When Should Dads Stop Coaching Youth Baseball?

The time will come, and it's best to look at it objectively.

In case you missed it, last week’s episode was titled When Daddy Becomes Youth Baseball GM, and has already garnered 6,000 downloads in 2 days. Today’s premium email answers a follow up question I have received multiple times.

Here’s a couple of quick items first...

I finally was able to make my Elbow Up hats and t-shirts available. Price includes shipping, but as a premium member you can use the discount code elbowuppremium and save $10.

Also, I have a brand new still in the box Marucci Cat Connect America’s Pastime, 29/19. I ended up with two, and am just looking to get my money back. MSRP is $299, and that’s also what I paid. I technically paid $20 extra for shipping, but I’ll eat that and the shipping to you if you want it. Anyone?

When Should Dads Stop Coaching Youth Baseball?

I’ve been asked this question many times, and while the answer may seem simple, it’s not easy.

I believe there are two primary things to consider when answering this question.

Baseball Knowledge of the Coach

This is important because all of us are different. Some played pro ball, some played high school ball, and some never played any ball (none of which are good are bad, they just are).

That means some dads could effectively coach their kids through high school. Others may need to step aside when their son is 9.

Either way, here’s how I would look at it.

At what point does the dad coach become unable to teach the game?

Younger age groups really just require less overall baseball knowledge. In coach pitch, we throw, and hit, and run, and field. That’s about it.

But as the game begins to advance, we need to start teaching our kids the actual game. It’s not just teaching WHAT to do, but teaching them WHY to do certain things.

This is important so they can begin to learn to be baseball players and think for themselves. Remember, we don’t want to create robots that have memorized every single situation.

Also keep in mind we want them to learn and do things because they’ll be doing it a few years down the road, not just so we can get a win this weekend.

Goals and Abilities of the Team

This is the other aspect to consider. As kids get older, there’s a split that begins to happen between more competitive teams and less competitive teams.

When I say competitive, I don’t really mean overall talent. I mean what’s the goal of the parent group on the team for their kids and families?

This is important for a couple of reasons.

One, for a team that wants to be more competitive, they’re going to have to learn more advanced baseball earlier.

Two, moving away from a Dad coach on the field is more than likely going to cost money. The parents need to be on the same page with this, knowing they’ll have to invest more of their financial resources to make this happen.

There’s no wrong answer and it can vary from team to team.

The Answer

We can only answer the question when both of these things have been carefully and objectively considered.

For some teams, a Dad coach may decide it’s time to step aside at 9. For others, it may be 13. And both of those can be correct answers.

The important thing to remember is this time will come, and it shouldn’t be something we shy away from. Instead, recognize the need and put a plan in place to be able to continue teaching the game relative to the ability of the players and the goals of the families on the team!

Do You Need Help?

If you have specific questions about this, let me know. Want to chat about your team and situation? I’ll be more than happy to have a discussion with you. Sometimes it helps to bring someone in from the outside to discuss things and see them differently.

Thanks again for supporting Elbow Up!

Have a great week!


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