Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Tell starters why they are not playing

May 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching

Every now and then, coaches will sit a starting player down for a game.  It could be  just to give them a rest.  It could be just to get another guy a few at-bats.  It could even be to protect a player’s stats against a good pitcher.  Whatever the reason, it happens.  However, sometimes the starter who is now sitting has no knowledge of why they have not been put into the line-up on that particular day.  Often the player’s mind will automatically drift to the negative. 

  •  “What did I do wrong?”
  • “Am I being punished for something?”
  • “Does the coach no longer like me?”
  • “Am I being blamed for my team not doing well recently?”

Without an explanation, the player’s inner voice is likely to wreck havic on their confidence.  That’s why it’s important to explain why they are sitting.

When I sat a player down to say, give a role-player an at-bat or two, I would always try to connect with that starter immediately to explain the situation before his mind has a chance to take off running.  If I knew the day before about the switch, I would tell him then so he doesn’t go into shock the following day when he does not see his name in the line-up.  I’d also reassure the player by explaining that they are not sitting because they did something wrong. 

As a former player myself, I can say that I’ve been in both situations – in the dark as to why and also informed ahead of time.  The difference between the two is gigantic.  It’s one of those little things that can have an enormous positive impact on player-coach relations.

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