The Ole Ball Game

Really frustrated in st louis hs jv ball

Anonymous asked: 10 games into spring season my son was good enough to make the team- plays on varsity teams summer and fall- benched every game only asked to run for pitcher twice.

17 kids on team - same 9 players every roster with 3 certain players being switched in n out.. All the others sit.

They have had high scores in several game which should have afforded opportunity to play some other kids. - nope.

Really frustrated. Hoping my son would talk to coach trying to wait on him.

I've asked if its bothering him, i just get shrugs but he did say yeah when scores were high and still sitting was really bothered..


Rick answered: Thank you for your question.

Truly a tough situation for everyone involved.

I am looking from the outside in, so my suggestions will be general in nature.

I think you are making the right decision to wait and let your son talk with the coach.

Generally speaking, coaches are not willing to discuss playing time. In most instances, that decision is based on what the coaches see in practice every day.

A neutral way for him to approach it would be to ask what areas the coach feels he needs to improve on, to have the opportunity to play.

He should be willing to let him know his thought process so that your son has a game plan on where he needs to improve, in his current situation.

Within that discussion, he should be able to feel comfortable in asking, when the score gets out of hand, why are there not opportunities for more players to get in the game? The program philosophy could be determined by the program head coach, and the JV coach is just following instructions.

Baseball is a far tougher game to get substitutes into than football or basketball, but you always have the ability to pinch hit someone, or enter them in a game, as you can re-enter your starters.

At the JV level, in my thought process, that should happen regularly, as you are looking at player and program development, not JV won/loss records. Not all programs feel that way.

You mentioned your son plays with the varsity summer and fall? You didn't mention what year he is in school.

How many players do they carry on their varsity roster?

On the site, there is a section on baseball mental control that may help you son as he moves forward. While the items on the list that are not controllable still exist, time spent thinking about them is counter productive.

Acknowledge they exist, then concentrate on the items over which you have control.

Armed with a list of items he should have after asking the coach what he needs to improve on to get playing time, he will be able to create a set of goals for himself (ultimately it is a roadmap of how to get from his current situation, to getting increased playing time).

It may not come about this season, as it is getting late; but the information received provides a starting point.

While having that conversation at his age, with his coach, is never easy; the coach should be more than willing to speak honestly to him and provide him with what he is looking for.

Good luck as you both move forward. Baseball is always a journey, never a destination.

I would like to hear the results of their talk.

Yours in baseball,


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Aug 10, 2015
Thank you for the update.
by: Rick, theoleballgame

It is good that your son talked to the coach. That in itself can take a great deal of courage, and shows that he does care about his baseball experience. I would hope he does try out. Your support will help him.

The coaches' assessment of why your son wasn't playing, that he didn't seem interested in being out there, doesn't provide him a path to improving his skills, it was simply the coaches' reason for not playing him.

As an example, in our program, we have an exit interview with all returning players at the end of the season. We go over their strengths, areas that need improvement and our suggestions for things they can do to get to where they want to be.

Quite often there are individuals who played little the year before, that take on the challenge and transform themselves into the player we see they could become, forcing us to find a spot for them to play. Always a good thing!

Your son should have a pretty fair idea of where he stands, talent wise, within the team's current structure. He can create his own assessment, and then his own set of goals and objectives. His commitment to these goals and objectives and his subsequent work to achieve them prior to spring practice will provide him with the confidence to go into it and be successful.

He should also be able to see what positions there may be that he has a better opportunity to get playing time, even if it means moving to a different position than he normally has played.

Between now and the tryout dates, he can be making every effort to improve in all areas he feels he has deficiencies. At his age, increasing his physical strength and conditioning would be of great help for what he has coming up.

I was, at one point, where your son is today.

Having played on a Little League team which came 2 games from going to the World Series, I was cut in tryouts for my Junior High Team.

Tried out for the Freshman team in High School. The coach told me he didn't like me; but kept me because I had gotten hits off his best pitcher.

I had 7 at bats for the season, went a paltry 1 for 7.

Played JV and hardly played until my Freshman Coach, who was now the Varsity coach, moved 6 Sophomores up to the Varsity.

It was at this point I decided I needed to do something more than show up at the start of the season.

Made a concerted effort to improve myself physically, as well as a more concentrated summer league schedule.

Made the varsity as a junior, did not start, until 4 games in. Had one infielder who made 6 errors in 3 games, so he decided to give me a shot, with the statement, " if you ever make an error, you will never play for me again." Played my Junior and Senior seasons, 2 Junior college seasons, a summer in the Central Illinois Collegiate League and 2 years at a 4 year college where we played in the NAIA World Series.

Is this summer select varsity team affiliated with the school, or a community program? If school affiliated, who coached the team when he was a freshman? Was the coach one of the high school coaches, or from outside the school? Just curious.

None of the past has any bearing as he goes forward. All that is past is out of his control. What he needs to focus on is where he wants to get to. There is a page on my site, baseballs mental game, which can give him some ways to go as he moves forward. If this doesn't provide a link to this page, you can get there through the navigation.

Listed at the bottom of that first page are 12 links to additional Mental Game Pages on the site.

I believe that the Mental Game is the separating factor between players, as well as teams, at all levels.

If he can sit down and determine where he wants to go, he can create a map to get himself there.

It is just like a road trip. You want to go from St. Louis to New York, you get out a map and plan out your route.

He wants to go from JV no playing time, to Varsity player, the first step is to create a set of goals and objectives of what he feels he needs to achieve and how is he going to achieve it.

Put that list up where he can see it every day, and go about doing the work to make it happen.

Let me know how it goes. I don't believe he will ever regret taking the journey!

Yours in baseball,


Aug 05, 2015
My sons situation is ok-
by: Anonymous

No problem on time-My son did end up talking to the coach- but late into season. Coach said he was glad he talked to him. He said it looked like my son didnt want to be there. And after sitting over half spring season - probobly not-unfortunately He will have that coach if he's on jv again or even makes it on this spring. Another unfortunate thing is that i've learned the particular school he's in is very "political" they only switched out three players all spring between the same three even when winning 14-2 others were not given any play time..I know its customary for coaches to "find what works and stick with it " i do understand that. But as i was Looking back at alumni- most of the team names are brothers of them. So it's kind of a lost cause. Im not sure what my aon will do but i think he still plans on trying out which i encourage if he chooses to. he did have the coach as a gym teacher freshman year i believe. And at that time was told He had an in with the coaches so he needed to watch his behavior if he planned on trying out. Anyway i dont want to waste anyones time on here. But i thank you for your sound advice. I did try to discuss with another parent on the team because i wanted some solid advice and didnt know who to ask but was severely scorned because she thought i was attacking coach- which was NOT at all the case- i was asking about the same situation i presented to you. My son plays on a summer select varsity ball team with no problems so this was all foriegn to me. He was played consistently his freshman year when he made the team. Thanks again.

May 21, 2015
Your frustration is justified
by: Rick,

Sorry to hear things have gone this direction. High school baseball should be fun, for the athletes and parents as well.

I don't have knowledge of what the day to day situation is as far as practice; but what you just described is outside that realm.

Doctor and dentist appointments should always be excused, with no repercussions. You would be on solid ground to speak with the coach and explain how you had scheduled appointments on two different dates in April, and then games were added.

You rescheduled. Sounds like neither you or your son had prior knowledge of that days practice, until that text came out and he responded to it letting the coach know of the apt, to which he said fine. That should have been, end of story.

My lateness at seeing your return comment has made this late. I apologize. Your season may already be over, for which I would guess you and your son would be happy with at this point.

I see nothing wrong about the way you and your son handled this appointment situation. You did what every coach I know would want done, and went a step beyond and showed up for the practice after the apt, that usually never works out.

The coaches demeanor and actions at the field, when your son got there, were not consistent with what the situation was. It almost seems there is something personal. Has your son had him for a teacher or coach in the past, or present?

With your son heading into his junior year, he should be dealing with new coaches, at the varsity level. Hopefully it becomes a better situation.

What is his summer ball situation? Does he have to interact with the JV coach?

If he can get into a positive summer season and concentrate on baseball and fun, set some goals and work to make the varsity in the spring, baseball can become fun again.

Yours in baseball,


Apr 28, 2015
Short update
by: Anonymous

Still waiting for my son to talk to his coach- guessing he wont this year... He's basicly foul ball chaser and bench extra- hard to sit through- i do have a question though- something i feel responsible for that my son has gotten backlash from.. He has braces therefore has orthodontist apt's.. I had it set two diff times for april but rescheduled last min due to games being added- however- none were scheduled on day i finally set - although every day theres no game practice is a possibility- so Coach tweeted that they had practice that afternoon at about 12:30- then so within same hour my son texted coach he had an ortho apt at 2:45- coach said fine - however when my son showed up at practice the coach reamed him - saying why wasnt i told earlier etc.. And asked the boys on team to say how many poles he should run- wouldnt let him hit or participate and belittled him in front of the team.- and today at game after school they were to meet for hitting - my son was told to go get water for team.. Idk i just feel he's getting crap because of the apt. I had to schedule and i cant say anything to coach cause mom cant wipe butts or apparently say anything to coaches at this age. So i sit and watch my son get treated like trash. seems wrong to me.

Apr 20, 2015
Thank you
by: Anonymous

Yes, I agree my son should be the one to ask. Your advice has been very helpful and sound. - for Me and my son. Thanks
He is currently a sophomore and I checked the varsity roster looks like they have 20 players - wow- thats a lot.. No wonder- so many sit.. I've also noticed after looking at alumni- there seems to be a pattern of constant playing of family members as they come through- unfortunately my son doesn't have that luxury
He has yet to talk to his coach.- however, recently I've discovered I think His passions are changing and he's more afraid to tell his Dad,than his coach. So we shall see. I know he'll always enjoy the game though. Thanks again. Your site is very helpful. Definately passing it on...

Apr 20, 2015
Rick is right on
by: Bruce

The worst solution in such a situation is a confrontation between parent and coach. Rick's advice is essentially asking the coach to coach your son. If the coach has any concept of what his job is he should respond positively. If he doesn't the school needs a new coach. Winning always provides a good feeling in sports, but learning the game is really what baseball at this level is all about. An extraordinarily small number of high school players will become professional baseball players, but they can all become "professional fans" helping keep this great game alive in future generations.

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