I’ve learned over the time I’ve been doing private baseball lessons in Santa Monica that all kids are different. The main thing though that I’m realizing the more I get the chance to work with youth players is that if i don’t manage to make it fun, then it’s likely that the time will be wasted, even if my intentions are professional and have a wholehearted interest in what is best for the player, as is the case with every single kid I get to work with.
Baseball and softball involve so much teaching, as do any sport, and anything we try to learn and /or especially try to master. You have to be willing to be a student of the game. This is a concept that must be taught to our youth by the parents at home as well. It is important that the parents are teaching the kids about the processes of things and being aware of the processes of things as well. The process of getting ready for and eating dinner, getting the food prepared, setting the table, eating together and then doing the cleaning of the dishes and anything else necessary after. This is what it means to be undertaking championship routines from a young age.
It is vital that our parents are teaching these habits to the best of their abilities and not letting moments that are teachable moments bypass them right in front of their face. When I have 60 minutes to work without my students I only have 60 minutes. They are very influential 60 minutes, I know this, but they are only 60 minutes out of the entire week. I get the blessed opportunity to see so many different children and the way they interact with their parents and the way their parents interact with them, and subsequently the way they interact with me as well.
It is so evident when I encounter a child whose actions are indicative of those that are aware of discipline and aware of accountability. I can work with a five-year-old who is attentive and engaged and has complete awareness of what’s happening for almost the entire lesson. He’s only five years old, and he is not perfect, but his ability to listen to me definitely shows me what is possible, and I take note of the interaction his mother has with him as well. I also encounter lessons on the same exact day, sometimes back to back where it is a 12-year-old and I can’t help but have to continue repeating myself over and over and over and over again, the same thing. I tell all my players that being coachable is the most important part of being an athlete and a baseball player. It means having an ability to allow the influences, coaches, and teachers around us to have an impact on our lives in a positive way. It allows us an opportunity to filter through information as mature young adults and do the best that we can to take the best of what we are taught in the best way we can.
Every time we have a session we work hard, we have fun, and we get better. We talk about the three things all going together as an approach to our life as well. It’s #GettinMADE. In my 10 plus years of coaching the game I’ve learned that often times I have a tendency to want to teach too much and at times I forget that it’s more important to allow the spirit of a child in the connectedness of their joy to the game itself to take precedence over my priority of teaching them. It is important that I allow their development to have a chance to take place at the rate it is meant to, and not at my perceived rate. For some people developing fast is not correct, and even at times trying to go too fast will actually cause a young player to digress. Sometimes there are children that don’t sprout their greatness until later on in their life, we don’t need to expect our kids to be great after one or two or three or four or five sessions. What we want to try to expect is to allow them to tap into their greatness through championship habits and routines and processes that they begin to learn to connect to in order to maintain a balance and a consistent progression through their own initiative even as a young child. If parents allow themselves to be too busy to often to take the vital teaching moments by the horn’s and really make sure that they communicate to the best of their ability with their children about what they expect and what is right and wrong, then the kids will inevitably snowball towards personalities that do not nurture coach ability. We all must work EVEryday to find and stay connected to our balance with these principles…Working Hard, Having Fun, and Getting Better. Lets Go!