Sucky softball coach gets coached by his daughters

It turns out being a nice coach sucks. So to help, my daughters coached me on how to be a coach who gets respect.

Sucky softball coach gets coached by his daughters

We are walking back to the parking garage after practice and my two oldest encourage me with some constructive criticism.

"They don't respect you, Daddy. Zero respect," says Maddy (12).

"Yeah, you have got to be harder," says Flippy (16) "That is why they don't respect you."

"Yeah, they just don't respect you at all," says Maddy.

I am a little surprised at how unified they are in this critique.

No nuance. No criticism hamburger. No hint of possibly misreading the situation.

They are German.

And I am a doormat.

Plain and simple.

Evidence that I am not worthy of respect:

Every time I talk, two girls are talking.

Every time my eyes shift away from them during a talk, they started their next private conversation.

Every time I give an instruction, I usually have to repeat it because they were not listening.

This is what "no respect" looks like.

So, what should I do?

Teenage tyrant-tip on how to get respect

Flippy says, "Jan," the old coach, "used to punish the whole team when one person was talking while he was talking. That way the others would get mad at them."

That is a good idea. Peer pressure works.

But I stress test it.

"When I played baseball in high school, my coaches were more tyrants. They knew that you were there for glory, so they had no problem torturing you. It's not like you would quit. But this group of girls is different. They are here for fun. If I am too tough, they might never come back."

Maddy cuts through to the point, "Daddy, they just don't respect you."

My heart sinks and the jury is in.

Verdict: I suck.

The bright side of "no respect"

I love that my daughters are honest with me.

No diplomacy.

No filter.

No-fluff feedback.

Yes, they are half-German, but I know they are saying this because they love me. It has nothing to do with their ethnicity.

So, even if the other girls have no respect for me, It is clear my daughters respect me:

  • They believe I can become a good coach someday.
  • They never talk while I am talking in practice.
  • They give me wise feedback.

Proud daddy.

I can live with no respect from those other girls all day long knowing that.

Trying out tyrant mode

I tried Flippy's tip to punish the whole team if one girl talked while I was talking.

5 push-ups.

I warn them at the beginning of practice.

One of the talky girls complained, "What! We are not in school. This is no fun. Can't we do 5 jumping jacks instead?"

"You want options. Ok, here are my options. You can do 5 pushups or 10. Which would you prefer?"

"Five," she pouted.

3 times I told them "Drop and give me 5."

They are not strong enough to do a full pushup, so I let them put their knees on the ground.

It was tougher for me than for them.

But it worked.

I earned a little respect, by tapping into my inner tyrant.