While this is a podcast episode, I’ve provided the written form below in case you’d prefer to read. Thanks again for supporting Elbow Up Youth Baseball!
I’ve also changed it up a little moving into 2021. This episode is only 6 minutes long! Less time per episode allows me to publish more content and cover more topics. It’s also easier for you to listen to the whole episode during your commute or quick break. Give it a few weeks and let me know if you like it!
It's Monday, February 22, and Spring baseball season is all but here. Major League pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training last week, high school's can now officially practice in many parts of the country, and youth teams are ready to begin.
While we all want to be successful - whatever that means - there's something important I want to remind you of.
Every youth player, parent, coach, and team is different. There is no one size fits all.
Skill level is different. Talent level is different. Success has a different meaning for each of you. And that's okay! That's what I want you to remember as this season gets underway.
I try to talk about topics at Elbow Up that most of you can relate to, or that have the best chance of helping the majority of my audience. That being said, there will always be some of you that can't relate to what I say….Or maybe my advice won't help in your specific circumstance....and that's okay too!
Just as each of you listening is different, we must remember the kids we are coaching are different as well. And we should keep that in mind when teaching, coaching, and mentoring them.
Some come from affluent two-parent families where baseball is just another fun activity. Others come from families where they get no support or encouragement from their home, and the baseball field may be their only chance at getting that, or seeing success.
Think about this - as a coach or parent on a team - you may be the only encouragement that kid may get for the entire week. Don't miss the opportunity to tailor your approach to make the most positive impact on that kid's life.
As usual, I like to relate everything to sports. I use this approach at work with my employees. Every person's circumstances are different. Every person has a different background and set of life experiences that shape their outlook, and I have found the most success in approaching them all differently.
This doesn't mean we have different standards across our teams. We should maintain high standards for all of our players, parents, and coaches...It's just important to remember that how we influence and approach each of them must be different in order to maximize the experience and outcome!
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For parents - Don't get caught up in comparing your child to others. Sure, it's important to have a realistic view of where your child may stand, but that should not be what drives or motivates you as a parent.
Compare your kid to themselves! Compare your child this year to your child last year. How have they improved over time? How did they improve just since last practice? It's dangerous to expect the same outcome from every player on your team, and it's certain to end in disappointment.
For coaches - We should take the same approach. Not just for our own kid, but for every player! Kids react differently and we need to remember that. Some kids won't even notice you congratulating them on a base hit the opposite way.
Other kids will light up after they struck out after a 9 pitch at bat where they battled the pitcher when you tell them nice at bat! Take the time to learn what makes each player on your team tick. How do they respond to encouragement, correction, and even discipline?
And for everyone - Let's not lose sight of what we're trying to accomplish! If you're listening to this podcast, I have to assume you want your son and family to get the most out of their youth baseball experience. That doesn't just mean becoming a better ball player.
We're preparing these kids to succeed in the game of life.
In 2018, there were an estimated 25 million kids who played youth baseball or softball. Compare that to the 1,000 or so players that will begin the season on an opening day Major League Baseball roster. The chances of your kid - and my kid - making any meaningful money from baseball is virtually zero.
The chances of them using what they learn playing youth baseball has about a 100% chance to carry over into how they approach school, relationships with others, employment, and life.
Don't miss out on making a positive impact by having a one size fits all approach!
If you enjoyed this episode, please consider sharing with a friend, coach, or fellow parent! Also, I’d love to hear your feedback. Use the button below to leave a comment, or just hit the reply button and let me know what you think.