We like to keep things loose and fun but at the same time, we need to make sure we try to maximize our chances for success. Over the years, I have observed the following things that I think have made other teams successful. I want to apply these “best practices” to our club because I think it will help us be successful and make for a better overall experience for both the players and parents.
No communication with your son from 30 minutes prior to the first game till they leave the dugout after the last game. We only have them for a few hours and we need them to focus on the game and our coaching. Exceptions: player injury or personal emergency.
Always be supportive and positive toward all the boys on the field. Don’t denigrate any player’s skills on the field. We want everyone to walk away from the field with good feelings and solid confidence.
Avoid bickering with the other team’s parents. Some of them can be really “intense” and can’t keep the game in perspective so please avoid getting sucked into it with them because it will distract our players and it is embarrassing for everyone.
If there is any playing time or other issues with your son that occurred during the game that you would like to discuss, PLEASE, cool off, wait till you get home and then email me so we can set up a call to discuss it in a calm manner. Discussing these things immediately after an emotional win or loss is always a bad idea.
Keep us informed about any injuries, sports conflicts, problems with school, etc.
PLAYER RULES (make sure your son reads these):
Maintain good grades – It is very simple. Baseball is a privilege, not a right. School work and grades always come first. If your parents are unhappy about your grades and effort in school – you will not play until they give us the green light.
Focus on the process and NOT the outcome. This is a personal favorite. This is the most difficult part of any sport, particularly baseball because it is a game where you fail more than you succeed (batting averages, errors, etc.). If you focus on the “process” of improving your chances of success rather than the end result of each time you hit, field and pitch; you will be on the path of continuously improving your skills. What is this “process”? See the following points.
Practice, practice, practice. Several studies have shown that it takes 10,000 hours of practice for someone to become an expert at something like a sport, musical instrument, and a profession even if you have natural talents and abilities in that area. In short – you still need to practice constantly and outwork your peers in order to become the best at something. (Note: 10,000 hours of practice equates to 714 weeks of 7 days of 2 hour daily practices. 714 – The number of the Babe’s HR total! No way that this is a coincidence.)
Positive attitude/no sulking. As mentioned above, baseball is a game where you will fail more than you succeed – recognize this and accept it. If you fail to control your emotions on the field, you will NEVER be consistently successful.
Maximum hustle and effort 100% of the time. This is the key differentiator between good and great players. You don’t have to be the most talented player in order to be the best player on the field – effort and hustle are the keys to greatness.
Respect for all players, coaches, umpires and parents. “Mouthing off”, causing trouble and any dirty play will NOT be tolerated and could result in you being kicked off the team.
Have fun. Enjoy yourself on the field while also following all these rules. Baseball is a GAME so enjoy it. Life is much more difficult so appreciate your time on the field while you can.