By Brian Gotta, President of CoachDeck:
A coach who is over-competitive makes the season fun for his son or daughter, and perhaps one or two other kids who possess better-than-average ability. But he reduces the fun for the kids who haven’t played much in their lives, or kids who don’t quite have the skills mastered yet. This coach puts the best players in the positions that get the most action and sticks other players where it is unlikely they’ll have any opportunities. This coach believes that if his team wins, even if even if all the scoring is done by just one or two players, he looks good. Just ask yourself this question: If your child was the least skilled player on the team and you weren’t able to be there to help coach, how would you want the coach to treat him? That’s how you ought to treat all the kids with lesser ability, as frustrating as it sometimes may be. I know this from experience because I am a competitive guy and was one of those dads who probably was too concerned about “winning” (even though we didn’t keep score!) when my first son began playing T-ball. Though I rotated my players into different positions, I didn’t focus as much as I could have on every player’s improvement. Looking back on that season, I wish I’d spent more time helping some of the boys who hadn’t played much before joining Little League.
But as my younger sons came into baseball I began to realize just how special those first years really are, and what is truly important. Too many parents want their six, seven and eight year-old kids to “skip a league” and play with older players, forgetting that part of the fun at that age is just being on a team with your friends and goofing around a little. Sports, and life for that matter, will be very competitive all too soon. Slow down and enjoy the few seasons you have when it’s not life or death whether the first baseman catches the throw from third or your goalie blocks the shot, when after the game both teams think they won, and the snack is the highlight of the afternoon. Believe me, there will come a time when you’ll miss those days.
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