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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Coaching Your Child In Youth Baseball

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Coaching Your Child In Youth Baseball
By guest author: Brian McClure

There are many reasons to want to coach youth baseball, one is the love of baseball and wanting to teach today's youth the great experiences and fun that come with playing youth baseball. There are many parents who coach during and after their own children play baseball. This parent probably played baseball as a child and loves the sport. Another reason parents coach sometimes is because their child will not participate if the parent is not involved in some way. Some children are accustomed to Mom and Dad being around all the time, and do not take instruction well from others outside of a school setting. Sometimes it is a necessity. No one else will do it, thus the parent becomes the youth baseball coach. Without this dedicated parent the team might not exist. This parent may not have any sports experience, but is willing to take over the team for the benefit of the children.

No matter what reasons a parent becomes a coach the challenges are the same. The biggest challenge is how to treat your own child as a member of the team. Parents tend to treat their child in one of two ways.

The first is by being harder on their child than the other team members. This is sometimes because a coach feels his/her child should lead be the best player and setting an example. It could also be an effort to keep other parents from complaining about favoritism. Regardless of the reason it should be avoided. Everyone gets to play and take turns so we should treat our own children that way too.

The second way I have seen parent-coaches handle their own child is to treat him special. Special treatment is letting him always hit first or play a popular position all the time. This is very hard on parents who paid money for their child to be treated as an equal player on the team. Non parent coaches do not appreciate it either, and believe, everyone notices. Your child has to understand that he will play as a member of the team. Not a position because you are the coach. Treating your own child too harshly and favoring your child are two situations that should be avoided. One thing I've learned as a coach is to treat every child (including my own) like I would want my child to be treated if I weren't the coach.

You will be called upon to be a parent while you are coaching many times. It is difficult for kids to differentiate the roles of parent and coach and therefore you shouldn't expect them to never treat you like Dad during practices or games. An example would be when your child gets injured. Another player on the team might cry and get upset and probably expect his own parent to comfort him in some fashion. Your own child will do the same thing, and you should treat him like a parent during these times. If he gets hit with a ball at practice, and gets hurt, he expects you to treat him just like you do at home when the same thing happens. Another example would be when your child experiences the frustration of playing a bad game or losing . He won't want to hear your coaching speech on "what did we learn from that" , but will want to hear from Dad. When we leave a game or youth baseball tournament, we talk Father to son about the game, if he wants to, then we move on to something else.

As challenging as coaching and parenting can be, there will always be opportunities facing us I this role. That being said, some of my proudest moments as a coach have been related to my role as a parent-coach.

Author- Brian McClure
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