You've heard the many benefits and Cinderella stories about kids growing up playing baseball; winning championships, scoring the winning run with a hit up the middle on full-count with bases loaded and two outs. None of those were in my positive memory of baseball as a child.
You've seen the coaches yelling at their players on and off the field. You've seen the youngest, least coordinated, kid on the team sitting on the end of the bench in the dugout for yet another inning wondering why everyone else gets to have all the fun. You've seen the look on the faces of the bigger kids on the team when the youngest drops the ball in the outfield to lose the game.
I WAS that kid.
The coaches, the teams, baseball in general scarred me for life by the time I was in 6th grade. I've been working toward overcoming those mental injuries and shortcomings for the past 30+ years.
When it came time for me to win my own game in life as a young adult, I walked up slowly to the plate and struck out most of the time as I watched opportunity pass me by. Here is a small list of what I grew into by the time I graduated high school.
- Low self-esteem (put mildly!)
- Withdrawn from having more than a few friends
- No sports skills
- No aspiration to learn new things
- No determination to improve at things I was already familiar with
- No interest in playing or watching team sports
- Difficulty working with a team in school projects
- Zero confidence for asking a girl out on a date
- Easily quit anything I started
- Absence of long-term dreams and goals
Is that what you want for your son? I sure hope not!!
My hope is that you read this post and follow my suggestions to protect your son (or daughter) from having permanent scars from baseball or whatever other sport of interest your son or daughter might choose.
And, I'll share with you exactly how to overcome that pain of watching such nightmares happen to your kids. In fact, I can share that solution in one single word.
Why Baseball Makes Such an Impression on Children
I've heard people say on a number of occasions, "Why would anyone want to stand in one place with their hands on their knees for two hours in the middle of the heat of summer? Baseball is so boring!"
Baseball is far from boring when you're playing the game. If you're not swinging the bat, running from base to base, pitching, or sprinting to make that diving catch, you're "standing" there believing wholeheartedly that the ball is going to get hit your way. Your brain is on point the entire game. Or, well, it should be!
Baseball has a lot of similarity with life as you and I practice it every day as adults. For example, the ball being pitched to us at home plate can be thought of as opportunity coming our way.
Do you swing, hold, or move out of the way? You only have a fraction of a second to make that decision when the ball is coming toward you at 60+ miles per hour.
Baseball is a game that challenges every ounce of your being. Every external and internal muscle is tested. You can go from an all-out sprint in one moment to lying on your stomach reaching for the base in another.
For many children, organized baseball is their introduction to how they will respond to life challenges as they grow, both physically and mentally.
Knowing this important fact will hopefully have you thinking a bit differently about how you might support your son in his first baseball season and beyond.
How You as a Parent Can Support Your Child in Baseball and in Life
Earlier I said I would supply the solution to this problem of baseball scarring your son in just one word. The solution is this:
Instead of witnessing the nightmares poor coaches provide to so many baseball teams around our country, and seeing your son or daughter in tears as a result of bad coaching and bully teammates, BECOME the coach to supply the many positive experiences available for your son and the entire team.
I'm proof positive that you don't have to have a ton of experience playing baseball in order to be a good coach. You can learn mechanics so that you can teach them. You can learn game rules and practice situations so your team responds correctly during games. You can apply your organization and leadership skills to build the culture of your team to have confidence and professionalism.
Baseball Coaching Matters!
My teams have won tournaments and lost big games too. Winning or losing is not the only measurement of a "good coach," though.
What matters is when I run into an adult in the grocery store that used to be on my team years before as a child and he recognizes me...and says, "I wish you were still my baseball coach."
What matters is when he tells me he's in his second year of college and has a 4.0 GPA so far!
What matters is when he tells me of his memory of baseball and still thinks about the good 'ol days when the game went longer than expected, in the grueling heat, and the team stuck together, kept their focus and won!
What matters is that he tells me NO challenge he faces is one he can't overcome and that he has "big dreams" for the future!
If You Don't Like Your Kid's Coach, BECOME THE COACH!
R50 Books has just launched my new book, "Rookie Season: How to Coach a Youth Baseball Team for the First Time and Win More than Just Games."
I wrote the book because I have seen so many first-time coaches struggling through their rookie season of coaching youth league baseball teams. Not only do these novice coaches display to everyone in their surroundings that they don't have a clue what they're doing, but they're also stripping their teammates from opportunity—the opportunity for a positive experience that only baseball can offer.
Those struggling coaches all have far more experience playing baseball that I would ever admit to. Yet, they wear their anxiety and frustration on their sleeves during games and usually wind up getting out of coaching after season #1 is finally over.
If you have been considering getting into coaching your son's baseball team, COMMIT TO IT! Then, buy my book and use it as your Quick-Start guide.
If you are the spouse of a parent who really should consider coaching, please tell that person about this blog post or even consider buying my book for that person as a gift.
Isn't it Too Late for Baseball Coaching?
As of this writing, we are nearing the beginning of August 2016. Spring baseball league seasons have come to an end. Tournaments are winding down. But, FALL baseball is right around the corner!
Now is the perfect time for first-time youth baseball coaches to find a league to coach.
Baseball: A Gift of Life
I started by introducing the sport of baseball that caused such scarring for me to overcome later in life.
Now at the end of this post, I'd like to turn that around. Baseball coaching has provided me with a new look at the game and how it applies to life. Baseball coaching has challenged me to improve MY game so that I can help children on my teams become better players and more skilled at learning and adapting to situations both on the field and off.
Baseball coaching through the years has given me the gift of life so that I may share it with others. Won't you do the same by becoming a youth baseball coach?
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This Guest Post is Written by: Coach Randy Treeman, R50 Books Author