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BallPlayers Dont Fall Far From the Tree Vol.141 April 2016
April 07, 2016

Players Do Not Fall Far From the Tree

Your Child’s Success or lack of success in sports does not indicate what kind of parent you are.

But having an athlete that is coachable, respectful, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient and tries their best IS a direct reflection of your parenting.

We have all played on teams or observed teams that included players that we just didn’t enjoy being around all the time. They come in various forms with unique skill sets.

As a parent you may have little control or influence on how well your child plays the games or not.

But, a parent IS judged on how far the apple falls from the tree as far as having an athlete that is coachable, respectful, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient and tries their best IS a direct reflection of your parenting.

When a player does not receive coaching well, does not respect others or respect the game, is selfish to their teammates, mentally falls apart regularly, alibies and makes excuses and always gives less than 100% effort then it would be a good bet that some if not all of these characteristics have been fostered into the child by the folks who are raising them.

Baseball Is The Vehicle

Naturally, a wise parent and/or baseball coach would try to use baseball at every opportunity to teach more than the game.

Baseball acts as the vehicle to deliver opportunities for us to use as teachable moments. Rather than building a climate on the ballclub that uses winning and losing as the sole barometer of success or lack of, why not incorporate some life-long character training into your culture?

The wins and losses will soon fade away into the past, but the reactions to situations, holding your emotions in check during competition, bouncing back from the valleys, putting others before yourself, playing humble during victories, are all experiences that stick with us for a long time.

Parents and coaches that can emphasize character over athletic successes see the ‘whole picture’ not just the here and now.

Why not raise the ‘classiest player’ on the team regardless of sport success. Rarely will baseball players even play the game into high school much less post high school.

But they will grow up to able to sustain themselves and become responsible workers, family people, and parents themselves.

Hopefully, their apples will be ones we want to fall close to the tree too.

Bunts & Walks Win Games But at What Cost?

Sure, bunting stresses and tests the defensive team’s ability to execute and ‘catch & throw’ consistently (which the large majority of youth level teams cannot do).

Yes a team could win a bunch of games by bunting all the time on a regular basis. Winning in this fashion is not in the best interests of a player’s development.

Hitters need every at-bat to get as many quality swings as possible—otherwise it might be game-over for the non-hitters.

So, pack away the sacrifice bunting and all your ‘strategy’ and let the kids swing it. So what if you lose a few along the way. The object is to develop hitters that can ‘square-up’ on the barrel consistently.

I hear coaches say, “But Coach Dave, I have players that cannot hit and I don’t want them to go home all dejected. At least if they can lay down a bunt they will feel a little bit good about themselves.” I say you are taking the easy way out.

You are settling. Settling to speed up the process of sending a kid right out of baseball without ever hitting a ball squarely on the ‘sweet spot’.

By the way, just substitute ‘walk’ for ‘bunt’ in the above article and you will see how I feel about my players getting walks below high school (I don’t like my players to walk or bunt).

Re-read the article as if it says ‘walk’ (instead of bunt). Sure I hear, “But Coach Dave, my team’s parents want to win and if I teach hitters to be aggressive the parents don’t understand why we are free swingers and trying to get quality swings.

Answer: It is called a pre-season meeting to explain your coaching approach and philosophy about your best interests in their children’s player development, and you are not interested in the win-at-all-costs approach. No Bunting in Baseball Pre-Season Parent Meeting

Where is the player development?
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April 2016 Vol. 141 Additional Topics

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Until next time, Thanks for your service to Baseball!

Dave Holt
Baseball Development

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