To many parents, nothing would make for greater joy in their lives than to see their children excel at baseball. As enthusiastic as these parents tend to be, however, it is often hard for them to know how best to help their child do his or her best. It can take careful thought to find the best way to move forward. Here are ideas to take to heart.
Don’t stress out over performance
It’s a piece of advice frequently given to ambitious baseball parents: it’s the participation that matters, rather than the winning. If such advice rarely makes sense to competitive parents who pursue their kids to do better, it’s for good reason. Competitiveness is a wonderful, life-giving part to any sport, and it cannot be taken out of a sport.
What parents need to realize, however, is that competitiveness at an early stage isn’t the best way to help a kid get better. Learning happens best in low-stress environments. The mind needs its space to think, consider and work out good moves and bad mistakes. It’s the way the mind works, whether it is learning lessons at school, sonatas on a piano or a sport. The skill needed to compete successfully is best fostered in an uncompetitive environment.
There are other ways to help a kid take the game seriously
When many parents come to feel competitive over their children’s baseball skills, often, it is simply because they believe that there is no other way to make their child take the sport seriously and learn well. While such aggressiveness may work with some children, however, there is a high level of risk with most, of putting them permanently off their game.
Children usually want nothing more than to impress their parents. Fostering deep interest in an activity, then, can happen far more effectively when parents themselves show admiration for it. It can also help to bring a scientific attitude to the game. The more you show your child how thought, knowledge and focus are effective ways to develop a game, the more engaged your child will be. Any activity that is connected to reason quickly absorbs the mind.
Get the right equipment
To many enthusiastic baseball parents, taking their kid out on a shopping outing for a baseball bat or other equipment, is a wonderful, feel-good bonding experience. Far too many young baseball players, however, end up saddled with unsuitable equipment in this way. A conversation with the coach is essential before any purchases are made. Coaches are able to offer advice on the right kind of equipment to buy, and the right sizing. The more well-suited a piece of sporting equipment is, the more likely it is to retain the child’s interest in the sport.
To many enthusiastic baseball parents, taking their kid out on a shopping outing for baseball bats or other equipment, is a wonderful, feel-good bonding experience
Find ways to offer practice at home
As with any other sport, a good part of competence at baseball comes about through constant practice. In the beginning, it doesn’t need to be actual baseball. It can be any kind of ball game, including wiffle ball, ping-pong or golf. The idea is to give the brain and the muscles enough practice with ball-handling implements. A varied range of activity is also likely to retain the interest of the child. Such practice can actually turn into activities that involve the whole family.
Sign your kid up to baseball camps and professional instruction
Practices with flawed techniques, one can develop bad, ingrained habits, and they can be hard to change. If you’re serious about your kid’s baseball, you should consider both baseball camps and professional instruction. Baseball camps put you child in touch with former big league players and professional coaches for inspiration. Professional coaching can put your child’s mind on the game with truly meaningful training.
Quality coaching isn’t necessarily about teaching your child a better level of skill. It can also be about retaining your child’s interest. The more competent the coach, the greater the child’s engagement in the game is likely to be.
Keep yourself updated
From YouTube videos to dedicated websites such as such as thebaseballdiamond.com, the Internet is full of resources for dedicated baseball parents.
Constantly updating your level of knowledge and skill in the game can be invaluable. Not only can it inform the way you coach your child, it can affect the attitude that you bring to your child’s game. An informed attitude can make a great difference.
Kieran Shepherd is a baseball crazy Dad of two. He coaches a youth baseball team 3 evenings a week and often takes his sons to watch the big games live. He shares his sporting and parenting tips online.