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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Youth Baseball Life Skills and the Iron Man Award

Youth Baseball Life Skills and the Iron Man Award
By guest author: Robert Bulka

Do you want to teach your kids about life? Do you want to teach them how to interact socially? How about learning sportsmanship, leadership skills, respect, discipline and other skills essential in life? Youth baseball leagues are the perfect venue. Youth baseball has everyone you need to teach your kids important lessons about life in general. And at the end of the baseball season, it makes sense to reinforce the lessons by acknowledging the achievements each player has made in this respect.


Good leaders are made, not born. Young baseball players can learn the qualities that make someone a leader, including: education, training, and experience. Inspiring youth baseball players requires them to be able to get the whole team working together.

A good youth baseball coach should be able to provide every player the ability to act in a leadership by using some very simple techniques. They can empower each of them in a team captain role during practices, or they can assign tasks that require them to delegate responsibilities to their teammates.


Youth baseball leagues are a great vehicle for teaching our youth about sportsmanship. When we talk about sportsmanship, we are talking about playing fair, following the rules of the game, respecting the judgement of the umpires and treating players, parents and coaches with respect. Sportsmanship also includes courtesy and grace in losing. Youth baseball is a great proving ground for applying real life experiences to teaching this skill. As a youth baseball coach or parent, if you find yourself in the position where a sportsmanship issue needs to be addressed; do it alone and away from the rest of the players. There is no need to embarrass anyone.


Teamwork is an life skill to teach our kids. It is particularly important for a baseball team to function like a well-oiled machine. If just one member of the infield is unwilling to act as a member of the team, an entire game could be lost. Therefore, all members of a baseball team need to work together in order to encourage, applaud and truly give each play their all. As a parent, it is important to be part of the team by attending practices and games, cheering for every child on the field and celebrating the successes of each and every child involved in the games.


Youth baseball is a way to teach our kids about competition. Children who get involved with sports at an early age are more likely to maintain a good level of fitness and activity throughout their life. Youth baseball league competition helps kids boost self-confidence, improve coordination, and build discipline, focus and respect. Team sports teach social skills and cooperation, and give kids a solid foundation and sense of belonging and partnership.

Developing a child's competitiveness while teaching them to both win and lose gracefully can help them tackle the obstacles and accept the setbacks that life will naturally encompass. Many adults who are leaders and volunteers in the community are giving their time and experience to help make the sport(s) they enjoyed as youngsters enjoyable for another generation of children.

Overcoming Adversity

How critical is it to be able to overcome adversity. The game of baseball is full of adversity. Consider that a good batting average is considered anything over .300. A pitcher is considered good if his winning percentage is over .500. players make errors and strikeout. Youth baseball teaches kids how to come back after adversity. Each time a youth baseball player comes up to bat or goes into the field, they have a chance to redeem themselves from a previous failure. Overcoming adversity gives the kids confidence in themselves and gives them the feeling they can accomplish anything. Overcoming adversity is all about gaining confidence.


Why is hustle a life skill? Hustle is an important indicator of work ethic. What employer wants a worker how is doesn't give their all? The same is true in youth baseball - lack of hustle is viewed negatively and is frowned upon. It is important for youth baseball coaches to emphasize hustle. This means running on and off the field, running out hits, fly outs and ground ball outs. Hustle is a true quality of a champion and shows passion.


Discipline can be defined as a system of rules of conduct or method of practice, being well behaved, self control and training to improve strength. When we talk about discipline in youth baseball, we are talking about players being able to take constructive criticism, and then applying the advice given by the coach. It also is about having good behavior and controlling emotions, both on and off the field. In this day and age discipline seems to be the one life skill that many of our children need most.

Today's family structure is much different than the past. Kids parents are divorced or they come from a single parent home, which means the parents may not be able to put in the time. The may cut them slack because they feel guilty about not being there for them. Discipline is a life skill that our children will need to be successfully in life.

Acknowledge Success and Accomplishments

It's important to acknowledge the accomplishments of each and every player on your youth baseball team. You obviously need to reward those who have excelled in the physical accomplishments, such as the progress make in hitting, catching and pitching. But also reward them for the accomplishments made in the skills described.

But there is one more life skill that is very important for the development of our children. It is perfect attendance and being punctual to all youth baseball practices and games. This is so important, that our youth baseball league has created an Iron Man award.

IronMan - Perfect Attendance

The Iron Man award was conceived by a few coaches who wanted to reward the kids who were committed to their team. It was based on Cal Ripken's record of playing in a record 2,632 straight games spanning sixteen seasons, from May 30, 1982 to September 20, 1998. The award is given to every player who has attended every day of school and every baseball game in the season. Each recipient is awarded a cash prize (usually a U.S Savings Bond between $100 and $250 provided by local businesses) and featured in the local paper.

What an outstanding way to influence our kids futures. Not only does it make the kids and their parents proud, but it makes the whole community proud and gives kid good publicity instead of the never ending pounding of isolated negative incidents of America's youth. What a great way to support and encourage the future of our communities.

Robert is a youth baseball coach who is concerned with teaching our children life skills through the experiences in baseball.

Teach Kids Baseball is devoted to providing tips and techniques for coaches, parents and players involved in youth baseball.

He also recommends instructional baseball ebooks

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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