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Who's Killing Youth Sports

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post

    Somehow we have evolved into believing that what we do as parents is the primary reason for our children's athletic successes and failures. This is incorrect. The primary reason for their inability to play at the HS level is THEIR lack of talent and lack of desire, not whether mom or dad got him lessons.
    When I was a kid I rarely played baseball or catch with my Dad. I played with my friends in my backyard or at school (i.e. my Dad was not a primary reason for my athletic success and failure).

    But If I don't play baseball with my son, he would never play outside of organized ball. There just aren't any friends or places to play around our neighborhood. At times he has wanted out of baseball and I have made him continue, he loves it now. I know that I border on being too "coachy" when we "play" catch.

    I think this scenario is partly responsible for why parents feel they are responsible for their child's success. I agree with your conclusion though that in the end it will depend on their enthusiasm and talent more than anything.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by baseballdad View Post
      When I was a kid I rarely played baseball or catch with my Dad. I played with my friends in my backyard or at school (i.e. my Dad was not a primary reason for my athletic success and failure).

      But If I don't play baseball with my son, he would never play outside of organized ball. There just aren't any friends or places to play around our neighborhood. At times he has wanted out of baseball and I have made him continue, he loves it now. I know that I border on being too "coachy" when we "play" catch.

      I think this scenario is partly responsible for why parents feel they are responsible for their child's success. I agree with your conclusion though that in the end it will depend on their enthusiasm and talent more than anything.
      Yeah. I'm still pretty young, but so much has changed since I was a kid. A lot of us who played together as kids grew up without fathers, we lived in apartments, but there were a bunch of us, so we always found some way to play anyway. Nowadays, parents work more hours than ever. Fewer kids are at the park - fewer kids are even allowed to just, "go out and play." Without taking initiative as a dad it can be tough for your child to get the experience he/she may want or need.

      Today, the parks in my neighborhood are empty. Ironically, parents are more overprotective than ever, facilitating the Playstation generation with their apprehensions about allowing kids to be kids. I say "ironically" because growing up in the 80's in NYC, things are safer now than they were when we were kids.

      "Okay, the bum will be first base. The pitching rubber is that crack vile - no stupid, the other one, the red top...."


      I think the key to original question at hand is to continually ask yourself whose needs or desires you are serving. If your kid really wants to succeed, but lacks the motivation to do so, there's nothing wrong with pushing him to work hard against his/her temporary desire, per se. We all need external motivation sometimes. Reading the reaction is the key. Is the kid grateful for your motivation, does he/sher resent it? Many of us claim we want something before we realize how much work is necessary (those washboard abs are coming any day now, right after this pint of Guiness). Having fun and working hard need not be mutually exclusive, conversely many kids who reject more intense training still enjoy playing the game as pure recreation. As long as you are serving your kid's desires and not simply living vicariously through him/her, you'll be okay.

      I've coached and umpired youth baseball, and one of the most frustrating things is watching parents enroll disinterested kids year after year. Maybe this kid could be, and wants to be a phenomenal drummer, but he's hitting ninth and playing rightfield because his father wants him to be a ballplayer...
      Last edited by digglahhh; 05-08-2008, 11:31 AM.
      THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

      In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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      • #18
        I was never pushed as an athlete by my parents. Neither of them played sports, nor really had any athletic ability. I was cut from baseball my freshman year and never tried otu again, nor did I work to become better. It was always someone elses fault, and my parents would agree. I didn't do extra work to be great at football, though I did enough to start and maintain my job. For some reason the coaches saw something in me and last year I was made an assistant coach and I realize that younger guys really need to be treated different per their personalities. Some do need to be pushed and want it, because they won't do it themselves but are smart enoough to know they need it. Others need to work things out themselves but the best potion is the one that is eclectic and takes all strategies and personalities into account...that is just the view from a broad standpoint when dealing with a large group. I am only 22 and don't have kids of my own at the moment.

        I love sports and love to be around them, even if I have "no dog in the fight". I am a sports fanatic and would watch teeball if there was a local game and I had nothing to do. Seeing many games has given me a chance to see the best and worst of sports parents. I haven't seena fight or anything of that nature, but I've had my experience ruined by a "coach" in the stands...you know the kind. The parent that knows more than the coach and has something to say to their kid before and after every pitch while on teh mound or at the plate. This just ruins the experience for everyone in attendance. No one wants to hear how good a pitch it was or how high the ball he swung at was, everyone can see it, let the coach do his job.
        I have also seen a dad of a softball pitcher who goes unnoticed, but is still able to help his child. The softball team back home is on their way to state and the pitcher is a small girl, quite the firecracker lol. She is a sophomore. The coach and the catcher neither know how to call the pitches and just leave it up to her to throw the fastball and change when she wants. There are some other politics that I won't go into also. The dad is pretty much her year round coach. He coaches her summer league etc. I see him at times ont eh field on the weekends, but she wants to succeed so he isn't forcing it on her. He stands behind the plate or somewhere in view of his daughter but not intrusive of someone else and shows her locations and pitches to throw when she wants a helping hand.

        Just though those tidbits might continue this discussion, sorry if I killed it.
        "There are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary. And there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance."

        "The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and what could be again." - James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams

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        • #19
          Killing youth sports.

          Do you remeber how buff Lebron looked when he came out of HS. He had more muscle then some football players. Kobe was looking buff then also. Now both of them lost some size. wonder why:noidea

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          • #20
            Originally posted by LAball View Post
            Killing youth sports.

            Do you remeber how buff Lebron looked when he came out of HS. He had more muscle then some football players. Kobe was looking buff then also. Now both of them lost some size. wonder why:noidea
            Less Snicker bars?
            "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
            - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
            Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by digglahhh View Post
              Maybe this kid could be, and wants to be a phenomenal drummer, but he's hitting ninth and playing rightfield because his father wants him to be a ballplayer...
              Were you at my team meeting last night???

              I told my team that baseball should be both hard work and fun. If you are unmotivated in the former and lack the latter then maybe singing is your thing. If you are here because of dad then stay home.
              "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
              - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
              Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
                Were you at my team meeting last night???

                I told my team that baseball should be both hard work and fun. If you are unmotivated in the former and lack the latter then maybe singing is your thing. If you are here because of dad then stay home.
                I have a more tricky case, this was five to seven years ago...

                A friend of mine had a younger brother who was one of the best high school basketball players in NYC. The kid was extremely intelligent as well. He attended an academically elite high school, as opposed to a basketball powerhouse, his parents didn't even entertain any other choice. He was one of the leading scorers in the city and was scouted regardless of who he played for. Come senior year, he had both athletic and academic scholarship offers for multiple schools, some good schools with poor athletic programs, some vice versa, and others in the middle. His parents were also very overprotective. He wound up taking an academic scholarship at a school closer to home. At this point, in med school and basketball is an afterthought, and solely a recreation. (How many neurosurgeons can throw down a 360 dunk?). He's looking at a bright future and doesn't really have regrets as far as I know (though I'm not close with him).

                Still, sometimes I think about the "what if." What if his parents went the other route, what if he went to an elite basketball high school and got top basketball coaching. What if that help and exposure led him to get recruited by a real NCAA powerhouse. Could this kid have gone pro? I'm no scout; I don't know. I know kids who have played ACC basketball (but nobody who got drafted by the NBA) and while some of them were bigger and more developed physically, this kid may have had the best set of all around skills and intuitive understanding of the game I'd seen.

                Sometimes it almost seems unfair, seeing how many kids never get out of the inner cities, broaden their horizons and grow. Sometimes it's a lack of talent, or smarts. Sometimes it's a lack of motivation. Sometimes poor guidance, and others just a deeply ingrained pathology of street ethics. I know how it is, I was very much like that too, and had very little guidance as well. But, here's a kid who was blessed with two tickets anywhere he wanted to go, while so many have none. Of course, I applaud his parents for prioritizing their son's education, but really they probably couldn't have messed up no matter which avenue their son pursued...
                Last edited by digglahhh; 05-09-2008, 06:59 AM.
                THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

                In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

                Comment


                • #23
                  It's too simplistic an answer to say, "Just let the kids play or practice when they want to, and don't push them." If youth baseball is -- as I believe -- one of the great training grounds for life, we need to apply some of our basic parenting skills to it as we do to other endeavors.

                  First, if it's not the kid's heart's desire, let it go. As Digglah (in his usual sage way) points out, it's sad to see a kid thrown on a baseball team because Dad wants him there. It's frustrating for everyone.

                  But, once the kid says -- without pressure from the parents -- I want to play ball this year, then he becomes part of a team and obligations flow from that. I tell my son and his teammates who I coach that the reason that they should practice harder or pay attention or do drills while in the on-deck circle or anticipate before every pitch what to do if the ball is hit to them is for one reason -- you owe it to your teammates who have been trying ... to be in a position to do your best. That doesn't mean you have to go to the batting cage seven days a week, but you have to at least try to keep your skills up.

                  And kids who DO say they have a goal -- "I'd like to be a starting infielder this season" -- can be reminded that this goal will not be achieved if they spend five hours a day in front of the Playstation 3 instead of going out and taking grounders. I don't think that's overzealous parenting.

                  Sure, if you go beyond that, you risk reducing the kid's enjoyment of the game for very little payoff -- I can't see a kid's potential pro career dying because his 10u manager decided that he shouldn't pitch more than four innings a week (over his dad's objections that he should pitch 9 innings a week to attract the attention of travel ball managers). And you lose the learning that comes with the kid -- not you -- taking charge of his career.

                  We had a neat moment last week on Ursa Minor's 13u team that's a case in point. He's been playing only outfield for the last month because he wasn't doing all that well in the infield in practice, and he's an extremely reliable outfielder with a good arm. He worked on his infielding and, after a few good pratcices where he did very well, he asked the manager of his own volition if he could play some infield in the coming games. (I never said a word to him, even though I'm one of the assistant coaches.) What was neat was that he didn't just ask if he could play there, but he said, "I've been working at it and my throws have been more accurate, and I think I'm ready." By recognizing his prior limitations and being able to now make a case, he established credibility with the manager. Sure enough, he got put in at second base and almost instantly had a tough, 'do or die' play on a shot up the middle, which he handled perfectly. At the next practice, he thanked the manager for the opportunity, and the manager replied, "Well, thanks for doing so well when you went out there."

                  My point? I could have pushed the manager for the chance, but my son learned a whole lot more about succeeding in life by making his own decision all on his ownabout (a) preparing himself for the opportunity, and (b) when and how to go about asking for it. The pushy parents completely overlook that life lesson.
                  sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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