The following is an email sent to me by a close female friend; mother of a baseball player who just finished first year of college (baseball NOT included).
Everyone who shows up for work is not a professional — regardless of the business. People are hired for all sorts of reasons and teaching skill is not necessarily at the top of the list .
After spending tens of thousands of dollars on instruction, travel teams, showcases, and worst of all … bad advice … I am fed up. My son was an all-conference shortstop and honor roll student who had over twenty DIII schools after him but he wanted to play at the top and HAD to have DI and finally a DI coach came along who told him what he wanted to hear. “Come and walk on. You’ll be my first guy off the bench and start by your sophomore year.” My son passed on all those offers, bought this coach’s lies and then was cut after fall practice this his freshman year at a $50k/year school.
He’s waiting to transfer. Expensive lesson.
I’ve howled at the moon regarding certification of coaches. It ought to be done. If other sports can do it, baseball sure as heck can. Sorry if this ruffles some dad or mom feathers. I am not discounting the value of father/mother/son bonding but it’s a little like the adage that a husband should not teach his wife to drive a car. Assuming (BIG assumption) he actually knows all of the laws and running gears of the car, he may know how to drive HIS way but be totally oblivious to how she needs to learn.
Having said that, how do you pick out a professional? Maybe it’s easier to point out what does NOT make a professional.
A player who came from any level in the big leagues. (No guarantee he can teach or even know how to translate that skill to an 8 year old.) And sometimes he was in the big leagues for a half hour.
A college player. (same thing)
Someone who has his phone visible in a lesson
Someone who answers a call (or 10) during a lesson
Someone who says “good” and nothing more
Someone who does not teach you the proper mechanics of hitting and throwing
Someone who lets you repeatedly hit and throw poorly thereby reinforcing bad muscle memory
Someone who tells you that your 12 year old should go to a showcase
Someone who tells you that he can get college coaches to look at your 14 year old
Someone who makes you sign a contract limiting your playing and lesson exposure to ONLY that facility
Someone who makes you take lessons so your child will have playing time on the team
Someone who charges you over $100/hour
Someone who will not allow you to have a personal strength and conditioning or speed or mental instructor or performance coach or worse yet, says they can handle that (These are separate specializations and certifications people!)
Beware of the phrase “you need to.” You don’t need to do anything they tell you — it’s all about control and money.
PARENTS TAKE BACK YOUR POWER!!! I hate to think that those of us who value and encourage disruption will be defeated by sheep led to slaughter!!
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