Ask Doug: Coaching Your Son

Baseball Factory

August 18, 2009

By Doug Glanville

Doug Glanville is working with the Baseball Factory and Team One Baseball as a Special Consultant. He will be writing articles and looking for your questions and feedback. If you have a question for Doug, please email him at

Q: There are many fathers that coach their sons growing up. This can be a great bonding experience, but it can also put a strain on the relationship. Any suggestions or guidelines on how a father should approach the idea of coaching his son?

A: I am a father, although my son is only 1 year old. :) But, I certainly can understand how challenging it is to push your child to be better while not pushing him away. I played years with Mike Lieberthal and I remember hearing his Dad yelling out to him over the dugout in Los Angeles about his swing when we were in the big leagues! So once you go down a certain road, it is hard to stop, even when he has reached the highest level. No doubt Mike’s Dad cared very much and wanted his son to keep getting better, but like any son, it can become great pressure.

I am confident that each child is different, but I would also say that each child has different motivations. He may respond positively to certain kinds of encouragement. You should try and understand what makes him feel confident and what makes him withdraw. I am sure it is a little trial and error, but it is probably the same in how he approaches everything else in his life.

I loved playing for Terry Francona, Jim Riggleman. Peaceful Generals. Larry Bowa made me feel stressed, but for other guys, they loved his style. But it takes time to learn yourself well enough to reduce the impact of your manager and take ownership of your own inspiration. Right now, your son is still young, stay close to him, listen, be supportive, and make sure his is enjoying himself even when it isn’t always going his way. You should see that love for the game and I am sure he wants you to be proud of him so don’t just make it about results, make it about effort, work ethic, approach, attitude, sportsmanship. The rest will take care of itself.

Reprinted from The Baseball Factory



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