Stealing Home (A Series)  Explore #266 6/17/13

Congrats to the Boston Red Sox, it was a great World Series.

I am just now coming out of mourning for my Cardinals.

By the way, the pitching for both teams was awesome.

How can we make kids fall in love with baseball?

I believe there is 4 reasons why young kids play baseball.

  1. Their parents/family encourages them to play.
  2. Their friends play.
  3. They are a naturally gifted athlete that loves playing any sport.
  4. Video Games, they try to live out the fantasy of the game.

The problem I have seen over the last 25 years has nothing to do with any of the above.

I am Officially Declaring a New Rule for All Parents and Coaches.

The No Comparison Rule.

What is the No Comparison Rule, I am glad you asked.

It simply states that you can’t compare any player to another player.

Comparison is the Thief of every young baseball player’s self-confidence.

You have to coach and celebrate each player on their own merits and skills.

Every parent and coach has to explain, encourage and empower every young player to be the best player they can be and nothing or nobody else.

I believe the No.1 reason young players quit playing is comparison.

There is so much pressure to be great and to be great immediately that most young players never get that emotional connection with Baseball.

If young players never build an emotional connection with baseball and to being the best player they can be, they will quit.

When players are constantly being compared to somebody they will never be then their self-confidence is destroyed.

When young players feel like they can Never make their parents or the coach happy they mentally and emotionally start to hate baseball.

Sooner than later they will physically quit trying too.

I am 100% convince that we can make baseball fun again for this generation.

But we are going to have to take a different approach.

There are 3 Reasons a Young Player Keeps Playing Baseball.

  1. It’s Fun.
  2. They are in control of how good they can be.
  3. They are competitive.

Those are the exact reasons they also play video games.

If we are going to help this generation of great athletes choose baseball we must…

  • Make it fun to learn and practice baseball.
  • Give them control and let them learn it at their on pace.
  • Make sure practice is focused and competitive.

Self-Confidence is a feeling that only comes from preparation and practice.  You can’t fake it.

If everything we do as parents and coaches incorporates those 3 things I believe we can save baseball.

It squarely falls on us parents and coaches to stop the comparisons and to help every young baseball player their reach the maximum potential.

When we get back to the mentality that the team is more important than any one player, every player will have more fun, be more focused and play fearless.

What can You do to make baseball fun?

You got to have fun…Right?

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6 Comments

  • Rick Hill November 17, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Great article on youth baseball

    • Darrell Coulter November 17, 2013 at 9:05 am

      Thanks Rick

  • Quitters never win November 18, 2013 at 8:24 am

    While it’s nice to think that why kids quit is as simple as your article makes it to be… and I use to think the same…till I got “involved”. One year of involvement had me witness 2 kids quit before the season started because they were moved down a level and no longer playing with their friends…2 kids say they won’t play again for the head coach…1 coach get forced out of coaching desired level, 2 assistant coaches get tossed out like garbage from helping a subsequent season. All through manipulation and desire for control. It was sad start to the beginning of my coaching career…but what disappointed me more was that my son seemed to enjoy having me in the dugout. I can only hope is desire to play is deeper than who he is surrounded by on the field and can look past the lack of fun at practices next year.

    • Darrell Coulter November 18, 2013 at 9:33 am

      Coach,
      Unfortunately your story is all to familiar. The truth is the kids quit emotionally and mentally long before they ever quit physically. Their reasoning can be several things but the only way we can reach individual players is by focusing on how we can make it fun for them and encourage them to reach their max potential. I personally take different approaches with every young pitcher I work with because each one has their own reason why they want to pitch and what they want to accomplish as a pitcher.

      I have worked with 10 year olds and Professional pitchers what is neat about that is the fact that their personal emotional connection to baseball is the same in a lot instances, it’s not until outside influences get involved( Unrealistic Parents, Coaches, Instructors etc) that their love for baseball and self confidence is encouraged or destroyed.

      I hope there comes a day when we can explain, encourage and empower young players to love the game and compete at a high level with class and sportsmanship. It can happen but it will take intentional action by all parties involved to make that possible.
      I for one am going to keep trying, I hope you do too.

      Thanks for your insight

  • Reed Benson November 30, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    It’s somehow fitting, then, that one of the greatest baseball photos ever published in LIFE was, and remains, a picture not of Hall of Fame legends like Mays or Mantle or Berra or Musial, and that it doesn’t capture big-league action on the field at Yankee Stadium or Wrigley or Fenway, but instead focuses on Little Leaguers. In fact, for some fans, Yale Joel’s marvelous 1954 portrait of young players in a kindergarten classroom Manchester, N.H., trying on uniforms and (as LIFE noted in the original caption) anxiously awaiting the arrival of “missing parts of outfits” might just be the best pure baseball picture any LIFE photographer ever made.

    • Darrell Coulter December 6, 2013 at 7:41 am

      Reed,
      I couldn’t agree more.
      Everything eventually leads back to the pure love of the game. It’s the journey in between that somehow we parents and coaches sometimes seem to get in the way of. I think we forget why kids ever decide to play in the first place. It’s to play a competitive game with friends. It doesn’t matter how much money you make in Professional Baseball if you don’t love the game it will make you miserable. Nobody ever continues to play just for the money.
      Pictures can truly be worth a thousand words.

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