Kevin (my 11 y.o.) is a very good baseball player. He's currently on a travel ball team that he joined in May-June, and has done a few tournaments with them so far. DH had coached Kevin's teams (at a local park) for the past 2 seasons, but is not taking a team this year as the dynamic of coach-dad didn't work out. (It's hard enough, but add to that some behavioral issues we have with Kevin, and you can only imagine how tough that was.) Anyway, DH is still coaching from the sidelines. He tries to keep quiet during the games and practice (although he'll help out by throwing batting practice and such when asked.) Problem is that Kevin is one of the older/better players on the team, so DH is always expecting that Kevin will be a leader, that he'll be the one to 'carry' the team. The team, itself, has some talent, but they really aren't doing well together. Sometimes they do, and the coaches are certainly committed to working with them. They are playing a tournament locally this week (which, BTW, is quite stressful since everyone here is trying to live normal lives, but then disrupting camp/work to rush to a game ... much easier to go away for a weekend, I'm finding out.) Anyway, they are an '11 and under team' but are playing '12 and under' teams in this tournament, so already they have a disadvantage. They got beat pretty bad on Monday night. Kevin did NOT play his best ... but he didn't do bad, either. And, his 'bad' wasn't nearly as bad as many of the other kids out there. Kevin, of course, thinks he did pretty well (and for his ego and self-esteem, I'm really glad that he is not one of those kids that beats themself up for every error or screw up or whatever.) So, Kevin asked DH how he thinks he did, and DH asked Kevin "well, how do YOU think you did?" and Kevin said he thought he did pretty good. So, DH started with the negatives ... and I changed that to "well, what do you think your BEST play was?" You know, start with the positive before you start critiquing and whatnot. He didn't know, so DH was like "Well, what do you think was your worst?" Then, he went on to let Kevin know of several mistakes he'd made, what he should have done, etc. Kevin, naturally, was getting defensive ... and DH was getting annoyed that Kevin isn't able to take constructive criticism ... and I'm sitting quietly not wanting to get in the middle of this one, but feeling like DH is going to drive Kevin away from this sport if he isn't able to offer some positive. (It can't all be 'good' ... you don't want to always tell your kid how wonderful they are when they aren't ... but there needs to certainly be a mix of pluses and minuses, especially if you are trying to TEACH them something. Basic Management 101 ... start with the good stuff!) SO, Kevin was tuning out, DH was getting angry. Quite a fun (LONG) ride home.
At a tournament recently, I overhead an umpire talking to a coach between games ... and the umpire had been around baseball for years obviously. He was saying that he, too, coaches his kid, but at the first practice, he sits down the parents (primarily the fathers) and he tells them: Your child will never be as good a ballplayer as you thought you were. Gee! I love that quote, and it says it all, doesn't it?
I guess I need to chat with DH (who, like Kevin, gets defensive when offered 'constructive criticism.') Just need to get him to tone it down before he turns Kevin off the game entirely. That would be a shame 'cause he enjoys it ... and he is lucky enough to have some talent.