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Tips For Parents Of Youth Athletes

As you watch parents, coaches, and athletes interact to become teams most of these interactions are positive. But occasionally you will notice areas in which parents can really help to make the athletic experience a positive learning experience for their kids. To make sports more fun for your children, more enjoyable for you, and a heck of a lot easier on those people who volunteer their time and skills - read the following.

Work with your child. There really is little more satisfying than going out at least a few evenings a week and watching your child play ball. This gives quality time, and helps your child improve his/her skills.

The better your child can play the more the more she/he will enjoy the Little League experience!). Some day, your child will look back on the summer evenings spent playing catch with mom and dad.

Get involved in your local League. Little League is run on a volunteer basis, and they can use all the help they can get. Anything you can do to pitch in will make the League run more smoothly, and will help all the kids, from helping out at tryouts, to score keeping or field preparation, to umpiring. If your child sees that Little League is that important to you, he/she will learn that it is important to the kids, too. Helping out by field prep, score keeping, and umpiring; in addition to making it a satisfying experience for the parent, I was able to teach my son some of the things that others (umpires!) look for in a game. And, the Leagues provide all of the training anyone needs. Some people worry that they are not qualified--I say if you make a mistake, you can offer to give back the money you earned that day (remember--it's volunteer work!!). Besides, even coaches and players make mistakes...the point is to learn and to 
have fun, and to teach kids that you care!!!

Different coaches have different philosophies. Some believe in having players play all positions, some want players to become good at one. Some coaches place more emphasis on winning (and I can tell you, from experience, that players have more fun when they are winning). It is IMPORTANT to remember that your child's coach is not being paid, he is working for the love of the game and the kids. Let him be the coach! Don't argue and criticize if you think your child is being treated unfairly (as parents, it is natural to be very protective, but most coaches aren't discriminating). If you think there is a problem, discuss it with the coach AWAY from the ball field; chances are that you will see his point of view. The important thing is not to make an issue in front of the players; along 
with baseball, they are learning to work as a team and to respect authority and not to ruin this teaching.

For heaven's sake, show up for the games AND the practices. In today's busy world it is sometimes hard to juggle schedules, but this is your child! I cannot begin to tell stories of kids I've seen who never tried to excel at Little League, and invariably these kids were dropped off at practices and picked up afterwards, without the parent(s) ever watching a single practice. It's only a couple of times a week, a couple of months out of the year! The most irritating are the parents who don't ever watch practice (and, therefore, never understand the coaches philosophy), but will question (yell!) at a coaches decision during the game. Most people wouldn't dare to not show up for work and still tell the boss what's wrong with the company, but they will turn around and do just that with their child's' coach.

Respect the rules! This is what the kids should be learning. If you don't agree with an umpires call, keep it to yourself. If there is a team rule that bothers you, well, its their team...not yours. If you think there is a serious problem, take it up with the coach or a League official on your own time, not your child's'. Rule of thumb: during practice or games, don't speak unless spoken to (except, of course, to cheer on ALL the kids).

Don't create pressure. Just about every father dreams of his son becoming a major league star, but they are only children. Don't expect more than they can deliver. Give positive encouragement, and be there when they need you. Besides, often a child in early years will lack certain skills, and blossom later on. Don't fight nature, or the kids.

Ice Cream!!! No one likes to lose, but the nature of a team sport is that one team will always lose. Teach your child that he/she didn't lose, the team lost. And they lost to a team that just happened to play better that day. There is always next time, and the important thing is to learn from the defeats. Its okay to analyze why someone lost, and how they can do better next time. It's never okay to place blame! Then, go out and have an ice cream cone.

Have Fun!!!!! Little League should be a positive experience for everyone: kids, coaches, support staff, and parents. Winning is nice, but losing is inevitable. Being a star is fun, but being a bench player is just as important. Take the opportunity to enjoy your child's' childhood, and to teach some important life lessons!!

Contact Us

Cherry Hill American Little League

P.O. Box 2532 
Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08034

Email Us: [email protected]
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