Last week I talked about not putting pressure on your Little Leaguer, and this week I will address “keys” to making this season more enjoyable for both parents and players.
It’s simple - your player will develop a “love” of the game if you make it fun. It’s not fun pointing out weaknesses and short comings, work on them.
There are four roles at most all sporting events, including the Little League field - player, coach, umpire, and you, the spectator or fan.
It’s important as a parent that you know you only have one role - a fan - and you need to be great at it. Your not an umpire, so don’t ump from the stands, and the same goes with coach - your son or daughter has a coach, so again let the coaches coach and you just be the best fan you can be.
Don’t gasp when Johnny misses strike 3 or swings at ball 4, support him. “Next time big guy,” goes a long way in building up rather then tearing down Johnny. No one feels worse then Johnny at that moment. W
We as coaches make mistakes - good ones learn from them. Don’t approach your coach with an issue during or right after a game. If you feel the need to talk to the coach, chose the right place, time, and most importantly, the right words - stay positive.
Whatever the issue, give it a day and remove emotions - coaches are doing their best. Some are better then others, some learn the game as they go. They may not be the world’s greatest coach at the start of the season, but if they improve during the season, that’s success.
Take your role as fan seriously - support every player, team and coach. If your can’t stay positive, don’t go there.
I’ll share why I “love” this game so much - it teaches players life lessons. “Swing like you mean it,” a phrase you will hear during games. It’s a reflection of life, whether baseball, school, work, or relationships. Give it your all, “swing for the fence.” “Keep your eye on the ball” - often we’re distracted, lose focus. In life if you lose focus how can you give it your all. “Catch the ball with two hands” - many times we trip up or lose focus because we’re to relaxed or comfortable in a situation.
My favorite - “Communicate” - life is about communication, every action has a reaction. Just like calling for a fly ball. In relationships, jobs, life, communication is the key to success. Good communication, listening when you should listen and taking action when needed is key to winning.
The ball field is a place you can forget all your troubles and have a good time, forget about the negative stuff that may be affecting your and just “have fun.” Dedicate yourself to having a good time this season. Again, be positive, enjoy the ride home from the game and focus on the good things.
I’ve found a stop for ice cream makes even the worst game fade away. It’s important that your ball player has a “short memory” for mistakes - just learn from them, the game goes on, re-focus and do a little better next game.
They’ll have good games and bad, focus on the good ones. I always asked for a smile when I looked at my ball players in any situation, smiles can make bad things fade away - try it.
Now take these suggestions and use them - make it your goal to be the best example you can be to players and parents around you. Play ball.