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Baseball-Coaching The Youth of Tomorrow

By: Bill Bathe

Coaching our youth is a delicate practice that needs to be taken with the kids self confidence at the heart of the teaching. These days, parents and coaches alike want to win so bad, they put undue stress on the kids that can have a negative effect.

Sometimes as parents and as coaches, we try to put too much on our kids. We tend to point out the negative when we are talking to them instead of building up their self confidence. I once heard a parent yelling at his kid from the stands, "If you don't get a hit, you aren't eating dinner tonight!" Needless to say, I went up and spoke with the parent about his approach. You may think this is harmless, and you may have said it in a joking fashion. But think of the kid on the field who is playing in front of all the parents and friends who hear this as he is strolling up to the plate. Talk about stress and the feeling of rejection and humiliation if this kid doesn't come through.

Remember, we are building more than just ballplayers here. We are building people who are going to go out in the world someday. We are building character, pride, self confidence. We do this through encouragement and a nourishing attitude. Not through pointing out failures and humiliation.

But how do we get them to play better if they can't stand a little criticism? By encouraging them. When your kid takes a swing and misses, the first words out of your mouth should be, "Nice Swing! You just missed it, keep trying and you'll get a hit!". That encourages your kid to keep trying. Not only that, your kid will be excited about trying more. This promotes self confidence.

If your kid strikes out 4 times in a game, put an arm around him after the game and tell him he really swung the bat well and that he will get them next time. And tell him how proud you are of him for trying.

Remember these simple tips:

  1. Encourage them through positive reinforcement
  2. Nurture them when times are tough.
  3. Be there for them when they need your help.
  4. And love them unconditionally.

Remember, help your child out by encouragement. I can't say this enough. They will believe what they hear and if you are encouraging them all the time, they will feel good about themselves. Not only in baseball but in other things.

And also remember, be patient. They are still learning, so you need to give them time to succeed. Just keep loving them and nurturing them and the rest will fall in place.

Bill Bathe - former major league baseball player who played in the 1989 world series. Former instructors include Eddie Matthews, Harmon Killebrew, Billy Williams, and Dusty Baker to name a few. Visit his website at www.pro-baseball-drills-and-equipment.com which provides drills, information and tips. Also, digital online video analysis, equipment, posters, and more. In addition, stories and pictures on the journey to the big leagues.

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