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.

 

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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. 

What’s Your Story?

 

A man parks his car on a street in Manhattan.  He exits the vehicle and starts down the road.  He is approached by a homeless man who asks him if he has a dollar for four quarters.  The man thinks for a second, realizes that this is the complete opposite question that is normally asked.  He hands the homeless man a dollar for four quarters.  The homeless man asks; “Excuse me, do you have a quarter?”

 

An Innocent Conversation Eric Magnuson via Compfight 

 

This is a post about story telling.  Not the stories we tell each other but the stories that we tell ourselves.  The one that the man in the above story told himself as he approached the homeless man.

 

You know that story, right?  The one you tell yourself every time you see a homeless person.

 

“Don’t make eye contact, keep moving, if asked for a dime just say, sorry man, I don’t have any change.  Why are they homeless anyway?  Must have made a series of bad decisions.  They should not be rewarded.”

 

The above story is a true one told by Seth Godin.  He ended up giving the homeless man three quarters.  Thinking outside the box apparently pays off.

 

I’m not suggesting that you should start walking up to homeless people if you don’t want to.  What I am suggesting, though, is that you are constantly telling yourself stories that effect your approach on life.  That is at least, if you are anything like me.

 

For years I wouldn’t approach a girl because I told myself the story that she was already with someone else. Or the incredibly self-doubting tale that she was out of my league.

 

Every day I tell myself stories that hinder me.  You can’t run a half marathon let alone a full one!  You can’t sell insurance to that person!  You have no idea how to market the YMCA.  Every day I tell myself stories that limit my success.

 

What about you?  Are you telling yourself similar stories?

 

Recently I ran into a friend at the baseball fields where our boys play.  I had heard that he goes to the YMCA every morning at 5:30 and I asked him about it.  I was curious to know how on Earth he was able to get up that early every day for a workout.  “It’s a routine”, he said.  He couldn’t imagine going to work without first going there for a workout.

 

I have never been one to workout early in the morning and told him so.  He mentioned he was going to a kettlebell class the next morning, Saturday, at 7 AM.  I said I would do my best to get there, half thinking there was no way I would see him.  He simply smiled and said, “I’ll see you there.”

 

Obviously he doesn’t know me very well.

 

But something happened that night.  I was deciding on whether or not I should go out for a bite to eat.  I realized that I had no chance of making it to meet my friend if I went out.  So I took my shoes off and put on my slippers…and went to bed.

 

When I got to the Y the next morning, my friend seemed to know that I would be there.  He believed in me.  He told me a different story than I have been telling myself.  In his story, my priorities were different.

 

As unsurprised as he was to see me for kettlebell I think he was as surprised to see me this morning at 5:30 for my first weekday workout.

 

I changed the story that I’m living by.  I CAN wake up early.  I DON”T need to stay up late and instead I CAN go to bed at a reasonable hour.

This very brief meeting had this much of an impact on me, an adult with my own routine and habits.  Imagine how your words and stories can influence a child who is not already set in their ways!

 

This makes me realize two things;

 

  1. You (meaning all of us) are a massive influence on other people.  Believe in them and show them that you believe in them.

  2. You can always change the stories you have been telling yourself.  If they are getting you nowhere or worse, bringing you down, change them!  It’s never too late.

 

How can you change the story you have been telling yourself?

How can you change the stories others have been telling themselves?

 

-Keith Laskey

Why Yelp STINKS!

 

Surely you have heard of Yelp.  It’s the site where people can post reviews about their experiences at local businesses and restaurants.  The idea is a great one, we LOVE reviews.  Reviews are extremely helpful when  searching for the right place to go for dinner or which hotel to stay, even which insurance agency to choose!

 

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Do You Strive to be like Anton Ego?

 

But the site is far from perfect.

I was reading a few reviews about a restaurant where I tend bar, The French Quarter Bistro, on Yelp.

The first review I saw came from a Christopher L..  He had some nice things to say;

The bar area is very nice. The music isn’t very loud, so as not to disturb the front. I really appreciated this, as I’m not a big fan of blaring music.

 

I agree Christopher, not a big fan of loud music either.  Christopher also mentions that he found the food to be delicious.  This is the good side of Yelp.  Positive reviews are extremely helpful.

 

Christopher does mention a few negative things about his experience;

I was here for dinner during the week. I was a little thrown off when I entered because the front room is very classy, with a clean classy look complete with cloth tablecloths and candles on the tables. If you walk thru that room you get to the back portion, which is where the bar is. This is where I chose to enjoy my evening.

That’s not negative, right? He goes on to say;

Only cons here: Not a ton of beers on draft and you have to walk through the fancy front room to get to the bar area, at least from the street entrance.

There are three entrances to the restaurant, two from the street and one from the back parking lot.  There is an entrance from the street that goes right into the bar.

 

Also, not a ton of draft beers?  Sure, we are not a massive Ale House but we do have 15 taps, twelve of which are revolving with some of the best craft beers you can find.  And the bottle list is extensive.

 

Christopher’s review wasn’t entirely negative, just incorrect and not complete.  He mentioned the beer selection was decent, why not list a few items from the draft list so the reader could decide for himself.  If you were looking for a good craft beer you would most likely not try this bar out based on this review.

 

The purpose of Yelp should be to help the reader decide if this business is right for them, not serve as a soundboard to express your opinions.

 

Negative reviews and remarks are worthless.  They can destroy businesses and should not be posted for the world to see.  If you have an issue with an establishment you should always talk it over with the manager or owner first.  Give them a chance to discuss it with you.

 

Often times, negative reviews are due to a misunderstanding or not enough information.  Sometimes the owner of a business is not aware of an issue.  Why would you post something about poor service for the world to see and not mention it to the owner or manager?  I have worked at many restaurants and have not found one single owner or manager that wants poor service from an employee.

 

Review sites like Yelp are not going anywhere.  So here are some things to consider.

 

If you are a business owner or manager;

Explain to your staff that every person that walks into your establishment is a member of the media with access to the world wide web.  Every single individual that walks through the door should be treated as a VIP.  

 

If you are an employee;

Act like you own the place.  That has always been my philosophy at the French Quarter Bistro.  Because of this mindset I have been asked several times if I am the owner.  You are a representative of the business.  Take responsibility, show that you care and do whatever it takes to move the business in a positive direction.

 

If you have a Yelp account;

Choose your words wisely.  Make sure you have all the information available to you before posting negative remarks.  If you see something that upsets you, tell the owner or manager before posting it for the world to see.  Rather than searching for negative things to write about, try helping the local business out.  Let them know when something is wrong so they can fix it.

 

What are your thoughts?  Do we owe it to local businesses to discuss their problems with them?  Or are we free to post anything we want without regard for the business we are writing about?

 

-Keith Laskey

 

Youth Development: Learning From Jackie Robinson

 

Here are some facts about Jackie Robinson’s baseball career.

 

  • Became the first black man to play for a Major league baseball team on 4/15/1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
  •  Rookie of the Year in 1947.  
  • MVP in 1949 (Became the second 2nd Baseman in history to win the National League MVP).  
  • Led the league in stolen bases in ’47 and ’49.  
  • World Series Champion in 1955.  
  • Career batting average of .311.  
  • Retired after the 1956 season.  Six time All-Star.
  •  Entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.  First ballot Hall of Famer, received 78% of the votes.  
  • Major League Baseball (MLB) retired his number, 42, in 1997.  Today, on April 15th, the MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson Day by having every single player wear the #42.

 

Jackie Robinson Day

 

 

The difficult time that Robinson faced is widely known.   Many books and articles have been written on the subject and even the 2013 Hollywood film “42”.  From what I understand the film proves to be  a very accurate account of what happened.  I urge you to watch the film or read books if you want more information on the history of Jackie Robinson.

This post will focus on what we can teach our children from the stories of Jackie Robinson.

 

How can the Life of Jackie Robinson help Teach Our Children?

There are many things that we can teach or children about the life and times of Jackie Robinson.  Here are just a few thoughts.

 

Learn from the Mistakes and Cruelty of Others.

A lot of people were very ignorant back in the 40’s and 50’s.  It’s difficult to blame them though.  They were raised under those conditions.  You need to remember that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln on 1/1/1863, just 56 years before Robinson was born.  Fifty-six years isn’t that long.  The influence of past generations is very strong within us.

There is a scene in the movie where a child is with his father at a baseball game.  The child appears innocent and ready to enjoy the game.  When Robinson takes the field everyone around him, including his father, start screaming racial slurs among many other insults.  Sure enough, before long, the boy joins in.  Racism and hate passes down from one generation to another.

Our children are sponges.  What are you passing on to them?  See the good in people.  If you can’t, if you lack the ability to do so then please keep your comments to yourself.  Our world doesn’t need more hate.  Our world needs more love, respect and understanding.

 

Learn from the Will and Desire of Jackie Robinson.

Imagine being Jackie Robinson in 1946.  When he was offered a contract to be on a professional minor league baseball team.  I suspect I would have been scared to death of the possibility of success as well as frightened out of my mind knowing how those opposed to the movement would treat me and my family.  But I do know one thing, the incredible desire to live a dream trumps everything.

Robinson probably never dreamed of playing in the MLB.  But once the door was open there was no looking back.  His desire to show that he belonged proved to be the catalyst for a Hall of Fame career.  As well as a career that earned the #42 to be retired from the entire league.

What can we do with desire like that?  What if we approached life with that type of will?  Our kids can do anything they want.  Make them understand that. Tell them that they can do anything they dream of.  Tell them to reach for the stars, the higher the better!  And when they fall back to Earth tell them to reach for them again.  Every ounce of success we earn starts with desire.

 

Recognize When and Where Change is Needed.

During Robinson’s rookie year his teammates saw how he was being treated.  One by one they started to support him.  In private and in public.

A few years ago I was given advice on how to coach a youth soccer team, “Don’t yell shoot from the sideline.  Allow them to make their own decisions.”  The idea is to get them to make decisions on their own and then coach them in private later.

I believe the same is true in life.  We can’t stand over our kids all day, every day.  We can’t sit with them at lunch or on the playground at recess.  We must use the private time that we have with them to coach them on how to make the right decisions.  Instill inside of them a set of beliefs that will help them grow as well as help them make our community better.  We need to teach them HOW to think, not WHAT to think.

 

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Robinson with teammate Pee Wee Reese.

 

What lessons can you teach your children from the life and times of Jackie Robinson?

-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

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