Watching your son or daughter play baseball will often stir up powerful emotions. It's been said
that winning builds character, while losing reveals it (this goes for the fan as well as the athlete). Competitive fires
can quickly melt an otherwise cool, calm, and collective attitude. At the heart of a good baseball experience is how
well we balance our desire to win with the need to develop healthy young people. This balance will affect your every
action, your relationship with your player, the volunteer umpires, and the overall atmosphere at our ballfields. Please help
to make this baseball season a positive one for your player, his/her team, the children on the other teams, and our community.
For more please see the Positive Coaching web site.
with your child! There really is little more satisfying than going out at least a few evenings a week and playing ball with
your kids. This activity allows quality time together and helps your child improve his/her baseball skills. Some day, your
child will look back with fondness on the summer evenings spent playing catch with mom and dad.
PCA (Positive Coaching Alliance) has established that Positive Coaches
are "Double-Goal" Coaches (they 1-strive to win AND 2-teach life lessons). So there are two groups focused on the responsibilities
of the first goal: coaches and athletes.
As a parent, you have a much more important responsibility. Your job revolves
around around the second goal (making sure your child draws from the sports experience the lessons that will help him or her
to become a successful, contributing adult). And while this is not easy given the seductive nature of the first goal, it can
make all the difference in your child's life.
A win-at-all-cost parent might look on his child striking out with the
bases loaded to end the game as a tragedy. But as a Second-Goal Parent, you see the silver lining. This is an opportunity
to encourage your child to develop resilience! Failure on the athletic field becomes a teachable moment for life lessons,
if you play your crucial role, the role of the Second-Goal Parent.
Guidelines for Honoring the Game
The key to preventing adult misbehavior in youth sports is a youth sports culture
in which all involved "Honor the Game." Honoring the Game gets to the ROOTS of the matter and involves respect for the Rules,
Opponents, Officials, Teammates and one's Self. You don't bend the rules to win. You understand that a worthy opponent is
a gift that forces you to play to your highest potential. You show respect for officials even when you disagree. You refuse
to do anything that embarrasses your team. You live up to your own standards even if others don't. Here are ways that parents
can create a positive youth sports culture so that children will have fun and learn positive character traits to last a lifetime.
- Make a commitment to Honor the Game in action and language no matter what others may
- Tell your child before each game that you are proud of him or her regardless of how well
he or she plays.
During the Game:
- Fill your children's "Emotional Tank" through praise and positive recognition so they
can play their very best.
- Don't give instructions to your child during the game. Let the coach correct player mistakes.
- Cheer good plays by both teams (this is advanced behavior!)
- Mention good calls by the official to other parents.
- If an official makes a "bad" call against your team? Honor the Game—BE SILENT!
- If another parent on your team yells at an official? Gently remind him or her to Honor
- Don't do anything in the heat of the moment that you will regret after the game. Ask
yourself, "Will this embarrass my child or the team?"
- Remember to have fun! Enjoy the game.
After the Game:
- Thank the officials for doing a difficult job for little or no pay.
- Thank the coaches for their commitment and effort.
- Don't give advice. Instead ask your child what he or she thought about the game and then
LISTEN. Listening fills Emotional Tanks.
- Tell your child again that you are proud of him or her, whether the team won or lost.
Baseball is a great game. It's a lot
of fun to play, and it's also a way that we learn important lessons that can help us later in life. I know that I learned
a lot from playing competitive sports when I was your age. I want to tell you about a goal I have for the team and for
each of you individually this season. It's called "Act like a winner to be a winner."
There are two kinds of winners.
What is one kind of winner? What does "winner" mean to you? (Answer likely to be something like "The one who has the most
points at the end of the game.") One kind of winner is the team that has the most points at the end of the game. And
we want to be that kind of winner. We want to work as hard as we can to win as many games as we can.
There is another
kind of winner though that is just as important. That is a winner in life. We want to learn from this season how to
be a winner in everything we do, not just baseball.
To be a winner we need to start acting like a winner. And a winner
is someone who is working for mastery of whatever activity he or she is doing. So in baseball we want to work toward mastery
to be the best baseball player and team we can be. And we want to learn how to achieve mastery at anything we want to be good
To help understand the way that we achieve mastery, we use the example of a tree that we call the Tree of Mastery.
If you climb the Tree of Mastery you will be successful. We say that the Tree of Mastery is an ELM tree because
there are three things you need to do to climb the Tree of Mastery:
E is for Effort. We want to give our best
effort every time we come out on the field. I am more concerned that we try our hardest than I am if we win. We could win
against a weak team without giving it our best effort, and that doesn't really mean anything.
On the other hand we
could play a team that was stronger than we are and try our very hardest and lose. I would be proud of us in that case because
we were acting like a winner by trying our hardest even though the other team ended up winning the game. So the first
part of the ELM tree is E for Effort.
L is for Learning. We want to continue learning and improving every week
in practice and every time we play a game. If we continue to learn, we will get better, and that is more important than whether
or not we are better than some other team.
We could be better than another team without learning and improving if that
team is a weak team. And we could be weaker than another team but be learning a lot and getting better all the time. It's
more important to me that we learn and improve than it is to beat a team that isn't very good. And it's more important that
we learn and improve even if we lose to a team that is stronger than we are. So the second part of the ELM tree is L
M is for Mistakes. Most people think it's bad to make a mistake. But mistakes are part of the
learning process. You can't learn something as complicated as baseball if you are afraid to make a mistake. And people that
are afraid to make a mistake often don't even try very hard.
I want you to know that it is okay to make a mistake on
this team. We want to learn from our mistakes and not let them discourage us or keep us from working hard. So, is it okay
to make a mistake on this team? Yes, it is. And the third part of the ELM tree is M for it's okay to make a Mistake.
like a winner involves three things. It means:
- Giving your best effort every time,
- Continuing to learn and improve, and
- Not letting mistakes (or fear of making a mistake) stop
If you do these three things, you are acting like a winner, and you will
be a winner in life as well as baseball. Now let's go have a great practice. Give it your best effort, learn as much
as you can, and don't worry about making a mistake.