Ten Tips to Being a Good Sports Parent
Perhaps you have heard some horror stories about the overbearing parents and
coaches. A good baseball or softball experience for your child begins with us:
the parents of each player. It is up to each of us to make being a youth more
enjoyable, and to make baseball or softball season a greater learning experience
for the kids. After all, no matter how much we enjoy it too, this is for the
The Board of Directors would like to share 10 thoughts on how to make this a
better learning experience for you, too. We believe that these ideas will help
to make the next few months more fun for your children, more enjoyable for you,
and a heck of a lot easier on those people who volunteer their time and skills.
We hope these ideas can help!!
There really is little more satisfying than going out at least a few
evenings a week and playing ball with your kids. This gives them quality
time, and helps your child improve his/her skills (and, trust me, the better
your child can play, the more she/he will enjoy the Baseball or Softball
experience!). Some day, your child will look back fondly on the spring
evenings spent playing catch with mom and/or dad.
Work with your child.
Get involved with Little
Oaks. The program is run on a volunteer basis, and we can use all
the help we can get. Anything you can do will help all the kids, from helping
out at registration or tryouts, to scorekeeping or field preparation, to
umpiring. If your child sees that Baseball or Softball is that important to
you, he/she will learn that it is important to the kids, too. Amongst the
board members are those that have helped out contributing with field prep,
scheduling, scorekeeping, umpiring, equipment and uniform management, snack
bar operations, and fund raising. Everyone can find a place to help.
Show up for the games AND
the practices. In todayís busy world it is sometimes hard to
juggle schedules, but this is your child! Weíve seen many who never tried to
excel at baseball, and invariably these kids were dropped off at practices and
picked up afterwards, without the parent(s) ever watching a single practice.
Itís only a couple of times a week, a couple of months out of the year! The
most irritating are the parents who donít ever watch practice (and,
therefore, never understand the coaches philosophy), but will question (yell!)
a coaches decision during the game. Most people wouldnít dare to not show up
for work and still tell the boss whatís wrong with the company, but they
will turn around and do just that with their childísí coach.
Don't create pressure.
Just about every father dreams of his son becoming a major league star, but
they are only children and deserve to enjoy the game as children.
Donít expect more than they can deliver. Give positive encouragement, and be
there when they need you. Besides, often a child in early years will lack
certain skills, and blossom later on.
Respect the rules.
This is one of the most important things the kids should be learning. If you
donít agree with an umpires call, keep it to yourself. If there is a team
rule that bothers you, well, itís their team...not yours. If you think there
is a serious problem, take it up with the coach or a League official on your
own time, not your childísí. Rule of thumb: during practice or games, donít
speak unless spoken to (except, of course, to cheer on ALL the kids).
Have Fun! This
should be a positive experience for everyone: kids, coaches, support staff,
and parents. Winning is nice, but losing is inevitable. Being a star is fun,
but being a bench player is just as important.
Losing is a normal result
of competitionóhelp your child learn to accept it. No one likes
to lose, but the nature of a team sport is that one team always loses. Teach
your child that he/she didnít lose, the team lost. And they lost to a team
that just happened to play better that day. There is always next time, and the
important thing is to learn from the defeats. One of lifeís most interesting
truisms is that we learn more in failure than in success. Its okay to analyze
why your team lost, and how they can do better next time. Itís never okay to
Different coaches have
different philosophies. Some believe in having players play all the
positions. Some want players to become good at one. Some coaches place more
emphasis on winning (and we can tell you, from experience, that players and
parents tend to have more fun when they are winning). It is IMPORTANT to
remember that your childís coach is not being paid, he is working for the
love of the game and the kids. Let him be the coach! Donít argue in front of
the kids and criticize in the background if you think your child is being
treated unfairly. As parents, it is natural to be very protective, but most
coaches arenít discriminating. If you think there is a problem, discuss it
with the coach AWAY from the ball field; chances are that you
will see his point of view. The important thing is not to make an issue in
front of the players; along with baseball or softball, they are learning to
work as a team and to respect authority and experience...work not to ruin this
As a coach donít get
focused on winning as being the only way to have fun. If you canít
enjoy the game without winning you are missing out on some of the best things
about coaching. One of the most rewarding experiences possible is to take a
player with little baseball skill, no confidence in himself, and help him
develop over the course of the season to the point he looks forward to his
turns at bat because he knows he can succeed. That player who came to practice
with his head hanging, now stands tall with pride and a big smile on his face.
Take the opportunity to enjoy your childísí childhood, and to teach some
important life lessons!
The program only gets better if you volunteer.
We canít stress this enough: VOLUNTEER...we need you. One of the
biggest irritants we see is those who will not give their time, but are quick to
criticize. If you canít be part of the solution, donít be part of the
problem. If you think that something needs to be changed, get involved so that
you can change it.
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stands at the plate with his heart pounding fast.
The bases are loaded; the die has been cast.
Mom and Dad can not help him. He stands all alone.
A hit at this moment would send the team home.
The ball meets the plate. He swings and he misses.
There's a groan from the crowd. Some boos and some hisses.
A thoughtless voice cries, "Strike out the Bum."
Tears fill his eyes; the game's no longer fun.
So open your heart and give him a break.
For it's moments like this, a man you can make.
Keep this in mind when you hear someone forget.
He's just a little boy...and not a man...yet.
Youth baseball and
softball are competitive sports and it is easy for us coaches and parents to get
caught up in the excitement of the game. Sometimes we forget that we're dealing
with children and that it's the examples we set as adults that help shape a child's future. We ask that everyone remember that it's just a game