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. 

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?

 

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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.

 

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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

Be Like Batman (A Note to my Stepson)

 

Reece Superhero

Deer Reece,

I was lying awake this morning when I heard you get up to use the bathroom.  I didn’t get much sleep last night as I had some things on my mind.  You know that.  I know you know because of the way you hugged me last night when I tucked you in to bed.  You and I may be the two most emotional people that I know.  We wear our hearts on our sleeves.  I’m not exactly sure what that phrase means but I know that it perfectly describes us.

 

After you were finished in the bathroom you came over to my side of the bed and asked me to walk you back to bed.  I grumbled some unrecognizable mumble  because, quite frankly, I didn’t want to get up.  Then luckily, after thinking about it for a second, I jumped up and said sure.  We walked back to your bed and I, for the second time this slumber, tucked you in.

 

It was the right thing to do.  I could have just told you to go back to bed yourself.  And you would have.  But that would have been taking the easy way out and it probably would have made you sad.

 

Reece, doing the right thing is often very very difficult.  Your peers wont always think you are “cool”.  And sometimes you will have no idea what the right thing to do actually is.  But if you search your heart and explore your thoughts in your mind the answers will come to you.

 

There is a golden rule to life.  A rule that those that are religious and those that are not should always agree on.  It goes like this…..

“One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.”

 

You understand what that means right?  Basically, always treat people in such a way that you would like them and others to treat you.  You will find this rule to be very helpful today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life.

 

Please don’t think that this note is in anyway suggesting you don’t already do this.  You do.  You are the most special person that I have ever met.  I have often told your mother that you are one of the main reasons I proposed to her.

 

You will be challenged many times in your life.  You won’t always make the right decision, none of us do.  It’s OK.  Apologize when you mess up.  Learn from your mistakes.  Try not to make the same mistakes twice.

 

You won’t be able to make everybody happy all of the time.  It’s impossible.  You will hurt those you love with some of your decisions.  That too, is OK.  We will forgive you.

 

Be respectful to others.  Show compassion.  Understand that the person or people you are speaking to have had a much different road than the one you have been on.  The way they look at life is entirely different than your perspective.

 

Be strong in your beliefs.  But realize that you can’t possibly always be right.  You will be wrong from time to time.  Also, be strong enough to say when something is not right.  Don’t be afraid to walk away from a situation that you know is trouble.  You will be a much better person because of it.

 

Be there for your friends.  Never be jealous of a friend’s success.  Celebrate with them.  And, just as important, always be there for them when life is beating them down.  Be the one to stand up when a bully has taken an interest in somebody, friend or not.  Remember, Batman is NOT a superhero.  He is just a man in a suit that always does the right thing.

 

Be like Batman.

 

The road ahead of you is foggy, extremely rocky and full of holes.  You will fall down more times than either of us would like.  Just get up and keep fighting.  Never stop fighting the fight for Goodness.  If you can do this than that very road will lead you to a place with beautiful rolling hills, the wind at your back and abundant warm sunshine shining down on your face.

 

Lastly Reece please know you are never alone.  You will always have me here to listen to you and to hold you.  As long as you promise to hold me back.

 

With Unconditional Love,

Keith

 

 

Our strong Family.

Our strong Family.

 

 

Listen to the post below….

 

The Growth of a Friendship


Tatum and I needed to kill a few hours while in Bel Air, MD last weekend. I did a Google search– “playground Bel Air MD“. I came across this site, Annie’s Playground.

 

Annie's Playground Photo

 

The playground was such a wonderful tribute to a beautiful sweet little girl who lost her life due to a drunk driver. Can you imagine? My heart goes out to anyone who may be reading this that has had to go through this type of tragedy. Unfortunately this occurs way too often. If you do drive under the influence, please stop.

Please, for the sake of you, your family, my family, our friends and all of our children…Please stop.

 

This post is not about the obvious need for people to stop driving drunk. It’s about friendship.

 

Thank you Annie. We had such a fun time at your playground!

“The Only way To have a friend Is to be one”

-Emerson-

 

I never thought of friendship from this perspective. Friendship as a living breathing creature that needs to be fed and nurtured. A friendship needs help and love in order for it to grow into something healthy and strong. Otherwise it will wither away and die.

I don’t mean to be so dramatic but think about your healthiest relationships. Now think about the ones that are suffering. Sure we all have those friends who we see once or twice a year (if we’re lucky) or talk to every other month or two. These relationships are strong and can handle the distance and time but only because we were so close at one point in time.

 

Most relationships are not like this.

 

Social Media

We are living in a time when maintaining a relationship is easier than ever. Especially for a person (like myself) who does not like to talk on the phone. A simple text to say Hello goes so far. A “Like” of a Facebook post or photo can bring two people closer. If you see something you know a friend would be interested in, hit the share button and send it to them! Facebook can be very annoying at times but it is without question one of the greatest tools out there in terms of keeping in touch with people.

 

Instagram and Pinterest are gaining in popularity as well. It takes a second to hit the little heart beneath a photo on Instagram. And there are SO MANY cool ideas on Pinterest it’s impossible not to like many of the things that your friends are posting.

 

Don’t be stingy with your praises. Comment on photos you enjoy. “Like” posts by others, make people aware of the fact that you are still here and you actually care about them, their families, their dogs…whatever!

 

Act Like the Mayor!

There is no question that our devices make maintaining and growing a friendship easier than ever. But there is still nothing that compares to seeing each other. Hugging one another or shaking the hand of a friend. Smiling at somebody, looking them in the eye and asking them how they are. How is their family?

If you are out and you see someone in the distance, walk over to them and say hello. Don’t hide from them because you don’t know what to talk about.  Or worse, ignore them only to “like” a Facebook photo later in the day!!

Yesterday, Reece saw a friend of his in our neighborhood and Clarissa and I said go over and ask her if she wants to get together. He said “I’ll just text her.”

NO!!!!

 

That’s the way kids want to interact.  We were able to convince him to go over and talk with her.  Let’s lead by example.  Never miss an opportunity to see someone in person.

 

Feed the relationship. Don’t wait for others to start. Be the catalyst and watch your friendships grow.

 

-Keith Laskey-

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