A Daily Blog on Creating Success

3 Ways Parents Ruin Youth Baseball

 

Ten year old baseball.  Thoughts of the “Sandlot” run through your head.  Just a bunch of kids playing ball in an empty lot.  No parents around.

This is 2015.  The Sandlot is long gone, it’s a Walgreens now.  Kids rarely play by themselves anymore and certainly not unless they all have their iDevices in hand.

 

espn_e_elite_576

 

Reece made the local Little League B- All Star team for the second year in a row.  Double headers on Independence Day, practice six days a week, dinner every night at a different snack bar.  The thought of a hot dog completely disgusts me right now.  But alas, it is what my entire family will consume for dinner tonight.  At least it’s cheap.

 

One thing I have noticed the last few years is the behavior of the parents.  Our kids are sponges.  They are heavily  influenced by us.  When talking with our children about the game or team, we have to pretend that we are on the team.  Whatever we say to them outside of the dugout will find it’s way into the dugout.

 

Here are the three most common types of negative parents on a boy’s baseball team.

 

The Whisperer

 

This is the parent that whispers in his son’s ear about how great he is.  He is the best player on the team.  In fact, he is so good he should be playing on the “A” team in the older age group.  He should be batting 1, 2 or 3 in the lineup and should never leave the infield.  Except maybe to play Center because no one is as fast as him.

 

How do you think this will affect your son?  Do you think this will make him a better teammate? He’s a nine or ten year old.  He’s not going to Cooperstown. He’ll be lucky to play JV ball in High School!  Boosting a kids confidence is something we should all be working on with every one of the kids.  Boosting their ego is something that will only bring the team down.  If he IS the best player on the team, maybe you should focus on teaching him to be a leader.  Because if there is one thing that a ten year old baseball team needs, it’s a leader.

 

The Critic

 

Picture this….a ground ball to the middle infield bounces off the glove of the short stop, your son.  All of a sudden you hear a parent in the bleachers shout, “Oh come on!!!  You gotta get that!!”

 

Really?  A ten year old.  You’re going to shout something like that to a ten year old?  The poor kid can barely hold back tears and now he has to deal with a parent shouting things from the peanut gallery.  You may think this would never happen but it does.  And it’s despicable.  If you are in the bleachers, please only shout words of encouragement.

 

The Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQ)

 

First off let me say that I’m guilty of this.  I am generally a positive person but I have had my moments where I second guessed coaches.  It’s very easy to do, especially during a losing streak.  The MMQ says things like; “this kid should be batting first, he should be pitching, he shouldn’t even be on this team!!”  And the ever popular, “last year’s coach was so much better.”

 

Coaches want two things.  They want to win and they want the kids to have fun.  While we are gabbing away with the other parents during practice they are studying the kids and trying to figure out the best spot to put them in. If you have a problem with the the coach  then your best bet is to communicate with him.  Maybe you have a suggestion that could actually help!  Quit spreading your negative energy to the other parents.

 

We need to be encouraging of each other and especially each other’s kids.  Baseball is the ultimate team sport.  And you as a parent are on the team.  We are looking for you to be the best cheerleader this town has ever seen.  If you can’t be encouraging and positive then it would be best for everyone if you just stayed at home.

 

Go team!

 

What issues have you seen from parents at sporting events?  Please leave a comment or share on your favorite Social Media site.

 

My name is Keith Laskey.  I actually believe children are our future.  I write articles about how we can empower our youth so that the world will be a better place for all of us. 

The Father/Stepfather Relationship

 

Oh this is an interesting relationship.  On one side you have a man who has a son that now lives under another man’s roof.  This man’s son will be raised, in large part, by another man.  Will be heavily influenced by this other man.  Not to mention the fact this other man now has a relationship with his son’s mother.  A woman that he may or may not wish to still have a relationship with.

 

Not exactly the foundation for a healthy relationship.

 

The “other man” doesn’t have it very easy either.  How many men do you know that are forced to have a relationship with a man that was at one time in a serious relationship with his wife?  Also, how much should he parent his stepson?  Is he stepping out of line when he adds his input?  Is he being too easy?  Too hard?

 

Quotation-Oliver-Hudson-dad-father-mean-Meetville-Quotes-262539

 

 

This isn’t Rocket Science!

I found myself in this very situation 8 and a half years ago the day that I was introduced to my stepson.  I met his mother, Clarissa, four months earlier and had been dating her for a few weeks when we decided it was time for me to meet her son, Reece.  It was December 26th, 2005.  He was eighteen months old.

At first things were a little difficult with Reece’s father.  A lot of arguments between Reece’s mother and father.  Things moved pretty quickly between her and I.  We were engaged within eleven months of dating and married one year to the day later. We also moved Reece to the suburbs, a little further away than his father would have liked.  Things were uneasy at best.

But there was one thought we all had in common, “It’s all about Reece.”

Everything we did was in his best interest. We never discussed it or came to any kind of agreement.  We all just had the same mindset.  The same philosophy.  Everything needed to be done with the best interest of Reece in mind.

 

The Melting Pot

It was Thanksgiving, 2008.  Clarissa, myself, Reece and his father just sat down for our feast.  Reece’s father was talking about some money issues.  I had very similar issues earlier in the year but had landed a second job at The Melting Pot as a server.  I told him I could try to help him get a job there if he wanted.  This conversation would change our relationship forever.

Within a few weeks we were working side by side helping each other out during our shifts and drinking beers together after work.  We bonded.  We formed our own relationship and now we didn’t just care only about Reece, we actually cared about each other.

 

The Present

We no longer work together but the relationship between Reece’s father and myself is still in a very good place.  Tatum, my daugher, who is now 3 absolutely loves him!  He treats her like a Princess just as I treat his son like a Prince.  We are an extended family and he is one of my closest friends.

 

Things to Consider if You are a Stepfather

  • Form a relationship with your stepchild’s father.  Some children do not have any male figures in their lives.  How lucky is your stepchild to have two!  This must be your philosophy.
  • Your wife and her ex WILL fight.  NEVER speak negatively of his/her father in front of your stepchild.  Defend him and say only positive things about him when they are present.
  • Treat your stepchild the same way you treat your “own” children.  Love them, teach them, discipline them.
  • Your opinion on raising your stepchild matters.  Allow the parents to make decisions but be comfortable with discussing thoughts and ideas with them.
  • NEVER BE JEALOUS.  Jealousy will kill you and your relationship.  You must have faith in your relationship with your wife.  You must allow her and her ex to have a relationship together.  This will benefit you and everyone involved more than you can imagine.

 

 

Good luck to you.  Remember, it’s all about the child.  Everything we do must be done in their best interest.

 

-Keith Laskey

 

Healthy Living: Keeping Kids Positive

Have kids always been so negative?  I see it at every youth sporting event.  Kids get so down on themselves!  If they make an error in the field, a mistake at the plate or foul on the court.  The shrugged shoulders, teary eyes, slammed bats and gloves.  What the heck is going on with these kids!!  Reece, my stepson, is typically a very positive nine-year old.  But if an umpire makes a call he doesn’t like or if a ball gets by him in the infield…look out!!  Out comes an attitude that turns him into a kid you wouldn’t recognize.

 

like a record... lee via Compfight

 

Undoubtedly if you have ever coached or been in the stands of a little league event you have seen this type of behavior.  So, how do we handle it?

It’s a little bit easier if it is not your child.  One of our kids was really down on at our game on Saturday.  He is a son of a family friend.  My wife, Clarissa, walked over to him and put her arm around him.  Said a few things to him that seemed to work.  He was bright eyed and bushy tailed in no time!

The boys father was close by and thanked Clarissa for helping out.  Later in the game the boy made an unbelievable stop at second base to save what would have been an extra base hit.

Another example involves one of my favorite past players.  He was in the opposing dugout at the same game this past weekend.  He gave up five runs while pitching (there is a five run limit per inning at this age).  For the next inning or two he looked absolutely miserable.  Very upset with himself.

I was helping coach our team but saw how down he was.  I walked over and put my arms around him, gave him a big hug and told him to relax!  I was able to put a smile on his face and help him get over the blues.

The next inning while catching, he gunned down Reece at third base on an attempted stolen base.  I should have left him to sulk…..

 

Keeping kids positive is not an easy task.  Here are three ideas to help.

 

  • Be Positive Yourself!  Be a role model.  You can’t expect your child to be positive if you are miserable and pessimistic all the time.  Show them how to be positive and how to handle uneasy situations.
  • It takes a community.  Let’s make a deal.  If you see my son or daughter sad or upset, please help them out.  I will gladly do the same for yours.  A lot of times parents are unable to get through to their children.  Sometimes the kids need an outside voice or hug in order to get over what’s got them down.  Be a friendly face with a friendly comment.  Thank you in advance.
  • Don’t criticize.  Have you read “How to Win Friends and Influence People“?  I wish we all did.  Among many other gems about how to interact with each other, Dale Carnegie suggests that criticizing is not only a waste of time but it will do the complete opposite of what the criticizer is intending.  He’s right.  Criticizing our youth won’t make them understand better, it will just push them away from us.  This is something I am still working on.

 

Do your children get down on themselves?  What are some ideas you have to help keep them positive?

 

-Keith Laskey

Are We Overworking Our Kids with Sports

Things were a lot different 25 years ago when I was a ten year old boy.  Spring was for baseball, summer was All-Star baseball (if you made it), Fall was for soccer and Winter was for basketball.  Now, sports like baseball and soccer are year round.  Reece , my 10- year old stepson, played rec baseball in the Spring, All-Stars in the summer, Fall ball and then practiced every Tuesday during the Winter in an indoor baseball facility.  He hasn’t stopped playing since February of last year!

Stealing Home (A Series)  Explore #266 6/17/13Creative Commons License Linda Tanner via Comp-fight

 

Is it too much?

 

The answer is easy if they aren’t enjoying themselves.  YES!  But what if they are having fun?  Sure, they won’t always enjoy going to practice but once they are there every one of them seems to be having a good time.

So it’s up to us to decide when enough is enough.  How are we doing with this task?

This is Reece’s schedule this week.  At the moment he is on a recreation baseball team, a “Sunday” league baseball team and is also giving lacrosse a try for the first time.  He’s also involved in some after school activities.  School, you remember school right?  With so much going on sometimes it’s easy to forget.

 

  • Monday-Lacrosse Practice (cancelled due to rain.  Woo Hoo!!)

  • Tuesday- Reading Olympics at School (Did not go to scheduled rec Baseball practice)

  • Wednesday- Rec baseball Game

  • Thursday-Lacrosse Practice

  • Friday- “Sunday” league baseball pracice

  • Saturday- “Sunday” league game at 9:30 AM  Rec Baseball game at 1:00

  • Sunday- Double header in lacrosse

In talking things over with other parents that have kids involved in sports this is a common schedule.  Very few nights that are open.  It’s one thing to have this schedule during Summer when homework is not an issue but this type of schedule can cause many late nights during the Spring.  Nothing worse than trying to figure out 4th grade Math problems at 10:30 at night.

The argument against it is simple; it’s too much for the kids.  There is no time for yourself or the parents.  The kids are being over worked.

The argument for it will indicate that it is better for the kids to be involved in sports than at home playing video games.  It’s good exercise, get’s them involved with teammates and is good for them to be social.

My opinion is that it is good for the kids.  There have been times when things got a little too crazy or Reece obviously needed a break.  So we have given him breaks.  We haven’t missed too many games but missing a practice from time to time is absolutely ok.  Especially if he is need of some time away.  The last thing you want to do is burn your nine or ten year old out on any sport.

So if you do have a schedule similar to the one above, proceed but with caution.  Remember your little guy or girl is much more important than any sport or coach.  Encourage them to keep doing their best.  Chances are not many of the kids will go pro someday but perhaps times like this will help them develop a killer work ethic which will prove to be extremely beneficial later in life.

What do you think?  Are we pushing our kids too hard?

 

-Keith Laskey

Five Easy Changes for a Healthier Life

I recently became a Board member of the Pottstown YMCA.  A role that I am taking very seriously.  As it turns out, my values are very similar to the values of the Y.  I didn’t realize this until my first board meeting.  The YMCA has three main areas of focus;

 

  1. Youth Development.  This is as important as anything else in the world.  Children truly are our future.  (Thank you Whitney)
  2. Healthy Living.  We must learn to live healthier lifestyles.  For ourselves and so we can teach others.
  3. Social Responsibility.  Supporting our neighbors by giving back any way that we can.

 

(Explore #177!) 1000+ views!??! Navy Blue Stripes via Compfight

 

Going forward, this blog will focus on these three areas of focus.  Today’s post is about Healthy Living.  Here are Five changes you can make today to start living a healthier life!

 

  •  Start tracking what you eat and drink.  I recently started doing this and was amazed at how often I went over my daily calorie budget.  But I also discovered that I was eating way too much sodium and not enough protein or carbohydrates.  You really don’t need to go on a specific diet, just become very aware of what you are and how much you are putting into your body.  I recommend My Fitness Pal.

 

  • Excercise.  You don’t need to do the Insanity Workout.  Or PX90 or any other hardcore routine.  You really don’t even need to join a gym.  Spring is finally here in the Northeast, get outside and try to walk a half hour every day.  You can add some jogging as time goes on.  Do some pushups.  I started a goal of 100 pushups every day.  You will see results from these activities.  For more great exercise ideas that don’t involve a gym check out Mark Lauren’s great site and book, “You Are Your Own Gym

 

  • Read/Listen to something Positive Every Day.  You are What you Eat, right?  Well, you also are what you listen to, watch, and read.  You are inspired by what you are putting into your mind.  Books, recordings, tv shows all have a profound effect on you.  Read and listen to something positive every day.  Zig Ziglar has many positive books and recordings.  Andy Andrews has written several books that will inspire you.   Learn to love audio books.  They make consuming information so much easier.  Check out eofire.com for a way to get a month free on Audiobooks.com.

 

  • Express Gratitude.  It turns out expressing things that we are grateful for is extremely beneficial to our health.  Not just thinking about them but writing them down.  Taking a moment or two to write down a few things that make you happy, a few things that you want to achieve today and a few positive remarks about yourself can do a lot for you, a lot for all of us.  Remember, the more positive and helpful of a person you are, the  better all of us will be.  “The Five-Minute Journal” (pictured below) is an unbelievable book to help you with this.

 

  • Help One Person.  There is something that happens inside your body when you help somebody.  I don’t know if it’s endorphins or serotonin or what the heck it is.  I just know that when I’m able to help somebody out my entire body gets chills.  And then I have an incredible desire to do it again and again.  Be aware.  Notice things.  Every time you interact with somebody try to think if there is something you can do to help them.  Make the barista smile.  Hold the door for someone.  Lend an ear to a person that needs to talk about a problem.

 

A page of the Five-Minute Journal.

A page of the Five-Minute Journal.

 

 

What are some of your recommendations for living a healthy life?

 

-Keith Laskey

Always Believe in Yourself.

%d bloggers like this: