Radical Candor

 “Parents are the last people on earth who ought to have children” ― Samuel Butler

With the end of another fall softball season and tryouts happening as we speak, I thought this would be something for coaches and parents to consider.

I am reading this book called Radical Candor, which is about how to be a “kick-ass” boss without losing your humanity. In other words, how can we tell people, especially those who we have a relationship with, the truth? But not in a condescending way but out of love and care.

The book has me thinking about how many times I see, hear or watch parents in the softball world engage in a version of what the book calls Manipulative Insincerity (when someone is focused on being liked so they give fake praise and/or criticism) or Ruinous Empathy (like the well-meaning parent who cannot bear to discipline their kids).  Although the book is talking about employee/employer relationships, the terms, stories and definitions can easily be from the softball world and those “Crazy Ass Parents”.

It is sad, but I have had to make decisions that affect the kid, but because of the parents, I have no choice but to let the kid go.  I have seen parents so caught up in their kids’ stuff that they spend so much of their time trying to manipulate everything from playtime to the fees and complaining at every turn.  When if they had just been candid with their kid and themselves maybe them and the coach could have gotten on the same page.

I know it is human nature for some folks to just be unhappy and just complain every step of the way, but it is my goal to stay away from that type of negativity and as best I can rid myself of those type of people from my life and the team I am coaching.

I get it, people are not always going to agree with a coach, and it is their prerogative to express their opinions but if it detrimental to the team the coach should not except that behavior. The world is so small, bad mouthing a coach, going to another team to try out when you are supposed to be on a team, are all going to get back to the coach sooner or later. Parents try to manipulate the situation first by trying to be liked and when that does not work, they try manipulating by criticism always behind the coaches back.

The second question every college coach asks me is “tell me about the parents.

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