thinks he’s the best, another person sees the same player and isn’t as impressed. And, of course, we parents usually tend to see our children’s strengths but not their weaknesses. The thing I can tell you is that it is likely that the coach feels there are better players than Isaiah because he wants to win and if he thought Isaiah could help him win, then Isaiah would play more. This doesn’t mean the coach is right, but I doubt he has any other motives. And we all know that you or Isaiah won’t be able to talk the coach into playing him more. Isaiah will have to do something that makes the coach change his mind.

So the obvious first step is to work hard. He should hit in the cage every day. He should get in the weight room and lift and come back in the fall 10-15 pounds heavier. This will immediately impress the coach. It will also improve Isaiah’s confidence. I would also recommend having him attend some college camps in the area if this is in the budget. Maybe he impresses a college coach and gets an offer to play. If a college coach thinks enough of Isaiah to want him, then the high school coach will have no choice but to play him. Plus, this way, Isaiah won’t really have to worry about high school as much anyway since he knows he’s got a place to play when he leaves.

And, depending on the high school availability you have in your area, another option is to transfer to a different school. Of course if you do this, there is no guarantee things will be better…they could be worse. Oh, and this summer, have him hit exclusively with a wood bat even if all the other players are using metal. When he gets back in the fall and starts using metal again he won’t believe how much better of a hitter he is.

Good luck to him and feel free to reach out later if you’d like.