Yeah! You! The one screaming from first base. Where’s the million dollar prize for winning the game? When does your interview on The Ellen Show air? Which of these spectators in tailgate chairs is the Division 1 college recruiter? Oooh, these incentives don’t actually exist, do they? Then, enlighten me, please. What’s all the fuss about?
You’re clearly a passionate person. You care very deeply about certain matters; some might argue the wrong matters. It’s one thing to volunteer your time, give back to the community, and aid in the growth and development of young children; but, it’s completely unacceptable to use this youth recreational platform for anything else.
They’re just kids!
I want to remind you that you are working with children. These are young, impressionable kids who are looking to you for guidance, help, and some fun. To see these little bobbling helmets running bases on the receiving end of your yelling is disturbing. Think of your own child that is on the team you are coaching. Would you really expect his Kindergarten teacher to scream in his face if he consistently misspelled a sight word? These children are not learning any skills if that’s the cue to do better. Think of what you are effectively teaching these kids when you yell and scream – it’s not patience, and it’s certainly not kindness. No, when you yell in the 6 year old’s face, you teach him that:
- He’s not good enough in that moment, and
- Yelling is the means to go about getting what you want.
Young kids still lack the knowledge and understanding of many, many concepts. They need firm, but supportive coaches to show them the right way. Throwing your hat down and screaming across the field only brings shame and embarrassment rather than a coachable moment.
“There’s No Crying in Baseball!”
And, what about the kids you’ve made cry? If you yell enough to bring a child to tears, do you feel like you got the job done? Can you sleep at night knowing that a child walked away from that game not feeling good enough for you? Because you were so focused on winning and less focused on coaching and development, you’ve quite possibly catered to yet another insecurity in him shutting the door on this sport forever. May I remind you, that many of these kids will not even play this sport beyond middle school? They’re not here hoping to one day earn a college scholarship or to find a career at the young age of 6. There is a learning curve here, man! Winning is just a bonus. These kids are learning to become decent, well-rounded human beings, not pro-ballers ready to make millions.
Can you please wait until AFTER the game to compare truck sizes?
A rec game is about young athletes. 100% focus and attention should be on them. But, because you are oh so passionate about the W, you like to make it about you (Out of curiosity, where do you even put all those Ws?). You have 20-24 little pairs of eyes on you when you turn this game into the I-know-more-about-this-sport-than-you match with the umpire or opposing coach. Arguing with adults at a little kids’ baseball game is juvenile, to say the least. If you don’t like the judgment call made at the plate by the umpire, then maybe you should’ve volunteered your time to be a recreational umpire instead. Why are you putting so much effort into proving the other coaches wrong or arguing with the umpire when what should be taking place is explaining the unfortunate call to the child in the dugout or making a note to spend extra time on running bases at the next practice. No, what appears to be happening before our very eyes is your desire to be right, your craving for competition, and your need to prove to everyone else that your say matters more than anyone else’s on that field. It’s embarrassing and only opens doors to a nasty competitive spirit in young ones. Your argumentative behavior teaches the kids that someone else is always to blame for a loss. Coach, instead of proving to the little ones in the dugout that you got the last word in against the other coach, how about you share some words of wisdom to motivate your team to not give up and to have fun! But, you probably won’t do that because you’ve lost sight of what is really important in these moments.
What is your end goal here? Is it to get more Ws under your belt or is it to help a group of kids be better today than they were yesterday (in more ways than one)? Rec ball is not the gateway to any Hall of Fame. It’s much simpler than that. And, all it takes, is a very simple attitude with one goal in mind: Help these kids learn. Help them learn what it means to be on a team; help them learn how to stay positive despite challenges and to be supportive of one another; help them learn very basic fundamental skills of a sport that will either take off into something great or it won’t; help them learn how to handle pressure; and most importantly, help them simply be kids and have fun. You and I both know that with age, comes more stress. Let’s keep these kids as stress-free as possible because before you know it, they grow up and quite possibly turn into the stressed out adults screaming at little children to run from 2nd to 3rd base.
A Mother from the Opposing Team