The following article was written by Mike Castellani, a current professional pitcher.
Read time: 2 min
One of the questions I get asked the most, by parents, is how to call pitches. Calling the “right” pitch consistently can be the difference between a quality start and a start that does not make it out of the first inning. The first way to handle calling pitches is to understand that each arm on your staff is different. We never want to call pitches based on what the book might say, but rather we call pitches that allow the individual to be placed in a situation where he/she can succeed most often.
Here are some steps you, as the coach, should follow:
Step 1: Preparation
- First step with your pitchers is to identify what their most accurate pitch is, and what their best “swing and miss” pitch is. For most young pitchers this will be fastball, curveball, respectively, but this is not always the case.
- The next step is to identify which side of the plate your pitcher feels most comfortable throwing to, and this is done by seeing if their fastball has natural tail (armside run), or natural cut. Most pitchers will favor the side of the plate that is closer to their armside, since most fastballs tail.
- Talk with both the pitchers and catchers about pitch calling, and allow them to shake off pitches they do not agree with. The best way for young players to learn is by self-calling games, and believe me if they shake off to a pitch that then gets hit hard they will listen and learn much more than if you had called the pitch. Let the pitchers think for themselves and welcome a dialogue of pitch selection. Afterall, our goal is to develop talent, by letting them learn how to think critically in pressure situations.
Now we get to the actual pitch sequencing. This can be a challenge for a lot of coaches who tend to get repetitive I.E. throwing fastballs early and curveballs later in counts. The easiest way to call pitches is to throw what the hitter is least likely to hit HARD. This is an important point. We as coaches are not trying to strike every hitter out, we are trying to throw the least amount of pitches and get our team back on offense. Throwing a curveball and inducing a swing and miss, is not always the best plan of action, when a fastball would have gotten a ground ball double play.
Step 2: Learning to read swings:
Hitters give away a ton of information even before they swing the bat. Identifying individual weaknesses is key to effective pitch calling. Here is a watch list of common hitter tendencies.
How far does the hitter stand from the plate?
- Watching the feet of the hitter gives us pitch number one of any sequence. If a hitter is standing too far away from the plate we must throw him a fastball away and force him to move closer exposing the inside part of the plate for future pitches. If the hitter stands too close the exact opposite is true.
Where does the hitter stride?
- Watching where the hitter strides is also a huge key to beating him/her. If the hitter strides open or closed we can exploit that with fastballs. If a righty hitter that strides slightly towards third (open) will struggle hitting fastballs away with any type of conviction, meaning you will get easy contact outs. If that same hitter strides towards first (closed) they will struggle hitting inside pitches and will jam easily.
How is the hitter’s timing
- The single easiest way to beat a hitter is by throwing the pitch they are least timed up for. So many young hitters sell out for fastballs that they get out in front of every pitch they see. If we see a super aggressive hitter we need to think about throwing fastballs in and off-speed down. Off-speed obviously makes sense, but the inside fastball maybe less so. If a hitter is early on everything his contact point will be in front of the plate. This means that with an inside fastball he can only hit the ball foul. Even if he hits it 300 feet it will always be foul. Winning strikes on fastballs early sets up the breaking ball finale. Take what the hitter gives you and use his aggression to gain advantage counts.
How does the hitter react to off-speed?
- Very rarely do I ever throw the same pitcher twice. Mixing speeds is the key to pitching, but sometimes the hitter gives up his hand and we must exploit it. Identify a hitter being fooled versus a hitter just not being capable of hitting off-speed is vital to calling a good game. Most hitters will be fooled on off-speed if their landing foot strides way too early for the pitch and they will thus swing through the pitch. But if the hitter is striding on time with the off-speed and still missing then you have identified a weakness. It is important to watch how the hitter strides on these pitches to pick up on inabilities. If we see a hitter stride early and miss, chances are he was simply fooled and will be sitting on the same pitch, although this time he will not miss. If a hitter swings early on a curveball it is a good idea to come back with a fastball inside on the next pitch, since most hitters will subconsciously refuse to be beaten by the same pitch twice. They will slow their timing and you can blow a fastball right by them.
Step 3: The right pitch in the right count
It is never a good idea to rely on the count to dictate your pitch selection, but here are a few rules of thumb to live by:
0-0 : This is a called strike count we are trying to throw our most accurate strike to our most accessible location. Get ahead and welcome swings. We will never get beat if every hitter swings first pitch.
1-0 : This is a hitters count so we must throw a fastball or changeup here. Fastballs to locations a hitter does not like or changeups down the middle. Again, we want swings but more importantly we want a strike. 2-0 is a bad place to be.
0-1 : Advantage count, hitters will be desperate to not fall behind further so the zone will increase. Fastballs on the edge of the zone in any direction work here. Curveballs for strikes are effective as well.
1-1 / 2-2 : These are the most important counts in baseball. The batting average difference from 2-1 versus 1-2 is astronomical. In all neutral counts we are hunting a strike. I personally like to throw the opposite fastball to the one I threw 0-0 here. So if I went inside to start I will go away 1-1, or the opposite. This is a count for your best pitch. If you have a good curve, use it. We want to treat this count like it is make-or-break. Throw your best stuff and live with the results.
1-2 / 0-2 : Both big advantage counts we want to think fastballs up or away off the plate, or curveballs at the shoetops. The pressure is on the hitter here, so make him have to take a tough pitch or foul it off. We want borderline pitches that are a threat and not a waste. Swings in these counts are ideal, make them swing at pitches out of the zone, and if you give up the occasional hit doing so that is fine. We do not waste pitches, EVER.
2-0 / 3-0 : These are disadvantage counts. We need strikes. 2-0 we throw a fastball to our most accessible location. For me that is an arm side of the plate fastball. 3-0 we are grooving a fastball. Let the hitter swing 3-0, 50/50 hit versus out if he does.
2-1 / 3-1 : Disadvantage counts that can yield favorable results. We know that hitters are hunting and swinging big in these counts. They are expecting fastballs. Most times they will be early and out in front, trying to pull a pitch. Throwing inside fastball and change ups are keys in these counts. If the hitter is aggressive he will foul off inside fastballs and pop changeups up. Use the hitters aggression to win you an easy strike or out.
American Baseball Camps writes these articles as part of our mission to help players get better & gain confidence. We also want to be a professional guide for youth baseball parents & coaches. You have a professional to go to for your taxes, finances, b2b needs, we want to be your resources for your ballplayers’ baseball career. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org at anytime for youth baseball advice. We hope you’ll support our business by buying our book: At Home Baseball Development Guide or by attending one of our baseball camps across the country. You can see this by visiting our camps page.
-Assuming a 6pm start time, arrive at the field at 4:45. At 5:00 head out to the outfield to stretch
Lower body Routine: 10 mins
- Jog from foul pole to foul pole
- 15 yard sets of the following: high knees, butt kicks, side shuffles, karaoke, skips for height, Frankenstein kicks, forward lunges, and side lunges
- 5, 90 feet sprints. Build up intensity with each sprint.
Upper body: 10 mins
- Jaeger band stretching
- Spine twists and lower back stretches (Cobra Stretch)
- Flat back arm swings (Bend over so back is parallel with ground and swing arms up and down so fingertips touch the turf)
- Huggers (Stand up straight and swing arms around your body in a hugging motion)
Throwing: 15 mins
- 10 throws from 30 feet nice and loose. See the ball spin out of the hand. Looking for perfect back spin. No cut spin.
- 10 throws from 60 feet in the rock-forward-rock-back stance (Spread legs father than shoulder width, rock into front leg, rock into back leg, then push off loaded back leg and throw to your target)
- 10 throws from 90 with the step behind stance. Good Rhythm. Be athletic. Bouncing around.
- 10 throws from 120. Long toss throws with crow-hop. Start with an arc on the throws and with each throw we get the angle lower and lower with the last throw being a straight line.
- Bring it into 60 feet again for the final 10 throws. 3 FBs, 3 change ups, 3 curveballs, 1 FB. (Throw all your pitches before you enter the bullpen, feel what is working and what is not)
- Final step is practice 2 throws to each base. So your throwing partner is going to be your base. Angle your body so that you pretend to field a ground ball and then throw to your partner as if he is the first baseman, second baseman, third baseman and catcher. If you plan on picking off also practice two pickoff throws to each relevant base. We do not want our first throws to a base to be in the game.
Bullpen: 25 pitches. To be thrown 15-20 mins before the game starts
- (For ages 14 and up) Start by throwing a weighted baseball (7-10 ounces) to your catcher from 30 feet. 5-10 times. Work on hitting catcher in the chest and making the arm move quickly
- Windup: 10-15 Pitches
- Stretch: 10-15 Pitches
-Note: Sequence for both windup and stretch is 3 Fastballs, 2 Changeups, 2 Curveballs, 3 Fastballs.
-Note: Execute each pitch. If you don’t like it, throw the pitch again until you feel comfortable with it.
- Final 5 pitches are designated for a simulated batter. Have the catcher call pitches and you execute pitches. (Practice like this is the first batter of the game)
- Last throw: Always end on a Fastball. Simulate the first pitch of the game.
-Leave yourself 5 mins between bullpen and game to rest and lock in mentally.
-Velocity comes from the legs not the arm. A strong front side and a powerful back leg will keep the ball down in the zone. Never think about your throwing arm. Keep it loose and relaxed.
This blog was written by current Professional Pitcher Mike Castellani. Mike excelled in the classroom and on the field at Bucknell University where he was their Ace. The left-hander then went on to pitch in the Frontier League where he is the Ace of his staff. Mike has written for American Baseball Camps in the past and is the author of our Pitching Video Evaluations. He also is a contributing author in our book: At Home Baseball Development Program
A two strike approach is a plan a hitter executes when they have two strikes on them at the plate.
Many at-bats get to two strikes in youth baseball, so it is important to have a strategy when the time comes!
Know that hitting with two strikes is significantly harder than hitting early in the count, which is already hard.
Below is a table of MLB statistics in each count, note that the two strike counts are the lowest.
This graph doesn’t tell the whole story, however.
There are a lot of things really good hitters do with two strikes that help the team tremendously but don’t count toward batting average!
Also, this graph is for the MLB. We’re talking about much harder pitches to hit with two strikes and much better defenses. Your results from reading this blog are going to be much greater than theirs, because your son/daughter is going to know things that the pitcher on the 12u team your playing doesn’t know yet.
Here’s the list of positive, non batting average, things that come from a good two strike approach:
- Ground balls where you get out but the runner scores from third
- Fly balls where the runner tags up and scores or advances one base
- Errors inflicted from putting the bat on the ball and making the defense make a play
- Limits strikeouts
- Improves on base percentage
- Improves steals
- Improves runs scored
- Makes the pitcher throw more pitches
- Tires the pitchers out earlier
- Tires the defense out
- Makes you one of coach’s favorites
Those are some pretty great things that happen when you have a great plan with two strikes, now let’s jump to the plan.
Step 1: Get Up On The Plate
9 out of 10 youth baseball pitchers will try to throw outside when the hitter has two strikes on them at the plate. This doesn’t change when you get older, in D1 and Pro-Ball it’s still like 7 out of 10.
1a. Make It Easier
When you know the ball will likely be outside, you can take that pitch away by scooting up on the plate. You’re making an outside pitch look like its down the middle – making it easier to hit.
1b. Take The Umpire Out Of It
Pitches that seem outside when you are up on the plate are going to be really outside, limiting the amount of times you get screwed by an umpires bad call on the outside corner (big plus! & sorry for the language!).
1c. Make The Pitcher Nervous
Have you ever tried to play catch with someone, when someone without a glove is standing right by them? Isn’t it a lot harder than when that person is standing further away? Same concept with pitching to someone that is standing close to the plate, it sucks. Want to get in the pitchers head and have more success with two strikes? Get on the plate.
Step 2: Don’t Be That Parent
I think we probably touch on this point in every single blog post, but gah-lee it doesn’t help your kid at all to yell at him during his at bat.
Learning a two strike approach is something that happens in the off season, in a practice, at home. It’s not a matter of yelling get on the plate when your son has two strikes on him.
If you don’t trust my opinion as a former D1 & Professional ballplayer & founder of this company, then let me hit you with the science here:
- Hitting a baseball is the hardest activity in any sport.
- Males have smaller corpus collosums, making them worse at multi-tasking than women. What does this mean? We can’t focus on hitting when our parent is yelling orders at us. It seems like it makes it better, it’s actually much worse.
- More on this: “The corpus callosum is the fiber tract that joins the left and right hemispheres in the brain and is often cited as one of the regions that show robust sexual dimorphisms: Women tend to have larger and more bulbous corpus callosa than men. This finding has been interpreted as showing that women have more communication between hemispheres, and think more holistically.” (Great Courses Daily)
- Confidence is the most important factor in hitting. Confidence is challenged by doubt & worry. Both doubt and worry are inflicted when you yell at a hitter during his at bat.
Instead: sit back, relax, and trust that your son/daughter will do what you have worked on. If not, it’s no big deal. Like every good manager says, he’ll get em next time.
Step 3: Practice It
Did you ever wonder what they do at most youth baseball practices? Play catch, ground balls, fly balls, hit, maybe base running at times.
Coach does not have the time to develop every player like they should.
Also, not to offend people, but honestly – you get what you pay for with a youth baseball coach & no one cares about your son/daughter like you do so don’t expect him to.
I will say, if your son/daughter is tough to get out with two strikes – coach is going to love him!
So as a parent, how do you practice a two strike approach? Oh crap, hadn’t thought of that. Just kidding, here’s a list:
- Wiffle balls are cheap, he already has a bat. Throw a glove on the ground that’s your plate.
- Tell him: lets work on your two strike approach, this is what you do when you have two strikes on you at the plate: 0-2, 1-2, 2-2, or full count.
- Help him with the setup.
- Scoot closer to the plate
- Choke up about 1 inch on the bat
- Widen his stance – this limits movement, most specifically head movement. Head movement can make it hard to make contact!
- Tell him to swing at anything close, and to be ready for an outside pitch.
- Throw him outside a lot and get him used to hitting balls just off the plate.
- Mix in balls often and instruct him not to swing at them. Sometimes kids can get carried away with the phrase ‘swing at anything close.’ So reinforce pitch selection, and only swinging at pitching you can hit.
- Have him explain what a two strike approach is back to you that way you know he knows it.
Work this into your backyard routine, as you should be doing as often as he is up for it. Remember, getting better and becoming a great baseball player needs to be his dream, not yours! Don’t be overbearing, but do everything you can to help him!
Thanks for taking the time to read about the game your son/daughter loves so much.
This blog was written by Nick Rotola, Founder of American Baseball Camps. Nick played D1 ball as a SS/CF at Oral Roberts, a powerhouse in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Nick played two seasons in AA American Association where he played outfield and hit leadoff/ninth. Nick is the author of many of our blogs, and of the e-book: At Home Baseball Program – Click Here To Download That Book
Coaches, I want you to take a minute and think back to your time as a player. What do you remember?
Do you remember what happened on your 310th career at-bat? Or your fourth high school at-bat result?
The answer to most of these questions is ‘no’. We tend to remember the teams that made us smile, the teammates that played the game the right way, the big pressure moments, and lastly, we share stories about those that dominated our league or those who made it to the next level.
None of our memories are combative, or are regretted opportunities, but rather the times this game was fun.
That’s what teams today miss. As coaches, one of the most dynamic pieces to a successful team is understanding that more than anything, we are playing a game.
Teaching kids to accept failure is extremely difficult, but by creating an atmosphere where your team works hard to be as efficient as possible, with the understanding of
‘MISTAKES ARE GOING TO HAPPEN’ it will better help the players control their emotions, and lead to more success as a group.
A team dynamic is important in the foundation of every team, so effectively distinguishing the main objectives of the team
(I.E. team goals, team objectives, etc.)
WHILE ALSO teaching the mental and emotional aspects that come with this game, can lead to a team bonding in more ways than just baseball.
Relate all lessons learned while playing this game to the bigger picture. Teach the kids that these lessons carry more weight than they may know now, as they will face these same feelings and emotions in the real world.
Those are going to resonate with the players, making them see the bigger picture and understand that the dynamics of the team is bigger than j
ust a “baseball only” mindset.
This will lead to players bonding together, and with the coaches on a deeper level leading to more success as a team moving forward.
Parents, as your athletes get older and begin separating themselves from their competition, are you aware of the opportunities that they truly have at the next level?
There are roughly 2,000 collegiate teams in the United States looking to fill rosters with the players that best fit and buy into their program’s traditions and beliefs on the baseball field.
Now, do not get overwhelmed, I understand that a lot of coaches talk about the percentage of players that make it to that level, (roughly 6.4% of senior athletes in High School make it to the collegiate level, according to the NCAA ), but do not let that discourage your athlete from giving it their all to play beyond their High School years.
With the new technological advancements in the game of baseball and the use of recruitment based camps and tournaments, there are new and much more accessible ways of getting a head start in the recruiting process.
New social media accounts, and online websites such as FieldLevel, Hudl, Prep Links, and so on, give coaches the ability to watch your player from the convenience and comfort of their current surroundings making recruitment far more elaborate and extensive than ever before.
By creating an online profile describing your athlete; height, weight, class of graduation, and current statistics, it gives coaches a better opportunity to find you earlier, as well as keep tabs on you throughout your high school and summer seasons.
Giving coaches video on performance, or fundamental-based video analysis, along with updated statistics allows coaches to track tendencies as well as get a better wholesome picture of a player as an athlete. With so many technological advances, I believe there is a better opportunity for a true evaluation of a player, for a longer and overall better understanding of a person’s full potential on the field.
Keeping your online profiles updated, as well as accurate, gives you that much more of a head start in the recruiting process.
Along with the advancements in technology, there has been an increase in recruitment based camps and tournaments that have become extremely detrimental in getting the appropriate exposure to recruits.
Through area-based scouting camps, there has been a tremendous increase in collegiate coaching turn-outs, and in turn the number of players that successfully get an opportunity to play college baseball has significantly gone up.
Getting involved in camps, or teams that partake in recruitment based activities gives your athlete an extreme edge over the majority of their competition.
Teaching your child to play with coaches watching, teaches them to slow the game down as well as teaches them the appropriate way to react and play the game of baseball.
Normalizing the pressure leads to both a confidence boost for the athlete, as well as experience at the most competitive level that most children do not get. What you are looking for is an edge, something that makes you stand out from the rest, and in a sport full of failures, the experience is the best thing for understanding and crafting your overall skills.
Outside of the diamond is where the impact is tremendous, teaching athletes at a young age how to correctly communicate and effectively converse with scouts, impact recruitment as much, if not more than the skills you attribute to the field.
The most asked question by coaches at the next level is, “What is he like as a person? What are his grades like? Is he coachable?”.
Thus, learning how to properly communicate with coaches is extremely important, so getting them used to these types of conversations at a younger age, gives them a head start come their junior and senior year when they start talking with coaches more frequently.
The best thing you can do is get exposure for your athlete, actually, in my opinion, there is no such thing as too much exposure, thus I would suggest going above and beyond if this truly is what your child wants to do.
Alongside recruitment camps, come competitive Select baseball. These are normally summer and winter teams that are separate from the high-school team. These teams can be extremely beneficial in getting recruited and playing at the highest level.
Find your athlete a team that partakes in recruitment based activities. Whether that being camps, or playing in tournaments that are sponsored by, or represented by college teams. These events give players direct contact and exposure to Collegiate coaches, as well as gives them a more personable experience when meeting and talking with these coaches.
By normalizing the conversations between your athlete and collegiate coaches, as well as exposing coaches to your athletes in person, it creates more opportunity for your athlete as a whole.
Remember, college baseball is a passion, but finding a home away from home is also important in finding the perfect fit for each athlete.
Using the new technological resources, as well as exposing your kids to the highest caliber of competition and pressure from playing in front of recruiters, it will best set them up for success to get seen and talked to.
Putting yourself in front of those that you are trying to impress is the best way of getting picked up and brought aboard a collegiate team, and if you successfully use the newly available resources it will increase the likelihood of being talked too, as well as finding your athletes dream school to settle down and pursue the rest of their lives.
A 3 Step Guide To A Great Car Ride Home
Parents, do you ever feel as if you are stuck on what to say to your child after a long day on the field? Now, normally on the good days, where your child has a few hits and played well the conversation might seem easy.
A quick, “Good Game”, or “Wow, way to play today!” In hopes that your son or daughter will take over the conversation with how they felt, or the play-by-play from their perspective of being on the field.
Well with all good things, comes the bad, and in those times, do you feel as if you freeze up?
Or do you feel as if the awkward silence has weight within the room, and you are finding any way to make it less stressful?
Being a college athlete, I have endured countless car rides home, some of them being my parents and I interrupting each other in excitement over the unbelievable plays made in the game and some of them being dead silent.
Though there were the bad days where no one knew what to say, not even me, those were the days that helped shaped me into the player and man I am today.
Parents, here are some helpful hints and insight into the ways to effectively communicate through the good and bad days your child will go through when playing this game.
Hint #1: BE SUPPORTIVE
No matter what kind of day your child is having, be there. Tell them how the game personally made you feel like a supporting figure, but then after, LISTEN.
For several years in my life, I believe I felt like I held my true opinions internally on the game until I was alone and could express myself. This was not healthy, as I was bottling up my emotions, rather than expressing them.
Parents, please, let your children who are passionate about their sport(s) express themselves, they need to get the emotions out and in the open in order to best cope and move forward.
Just like us adults, when we hold things in, rather than expressing them it negatively impacts our emotional aura.
Children experience this as well when playing sports, so rather than sitting in the car in silence, even if it was a tough day at the field, make sure you show support and engage in getting your children to express how they are feeling after each game, proving your true support, as well as helping them move forward.
When children see you care for their feelings, and you give them the opportunity to express themselves, it shows them how much you truly care, and are there for them as a true support system in their life both as an athlete, and an individual in this world.
Hint #2: Communicate WITH your Child, Rather than TO Him
Being an athlete you put a tremendous amount of pressure on yourself to succeed. In the game of baseball, you see as each player goes through an emotional rollercoaster throughout each game based on the different outcomes and circumstances that come within a baseball game.
Being that athletes apply so much pressure to themselves when we are faced with failure, on numerous accounts our first reaction is to be upset with ourselves for not being successful.
What this does over time is break us down, and then what we need most after is for the people we love most to adapt with us and feel as we do base on the outcomes of the current game.
Take this, for example, your son/daughter has the game of his life, goes 4-4 with a walk-off home run, the success and emotions he will feel this day will normally be much different than the day he happens to go 0-4 with 2 strike-outs.
What we tend not to realize is the significance of what they were truly feeling in those moments. Rather than saying “Today was just a tough day”, or “You tried your best”, try encouraging them by asking what they were feeling that specific day. Or, ask them what they felt did not work one day, compared to the day they were successful.
Questions that make the athlete reflect on their current states within the game will positively lead to them reflecting, and working towards better execution in the future.
Allowing your children to learn from their mistakes is a normal want for most parents, so applying the same core values to the sport they love, will show them you are there for them, rather than just there to watch.
Work with your child on coming to resolve or a solution to work for come the next time he/she touches the diamond.
Referring to the emotional side of baseball, rather than just the physical demand that comes with playing this sport will give your child insight into the larger aspect of this game.
That being, that the majority of true-life lessons you learn can be easily implemented to the game of baseball, thus making them realize in the end that we truly are still just ‘playing a game’.
Paying attention to how your child is feeling within, and effectively getting he/her to communicate it with you will lead to healthier coping remedies come the next time they feel this way, either after another game or after a life event.
Communication is key, and doing so with your child, rather than directing comments at him will better lead to fluent and healthy conversation in the car ride home from both good and bad performances.
Adjust your topics, to the things your athlete has been feeling or is expressing with you, in order to give off the most effective and efficient communication to your child.
Being an athlete is not easy, but having a support system, and someone to turn to effectively communicate when you need too is detrimental in the overall success of any athlete and person in this world.
Hint #3: Explain the Bigger Picture
Being an athlete myself, it took me a long time to see the relevance, and the overall outcomes you learn from playing the game of baseball.
There are countless life lessons I am going to take away from this game, that I never truly realized at a young age.
These lessons are something I believe children need to learn to not only see but also act upon starting at a much younger age.
Learning when to be effectively aggressive, as well as learning to control your breathing in order to better control yourself in each situation is something I wish I would have understood earlier, and it is something I believe parents can show and explain to their kids based on what each child felt and expresses to you after a game.
These moments that we as baseball players express as, “Oh I just missed that, next time I have to be ready just a little sooner” or, “Man, I didn’t expect that base-runner to do that, next time I will learn and expect them to attempt to score on the same opportunity”.
These sayings, the little things that lead to us making adjustments are things adults do every day. Whether that be, planning to leave for work a few minutes earlier on a Monday, due to traffic being a little worse than normal, or you have to accommodate to an unexpected meeting within the workplace.
These adjustments on our toes, and learning to work with them rather than making excuses to be defeated by them are things your children will one day face.
So, simply explain that to them, use their examples to better them for the world outside the white-lines, as well as within them, this way come other challenges they face, or competition that arises within their life, they will be better prepared to work to become successful.
As much as we who endure in this game love it, there is more to life and we ALL know that. But, as a child I remember thinking there was nothing more important than finding a way to win a game, the thing is that mentality should go hand-in-hand with the mentality we as athletes have outside the field as well.
As parents, make sure you express the fact that there is more to life and that these things your athlete is experiencing are things that will come up over and over again within their life, and it takes the ability of continuously making adjustments in order to best accommodate to each situation we face.
This game comes with so many highs, and lows. So many emotions and feelings that are hard to explain in words at times.
But athletes need a support system, one that is there to communicate with you and help you understand the emotions you are feeling. The life lessons and experiences that come with the game are ones that need to be remembered, and if effectively communicated and reviewed, can be detrimental in further success in life.
The car ride home from games has never been an easy task, yet I hope these hints make it a bit more impactful and beneficial for the family as a whole.