I have been working with a great baseball icon, Jim Lefebvre. We have been creating some coaching tips, life stories and career experiences that will be shared with others through our wonderful world of social media. After being in the industry of baseball for 50 years, Jim has a lot of knowledge to share. And it never ceases to amaze me how many of his Baseball Absolutes can be applied to each of our daily lives.
For example, today he was giving me the right and wrong way of coaching kids. He started with the reasons why kids quit the game of baseball and the reasons why kids stay in the game. The number one reason kids quit is because there is too much pressure from their parents, coaches, team mates and themselves. Wow! That provides some insight into other things we all do when it comes to our children! Do the best, be the best, be number one….and on and on. What about just being who they are and being the best they have the ability to be?
Another reason why kids quit is because they see no improvement. We need to help them measure their successes in all phases of life–from their reading skills to the way they clean their bedrooms to the way they pick out their clothes to wear. He suggests for sports to measure their speed, distance, quantity of moves, etc. and then by doing basic drills, they improve. Remeasure them again weekly to find out how far they have come. After all, how many of us would stay on a diet if we had no way to measure our success?
Kids quit because it is boring. They sign up for baseball because it is a fun thing to do. When we take the fun out of the sport, the kids are bored and drop out. Do you blame them? How often do you keep your momentum going for something that bores you to tears. They signed up because they love to play catch in the back yard with their family or friends. When we take that away from them–why would they stay connected? Kids stay in sports for life when they have fun at the entry level of play. If you expect your children to stay involved in a sport or activity, make sure it is fun from the beginning.
And the one real “pearl” of wisdom he shared with me today is that the ride to and from the ball field is precious time with our kids. Don’t make the mistake of spending the ride to the ball field by telling them over and over how bad they did the week before and what not to do on this day. Tell them how proud you are of them and how much you enjoy watching them play. One the way home, encourage them and tell them how proud you are of the way they have improved and how good they are getting at the game. Don’t use that precious time to berate them and tell them how they should be playing. Let them know you love them regardless of how well they play the game.
Now take these principles and apply it to every area of their lives. Too many kids drop out of life–they drop into drugs, alcohol, risky behavior and the wrong crowd of other kids with the same issues. It is our responsibility as parents to keep them engaged in life. They crave our love, attention and the praise we give them for just being who they are–our beautiful children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Kids need to be loved–and that is probably the best tip when it comes to coaching….
So get out the ball and glove and head for the back yard!
Jim will be marketing his coaching tips soon. In the meantime, like him on facebook or Linked-In. He can be found at Jim Lefebvre. He also has a web site at http://www.themajorleagueway.net