Last week, I wrote about bad behavior from parents at youth ball games.

This week I’ll describe some embarrassing antics I have seen from coaches.

The vast majority of youth coaches do it for the right reasons.

Most, especially on the recreational side, are coaching their own child’s team. 

I’ve been involved in most of my boys’ rec league teams as a coach, an assistant, or a parent helper, a “dugout dad” as they are called in baseball.

It was very rewarding and I’m glad I did it.

Parents need to remember that coaches are usually volunteers, especially in city parks and rec leagues.

But, parents also need to expect that their coaches act in a respectful manner towards players, parents, umps and opposing coaches. 

Like last week, all the unfortunate events I describe, I have witnessed at games where the players were in elementary school.

I understand that emotions can sometimes get the best of us, but for goodness sakes all involved need to keep things in perspective.

Thankfully, we’ve never played with a coach who has taken it too far. But I’ve seen others who have.

I’ve seen coaches berate little boys to the point of tears.

In a 10-year-old baseball game, we had an opposing coach tell their pitcher to intentionally throw at our batter. 

Many times I’ve observed teams running up the score on hapless opponents on purpose.

Sometimes it’s hard not to, but you can tell when a coach means to do it. 

I’ve witnessed two arguing coaches from opposing teams literally yell across the baseball field to go take it to the parking lot.

On two separate occasions in baseball tournaments, I’ve seen teams get caught using players who were too old.

The offending teams were disqualified, but not before having already progressed though the tourney, eliminating other teams who did not get a fair shot. 

Those coaches knew exactly what they were doing, hoping to not get caught.

I’ll give a thumbs down to those teams’ parents as well, as they knew the kids were too old.

I’ve seen a coach start hounding a home plate umpire during the first at-bat of a game, over balls and strikes, the one thing you are really not supposed to argue about. 

There is one particular youth coach who is so bad that from the opening game he has every other team in the tourney rooting for whoever is playing against his team. 

Parents need to demand more from their kids’ coaches than that.

I’m reminded of something former Conway High football coach Clint Ashcraft says, “What you tolerate, you encourage.”

If you let your kids play for coaches like that, then it encourages that bad behavior.    

I’ve heard the excuses from parents: You gotta be tough on kids. This coach gets college scouts to look at his players. But the coach wins.

Fine. But at what point does winning trump character?