The look and feel of youth sports has changed drastically over the last several decades. There really is no debating that fact. The science of the game (any game but in this instance we are talking baseball!) has shown us how to teach young players better ways to throw a ball, to hit a ball, and to pitch a ball. Professional instruction is readily available to realistically anyone that desires it. There is no doubt that the players of today are better than the players of yesterday. However one fact remains constant when comparing youth baseball of today to that of 30 years ago......
THEY ARE STILL CHILDREN.
Children are amazing....Their ability to learn something new is awesome. I am amazed by how fast my group of 7 and 8 year olds can pick up a new skill. What children have in ability to learn they lack in the ability to truly handle stress and emotions.
Baseball is a game a failure. At all levels of this game you are going to fail more often than you succeed.
Your child takes lessons. He practices. He is a good ball player. You are a good parent. You cheer for your boy, for his teammates. The game is close and late in the game he commits and error to lose the game.
If your son is like most athletes, he is going to be disappointed about the outcome. He may even cry.
If your son is on a good team, his coach will talk to him about the error and handle it in a positive way to encourage him to keep trying, to keep working, and keep his head up.
As a parent you have three responsibilities at this point:
1. Give your kid a hug, a high five, or however you show love and encouragement to him.
2. Tell him that NO MATTER WHAT, YOU LOVE TO WATCH HIM PLAY BALL.
3. Drive him home and DON'T TALK BASEBALL.
Long story short: LET YOUR CHILD GO BACK TO BEING A CHILD.
The NCAA completed a 30 year longitudinal study on athletes that participated in collegiate athletics looking for cross-sport comparisons of successful athletes. When asked about what they disliked the most about their experience as a youth athlete the resounding answer was:
THE RIDE HOME
It is my job as a coach to talk to your son about that error, that strikeout, or that performance on the mound.
His performance is not a reflection of you. Your job is to love your child unconditionally and help him transition from a disappointed athlete to a kid. When and if he is ready to talk about it, he will come to you....But let it be on his terms.
This was exceedingly difficult for me to learn, and sometimes I fail to transition from a coach to a Dad. But I promise you wont regret it......