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  • Ursa Major
    replied
    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.

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  • digglahhh
    replied
    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.

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  • Jake Patterson
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jake Patterson
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • LAball
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • Goo64
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • digglahhh
    replied
    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.

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  • baseballdad
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • CoachHenry
    replied
    Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
    Thanks....
    I think we all agree taht in the end it is the athlete who has to decide, not the coach or the parent.

    Sure. We probably differ a bit in how much prodding the parent does.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jake Patterson
    replied
    Originally posted by CoachHenry View Post
    By the way Jake, I like your attitude and like your input. It may not seem like it to you but your thoughts and mine are very similar on these topics. I just present lots of "what ifs" that might seem like I am pushing the other way.
    Thanks....
    I think we all agree taht in the end it is the athlete who has to decide, not the coach or the parent.

    Leave a comment:


  • CoachHenry
    replied
    By the way Jake, I like your attitude and like your input. It may not seem like it to you but your thoughts and mine are very similar on these topics. I just present lots of "what ifs" that might seem like I am pushing the other way.

    Leave a comment:


  • CoachHenry
    replied
    Originally posted by dmullen View Post
    I don't believe any of them are doing it right or wrong. Kids will, hopefully learn lessons by either making the team or not and they will figure out what is really important to them. Parents will learn lessons about how to help their child achieve, if not this goal, another goal.

    My son didn't make the freshman team on the first tryout we basically were in the 2 - category. I would go out & practice with him - but he really complained whenever I asked if he wanted to do it - so I just quit asking him if he wanted to do it. He got cut on July 24th, 2007.

    On July 25th he asked me to go outside & throw. Soon after he asked for more pitching lessons, began running for conditioning purposes, did core body work, and did flat ground throwing. On February 18, 2008 he made the team. He worked hard to get there and he did require a little encouragement, at times, from his mom & me. However, he still isn't the number 1 pitcher on the freshmen team but he is still working on his own to get stronger and better. He may become number 1, he may not. But I think the most positive thing that could've happened to him was that he got cut. Until that point he hadn't realized that you might have to work for something if you want it bad enough.

    During the process, I learned to be patient and listen. I also understood my role as a parent was to provide as much encouragement as I was capable so he could reach his goal.

    He talks about being a D1 college pitcher, but he is getting to the age where other interests (girls, money, job, etc.) start competing with ball. I have to remind him at times when he is complaining about working out, throwing, or studying and not playing video games that to be a D1 pitcher requires commitment and sacrifice.
    This is a great example of a parent who allowed their kid to fail and it worked out great. I think a parents fear of their kid "failing" versus their peers is one of the motivations behind most of what parents do. I personally had a hard time letting my son fail but when he was 13 I let him do that with his hitting and he never did that again. He didn't want to go hit extra so we didn't. Mid way through the season he was hitting horribly and had a few easily correctable issues. He came to me upset one day and was whining about it so I told him that I let him find his own way and it seems that his way was to not put in extra effort. And if he wanted to keep that up that's fine by me. I'd never let him fail before that in anything that I could remember. It was a good lesson for him and me as well.

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  • CoachHenry
    replied
    Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
    Having had two boys who played HS and beyond I suugest you support your son to the degree he requires and desires support. At the end of the day he's the one who has to make the committment - not you. What you do is secondary to your son's intents. If he wants and needs lessons then I would do what I could to get them. If he wants to go to the field to get a few extra cuts then I would do what I could to help him. When you make it about what other parents are doing then it becomes about the parents and not the player.

    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.
    I agree with you except for a few things. One, you take a kid who has the ability to play HS but never got any attention and that same kid who has some reasonable level of help and one is probably going to not make the team and the other is. Of course the GIFTED kid is going to make it either way but those kids are rare. Therefore a bit of guidance can go a long way. It doesn't have to be lessons, it can be working with Dad or Mom or an Uncle or whomever. Help in some manner. If you wait for the kid to say "Hey, I want you to go outside and help me learn how to use my hips...." that's not going to happen.

    We as parents lead our kids down their life and teach them whatever they need to be on their own at some point. We do it in their schoolwork, interaction with people, and their extra-curricular activities. I personally don't consider baseball (and other activities) to be just baseball, it's much more then that. It's an opportunity to learn how to compete later in life, how to win, how to lose and what to do when you don't like the results. How to follow and how to lead. And so on. So when my son is playing a sport and we have talked about how HE wants to be on the HS team and what HIS goals are, I help him all I can to a reasonable degree. And that includes me noticing that he's doing something wrong at the plate or with his pitching motion and taking him outside to work on it. I don't wait on him to tell me because he might not know it's off. I do because I know his mechanics better then he does. If he doesn't WANT to go out and work on it we don't and I certainly don't march him out there 3 or 4 times a week. But as he has grown up I have taken the initiative to tell him that we are going to go take extra grounders that evening if nothing is planned. We usually have a good time doing it but sometimes for him it's a bit of work. And working at something that HE wants to excel at is fine with me. We do it with Science projects when he already has a good grade, we do it with guitar playing when he can already play decent songs, etc. Nothing wrong with a bit of work.

    Now certainly we can both agree that it can be taken too far. I see it all the time. I also feel that too "hand's off" isn't good either. There is a nice wide middle ground that is for each child and parent to discover. I speak to my son about this about once a month. Too much, too little? That way I know if I need to back off or move forward.

    We have kids that have come up through the rec program and are doing great at the freshmen level. During their rec experience they played on teams, didn't take lessons, etc. We also have kids that have been lessoned to death and are so locked in that when the grind of the season occurs they can't adjust. It isn't natural to them. We also have kids that are in the middle of those two boys and they do well. Each player and parent needs to find what is best for their kid.

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  • dmullen
    replied
    Originally posted by CoachHenry View Post
    One of the things that pushes adults is the thought "Have I done all that I could for my child?". When you know that your kid wants to play HS ball how do you go about helping him?

    Assume all the below kids are 12 years old at the start.

    1. One parent says "I let him find his own way, and if he makes it, fine, if not, fine." That parent waits for his kid to ask for help, etc. That kid normally gets cut from the Freshmen team but with a bit of help could have made it.

    2. Another parent take his kid out to practice (or lessons, whatever) and carefully watches his son for reactions to doing it. Does he want to practice, does he understand, etc? This kid has a decent chance of making the freshmen team depending on his own desire.

    3. Another parent takes his kid out to practice (lessons, whatever) and carefully watches his son for reactions but on occasion they practice when the son doesn't really want to. He reminds the son that at times you have to work to get what you want and results are found when you do it anyway. This kid has a better then decent chance of making the freshmen team.

    4. Another parent puts their kid on a regimen of focused practices, lesson, teams, etc. to maximize what is inside the kid. He knows that it's work but he watches the kid to make sure it isn't too much. This kid has a great chance of making the freshmen team.

    5. Yet another parent, similar to the above, puts their kid on a regimen of focuses practices, lessons, etc. to maximize what is inside the kid but isn't connected to their kid. Results are the focus. This kid will most likely make the freshmen team.

    All the above assume the player trys out for the freshmen team. Which parents are "doing all they can for their kid"? Which parents are doing it right and which are doing it wrong?
    I don't believe any of them are doing it right or wrong. Kids will, hopefully learn lessons by either making the team or not and they will figure out what is really important to them. Parents will learn lessons about how to help their child achieve, if not this goal, another goal.

    My son didn't make the freshman team on the first tryout we basically were in the 2 - category. I would go out & practice with him - but he really complained whenever I asked if he wanted to do it - so I just quit asking him if he wanted to do it. He got cut on July 24th, 2007.

    On July 25th he asked me to go outside & throw. Soon after he asked for more pitching lessons, began running for conditioning purposes, did core body work, and did flat ground throwing. On February 18, 2008 he made the team. He worked hard to get there and he did require a little encouragement, at times, from his mom & me. However, he still isn't the number 1 pitcher on the freshmen team but he is still working on his own to get stronger and better. He may become number 1, he may not. But I think the most positive thing that could've happened to him was that he got cut. Until that point he hadn't realized that you might have to work for something if you want it bad enough.

    During the process, I learned to be patient and listen. I also understood my role as a parent was to provide as much encouragement as I was capable so he could reach his goal.

    He talks about being a D1 college pitcher, but he is getting to the age where other interests (girls, money, job, etc.) start competing with ball. I have to remind him at times when he is complaining about working out, throwing, or studying and not playing video games that to be a D1 pitcher requires commitment and sacrifice.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jake Patterson
    replied
    Originally posted by CoachHenry View Post
    One of the things that pushes adults is the thought "Have I done all that I could for my child?". When you know that your kid wants to play HS ball how do you go about helping him?

    Assume all the below kids are 12 years old at the start.

    1. One parent says "I let him find his own way, and if he makes it, fine, if not, fine." That parent waits for his kid to ask for help, etc. That kid normally gets cut from the Freshmen team but with a bit of help could have made it.

    2. Another parent take his kid out to practice (or lessons, whatever) and carefully watches his son for reactions to doing it. Does he want to practice, does he understand, etc? This kid has a decent chance of making the freshmen team depending on his own desire.

    3. Another parent takes his kid out to practice (lessons, whatever) and carefully watches his son for reactions but on occasion they practice when the son doesn't really want to. He reminds the son that at times you have to work to get what you want and results are found when you do it anyway. This kid has a better then decent chance of making the freshmen team.

    4. Another parent puts their kid on a regimen of focused practices, lesson, teams, etc. to maximize what is inside the kid. He knows that it's work but he watches the kid to make sure it isn't too much. This kid has a great chance of making the freshmen team.

    5. Yet another parent, similar to the above, puts their kid on a regimen of focuses practices, lessons, etc. to maximize what is inside the kid but isn't connected to their kid. Results are the focus. This kid will most likely make the freshmen team.

    All the above assume the player trys out for the freshmen team. Which parents are "doing all they can for their kid"? Which parents are doing it right and which are doing it wrong?
    Having had two boys who played HS and beyond I suugest you support your son to the degree he requires and desires support. At the end of the day he's the one who has to make the committment - not you. What you do is secondary to your son's intents. If he wants and needs lessons then I would do what I could to get them. If he wants to go to the field to get a few extra cuts then I would do what I could to help him. When you make it about what other parents are doing then it becomes about the parents and not the player.

    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.

    Leave a comment:

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