A player should never be afraid to tell their coach about an injury. Players are silenced because of the fear of being benched. Having an injury shouldn’t mean punishment. Show your player you care. Show them you are concerned more with their wellbeing than with winning the game. A little compassion at the beginning could save a lot of heartache in the end.
Anywhere Ball: The anywhere ball is a great indoor/outdoor training tool. It is a soft training ball that provides instant feedback. When hit correctly the Anywhere Ball will fly straight and round, when miss hit, the ball will pop up or down in an egg shape. The ball is safe to hit against a wall, window or even a mirror and is ideal for hitting in a confined space such as a basement. The Anywhere Ball can also be used for pre-game warm-ups, working on blocking with your catchers and for inexperienced players to learn how to catch without fear. My players love it because they can throw batting practice in a small space without an L-Screen. To check out this product, click on the link. https://amzn.to/2INW7u2 (affil.)
Reaction Ball: This six-sided rubber ball leaps and pops randomly helping your athlete work on their hand eye coordination and reaction time. The Reaction Ball gives athletes a high energy, multi-sport training tool to challenge their reflexes and improve their skills. It is a great tool that can be used with or without a glove and can be used at different speeds and levels of difficulty. It can also be used in a small space at home. The Reaction Ball has had a huge positive impact on my teams ability to field the baseball. To read reviews and learn more, click on the link. https://amzn.to/2Ps9nag (affil.)
Tanner Tee: The Tanner Tee is the industry leading and best-selling batting tee. It is excellent for all ages and skill levels. The Tee is easily adjustable and is the preferred Tee for travel ball, college and professional players. The hand-rolled flexible rubber ball rest will not do damage to your bat and allows hitters to feel the ball not the tee at contact. Our baseball organization has found these Tees to be highly durable and an asset for our drill work during indoor training sessions. Many players use this tee at home to hit into a net or tarp. To find out more about this well built tee, click on the link. https://amzn.to/2IM3KkP (affil.)
Check out these great products being used in the video below.
I began the process of writing this blog by asking myself one simple question, why do I coach? Why do I do it? What started my inner drive to help others try and become better people, both on and off the field? What do I possess that makes me the type of person that would want to take on this role? What were the things that I experienced in my life that caused me to want to take on this very important role for others? Is it that I get to dive head first into someone else’s world and try to help them grow? Is it that I get to share in their successes and help them through their failures?
The answer always comes back to the same common theme. I coach because I believe it is important to have good people who want to make a difference in kids lives. This is all I have ever known. As long as I can remember I have known that there was something bigger than just me, I am just a part of this world yet I still have an opportunity to make a big difference. I truly believe that all of these parts come together to help form who a person is and what a person is all about. Knowing that youth athletes are at different points along a continuum, I want to be a part of helping them recognize they are capable of greatness. This was instilled in me by my parents and coaches. They taught me to be there for others and to try and have a positive influence on others. I feel now, more than ever, we need each other. I think we owe it to ourselves, and others, to open up and share what we have learned. Coaching is about motivating kids to try and be better today than they were yesterday.
I have chosen to follow what I believe is important. I have found something in me to share with others that I enjoy. It gives me a purpose and shows others a skill that if I chose not to share it, I would not have a completeness in my life. Being a coach allows me to be bigger than I am. Are you here to contribute something larger then yourself? Is this why you coach?
“A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.”
The coach of the team is the leader, the CEO of the organization so to speak. You alone have the ability to make or break a child’s spirit (that’s a lot of power). Parents have entrusted you to teach and guide their children in sport. As parents we feel you are our child’s guardian while in your presence. To be the voice of reason, the disciplinarian, the authority figure and to teach and manage the game.
As a coach your role is to lead your players. This doesn’t mean you need to win every game. This means guide them and teach them the fundamentals of the game and what it means to be on a team. You must support each player (unconditionally). You must recognize each of them has a role and each of them is important to the entire team. Each player should leave a practice or game knowing more than when they came and wanting to come back. If you’re breaking spirits and squashing their love of the game, you’re not doing your job. There’s no need to coddle, and there’s no need to berate. There’s a balance for each individual that will help them develop. Encourage as much as you can.
Set realistic goals for the individuals and the team. Help them reach those goals. Be there when things are good and more importantly when things aren’t. Know your players. Know their strengths and their weaknesses. Know things about them, other than their talent level. Put them in situations where they can succeed and allow them opportunities to grow. Help them build upon their strengths and improve their weaknesses; that way they’re always moving in a positive direction.
Do you have what it takes to positively affect a child’s life?
We started this blog because our family loves sports, and we realized that there are life’s lessons we and our children are constantly learning via this sports life we created. Recently, our family and all the families involved in our baseball organization learned a valuable life lesson: Compassion for others.
Our baseball organization took a que from our local youth football organization and decided to do a Special Olympic-type baseball game, the HBA Challenger Baseball Game. The premise was to organize a baseball game with our 14U teams and Special Olympians from our community and have a wonderful time. It took months to plan and organize; the result: a phenomenal day for all involved. Here’s how the day went.
Each age group 8U through 13U were given players to cheer for. The team’s showed up 45 minutes before the main event to create posters and meet their players. This meet and greet was held in the “clubhouse” also known as our indoor hitting facility. The clubhouse was decked out with uniforms and gifts for each Challenger. After the meet and greet and posters were made, the kids headed to the bleachers to cheer on their player. It was amazing to see all our boys in their blue away jerseys and members of the community filling the stands. The stadium was packed!
After the National Anthem one of our 14U teams took the field, and the other team stayed as sponsors for each Challenger player. Our awesome MC for the day introduced and even interviewed each Challenger. As each player was announced our teams in the stands cheered their little hearts out! Each team really got in the spirit of cheering for their designated player. It was truly wonderful to see the joy that those cheers brought to the Challengers faces.
The game lasted a little over an hour and afterward a picture with all the baseball players was taken by the scoreboard. As each Challenger left the ballpark they were congratulated by the crowd. The pure joy they exuded was infectious for all in attendance.
Our family enjoys playing sports, we always have and always will. But, there is so much more than just being able to play. It’s like I said in my last post, “We need to teach our children that their actions (good or bad) have an affect on others. Not only for the sake of sports, but for humanity.” I’m so proud of all our boys. The compassion and enthusiasm they showed that day was a lesson for all of us!
It’s a difficult balance of being a parent to an athlete and being a coach to an athlete. The struggle is real as they say. Have you ever been in a situation where your child plays for a coach that doesn’t know anything about the sport they are coaching? Logic says “this person is nice and the kids are having fun.” That’s the part that has seen mean coaches. The parent|coach part says “the child is learning nothing, they aren’t getting better.”
So, if you’re faced with this, what are the options? Well, the child can play for a different team, a different organization all together. This situation is scary, we don’t know what we’ll get some where else. You know the saying “the grass isn’t always greener” comes to mind. The parent could step in and try to help the coach with their knowledge (totally depends on personality how this would be taken). The parent could ask to coach the team themselves the next season. For many, this isn’t an option because of other children and other commitments. The final option is to continue what you’re doing. Continue playing at this level and try to coach and get lessons in from other resources when you can.
The goal for any organization is to develop players, but the goal for us parents is to develop OUR player. If you don’t want to make a change, then you need to take matters into your hands. We always tell our kids that they are only one part of the team (1/5th of the basketball team or 1/9th of the baseball team). The only actions you can control are yours. While the development of the team as a whole is very important, we need to look out for the development our own child.
So, if you’re ever faced with this situation, my suggestion would be to focus on the development of your child. Whether it’s making a change with the team or just focusing your efforts on player development, you need to do what’s best for them.
Pretend you’re somewhere between 8-12 years old. Who do you look up to? Maybe a professional athlete or super hero? Now, picture yourself as a high school kid? You’re probably wrapped up in thoughts of yourself and what the new cool thing to do is.
Not all high schoolers are like that. Some are selfless and kind and are just great human beings. We are blessed to know a few of these kids. We mostly know them through baseball and other sports our kids play. These are the kids who come spend time with the 8-12 year olds. These are the kids that understand what its like to look up to older kids. They take the time to say hello or give a high five.
Yes, my kids idolize professional athletes, but they also look at high school athletes like they are celebrities too. If you’re a parent of a high schooler, remind your child that someone looks up to them. Remind them that their actions are not only being scrutinized by their peers but by those little ones that see them in the neighborhood or on the ballfield. Remind them that they too were young once and looked up to a high school kid. If just one high school kid can give a moment of their time to a younger kid, I think it could have a huge impact on the future. Making positive connections with others in life can be so important.
It’s one thing for us parents to teach our children life lessons, but it’s an absolute game changer if that life lesson is taught by an older kid.
When I was told I need to read this book I wasn’t too sure what it was about. I was told that it was about the pressure put on kids in sports, so, of course I was interested. But, the book was so much more than that.
I’m not going to lie, it was difficult to get through. Maybe it’s just me, but I have trouble reading non fiction books. I read to escape everyday life, so reading about something real is difficult. Reading about something that hits home is doubly difficult! Let me give you a little background.
Maddy was an all American girl that appeared on the surface to have it all. I say it appears to be that way because we can’t deny she had mental health issues. I think the misconception with mental health is that people don’t realize it can happen at any time in your life. For years, Maddy seemed to have it all. She was beautiful, got good grades and was a tremendous athlete. Towards the end of her high school career she was being sought after by numerous colleges for soccer and track. Every athletes dream and hers as well.
Ultimately, Maddy chose to run track at the University of Pennsylvania. The book focuses a lot on the fact that Maddy wasn’t sure if this was the right decision. She was debating this choice or going to LeHigh for soccer. The book makes you think that these choices could have potentially impacted the outcome. I’m going to tell you, either choice would’ve ended the same. Maddy was the type of kid that needed and longed for perfection. She needed to be the perfect student, the perfect athlete and the perfect friend. She was so consumed with this ideal of perfection that she didn’t live in reality.
Another theme throughout the book was Maddy’s social media accounts and in general teenager’s use of them and not being able to separate screen life and real life. If your mental health is questionable the lines between the two are very blurry. Even if your mental health is in check, those lines can still be blurry. I talk to my kids all the time about surface-level friendship. Most of social media is that way. You truly don’t know the person behind the pictures. It is so important to have deeper relationships with people. So, that if there’s an issue, they’ll know and they can try to help you. I’m not saying that Maddy’s friends could’ve helped her, but I do know they didn’t think things were that bad. A lot of the onus lives with Maddy on that one. She was really good at keeping things from those closest to her…and that’s the truly scary part.
To wrap up, here are my thoughts and I’d love to hear from you if you read this book. Somehow we need to change the conversation about perfection. It’s absolutely unattainable and whether you or someone else puts that pressure on you to be that way, its wrong and needs to change. As parents, this conversation begins with us at home. This book has helped me with the conversations I’ll have with my kids moving forward.
So your kid wants to try out for the [insert sport here] travel team? Is your family ready for the commitment? Do you have what it takes? Does your kid have what it takes? This is something at Sports, Love & Family we feel very strongly about. It’s one of the strongest life lessons we’re teaching our kids.
Before you jump on the travel team band wagon there are some things you should ask yourself and your child. First, are you as a parent ready for this commitment? If you are not willing to drive your child all over the county for practices or games…you are not ready. If your social calendar is booked every weekend…you are not ready. If you don’t enjoy spending hours watching sporting events…you are not ready. If you purchased a vehicle based on seating availabilty and trunk capacity…you are ready. If you seek out sport events even if you don’t know any players…you are ready. If you are not ready for this type of commitment then there’s no point of asking your child if they’re ready. It begins with you. If you can’t give it your all, then don’t bother. The goal is to be an example to your child and if you can’t fully commit, then don’t do it.
Once you know you can commit, now you need to discuss what the commitment looks like with your child. Make sure you’re being honest with your child when you talk to them. Let them know how often practices are, how long and far away game days may be. Let them know how long the season is and if it interferes with other sports or activities they like to do. Because, parents, let’s face it, this is their first commitment they will make and how you handle this sets the stage for later in life.
At Sports, Love & Family we are fully committed.