I coach youth baseball at a competitive level. Next season we will be to the age where players will have to tryout to make the team. There are two or three kids on my team this season that will not be able to make the team next year - they just can't keep up. I have spent a lot of time working with these kids on the side (after practice, private lessons) and they can't keep up with the kids on my current team (no tryouts were held - we just asked kids to play).
Two of these kids have parents that I am friends with outside of the team (at school and in the neighborhood). Any advice on how to handle this? Have any OT coaches been through this? Any chance we stay friends or will I be dead to them?
Do you have more kids than spots on the team? Are you going to have to recruit other kids to fill the two spots vacated by the ones who aren't good enough? If you need to cut them due to numbers, talk to the parents now about it.
Personally, I would have rather the coach tell me not to play on his team than make me sit the bench bc he liked other kids more or/and they were better. I left baseball hating it bc I never got to play on the team I was on. Maybe would have enjoyed it more if I was told up front I wasn't going to play and could have switched teams. And before you throw me under the bus for being a pussy, this was not a team we had to try out for, the coach felt it should have been apparently.
Be prepared to have some awkward conversations with angry parents about their kids. I coached a little league team a couple years and cutting a kid is never easy for the kids or parents. Try to ask other coaches in the league if there are open spots on those teams. There may be other leagues they could join?
You need to ask yourself why you are coaching, and I don't mean it as a sarcastic or negative comment. If a chance to win is more important than friendship with the parents, then cut the kids and don't look back. You can't have both.
I used to coach kids and decided that 10 years later the parents would probably still be close friends, but the trophy was certainly going to be gathering dust somewhere in an attic. I also found that I got a lot of satisfaction taking those somewhat weaker kids and finding them a place to fit in.
If you value the friendships and truly want to be a open tryout team then you will need to hire some kid to coach the team. Dad's coaching tryout non-allstar teams is very rarely done correctly.. Good luck