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. 

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.

 

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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!

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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

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