Breakups are hard.
Whether you’re a player or a parent, at some point, you may have to tell your coach that you’re leaving the baseball team.
But how can you let the coach know that you or your child will not be on the team without confrontation?
How to tell your baseball coach that you’re leaving requires four key components:
- being prepared
- stating your reasons for leaving
- giving the coach plenty of time
- being honest and gracious
I know that I didn’t ease your fears with that answer, so allow me to explain how each component will help the coach be understanding and respectful of your decision.
Four Key Components
A coach can typically sense when one of their players is not enjoying the game or is unhappy with their team.
Especially if there have been any confrontations between parents or players. You want to ensure that you meet the four key components to avoid any confrontation with the coach.
You’re nervous. That’s understandable.
If you go to your coach unprepared, you can be misunderstood which can lead to an unwanted confrontation. Here are three ways that you can prepare what you will say:
- Know who will speak
- Write down your words
- Practice your words
Know who will speak
The first decision you need to make is who will tell the coach – the child or the parent. This can depend on age or the child’s reason. If the child is in t-ball or coach pitch, it’s always best to have the parent speak.
However, sometimes the kid wants to leave the team against their parent’s wishes or the parents are trying to teach the youngster how to handle things like an adult. This article applies to whoever will speak to the coach.
Write down your words
How can you make sure that your words are not misunderstood or misconstrued?
Simple. Write it down.
This does not have to be a long speech, but you want to make sure your thoughts are conveyed.
Writing down what you want to say also accomplishes two other important tasks.
- It gives you the opportunity to think about your words and how you want to use your words to avoid confrontation.
- It gives you the chance to clearly express your desire without missing any major points. Most coaches will be able to see that you have put your thoughts together and did not make this decision lightly.
Practice your words
Clearly, you want to practice what you’ll say, but who will you practice with?
The sarcastic answer is anyone who will listen. A more serious answer is that you can ask a friend or family member.
If you can’t find anyone, or you’re too shy to ask, you can always practice in front of a mirror.
Make sure that while practicing your words that you also practice maintaining eye contact to let the baseball coach know that you are focused and engaged in the conversation.
Stating your reasons for leaving
There are many reasons for wanting to leave their current baseball team. Some of the common reasons are:
- The child does not enjoy the game of baseball
- The player has decided to focus on only one sport
- The family’s budget cannot support the child’s multiple sports
- The child’s parent is military and being stationed in a new city
- A medical condition or injury
- Playing time (We will have an article on this topic soon!)
- Confrontations with other parents
- Confrontations with coaches and teammates
- Tired of losing
- Disagree with the coach’s style or personality
The last five reasons can lead to a confrontation without proper preparation. Whatever the reason is, you need to convey the reason clearly to your coach.
If you’re leaving due to bullying or prior confrontations, expect the coach to ask questions.
Predict those questions and practice those answers.
The coach’s questions may be his way of trying to make the team better in the future or improve as a coach.
Another reason could be that your child is the most talented player on the team and is tired of losing. It’s natural to feel this way.
Be honest with the coach and let them know that the losses are taking your child’s joy out of the game and that a more competitive team would be better suited.
Ensure your child is aware that not every team can win. Losing is a part of the game and you can learn some life lessons from the losses.
If you disagree with the coach’s style or personality, you have most likely expressed this through words or body language. Again, be honest with the coach that you feel it’s is better to leave the team instead of creating problems in front of the players and the coaches.
The coach is most likely aware of your concerns and may not be surprised that you have decided to leave. The coach will also respect your desire to leave before causing any issues in front of the team or parents.
Give the coach plenty of time
The best time to let the coach know is at the completion of the current season.
Most youth baseball teams carry 12-15 players. That number looks like a lot but at least two players usually miss each game.
For example, you learn that two players will miss a few weeks for a family vacation. As a coach, it always seems like one or two players will alert you that they are missing the game within an hour of the start.
A travel team with 12 players is now down to only 9 players and that number includes your child.
What if you can’t wait until the end of the season?
In this case, choose a time which gives the coach enough time to prepare. Suppose a game was just played and there’s a 4-day break until the next one. Now is the time to tell the coach.
If 2 games are being played on back to back days, don’t tell the coach immediately after the first game. The more time you give the coach, the easier it is for him to plan with other teams on his schedule.
Most coaches understand that you desire to leave, but they will become upset and at times angry if you leave them without enough players to play a game.
Be honest and gracious
Like I have stated before, the coach will sense your child’s desire to leave the team.
Being honest and gracious is very important in this situation. Let’s take a look at each one separately.
Integrity is very important and can be vital if you desire to have your child play on another baseball team in the same area as the team you are leaving.
Wanna know a little secret about us youth baseball coaches? We all know each other.
That doesn’t mean that all coaches like each other or are friendly, but all coaches know the other coaches in their area. There are coach meetings that begin in December and January for seasons that begin in March.
Coaches have clinics together and spend time working on the baseball fields together.
They talk to each other.
If you decide to pull your child off one team and place them on another team in the same area, the new coach will contact the old coach about the player and about the parent.
You control how that conversation is handled.
If you are prepared, state your reason for leaving, give them plenty of time, and are honest and gracious, the previous coach will most likely give a rave review to the new coach. You will receive the fresh start you desire for your child.
If you are dishonest or bad mouth the coach you are leaving, the coach you are leaving will find out and will freely recall any confrontations that may have happened while you were a part of the team.
Avoid any negative situation and be honest. The truth may hurt someone’s feelings, but the truth will not hurt near as much as a lie will hurt you in the future.
Most youth baseball coaches are volunteer coaches. They have full-time jobs like most parents, and they spend many hours each week on the baseball team. A coach is constantly thinking about the team outside of practice and work.
A baseball coach is also spending a few hours each night answering text messages from parents or players on the team.
I spent three or four hours each week thinking about the lineup for the next game and how to give each player equal playing time.
Coaches also spend an hour or so planning each practice. Then coaches are talking to their assistant coaches to get ideas for the team.
Some leagues require the coaches to spend a few hours each week preparing the baseball fields for play.
You see the coach at games and at practice. Most parents and players do not know the amount of time a coach spends on a youth baseball team.
Being a baseball coach is a sacrifice not only for the coach but also for their family.
When you let your child’s baseball coach know that you plan on leaving, spend some time being gracious. Thank them for the time they spent around your child.
Being gracious could be the key to avoiding confrontation in this situation especially if there has been any prior confrontation.
How do I talk to my child’s baseball coach about playing time?
The best way to talk to your child’s baseball coach about playing time is either after practice or with a phone call. Schedule the time with the coach and make sure that the conversation is conducted in private to help avoid embarrassment and confrontation.
Keep coming back to check this site as that question will be answered in greater detail soon!
When is it time to switch baseball teams? Is it time to move on?
It is time to move on and switch baseball teams when you notice that the area of concern causing you to desire a switch has become a distraction to the team and to your child.
Keep coming back and checking this site as this question will also be answered soon!