5 Ways To Encourage In A Game Of Failure
#1 Build Self-Esteem
In D1 Baseball we learn about the importance of self-talk and how it can translate into better success on the field. This is something I wish I would have known when I was growing up in youth sports. Self talk is so important — Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake.
It is important in self-esteem building to not compare yourself to others in baseball! So many of the complaints we hear from baseball parents have something to do with some other player on their team and “special treatment.” Jealousy and comparisons with teammates are not healthy thought to be going through a youth baseball players’ head. Parents don’t compare your kid to others on the team.
#2 The Power of the Bribe
A great way to encourage in youth baseball is with the good old-fashioned bribe. Coaches and parents, pick up a pack of helmet stickers at a local sporting goods store for around $5-10. With these stickers you can interchange hits or home runs with numbers on the back of his helmet. This way you can encourage his success while incentivizing him to be successful.
#3 Positive Reinforcement > Negative Reinforcement
In an already negative game (especially when you get older) extra negativity should be avoided. We already talked about negative thoughts and comparisons with teammates. But there are other areas where positivism and encouragement can overcome negativity. Smiles are better than stern looks when a child looks at you during a game. Smiles are so powerful. They always tend to make others smile. Rather than getting on to your kid when he messes up in baseball try phrases like: “so what” or “get em next time.”
After all, it is just a game. A game that is much more fun when you are encouraged along the way!
#4 Seek Encouraging Instruction
There are two types of coaches out there, the one that encourages, and the one that screams at kids because he’s stuck in 1997 when he played. Seek out those coaches that are knowledgeable enough to know that kids play the best when they have high self-esteem and believe in themselves. Find coaches that cultivate that kind of mindset at the baseball field.
#5 Sign up for a Fun Baseball Camp
The best and most encouraging baseball summer camps in the country are American Baseball Camps. D1 instruction from the D1 Players with an emphasis on encouragement: Phoenix AZ | Wichita KS | Kansas City MO| Tulsa OK
– Guest Author: Nick Rotola Professional Baseball Player
Baseball is expensive, put more of your money into tournaments and camps that will make your kid better and less into gear with these savvy baseball shopping tips.
#1 Dick’s Sporting Goods — Online Clearance Opportunities
In 2016 Dick’s Sporting Goods announced its plan to build additional distribution centers across the US. They’re doing this because sporting goods like baseball equipment only sell in season. When they’re not selling particularly well (like right now for baseball) they are just burning holes in their distrubution center shelves as they are hoping to fill them with more in-season gear (like football right now). They need to get this baseball stuff out, that is why their clearance selection is so large right now during “baseball limbo.”
Here is a screen shot of some of their top bats on clearance:
The first one, the Easton Mako Torq for $199, that bat was $399 at one point. I’m telling you buy them clearance.
*Here’s another tip* – The college guys, we get to test these new bats, we velocity test them, bat speed, the whole nine yards. What do we learn? THERE IS NOTHING BETTER ABOUT THE BRAND NEW MODEL. In fact, many of the 3 year old bats have more pop because they’re broken in. If you watch the CWS (which is the best players in the world still swinging medal bats), many of them are using models from 2 and 3 years ago. They aren’t improving year to year, just new branding. So buy one that’s a couple years older, and let him use it for a couple of years so it fully breaks in.
#2 Baseball Savings — A Great Option For Gloves
First of all, don’t get your kid a new glove if he’s comfortable with the one he’s got right now. There’s a famous story about Dustin Pedroia (2nd Baseman for the Red Sox) when he was at Arizona State. Glove company Wilson came in and gave everyone on the team a brand new glove with their name on it and everything with only one stipulation, you had to wear it in games. Dustin wouldn’t do it. He was ASU’s starting SS and he had been using the same glove since he was 11 years old. ASU’s glove contract with Wilson survived, but it tells us something interesting about gloves. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY ONE EVERY YEAR. In fact, if you look at the best fielders on your kids’ team, they’re probably all using gloves they feel really comfortable with. Comfort is everything with gloves. Most of the time that means finding one that you like, and sticking with it for a long time.
Below we have selected a cheap an expensive glove option from Baseball Savings. I think they’ll both work great and hopefully your kid sticks with them for 4 or 5 years. After the 2 year mark is when you really fall in love with a glove. If you notice, both of these gloves are Rawlings. We think its the best leather, and if you look at the big league infielders, most of them use Rawlings. The big difference between these two great gloves is the leather. The cheap option here is a nice “I-Web” glove that is going to be good for a long time. The expensive option here is the “Pro Preferred” model and its a “Trapeze-Web”. This is one of the most famous shortstop gloves of all time. A lot of pros like this glove. Both of these gloves are 11.5 inch which is for a shortstop or second baseman. Third baseman traditionally use an 11.75 inch glove, and outfielders a 12.75 inch glove.
Cheap Option Expensive Option
#3 Get New Balance Cleats — Most Comfortable & Last The Longest
Many of the College teams are switching over to New Balance cleats because the players are asking for them. These things are crazy comfortable and they last a long time. Cleats may be something you have to buy every year depending on your kids’ playing style, but these have the best chance to last you 2 or 3 years. Here is a screenshot of a good, low, molded cleat.
These recommendation were based on several hours of research and years of experience at the D1 level.
– Guest Author: Nick Rotola Professional Baseball Player
“You don’t need a ticket to see some of the best baseball in the world, you just need to drive one of the players to the game.”
The quote is true, youth baseball is an extraordinary part of the year for tens of millions of families across the US. So much excitement and fun and togetherness. Youth baseball is an excuse for families to rally behind each other: picking each other up in the lows and celebrating in the highs.
It’s all fun and grand right? Kids are active and they have fun and play with their friends and spent tons of quality time with their family right? Not really.
We could go on for days on how things have changed, but to highlight a few:
- Kids are looking at their screens 7+ hours a day according to a study (causing anxiety rates in children to reach an all-time high according to this study)
- Childhood obesity has risen to 18.5% according to this study
- Families spend an average of 37 minutes of quality time together each day according to this article.
So the athletic environment as a whole is unattractive, yet youth baseball attendance is growing. Why? Could parents be onto something? Maybe its the perfect medicine for a kid growing up in today’s tech-obsessed, unhealthy, and family-distant America.
In this article, we dig into this subject a little deeper.
Youth Baseball As A Cure: Less Screen Time More Quality Time
According to Pew Research in their study, less than 20% of American homes contain a stay at home parent. This means that 90% of US Parents are only getting to see their children after work (don’t all sigh in relief at once). That’s not to say that working parents are the problem, it just makes the time parents are getting with their children a bit more important. As quantity goes down, quality should go up right? It’s not.
“When you’re with your kids you really need to be good about putting your phone down or your tablet down and talking to them and being engaged because they pick up on exactly what you’re doing,”
An article by the NY Post takes it a step further as it analyzes true quality time American families spend each day and concludes that its fallen to 37 minutes per day. Yikes!
Where’s the quality time going? How do we fix it?
I want to pitch a solution that worked for my family, is working for hundreds of baseball parents we currently work with at American Baseball Camps, and that is Youth Baseball
Whether you are driving to tournaments and staying at hotels, or taking your kid to practice and hanging out, baseball provides a bunch of great quality moments together (unwedged by tech)!
This week Baseball Parents all across the US are hitting Starbucks drive-throughs at 7 AM and running yellow lights all the way to the ballfield to make a Round Robbin Tournament Game and there is nothing wrong with that.
You are making memories. You are all (parents too) putting your amazingly entertaining phones away and making memories as a family.
So, your quality time is improving, and the fact that you are actually getting up and doing something is limiting screentime as well.
This is backed by the data as Research Gate’s new study concludes at physical activity makes it easier for kids to follow screen limitations.
“What we discovered: Children’s odds of exceeding screen-time limits decreased as the number of physical activity sessions increased.”
So we know youth baseball limits screentime, it provides equal or better entertainment, and increases quality time, what else?
Youth Baseball As A Cure: Mental Development
As we all know from the workforce, it’s tough to do anything without a great team. Forming a team, finding the right teammates, and contributing to the group, are all important factors.
As ballplayers begin to develop in youth baseball they start to develop traits that will make them successful in life. Here are our favorite two:
1. Youth Baseball helps you function well with a team
Every baseball player has the choice to elevate his teammates or not. It really doesn’t have a negative side effect, encouraging your teammates and helping them to become better always has a place in baseball.
Good teammates are the ones that learn to not throw their stuff because it’s not all about them. They choose to focus on the success of the team rather than their own success. They are coachable, friendly, easy to be around, and hardworking.
Any coach worth his weight will be teaching his youth ballplayers these traits, and its pretty cool when kids are encouraged by someone that’s not their parent.
2. Youth Baseball helps with handling adversity.
It’s such a broken record but I guess I’ll say it, baseball is a game of failure. Hitters that hit safely 3 or 4 times out of 10 in youth baseball are considered successful. So what about the other 6-7 times? Disappointment!
Baseball is really good about teaching kids to deal with it and good coaches are good about teaching kids to stay even keel throughout a ballgame. Don’t believe in the even keel thing as a parent or coach? Just watch every single baseball manager and how he treats his ballplayers during the game.
Youth Baseball As A Cure: Physical Development
Youth baseball, like many youth sports, is better played when your body feels better.
Don’t believe us? Just watch any MLB player when he’s giving advice to younger kids, its always one of the first things they say to focus on.
Here are a few quick things kids can learn about physical health if they are playing the game the right way.
- Getting good sleep before a game helps you play better.
- Eating healthy meals & drinking lots of water makes you feel better when you play.
At the family level, baseball can also be used as a way to teach healthy food & hydration habits. Being aware of your body and what kinds of foods make you feel better and play better in a baseball game is a great introductory way to understand nutrition as you tackle (a hopefully health conscious) life as an adult.
Hey, it sure beats “if you eat all your food I’ll let you stay up late, or watch more YouTube!
Youth Baseball As A Cure: Longer Attention Span Reduced Anxiety
We touched on it earlier but here are the hard numbers regarding anxiety levels among children 6-17:
2003 – 5.4%
*iPhone is Invented*
2007 – 8%
*Tablet is Invented*
(Source: Center for Disease Control & Prevention)
So how does baseball solve this problem anyway? It doesn’t fully, but it moves kids in the right direction.
If you’ve ever heard the negative connotation “baseball is boring” you may understand where we are going with this.
To be successful in the game of baseball, you have to be “in the moment” (as leading mental conditioning coach Brian Cain states). You have to be present, focused, and attentive to what you are doing every time you play.
Leading attention span experts like George Orwos have stated that when you are forced to practice focusing for long periods of time you will get better at focusing for long periods of time.
In short, being able to stand in the field for 15-minute innings is equivalent from an attention span standpoint to reading for 15 minutes. Pretty cool right!?
When we do something like read a book for 15 minutes or stand in the outfield for 15 minutes, or brain is in something called a “latent state.” If you don’t know about the importance of the latent state for our brains I’d recommend Netflix’s documentary entitled Tech Addict by Buzzfeed.
To sum up the latent state, it’s like giving your brain some time to breathe. Its good for our brain and it helps us to deal with things when our brain gets time to charge. If you want to test it, tell your kid something frustrating after 2 hours of watching YouTube Videos vs. right after an hour and a half baseball practice. I bet he deals with it better after a mostly “rested brain” and more physical activity releasing positive endorphins into his/her bloodstream.
In conclusion, is baseball a cure to many of the things attacking today’s youth? We believe so.
Blog written by Nick Rotola. Nick holds a Masters in Business Administration and is a Minor League Ballplayer with the Cleburne Railroaders. Nick owns and operates American Baseball Camps, a baseball camps company with baseball camps around the US.
Click the map to see if we have a youth baseball camp near you
American Baseball Camps Receives a 99% Satisfaction Rating
American Baseball Camps (Founded in 2016) issues random surveys to randomly selected parents after camps in 2017 & 2018 and finds that 99% of parents found their camp extremely rewarding for their ballplayers’ ages 6-12.
American Baseball Camps Featured Review
“Dear American Baseball Camps, you saved my kid’s baseball career!! He’s an 8 year old ballplayer who comes from a baseball family and he just grew tired of the game. When I asked him why he didn’t want to play anymore, he said that its no longer fun (he would rather play Fortnite!). Anyways, it was sad for our family because we’re a family of ballplayers and the game means a lot to my wife, brothers, father, and I. Long story short, when I saw a video of your camp I thought, let’s give it one more try.
My boy came with a frown on his face, expecting American Baseball Camps to be a huge let down. Boy was he wrong! The next morning I woke up at 7:30AM to find him fully dress in his American Baseball Camps shirt and hat eating breakfast, he couldn’t wait to get to camp!! After camp he asked me to play catch in the back yard and we even set up slip n’ slide wiffle ball to play on Sundays.
When I asked if he wanted to play fall-ball he said yes and was very excited. Whatever it is thats causing kids to want to quit baseball whether its the pressure, or its not fun anymore, or video games just seem more interesting, just give American Baseball Camps a shot. Their whole purpose is to make baseball fun again, and to make kids better ballplayers by helping them fall in love, or deeper in love with the game. Thank you American Baseball Camps, you made my kid’s summer, and you made my year!” – Dalton B.
American Baseball Camps 2019 Reviews (Just Some Of Our Favorite)
“Hey American Baseball Camps, my name is Susan Combs and my son Cruze Combs attended your KC Baseball Camp this week. I wanted to let you know that he had a really great time, and we really appreciate you coming through KC!! He’s already asking to go back next year!” – Susan C.
“American Baseball Camps, if you haven’t been yet, your ballplayer is missing out!” – Amanda S.
“We were excited to attend an American Baseball Camps camp because we had been referred by my cousin and boy were we impressed. They helped my boy more in one week than his coaches could help him in a life time! (Don’t show his coach this)! – Gina F.
“This is our (I think) fourth year of attending American Baseball Camps and they just keep improving the dang thing.” – Sally P.
“I was excited for my boy to attend camp because after he attended last year he took off at the plate. This year, he’s 11, and he just absolutely loved it. Made great friends at camp and memories that’ll last a lifetime.” – Coach Kevin O.
“American Baseball Camps transformed my kid’s game in a way I couldn’t have dreamed. I wish they came to my city more than once per summer, I’d send him every time!” – Paul D.
“One of the best things I get from parents is how impressed they are with the improvements their kid makes over the 4 days. What I tell them is that in the course of a season you may only have 20-40 hours of practice. Out of those 30 hours, your kid may only get 15-20 quality hours of work, the coaches just aren’t big time college and pro coaches, they are coaches of 6-12 year olds. Any ways, what I tell parents is that our camp which is about 26 hours is about as much baseball repitition as your kid gets in an entire spring/summer of practices. Its no wonder he improves that wild amount, we just get to work and work them, and we make it so fun, they don’t even realize they are working so hard!” – Coach Rob R. (One Of Our Camp Directors)
American Baseball Camps 2018 Reviews (A Select Few)
“Finally found a good baseball camp that’s all day with early drop off! If you can’t drop your kid off, you can’t go to work… Thank you American Baseball Camps!” – Grace S.
“What a great experience for my boy! Memories made that will last a lifetime!” – Aubrey L.
“Drove my kids 2 1/2 hours for this camp and I’d do it again!” – Katie T.
“Great camp! My boys learned a lot and they had a great time! Thank you American Baseball Camps, we will be back!” – Kaycee D.
“Can’t say enough good things about American Baseball Camps. Great coaching and SO much fun.” – Sarah S.
“As a Baseball Coach that knows enough to get by, its nice to send my boy to a camp where he can get the cutting edge instruction, and receive coaching from someone other than his dad. Great value of a camp, we will be back. Ps. My boy Buddy caught smoking fire at the plate after camp! Thank you American Baseball Camps” – Coach Kevin O.
“The highlight of Zeke’s summer! Can’t wait for the next one!” – Susannah S.
“Would definitely recommend! My son begged to go back again… Even though it was his third straight year of American Baseball Camps! These guys are doing it right.” – Lindsay S.
“Much more personal instruction than the College Camps! We appreciate it and will definitely come again. Thanks!” – Amanda S.
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