The Do’s and Don’ts of “Daddy Ball”

“Daddy ball” – slang term in athletics for a team that is perceived by players and players’ parents on the team to have coaches who give more playing time to their own daughter than to other players on the team.

How do you or would you approach a “daddy ball” situation with your daughter?

A question can arise of what to tell a player who is losing confidence in her playing ability because of “daddy ball?”  The question that comes to MY mind first is, “How does your daughter even know what ‘daddy ball’ is?”

Every situation is different and in various situations, “daddy ball” may or may not be actually happening.  But regardless, I feel like there is a right and a wrong way to handle this situation where playing time is at stake for a player.  In any situation, there are always things that you as a family can control with your daughter and there are things that you can’t control.  Remember these lessons you are teaching your daughter now are making an impact on her 20 years from now.  Consistently be teaching her about things that you can control, even as difficult as it may be in some situations for you.  Blaming is instant gratification.  Taking the high road pays future dividends that leave a lasting impression for everyone involved.


  • Give your daughter ownership in herself and her effort.
  • Give her a voice by talking to her coach about playing time.
  • Encourage her to be a good teammate.
  • Encourage her to work even harder to earn playing time.
  • Stay positive.
  • Focus on what you can do.
  • Teach her other ways to stay involved throughout the game if she is not playing.
  • Evaluate at the end of the season is the team you are on is fitting your needs as a family.


  • Quit in the middle of a season.
  • Be negative around your daughter about her coach.
  • Get your daughter involved in “Daddy Ball” parent politics.
  • Make excuses.
  • Get other parents involved.
  • Complain to other people outside of your family.
  • Make everything about playing time.

In my opinion, the word “daddy ball” should never be communicated by the parents to the player.

To me, that just puts a negative connotation in a player’s mind and brings resentment to her teammates, who have nothing to do with the problem.  A young player doesn’t know how to handle emotions as well as an adult.  All she knows is what her parents put in her head.

So if her parents are telling her that she is not getting playing time because of another girl on the team getting preferential treatment, then that can call for resentment of that particular player.  This is going to hurt the lesson being learned of building team chemistry and being a good teammate.  These are such critical lessons for an adult later on down the road to be able to work with other people and not blame others.  Always remember why we play TEAM sports – to learn TEAM lessons and to win championships as a TEAM.  No one player wins a championship, it takes a complete team effort.  By causing negative emotions throughout the team because of politics, you are hurting the efforts of the entire TEAM!! 

The coach’s daughter in the “daddy ball” scenario has NOTHING to do with making the lineup, so she never should be brought up around your daughter in a negative tone.  She is just doing her own thing, minding her own business, playing the sport that she loves.  It is wrong to bring her into it, and it’s not fair to the team or to the player.

So, what can you do?

Stay positive towards your daughter!

Support her by encouraging her to work even harder!  Put more emphasis on work ethic than blaming.

Keep every conversation positive (as hard as it may be for you); do not make negative comments around your daughter about the coach, how he makes the lineup or about his daughter.   When you discuss as a family her playing time, do not make negative comments about the coach, then it is easier for your daughter to question the coach during practice and games, sometimes even players will lose respect for their coaches.  This will only make your daughter appear a bad teammate and un-coachable.  At the end of the day, he is the coach, he makes the decisions, and he is the “boss” of the team.  From a very young age it is important for athletes to respect their coach’s decision!  A lesson learned that will continue to impact a girl decades down the road.  

Amanda Scarborough

Instead of focusing on playing time, discuss with your daughter what she can be doing in the dugout to help the team and herself.  Study hitters.  Learn pitch calling.  Chart pitches.  Keep energy in the dugout for the team.  Try to pick signals.  Notice anyone warming up in the bullpen and what she throws.  Notice patterns the other pitcher is throwing to your hitters.  Teach her other ways she can be contributing instead of teaching her coaches who have daughters on the team give more playing time to their daughter.  If you don’t know things that your daughter should be doing, ASK.

The way that I would discuss playing time is by telling your daughter (depending on age) to have a meeting with the coach and see what she can get better at in order to earn more playing time.  Have a discussion with the coach instead of just blaming and assuming the “daddy ball” philosophy.  90% of parents think that their daughter should be in the starting 9 and are blind to what their daughter needs to get better at in order to become a part of the starting lineup.  Every parent thinks their kid is the best (as they should!), but it’s also very important to be real about if your daughter actually is the best.

If your daughter is high school aged, she should ask the coach to meet with just her.  At the high school age she is old enough to take this meeting on on her own.  If she is younger than high school, then the player can be with her parents meeting with the coach, but I would still encourage the player to ask questions and do a lot of talking.  It can be intimidating, but what an expereicne to give your daughter to speak to someone of authority! It also gives her ownership and responsibility in her own playing time, and it gives her a voice.  I would recommend writing down a list as a family of the questions you want to ask going in.  This will help your daughter speak up and give her comfort in not feeling like she is going to forget what she wants to ask.

Here’s how a few of the questions could be worded, “Hi coach.  I feel like I am not getting as much playing time as I would like.  I was wondering if you could tell me a few things I need to work on in order to get more time in the lineup.” or “Hey Coach, what are some thing that you would like for me to get better as so that I can more consistently find time in the lineup?”  Listen to the things that he tells you.  Write them down. Bring them to your private coaches and work hard on them at home.  Give it time, the changes won’t happen over night. 

The worst thing you can do in that meeting is blame!  “Coach, you give your daughter way more playing time than anybody else and it’s just not fair!” This meeting will not go well and it will only leave with resentment.  He will feel like he’s being attacked.  No one likes to feel attacked.  No one.  Put it on you not on him.

Then, when your daughters gets her chance to show her coach how hard she has worked and the changes she has made, she HAS to show him and prove it to him come game time.  You have to NAIL it when you get your big opportunity to prove yourself.   If it’s innings of relief pitching or a pinch hit opportunity, you have to believe in your preparation and make the most of it!!  Once again, another lesson learned of taking advantage of your opportunities.  Something that will stick with her FOREVER.

Hopefully this can work if your daughter is able to prove to her coach that she has worked hard and has gotten better at the things she needed to work on.  If it doesn’t work, then I encourage you to encourage your daughter to keep working hard and making the most of her opportunities she is given.  These two things can go a LONG way.

Even if she is not getting the playing time (which you can’t control) tell her to focus on things that she can control: attitude, work ethic, being a good teammate.  There are many things she can be learning, even if she is not in the starting lineup.

At the END of the season, if you feel like the team is not the best fit for you, it is then that I would suggest making a change and finding a team that may better suit your needs.  But until that moment comes, it says a lot about a player and a family that they take the high road and stay positive towards other parents and teammates.  Almost to the point where at the end of the season, people may be surprised that the player is leaving.

Blaming is instant gratification, and it can be a tease to make us feel a little bit better immediately.  We want lessons that will take your daughter further into the future and help her become a leader through sports.  “Daddy ball” is one of those teaching situations you as a parent come up against.  Teach the lesson that work ethic is everything and blaming is never the best option.   And remember; don’t refer to “daddy ball” around your daughter.   Your daughter may not have even known what the word “daddy ball” meant if it weren’t for you.  

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Amanda Scarborough

Big 12 Freshman of the Year (2005)
Big 12 Player of the Year (2005)
Texas A&M Softball All American ('05 & '07)
Big 12 Pitcher of the Year (2007)
WCWS Appearances ('07 & '08)
Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee (2014)
ESPN Softball Analyst
The Packaged Deal co-founder

41 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Very good stuff Amanda. As a coach I too have been accused of playing “daddy ball” despite the amount of preparation and attention I’ve shown to all the other players. When coaches and parents communicate it makes for a much better experience for all!!

      • I do believe u should make it aware to the player daddy ball is happening! Because your child goes to the field or court everyday..outlays this kid in softball and basketball.. And gets benched for a noodle arm pitcher and a guard who can’t even get a shot off!?? Garbage pure plain n simple and were already doing everything we possibly can n other parents have said things about it because its that bad! Daddy ball coaches kill passion not the parents spending the time and money!

  • You most certainly have had the experience to support your ideas and knowledge. To be honest, my son, a baseball player, was the first to explain the whole “daddy ball theory” to me. Sad, through my 16 years of playing ball I never heard the term, ever! It’s definitely a negative statement that has two sides….one true and one true. The difference is the child who plays well with a good attitude verses the child who sucks and plays anyway!

  • Thanks Amanda!! I coach for the Northern California Sorcerer Softball program since Michelle is done. I am coaching a 14 U team this fall and this is perfect to send out….

    Best Regards, Gary Gascoigne

    • SO happy you posted, Gary! Enjoyed watching Michelle compete and so cool you’re still around the sport! I have also enjoyed getting to know her a little bit and I texted her as soon as I saw your post 🙂 Hope you have continued success with the Sorcerers! – Amanda

  • Summer softball and baseball should totally be about development. There should never be an issue about playing time because everyone should be close to equal. If the player is not good enough to receive equal playing time then it is the coach’s fault for selecting him/her in the first place. School ball is a totally different scenario. I coach select and varsity and I treat them different because I realize the financial commitment it takes to play select.

    • Hmmm not sure I agree completely about the equal playing time for everybody…wonder how other people feel about that comment! Thoughts anybody? Would be interested to hear your opinions!

      • One of the few but big reasons I started coaching softball was a single, short conversation I had with my 11 year old (at the time). I was working with her one on one and trying to get her to put effort into the practice. She stopped our session totally and said “Why should I work and practice so hard? Some of my team mates don’t ever practice and they play as much as I do and even in the same position. It doesn’t matter how hard I work because I don’t have to”. I’ll never forget the message she got from this line of thinking. I call it “Welfare Ball”. I will never coach that way because that is not the message I want to teach our young girls.

        • I think it’s always important to remember everyone “has” to practice a certain amount. I played with players who I practiced double the amount and they were just as good as I was. Most important message is to control YOU and your own practice and effort and not worry about anybody else.

          • You can’t control how much anybody else practices, and certainly different players progress at different rates and some need more practice with a certain skill to reach a certain level. The same girl that learned to field with no trouble took a long time to really be able to throw accurately. I don’t like a clock mentality, and in life we don’t get rewarded (or shouldn’t) only for the time put it, but for the results. Its frustrating when it takes you a lot more time to pick something up than everyone else, but that is a life lesson, our talents are different and we compensate for lack of “natural” ability in one area with more effort. I’ll focus on results, and encourage the effort to keep a positive attitude.

          • I should clarify the point about Welfare Ball. As a coach I teach the players to be competitive. Winning and loosing comes as part of the game but learning to push yourself to be the best you can be is what you take with you even after you leave the sport. Knowing what it takes to be competitive in all that you do is the most valuable skill of all the things you gain in any sport. My comment above referred to vast differences in softball skills between those who practice and those who don’t. Those I’m referring to never touched the ball unless they were with the team on the field and their skills showed it. As a coach I make sure they play and have a great time but when it comes to a tie ballgame, I do put the better players in the key positions. Those who work off the field and show the higher skill levels should get to decide the outcome of the game. Sure, if there is a natural on the team who plays very well without much practice then my comment does not apply. They obviously know how to be competitive in their own way.

            To respond to the other comments….yes, you worry about your own skill level and not worry about others. However, you’re hard work and skill level should not be ignored because it isn’t your turn. Pick up games and family picnics are perfect for that concept but when everyone pays to play, you should reward hard work and effort where it applies.

      • The players are selected for their ability to play the game , interaction with the team, and their attitude towards everything that surrounds the game. There’s always going to be one player better than another, that’s life, we as coaches and parents need to understand that.

  • I agree with everything that you have said in this article, it is always best to take the high road, the life lessons that are learned are great. Just one negative, how about writing an article to all the ‘Daddy Ball’ coaches to evaluate their motives and the job they are doing as a coach, and maybe decide to let someone else coach if they can not be objective in their line up decisions.

    • I would say that 95% of the “daddy ball” coaches have no idea or bad intentions for what they are doing. I DO think that the best option is to be on a team where it is not coached by a parent. Very few parents out there can handle everything that goes along with coaching their own daughter’s team! There are a lot of people out there to try to keep happy – and to me that is stressful!

      • I agree and disagree with the parent coaching. I agree with yes it is stressful because everyone watches how you coach your daughter. Do you give her extra instruction, more at bats, playing time is more than others, etc.

        I coach to coach and coaching my son and daughters has been nothing but enjoyable. Yes I’ve had to deal with many parents, but overall I got to do something I love to do while my kids were included. I learned to deal with parents and as long as the players are happy I just coach. The players know that if they have a question or concern they can talk to me with no worries. Open communication is huge between a coach and players. If anything coaches kids get pushed harder and corrected more than any other players on the team.

        Why let parents ruin coaching if it’s something you love to do. Usually it’s just a few parents who thing there kid is the TEAM instead of just a part of the team/puzzle.


        • I agree with you. More so wrote the article because usually it’s people’s perceptions of “daddy ball” that get in the way. I like to write about things you can and can’t control, and at the end of the day you can’t control what SOMEONE else is doing ever. The lesson to teach your daughter in any situation is that you can always, always control and give your energy towards hard work and attitude. THAT was the basis of this article as well as that parents shouldn’t be talking about “daddy ball” as an excuse around their daughter!

          Sounds like you had open communication with your team, which is awesome!

  • I have coached my daughter in rec/travel/school ball since she was 5 and have never bought into “daddy ball”. I have made sure she sits and learns to be a good team mate from the bench. I have rotated pitchers to make sure everyone gets work (she pitches). I have taken her to practice an hour before everyone else shows up to get in focused time on her so that I am more able/willing to focus on all the players in team practice. I have made sure everyone gets to play in pool games to build up those that need it the most but play the best 9 in bracket. I have never had anyone openly accuse me of daddy ball and take great pride in that.

    • I struggle with this, because I don’t want to be seen as playing favorites, but my best chance to win is with my daughter on the field, and on the mound. Nobody has ever accused our coaching staff of favoritism because she is clearly the best pitcher we have by a wide margin in the entire the league, BUT, the other girls are at least about average or above (I’m probably biased as I taught them as well), so I feel like we need to give them chances, I’m not the head coach but work with the pitchers and push for more playing time for all of them because they deserve a chance to develop (we need more than one pitcher and catcher and 3rd base and. …) The head coach would have her on the mound more than I think is fair (not so much that the workload is too high, I’d shut that down right away). Any suggestions on balancing putting the best player out there, and developing others as well? It is a team sport, and we do have to try to win, but I am pretty new to this and will take wisdom from those who have done it before.

  • I coach my kid s team and have always had parents telling me to take it easy on my kid at practice and never been accused of daddy ball until here recently and It was by 2 of my weakest players they are the same kids I had been on the fence about cutting they just was not putting it the work all my other players had this post is so true but sometimes as a parent instead of just getting mad at the coaches look at your kids and tell them they have to put in the work the others are at home I would llike to think most dad’s or mom’s are not there just for there kids they don’t get paid it’s a lot of stress they don’t have to deal with but the do it for all the kids . I know there are those bad few out there that make it hard on us ones trying to do the right thing But as the article said parents always think there kid is a super star

  • Glad to see something addressing this. We experienced this for 2 years. First playing at a 10U level everyone played pool play then tournament time came and my daughter was “bottom 9” being a very competitive person it took everything in me from stopping myself from telling my daughter we’re out of here, the head coach had her pinch hit for an assistant coach’s (makes lineup) daughter and my daughter hit a 2 run double which decided the game…. After the season that assistant became the head coach, my daughter made another team but I turned them down and said maybe instead of being negative about him taking over I’ll offer to help, I was turned down for helping, over winter practices my daughter worked HARD on improving, some others thought it was play time during these practices HC daughter included, anyhow come this past season my daughter was “bottom 9” in 2 tournaments each time I told her to savor that feeling of sitting on the bench use it to push you harder to be better, and that eventually she will get her shot and then she would have to make it count! I had other parents let me know she didn’t belong on the bench. By season’s end she was the number 1 pitcher, we left after the season went to another team out of the 20 or so girls that tried out she was the only one they added to the team. Although I couldn’t stand her sitting out or always be a player that was subbed out, it has driven her and her work ethic has carried over into the classroom. When we did switch teams I actually went and scouted the coaches of the teams she wanted to play for.

  • I have mixed feeling about what you stated. I can see taking the high road is probably the best approach, when your dealing with coaches who are doing it unknowingly or are focused too much on winning to give other kids a chance. A direct talk may make a difference. However many of these types of coaches are doing it intentionally with the sole purpose of pushing there kids ahead of yours so their children can gain the benefits that come from playing in a game. These coach also use their position to gain favor with friends or town big wigs. They hold their children to a lesser standard and are given many chances to practice while other children are held to much higher standards and given a chance then are removed. Coaches like this are focused on their children and winning. I say make some noise make lots of noise but don’t embarrass your child. What message are you sending to your child if you don’t stand up for them. That hard work and playing by the rules results in sitting the bench while devious nepotism succeeded? Get a copy of the code of conduct start video taping practices and games look for these indiscretions show someone in the league town or governing body these violations of the code of conduct and get the coach removed. Then sell your house and move because you won’t be to popular after that. Just kidding. Keep in mind there are 4-5 coaches on a team leaving 10-15 unhappy parents. Chances are the others will feel the same way.

  • Wow… clearly whoever you interviewed has no problem with Daddy Ball and just wants parents and players to leave him alone about it.

    The “It’s your problem, not mine” approach never solves anything and he is advising players – specifically girls it seems – to just sit down and take it. He’s not looking to problem solve a very real problem in youth sports, he’s looking to be left alone…

    Excellent one sided article.

    • So ironic that it is mostly coaches responding. Okay, I’ll make the most out of the biased situation my son’s 4 Dad Coaches on one bench have created.: Pitching the idea of a t-shirt that reads “Play like your Daddy’s the Coach.” Because really Coaches, if your honest, your kid can mess up multiple times and never get benched, your kid has the freedom to foul, take crazy shots and act immature with no negative consequences. Talk to your Coach? Are you serious!? Fragile egos must be polished and NEVER questioned- ever had a Coach that didn’t have a super ego? Yes, yes, my kid is learning valuable lessons of “life is not fair” and “strong character perseveres”. You are teaching your kid lessons also Coach….. to call my kid “Boss” when they hit the real world.

  • Good article. I am a coach of my daughter’s gu10 competitive soccer team. We strictly enforce an “everyone plays” philosophy. If you make the team, then you deserve to play. If you aren’t the best player on the team, you will get better by playing more, not by watching from the bench.
    The parents of the best player on our team recently accused me of “daddy ball.” It had me totally baffled, since everyone on our team plays for 3/4 of every game. (Unless you miss practice during the week, then you only play for 1/2 of that week’s game).
    I guess the family thought they were giving me good feedback when immeidately after a loss they said to me, “These girls need to bring it!!! Why are we paying for tournaments if they aren’t going to give it their all.” My response was ‘Thanks. You realize they are 9 years old right? We are still learning a lot and the team that crushed us played a better game of soccer than we did. We are going to take the next few games to work on possession and better passing. We might lose a game or 2 because of this, but if it helps us in the long term, then I am ok with that.”
    Their response “I certainly hope that you are playing to win every game.” I just shook my head and walked away.
    Then a few weeks later, they accuse me of “daddy ball.”
    To parents out there – Use the 24 or 48 hour rule. If something in your kids game upsets you (playing time, position, coach saying something to your kid or another player that upsets you) don’t say anything to the coach for at least 24 hours. After a good night of sleep, you may gain some clarity on what is really going on out there.

  • My daughter played travel softball 10U-18U. Looking back, her teams coached by “dads” (I never coached) were the teams that were the most successful and she had the most fun. The “worst” seasons were the paid coaches who seemed to forget why they are coaching in the first place. Of course, there were those coaches who gave playing time preference to the kids who paid for hitting and or pitching lessons. Regardless of which coach your daughter (or son) plays for, coach selection is critical.

  • There are meritocracy’s and bureaucracy’s. Teaching you child the difference is critical both now and in the future. To not explain what a “daddy baller” is- well that is like lying to your child and enabling the bad process. Better yet tell your child the reason the Company President’s son was just named vice president was on merit. Make sure you steer your Harvard MBA to a meritocracy otherwise you condition them to believe in being on the bench and miss out on competing in the natural world. Transparency in conversations versus your desire to breed into your child passive aggressive behaviors that you recommend- is dangerous.

    • Hi Jim, Not sure which part falls under passive aggressive behaviors under this article. I encourage players to talk to their coaches about playing time (give them a voice), be a good teammate, evaluate at the end of the season what the best move is for their family, and stay positive. I don’t want anyone to “sit on the bench and miss out”, which I think is why in the article I stated it’s important for the family to come together and evaluate where they stand on that team and what the best decision would be for the player’s happiness to determine whether to switch teams or stay. Everyone wants to be the starter, the president, the one with the ball…however there are valuable lessons to learn about yourself and your passion whenever you are not in the most powerful positions. What is your real love and passion? If you are basing your success off of the results you are getting with a job title, then I think that is a sad mistake.

      Furthermore, in regards to the term daddy ball,I think many times “daddy ball” can be used as an excuse for a player playing over another player who may not be as talented. I am not saying this is the case 100% of the time. The transparency in conversation goes with evaluating as a family what the best decision is for a family to make in regards to happiness of a team. It’s always important to be completely honest with where you are at as a player, understand your strengths, understand your weaknesses and understand what your passion is to working getting better. That’s inner strength, which is way more important to define than who is related to who in the company or on the team.

  • “Daddy ball” is rampant in softball. Nothing is more degrading for a child to give her all, succeed by every objective measure and still not be given recognition for her accomplishments because to do so might outshine the coach’s daughter. Leaving your child in a situation where she will never progress on the team despite all her good efforts and objectively judges successes, and blowing smoke up her back side with positive BS is both confusing and depressing for the child. And it’s makes the child question ever time she succeeds or fails because she has no tools to make an objective assessment. I’ve made a deal with my children that I will never lie to them, and they will never lie to me. Thus far, it’s worked. This article seems to be a self-serving article from a coach that has had too many complaints.

    • Hey Lisa, It sounds like you’ve had a horrible experience with your daughter(s) in the softball world, and I am sorry. I stand by my article not because it is self serving nor am I a big complainer. I write my articles based off of questions that I get on a daily basis from parents, players and coaches out there and problems they discuss with me.

      There may be some favortism, but the basis of my article was to write about things that we can control. We cannot control favoritism. We can control the conversation you have with your daughter (just as you said you actually do). There is a difference between making the most of a situation with staying positive and “blowing smoke up her back side with positive BS” as you put it. We will be faced with favoritism in more experiences than just a 12u, 14u, 16u or 18u softball team with coaches. The point of my article would be how to stay positive and still find a way to work hard and limit the drama by keeping the conversations within your family and teaching your daughter the right and wrong way to handle situations. I think if it is such a negative environment that it mentally is hurting your daughter more than it is helping her, then it is definitely a choice that you can leave a team or you can wait until the end of the season to find another option. Whichever it is, I do whole heartedly believe that you need to do it the most positively you can do it, or you make a choice to leave. Maybe that choice is to stick with the team until the end of the season. Maybe it’s to leave in the middle. Regardless, you do what makes you happy and you go where you can be the most positive.

      Good luck and thanks for your voicing your opinion. Sorry to read that you took it the wrong way and that maybe you have had an experience that has definitely left a mark

  • First off I think playing time should be earned personally. In select ball it shouldnt matter how expensive your team is….you are paying for being on a team and for coaching, not for the right to play. If it was truly paying to play, there would be different rates for the percentages your daughter got to play. Most coaches (smart ones anyway) wont promise your daughter anything she doesn’t earn because the actual goal of a true athlete is for her to get better every day.
    However with that being said… I think there are some who have a different idea of how someone “earns” a spot or playing time making it very subjective.

    In reference to daddy ball…I have seen both good and bad daddy ball as my daughter has played on several select travel teams with dad coaches. The one that is the absolute worse is when a coach is so hard on his own daughter that it makes it uncomfortable to be around….this one is hard to watch.

    The situation I really hate is when the coach will use his daughter and another player (such as my kiddo) against each other. Really kills me that some can’t understand that telling another kid that a teammate is better and will always be better is killing his team. I just see this is harmful to the team atmosphere…..Makes no sense to me why a coach would do that. I have learned that all kids are motivated in different ways, but most are fully aware that better players exist so there is no need to divide a team by working them against each other rather than building a true team atmosphere. Competition is good as long as it is healthy and benifical for the team and the player. Most teen girls will react and work to meet her own and team goals way before she will be motivated by telling her she is not as good as your daughter (or another player for that matter). I think giving her a goal to work towards like…ok this week we are aiming for less than 3 passed balls or working on a specific pitch placement. And then do it again next week with a stronger goal. But make her compete with herself against goals that suit her as her goals may not be what another players goals are. And in the end of competition. ..the only one that matters who you are better than is the team you are playing against at that moment. This is a team sport afterall.

    Then I have seen coaches whose daughter really isn’t the best player, but their daughter gets lots more playing time than most anyone else. One thing that this situation has helped my daughter with is to work hard and harder….prove herself to the coach and team but first work towards a personal goal. As a catcher she had a coach that would give her all the “rough” pitchers and give his daughter the pitchers that hit every spot every time. My daughter did lots of ball chasing that season! Frustrating at the moment, but he did our daughter more of a favor than his own. Our daughter had to work harder behind the plate and because of this she got great at blocking and framing. While his daughter from year to year is slower to progress because she doesn’t have the challenges to make her better. It all works out I think in the end if your kiddo really wants it bad enough to work as hard as she can to earn it….doesn’t matter who the coach is. Especially when there are so many other teams out there to play with these days.

    • On the other hand, I have seen a coach…assistant coach that caused the team to fold, continually blame everyone but her own daughter for the poor performance of her pitching. She pitched every game or played third base and was constantly number 3 or 4 in the lineup with good results only when playing against rec ball teams. It was a complete travesty considering that this team in this current year had so much talent to dominate. It is too bad the head coach did not realize the dilemma before he finally quit because he brought about a reputation due to the assistant mommy ball coach. Not only did the team fold, but the assistant coach made a name for her daughter and herself in the area and I would be really surprised if she makes another team in select ball. The worst thing is, is that the girl had some natural talent, but was constantly told how good she is by her mom and blaming everyone else in the infield and outfield when runs would score.

  • Great article on “daddy ball”. I have a daughter in Rec softball recently learned the term “daddy ball” this year in 2016 not realizing that this was the reason we had issues with a coach that favored his daughter along with the other coaches daughters. My daughter always had playing time as the pitcher but the coaches never gave her an opportunity to develop batting. My daughter asked for help we address it with the managing coach but continued as the pitcher. Our family solution was to wait at end of season to thank the coach for playing on his team & I suggested to allow my daughter to play on another team, he was not happy to hear our suggestion. The following season I help coach with new team manager to ensure every girl was treated equally & no girl was left behind in developing appropriate skills. The first 3 weeks of practice with the new team half of the girls forgot I was the dad of the pitcher, it felt good to know we treated the girls equally. The end of the season Rec league tournament our team went undefeated, beating the old coach along the way. Unfortunately politics & “daddy ball” would take all of the positive progress made during my daughters 10u all star season as the old coach becomes the managing coach along with his daddy coaches. It was unbearable to watch but my daughter passion to play the game we did our best to support her even with a losing all star season averaging less than 3 points/runs per game. As we end another season & delima to confront this coach or to leave league to prepare her for 12u. Our approach to “daddy ball” is life skill lesson that can have positive outcome but whats important is to ensure we teach respect for others & create solutions that will build confidence in our child.

  • Question for ya… My daughter has been taking pitching lessons since the beginning of summer and her coach told her he wanted to start warming her up and see how she does during fall ball and he never did. He kept telling I am going to warm you up next game but never did. We have 1 tournament left for the season and we have other teams wanting to get her on their team as their number 1 pitcher for next year. I want to talk to her coach and see what his plans are for her for next year but I don’t know how to go about it. My daughter is the clean up hitter and progressing well as a pitcher and she really loves to pitch. I don’t want him to keep getting her hopes and then drop them just as fast. How do I carefully approach this?

  • I’m not sure this is the same kind of “daddy ball”. My daughter is a pitcher in a very similar style to yourself. Her pitching that I pay for has modeled a lot of what she does from yur mechanics. She also plays first base. The issue is her high school pitching coach has daughters on the team and constantly critical of her pitching style because it’s not like his daughters. So she gets playing time at first but he refuese to pitcher. He claims her warm up is to long and that she doesn’t stand up straight when pitching. We just sent her to a Nike camp with D-1 pitchers and coaches and they used her as an example of what to do with both. Her pitching coach I pay for is also an ex college pitcher. How do I approach a coach about this?

  • I was a coach and a parent as well. I have to say that I disagree with the argument that hard work pays off in this and other sports teams where parents are coaching. I have seen great players sit the bench because they were not popular, didn’t have a personal relationship with the coach, is coming later on to the team. I see great players leave. I have been told that “we are just a little above house ball and not going to change” I have had my daughter recruited and made promises to only to have lesser skilled players bump her down the line up. She has had trainers who are D1 that advocate for her and yet she can’t seem to get a break because there are 5 fathers coaching the team and they don’t really care. My daughter has learned resiliency and strength and disappointment. There is a psychological mindset at the travel level that has to do with everything except for the game, what school you attend, who is friends with who… it has not been about skill or earning your spot with hard work, trainers, clinics, or endorsements. I teach my daughter to play for the love of the game. I teach her that the coaches have to earn her respect as well as her giving it. There are no free rides because your the adult. And they should have to be just as accountable as the children for all the sweat and time and effort they put in. It’s a culture and a negative one. Just prior to her playing we went to 13 different teams to see the coaches, their behaviors, the dynamics with the players and the coaches, we met the parents because that was who we were spending our precious time with for months. I was shocked by the politics, favoritism, adult behaviors that haven’t gotten past their teenage years. We try to focus on the love for the game and the skill building. I watch coaches talk up a player that clearly has limited skills and the others go along because they are afraid to say anything for fear their own daughter will lose their spot. As my daughter ages, she understands more and she sees it. I don’t have to use the words “daddy ball”. I work more to try to tell her that the “real world” is not like this. You work hard, you reap rewards. I tell her all the kids that are handed things because they feel they are entitled are in for a rude awakening in the real world and will most likely fail. I love watching the college level play because that is where true teams are born and develop. Coaches respect a player because of skill. Players respect a coach because they can coach. In a lot of ways the development of the sport works backwards.

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