Does the Sportsmanship Statement Apply to Coaches??

Discussion in 'General Softball Discussions' started by Fairman, May 12, 2017.

  1. Fairman

    Fairman Member

    HS Season running down. We've played everyone once. We are 1W and16L. Haven't made a seven inning game. Everyone knows how weak we are. Senior Pitcher and Junior SS missing with ACL BB injuries, Leadoff hitter and Sophomore catcher out with back issues, centerfielder out with some kind of flue. Almost everyone is new at their position including the pitchers and catcher.

    Opposing team goes up by ten in the bottom of 1st, they proved they can run on us at will, stealing second and third on a regular basis. We score a couple in the third they score a few more in the bottom of the third but a least we are playing some defense. Top of 4 we post a zero and the score is 14 to 2. Maybe we'll make the fifth which would be a win in our book. I put my three substitutes in because at the level of this team is everyone plays. Bottom of four they score a couple runs. we get a couple outs. We walk a kid, she steals 2nd, then 3rd and finally home on a past ball to end the game.

    Really, they never stoped running and never substituted a single player. This is not the first time this year we have been beat by a coach that never lets up.

    The umps read the sportsmanship statement before every game but it must not apply to coaches. We weren't going to mount some kind of mega-comeback, my kids were embarrassed yet they came to every practice and worked hard, they deserve to be treated better. A few kids off the bench and stopping the running would have gone a long way to allowing my kids to have some pride at least in their efforts. There is no reason to strip that away.

    A few teams have done that, thrown their #2, substituted liberally and allowed us to play a full game. They still walked a way with a W. Through those coaches actions they allowed my kids to have a little dignity and I thank those standup coaches.
  2. Louuuuu

    Louuuuu Member

    A couple of thoughts;

    1.) These are kids. Every coach knows that the worm could turn at any point in any game, and the 7 run lead turns into a 2 run deficit.
    2.) How do you de-tune a team? You've taught them to hit the ball, run fast, throw hard, etc. and now...?
    3.) It's a part of life. Sometimes you get your a$$ kicked. Be it fair, or not.

    I feel your pain. Everybody has been there. But I think I would actually feel even worse if I knew the other team was pitying me and playing at 50%.
  3. Captain_Thunder

    Captain_Thunder Super Moderator Staff Member

    I thought a Run Rule does not kick in until the 5th inning in high school?
  4. Hilliarddad3

    Hilliarddad3 Active Member

    That's one thing our coach used to control.... He wanted the girls to win and play the best they could every time, but when situations like stated occurred, the girls would be sat and younger ones played, no steals, they used bunts, whatever you can to have some class. Yes some will say oh but the other team gets offended by playing down.... I have never seen that occur in all my years. Those types of games you hope nobody got hurt on the opposing team. Some of the city schools in the first round of tourney were like that. One game the girl danced around all over when she caught a ball like it was her first time ever....
  5. Run26

    Run26 Active Member


    Been there - done that. Nothing makes me more mad then when a team is clearly outmatched and the opposing team does absolutely nothing to deter the stealing of bases. You can't control a lot in a game but you can absolutely put a lid on the flat out steal. I have some leniency on movement due to a passed ball but most coaches will hold the runners.

    This has happened to us and we've done it to others. I can't tell you how many times I've made it very clear that I don't understand why we're still stealing. It makes no sense. Play the game and if you the other team gets back in then rev it up back to where you need to be.

    Personally, I'd rather have the other team play full tilt(respectfully) versus having them step off bags. Stepping off is the true definition of a slap in the face to the players. Again, we've done it as well as having it done to us. While there may be no other resolution - I simply hate it for all sides.

    Now as far as your situation goes - you've clearly had a tough season. Injuries and inexperience have run its course. Just remember, your team will improve and when it does - let the girls run around the bases like these teams do to you. Make it Ringling Bros. out there and when you shake the other coach's hand - look him straight in the eye so he knows why you did it. Sometimes this is the only way these coaches learn a very valuable lesson.
  6. wow

    wow Active Member

    This is the biggest difference between HS and Travel mentality. You have to be careful not to allow teams to creep back in. Its a balancing act. The opposing team may not have been that good either and wants to get the W at the any cost. By no means am I advocating embarrassing anyone or intentionally running up a score.

    I can remember being at 9U and being new to travel ball. Teams would beat us by 20 runs. We only saw two second Sunday games all season. It taught me to accept the way travel ball was. There was not to be en expectation of "letting up" I never took it as sportsmanship or lack there of. It taught my kid if she wanted to run with the big dogs she had to get better and surround her self with talent. Fast forward a year. We took our lumps at 9U. 10u arrives and in the first game of the season we get up on a younger team 15 or so runs. We start stepping off bases, just to get out of the inning so the other team could bat, and we would not "run up the score". The parents from the other team, starting yelling about us being poor sports? The point is you cant win. Play the game the right way and don't take a score personally. What I would look at is how they acted during and after the game. Did they rub it in? Were the girls or coach taunting your team? Were there word exchanged which were offensive. Simply being beat by a lot is not poor sportsmanship.

    I think its more respectful to give the other team your best. They will respect that more than anything.
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  7. BretMan2

    BretMan2 TSZ/OFC Umpire in Chief

    That's right. OHSAA run rule is 10 runs ahead after 5 innings. You should ALWAYS make it to the fifth inning! Why was this game ended in the fourth?

    As for this game...I think that you're off the mark. It's not the other team's fault that your team isn't very good. Worry about your own team's performance, not how the other coach handles his team.

    You seem to expect the other team to "let up" at some point. Was your team going to quit trying to score runs and make outs? Then why should theirs.

    Yes, I've seen teams ease up with a big lead. I've also seen teams keep their foot on the gas. And I've seen people get mad about EITHER strategy! I don't really have a problem with either one, as long as a team isn't cheating or taunting.
  8. tjsmize3

    tjsmize3 Active Member

    I have personally been on both ends of the situation (as most people have) and I can say that I do not really care for the other team "letting up" on me. I find it somewhat embarrassing when kids leave early, stop hitting and start bunting or run into outs on purpose. I also agree that no matter what you do, someone is always going to interpret it in a negative manner no matter how well-intentioned the gesture. But I think I can see Fairman's point here. Some things are a little borderline like having a home-run celebration at home plate for the 5th home run in a 20-0 game, or cheering "we like free bases" when the pitcher just walked the 18th batter and there is no relief pitcher available. I think continuing to steel up by 10 runs is a little borderline also. Fairman was just venting a little and sticking up for his kids which is all good!
  9. wow

    wow Active Member

    Likely she is throwing in 30's anyways, so its more free bases..... But seriously, that's the difference. Stealing bases is within the play of the game. How many HBP would it take to see intent? Just don't think that's the answer to the dilemma.

    Ever see the video where the catcher moves out of the way and the UMP gets hit...
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  10. Louuuuu

    Louuuuu Member

    Plunk all you want. More base runners - more bases to steal. And after 2-3 HBP's, Blue tosses your pitcher.

    (I'm not advocating keeping your gas pedal matted. I'm just saying it's hard to ease up, and sometimes insulting)

    *"wow" beat me to that thought by 30 seconds!
  11. tjsmize3

    tjsmize3 Active Member

    Fired up enough to inspire your fifth post... welcome to the forum!

    The problem everyone runs into though is when does the line actually get crossed and what do you define as "taking your foot off the gas" ... I too have been told I was an arrogant xxd#$$! by another coach at 10u for leaving bases early. When someone did it to me I guess I could see his point a little... I really didn't like it. If I was up big I would be getting a new pitcher innings if she needed them, getting players time at their secondary position and telling kids to work on adjusting to their pitcher in the box and working on getting good at bats. I would not be telling them to strikeout (ever), make mistakes on the bases purposefully or make a spectacle of trying to "help" the other team get outs... that's just as bad in my book! I guess at the end of the day BretMan is right. The best you can do is handle your team how you think is best and allow the other coach to do the same. It just gets salty when you have the feeling that the other coach is being an A$$ on purpose!

    Quick question for Fairman... could the other coach have been trying to run into outs but your girls just couldn't defend? I was involved in a game with a team younger than us one time and up by 16 runs. We went to straight bunting and still scored another 6 runs before they got us out. It made me feel uncomfortable because I definitely was trying to be respectful of the other team without doing stuff like leaving early and running into outs. I don't think the other coach cared for me too much after that but I didn't know what else to do without turning things into a joke.
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  12. CARDS

    CARDS Active Member

    Take your lumps and move on...No one gets better by slacking off.
    I am a big believer that its good for teams to see how fast the game truly can be played. At the HS level they are old enough to understand this. The only concern I would have is safety and if that came into play the umpires and coaches has a responsibility to try to protect those athletes.

    The players and coaches, need to keep trying to make plays even if your talent is not there. The only way the ladies will get better is to keep trying and have a coach that can motivate them to stay positive. (What is the difference if you loos by 10 or 20?)

    A lot of these terrible teams have some decent players but they have never been taught to play fast and think ahead...Thus they end up getting whipped more than Seattle slew....High School and Travel Ball are very different.
    No travel team should ever be perennial looser. If they are, they have the wrong coach and are getting in the wrong events. But that is another story....
  13. crystlemc

    crystlemc Moderator

    Fairman plays in PA, so OHSAA mercy rules don't apply to his team.
  14. daboss

    daboss Well-Known Member

    No good answer to the scenario. Super difficult to be a part of a team with a 1-16 record and their hopes and dreams are to go 5 innings someday. I too have been in the shoes of both situations. So hard to make anyone happy. As a losing coach each game leads to more teaching opportunities and while we all set goals we some times fall short. As a coach, I never blame the other team for doing their job. Stay focused on the moments to teach and savor the good moment or 2 you may have that day.

    Long season of frustration but spin something positive even if it is to point out those players for trying a new position for the good of the team under some trying times. The fact they kept going out there every inning speaks volumes of their will power and dedication to see it thru. They deserve a pat on the back. Thank the parents and fans for being patient and understanding under the circumstances and make it a point to say it's not time to quit but rather "girl up" and work in the off season on their parts of the game they showed a weakness in.
  15. coachjwb

    coachjwb Well-Known Member

    As some others have said, good coaches know when there's a mismatch and when it's time to take their foot off the gas. And people with class know when it's time to do this as well. It disturbs me every time I hear a coach or even other people say, hey, it's not our fault if your team can't compete ... focus on doing what will make your team better. You know what ... some coaches just don't have the talent on their team or the resources to make that happen. And even if they did and/or if they aren't very good coaches who know how to, its our responsibility as coaches and parents to teach our players/children how to act with class and treat others with dignity, and that's way more important than anything we can teach them about how to hit or pitch or field better.

    I made many mistakes in my coaching career ... and there are a lot better coaches out there than me. I probably head or assistant coached about 1500 games over my coaching career, and there were probably 200+ of those games where we took the foot off the gas. All I know is that I never received one complaint from another team about not taking the foot off the gas when we should have, and there was not one single game when we did take the foot off the gas, that we lost. There were a couple of close calls ... but not one single loss in those situations. And I came away knowing that I had acted with class, and hopefully taught my players something about how to do the same.
  16. Fairman

    Fairman Member

    I do Coach in PA so we have a mercy rule of 15 after 3 innings and 10 after 5 innings.

    My complaint is that stealing and substitutions are clearly under the coaches control and can be modified at any time.

    I don't want the opposing players to try to NOT hit but put your 10th player in and stop running or maybe put your second pitcher in. When the score is 10-0 in the first and we went 1-2-3 against your stud pitcher with my best girls; we are not coming back. Put some other kids in and lets try to play at least 5 innings.

    Don't kick us when we are down, this is not a street fight, this is just bullying.
  17. Chad Strahler

    Chad Strahler New Member

    I agree with coachjwb and fairman on this one.
  18. Irish196

    Irish196 Active Member

    BTDT Fairman. My daughter has been on the receiving end of these types of games a lot in HS. Their team is mostly freshman and sophomores and mostly girls who play rec. Last year we had three shutouts in which the other team scored 30 or more on us. Thankfully this year wasn't quite as bad.

    Sure it stinks. Sure there is no good reason why the opposing coach has to do that. And I don't think too many people would disagree that at a certain point you cross a line into being a bad sport (and sort of a jerk). But I'll give you a good way to spin it courtesy of my daughter. During a particularly bad game after a few runs scored, the catcher called a conference at the mound and the whole infield came in. My daughter said something along the lines of, "Look at the scoreboard- do you really think we have a chance to win?? No. So don't be afraid to look stupid. If you fall going for a ball or overthrow a base who cares? We are going to lose. But if we try our hardest we just might make some plays." I only know this because after the game I asked her what they were all laughing about at the mound.

    They still got creamed so the "pep talk" didn't magically make them play better. However, I think in the long run, the best practice is real game experience. So if they play every game like that and use the extra hits and baserunners as good chances to get more experience and to push themselves to see what they can do, it will help them improve as players and people a lot faster. So I guess you could at least be happy they get some extra game scenarios practice in (albeit at the expense of their egos).

    Plus, I'm sure in "real life" many of us have run into people who like to kick people when they are down- so at least it won't be the first time the girls experience that and it might help them to just let it roll right off of their backs.
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
  19. Chad Strahler

    Chad Strahler New Member

    The girls all need a dose of reality and that it won't be easy in the real world but I think the point of the post is more about being a respectable coach and person to young ladies playing a GAME. I hope I'm not speaking out of turn Fairman but that was my take. A lot of folks aren't wrong in what they are saying either way on this post. It's a matter of preference in my opinion.

    I agree with a lot of both sides but at the end of the day we are teaching more than softball and it truly is just a game for 95% of these young impressionable young ladies. So you choose how you want to be remembered as a coach/player/team/umpire in this small circle we call softball.
  20. Fairman

    Fairman Member

    I coach at a small rural school with 42% of the students on free and reduced lunch. When the girls come through the door there isn't a single one that has played for a regional travel squad let alone take private lessons of any kind. I can't recruit (it's high school) but have to play the hand that is dealt me.

    One of those kids is now a senior that plays short and pitches, she faced down a life threatening disease as a sophomore/junior that entailed multiple life-flights to Children's. She never pitch an inning before this year. Another kid who is athletically challenged but comes to every practice had both her parents killed in an auto accident when she was 12 and was raised by her single grandmother. Now her grandmother is aging and needs help. This player won a scholarship to a local college and will be a nurse someday. I can go on but you get the picture.

    These kids are great and although they do not have the skill or the experience to win a softball championship these kids deserve some respect from the opposing coach simply for putting on the uniform and stepping onto the field. I wish I was a better coach but when you are teaching kids how to catch and throw it is unlikely that you'll get to much higher level stuff.

    A few coaches (4) behaved nobly and let us play with them, but most (5) beat us bad and went home happy, leaving us with whatever scraps of dignity we could scrounge up. You can talk about life lessons but most of these high school kids have had enough life lessons and should be able to just play for the joy of the game without being humiliated.

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