Think You are the First to Complain?

As you read the following letter, please note that it was written 40 years ago. The players involved were 7 years old. See if you think things have changed much from when we were kids…

————–

June 13, 1966

Baseball Commission
Capitol Hill Junior Chamber of Commerce
410 Leonhardt Building
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Gentlemen:

At 7:00 pm on June 10, 1966 we played the Fillmore Reds on your South Diamond.

I would like to make a complaint regarding the actions of Mr. Brooke who is a coach for the team. His entire conduct during and after the game was not in keeping with the rules of baseball, as set out below in specific instances:

  1. He came to me several times during the game arguing about calls by the umpire, the conduct of my players and coaches.
  2. After the game in front of everybody that would listen, he accused the umpire of being our man.
  3. Also, after the game, he tried to provoke one of my coaches and one of my boy’s father into an argument with him.

All complaints made by him were very loud and his entire conduct was very unsportsmanlike.

I wish to state that Mr. Armbuster’s, the manager of the Fillmore team, manner during the entire game was above reproach.

They stated that the game would be protested. I request that if their protest stands and game is replayed or any future games we have with this team, that the Baseball Commission furnish impartial observers so that the game may be conducted in an orderly manner. I dislike exposing my team to this type of conduct during a game.

Yours truly,

Jack Farris
Manager
Prairie Queen Blues

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Motivating by Fear

Player motivation can come from a variety of sources and in both positive and negative ways. The best professional athletes are always driven by their own internal love of sport and athletic competition. When they become motivated by fear or reward they often go into “slumps”.

When this lesson is applied to young athletes, parents can accomplish more by helping their kids discover their own love of the sport and thrill of competition rather than by offering monetary incentives or yelling instructions.

Don’t You Wish Your Coach Had Written This?

If only every coach could write this at the end of a youth sports season…

“It never gets old. Not just winning, but working with this group of young men. My experience is augmented by the level of parental participation and excitement. We are truly blessed to be able to be a part of such a great group of boys and parents.

Congratulations to all! Special thanks to Tom and Sam for handling the base coaching (the most integral part of the game) and for Bill for his part-time base coaching (but more for his purchase of actual bases for use at practice!).

I am most proud that all of the boys contributed to each winning effort. It seemed that if ever one part of a player’s game was down, he would turn around and perform in other aspects of the game. Just good, balanced effort throughout the entire season.

And what about Cash’s two incredible backhanded catches (one in left field and one at third base) in addition to his “controversial” home run in the final game!!!! Lucas’s grimacing face as he stared down runners on third. Landon as he snagged throws to get runners out on first. William and his lead-off hitting and snazzy base running. Wills’ glove and pitching efforts. Will’s final eight innings of shut-out pitching. Patrick’s always steady at bats and hustle. Jude’s heads-up play and wipe-out slides at home plate. Pearce’s numerous throw-outs from right field to first base. Bo’s good eye at the plate. Alex’s courage to hang in there (especially on Saturday when he wasn’t feeling his best!). Dash’s willingness to play any position. Jake’s goalie-like blocks behind the plate. Jacob’s consistent efforts (until he leaves early every year to hone his professional, deep-water fishing skills!) And, oh yes, Joseph’s desire to make his “old man” proud (and success at doing so!).

Have I told you all how proud I am of Joseph not only for putting up with me but for playing in the first instance? He wasn’t sure he wanted to play this year and I left it up to him. I thank him for playing . . . which allowed me the opportunity to coach . . . which provided me with much happiness and joy. I know you all are equally proud of your boys . . .and that is what I love about this group.

We will miss Dash but I have to believe we sent him off in fine fashion. Thank you all for the coach’s gift. While appreciated, it was not necessary. I received the best gift on Saturday by seeing the smiles on those boys’ faces after winning the tournament.

And remember . . .
“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” — John Wooden

Enjoy your summer.”
Thanks to Shelby Bush for allow us to republish his wonderful end-0f-the-season email.

Don’t You Wish Your Coach Had Written This?

If only every coach could write this at the end of a youth sports season…

“It never gets old. Not just winning, but working with this group of young men. My experience is augmented by the level of parental participation and excitement. We are truly blessed to be able to be a part of such a great group of boys and parents.

Congratulations to all! Special thanks to Tom and Sam for handling the base coaching (the most integral part of the game) and for Bill for his part-time base coaching (but more for his purchase of actual bases for use at practice!).

I am most proud that all of the boys contributed to each winning effort. It seemed that if ever one part of a player’s game was down, he would turn around and perform in other aspects of the game. Just good, balanced effort throughout the entire season.

And what about Cash’s two incredible backhanded catches (one in left field and one at third base) in addition to his “controversial” home run in the final game!!!! Lucas’s grimacing face as he stared down runners on third. Landon as he snagged throws to get runners out on first. William and his lead-off hitting and snazzy base running. Wills’ glove and pitching efforts. Will’s final eight innings of shut-out pitching. Patrick’s always steady at bats and hustle. Jude’s heads-up play and wipe-out slides at home plate. Pearce’s numerous throw-outs from right field to first base. Bo’s good eye at the plate. Alex’s courage to hang in there (especially on Saturday when he wasn’t feeling his best!). Dash’s willingness to play any position. Jake’s goalie-like blocks behind the plate. Jacob’s consistent efforts (until he leaves early every year to hone his professional, deep-water fishing skills!) And, oh yes, Joseph’s desire to make his “old man” proud (and success at doing so!).

Have I told you all how proud I am of Joseph not only for putting up with me but for playing in the first instance? He wasn’t sure he wanted to play this year and I left it up to him. I thank him for playing . . . which allowed me the opportunity to coach . . . which provided me with much happiness and joy. I know you all are equally proud of your boys . . .and that is what I love about this group.

We will miss Dash but I have to believe we sent him off in fine fashion. Thank you all for the coach’s gift. While appreciated, it was not necessary. I received the best gift on Saturday by seeing the smiles on those boys’ faces after winning the tournament.

And remember . . .
“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” — John Wooden

Enjoy your summer.”
Thanks to Shelby Bush for allow us to republish his wonderful end-0f-the-season email.

That Competitive Spirit

Though competition for adults is often about more substantive matters, competition is most intense and pronounced in kids. Every day, kids compete to:

  • Be the first ready for school
  • Get the largest dessert
  • Win at a video game
  • Be the first in line
  • Get the best grade
  • Get the best spot in the cafeteria
  • Get the attention of the opposite sex
  • Get a greater share of parental attention
  • Get into the best school
  • Get a job (or avoid a job)
  • Be selected for a team

Competition is best understood when there is a clear opportunity to win or to lose. When it comes to youth sports, competition often becomes synonymous with winning the game. Yet, this simple translation of success may often cause more problems than it solves.

A single minded pursuit of victory in a game may often translate into problems in relationships with teammates or others. Players who are only focused on winning the game may:

  • Lash out at teammates
  • Throw equipment
  • Argue with referees or coaches
  • Show moments of intense anger
  • Lie or cheat
  • Play unfairly

The dictionary defines the word competitive as “Showing a fighting disposition”. A fighting disposition is a great thing to have against opponents, but it may sometimes be hard to quickly turn off when dealing with teammates, referees or a sibling.

Competing is a Life Skill
Parents need to help their child understand the process of competing. Competition may show itself in many ways other than just a strong desire to win a game. Parents can focus kids on a broader understanding of competition, such as competing against past performances or winning in multiple areas. Parents can help their kids:

  • Understand what they are competing to achieve (be the best player, be a team leader, make the smartest plays)
  • Understand how to apply their competitive spirit with their friends and teammates
  • Understand that winning at all costs has consequences (hurt feelings, resentments, loss of respect)
  • Understand that a win achieved unfairly is not a victory
  • Understand that other kids may not show competitive spirit the same way
  • Understand when not to be competitive at all

Winning is more than a scoreboard. It takes parents to help kids understand the differences. Like all other life skills, helping kids find balance is essential to a lifetime of success.

Basic Rules for Parents

Every year, 20 million children register for hockey, football, baseball, soccer, and other competitive sports. If you’re the parent of one of those young sports enthusiasts, like most people, you want to be a good parent. The “don’ts” are clear—no fighting with the other parents, no attacking the coaches, no screaming at the kids. The “do’s” are a little less clear and sometimes parents, attempting to do good, are the biggest impediment to a successful season.

According to the National Alliance for Sports, of the 20 million kids who sign up, 70 percent quit playing league sports by the age of 13 and never play again. The media points to enraged parents and bad sportsmanship as the biggest problem in youth sports. But, obviously, 70 percent of these kids’ parents aren’t assaulting each other or attacking the referees. So, there must be other reasons why kids drop out of sports. In many cases, it’s the well-intentioned moms and dads that take the fun out of sports for their young athletes.

A Michigan State University survey looked closely at why kids play sports. The survey of 10,000 children, grades 7 – 12, found that the most important reason kids cited as to why they to play was to have fun. This was followed by to improve my skills, and to stay in shape. Winning (much to the surprise of many adults) was 10th on the list. The same survey also looked at why children stopped playing sports. I was not having fun, I lost interest and it took too much time were top of the list.

For most children, a successful game is one in which they had fun, didn’t embarrass themselves and got a great snack afterward. Of course, nobody really likes to lose. But parents need to understand that winning doesn’t automatically mean their child is happy, either. Parents, don’t realize how important their attitude is in keeping kids on the right athletic track.

The secret, most experts agree, is to be an involved and conscientious sports parent, walking that fine line between being overly demanding or too nurturing. As any parent knows, you can encourage your young star to work harder, play smarter and be better. But push too hard and you’ll create a resentful and reluctant player who loses all interest in sports. On the other hand, parents must realize that indiscriminate praise does not build self-esteem; it simply creates children who cannot distinguish between poor and real effort.

So how can you be a good sports parent? Start by following these basic rules:

  • Know and respect your coach. Most youth coaches are under- or unpaid. Many are volunteers who invest an enormous effort in your child’s athletic activities. Take the time to talk to your coach, understand their coaching style and find out how you can help. Understand that winning is a nice by-product of good coaching but by no means is it the only goal. Working with your coach will help make the season much more enjoyable. Treating coaches with respect will make them more receptive to your questions and concerns.
  • Listen to your child. Talk to you child about what happens at practice and at games, not just about the wins and loses. Carefully listen to what they say about their own performance or that of their teammates and coaches. If your young player is upset about a bad game, help them figure out what went wrong—don’t just give them a list of all the problems you saw or gloss it over with empty praise. Help them find a better strategy for the next time or set aside practice time away from the team.
  • Remember context. Everyone has off days, including your child and your child’s coach. One bad incident should not cloud your opinions for the rest of the season. Rather, look at the event in the context of the whole season. Ask yourself if the event is an isolated occurrence. If so, move on and focus on the positive.
  • Encourage effort and reward hard work. One of the most valuable lessons that sports can teach our children is that hard work and team effort can bring great rewards. Good sports parents help their children see that a valiant effort can be just as important as winning.
  • Practice good sportsmanship in the stands. A girl’s soccer league in Ohio instituted “Silent Sunday” to eliminate spectator cheers and jeers and sideline distractions. The experiment was wildly successful and a sad commentary on parents. Instead of being forced into silence in the stands, use your own conduct to teach your child that gracious winning and losing; not annihilating the other team, builds character.
  • Don’t create divided loyalties. Disagreeing with coaching decisions in front of your child may make you think that you are sticking up for your player. In reality, it simply sends your child confusing messages as to who is in charge. By dividing his or her loyalty, you make it that much harder for your child to listen to the coach and be part of a team. Instead, voice your concerns to the coach in private. If you have grave concerns about the coaching, talk to the head of your sports organization. But keep your child out of it.
  • Check your own ego at the door. For many parents, the end result (winning) seems to matter more than the process (becoming better athletes, enjoying physical activity and learning how to play as part of a team). You may thrive on competition but always remember that it’s your child who’s playing, not you. And their accomplishments (and failures) are just that—their own. Support your child, cheer your child and encourage your child but don’t confuse what you want with what’s best for your child.

Following these steps won’t guarantee a parent the next sports legend. However, these steps can take something that kids want to do (play sports) and turn it into something that parents want for their kids (healthy living and life lessons). Remember, the goal of youth sports isn’t about building a career, it’s about building a life.

Written by: Laura Langendorf

101 Ways to Praise a Child

  1. Wow!
  2. Way to go
  3. Super
  4. You’re special
  5. Outstanding
  6. Well done
  7. Excellent
  8. Great
  9. Good
  10. Neat Read more of this post