Coaches Concussions Training:
The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) and their Heads Up Campaign has an online training program as well to teach coaches how to identify potential concussions and what to do if an athlete sustains one. Coaches please click the link to go to the CDC site and enroll in the 30 minute training as it is mandatory for every adult coach and team parent. Please email a copy of the certificate to: Vice President Josh Strikowski - >firstname.lastname@example.org
It's the job of every parent to help their children get as far as possible in life. This is likely linked to the survival instinct of all species on the planet. Pretty powerful stuff.
And it's the job of the coach to do what he thinks is best for his entire team. What the parents want and what the coaches desires rarely overlap neatly.
Volunteer coaches may not possess more knowledge of the game than some other parents. But they did volunteer their time, and were chosen by someone to guide a group of families through a season of baseball. Besides, they're likely spending a lot more time and energy and money on this than you realize.
Far too frequently, parents lose sight of the overriding goal of any team. The goal of any team In any sport is to win games. Some teams have secondary goals, such as making each player better through practice. Others just give that lip service. In any case, those are always secondary goals.
No one ever decide to put together a team with the primary goals of losing games, boring ballplayers and tormenting parents. During practices, every player should be given equal treatment. However in games, you can only choose nine ballplayers, and that should be the nine players that coach thinks give the team the best chance of winning that day.
When your kid isn't one of those starting nine and isn't playing much, you can't help but feel somewhat disappointed. That's understandable. But as adults, parents would best serve their children as examples of how to gracefully handle success, disappointment, and everything in between. That is WAY more important than Tommy’s stats as a youth baseball player.
I'm sure you've been in the stands and heard parents shout things out. And I'm also sure you've heard stories like this, but this is my story...
About a decade ago, one mid-summer evening I was sitting in a ballpark watching All Star teams of nine year olds from two neighboring towns play another. A ballplayer on one team had started the season like gangbusters, but as the season went on, he was having very little success at the plate. The coach, quite logically, was not using the kid very much in the second half of the season. He wasn't buried on the bench, but he wasn’t starting many games, and playing only a few innings each day. His parents frequently and vocally expressed their discontent at the coaching staff while they were sitting in the stands watching the games.
During the late innings of that game, the father of that 9-year old leaves the stands, shouting at the coach at the top of his lungs, "You're ruining my son's life! He's so much better than this! Why did you bench him? You s&#k!" By this time, he had walked out of the stands, across the entire infield, and was standing just three feet from his son's coach near the third base coaches box. Then he threw a haymaker at the coach, and a melee ensued. The other parents and the other coaches had to break this up. No, this was before everyone had video cameras in their iPhones, so no video exists of this event, but about a hundred people at that ball field will never forget that day. And now, you know about it as well.
Could the ballplayer have broken out of his slump if he got every possible opportunity for additional at-bats? Very likely. But it's not the coaches job to just break Matthew out of his slump. That's just one small part of what the coach has to do. His job is to spend his limited volunteer time as efficiently as possible with all of the kids to give that team their best chance of winning. That is what he owes to all of his kids, all of the parents, even the opposition, and himself.
I've been asked for advice on this situation many times. I tell parents to never depend on luck. Luck is not a plan. Teach your child to improve, and work with your child to improve their talents in baseball (just like everything else in life) so it would just be simply embarrassing for the coach to not use him. He has to fill nine spots on every game day. If your son is one of the four or five most talented ballplayers on his team, he will almost certainly play regularly. If he is, objectively, the eight or ninth or tenth or eleventh best player, he may not. The best lesson you can give is to outwork everyone, and to make your own success. Above all, parents would best serve their kids as examples of how to deal with any situation, especially adversity, because life is filled with it.
It's very, very difficult to be objective in a situation that involves competition, adversity and your child. Honestly, if the coach has four starting pitching jobs, it's almost always a difficult decision for the coach to choose among several candidates for that last spot. And objectively if your son is competing for the fourth spot, then the dice may not roll your way.
The outcome of today's game, how many innings anyone pitched and how many at bats they got, even who hit the game-winning home run will be forgotten pretty quickly, far sooner than you might imagine. Parents, players, and coaches behaving badly are remembered for a long, long time. When a parent teaches sportsmanship, civility, how to deal with adversity and failure, as well as the value of restraint, and teaches your kids valuable life lessons.
These traits will serve your son well as he matures into a contributing member of society, no matter what field he chooses.
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