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Friday, February 5, 2010

How Baseball Teaches Life Skills


How do you teach kids important life skills? Have them join an youth baseball league.

Below are 5 life skills they will learn:

1. Teamwork

For many young kids organized baseball will be their first introduction to teamwork. Executing ground ball outs, rooting on their teammates , sacrifice bunting and stealing bases are just some of the actions that allow kids to apply and understand teamwork. Youth baseball provides an arena for kids to learn to interact with others with diverse backgrounds, races and religions.

2. Leadership

Not everyone is a leader, when teaching kids baseball we can introduce them to what leadership is; and we can teach them the things that make good leaders. I like to foster leadeship growth growth using the following practices:

Have them lead the cheer of the batter and pitcher
Encourage others to verbally cheer on the pitcher and the batter
Have them lead by example: by always hustling and showing respect to the coaches and teammates
Lending support instead of insults to teammates who have made an error
Executing stretching and game prep drills without the coach having to ask - initiating on their own

3. Confidence

It's great to see kids realize that practice has made them a better player. It instills that vital skill needed to succeed in life. They learn that everything is not easy, that things take time and they have to have the attitude they won't be defeating.
Succeeding at catching the ball and hitting consistently reinforces heir self esteem and pride - this is confidence.

A slap on the back by the coach also goes a long way to building confidence.

4. Learning from Adversity

How could you not learn adversity playing youth baseball? The best hitters make an out 65% of the time, everyone makes fielding errors and few teams go undefeated in a season. One more thing, how many times in the year does the team fall behind in the game, only to comeback to win.

Do we need to say more!?

5. Respect

Not all players respect their coaches, and honestl,y some coaches don't respect some kids. But this is the most important lesson to teach the kids. The coach often takes on the role of the parent, and from my experience, this is the topic where most of the parenting is done. A good coach can address the issues of respect by doing the following:

Having a meeting in the pre-season to discuss behavior guidelines for both players and parents
Insist that kids pay attention and make eye contact when addressing the group
Enforce a rule that insulting other players is out of the question and subject to severe repercussions
Realize respect is a two way street

As you can see, we often underestimate the real life skills youth baseball programs provide to our children!

Robert Bulka is a former college baseball pitcher and current coach in the New York Metropolitan area. For more great tips for teaching kids how to play baseball go to

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick