How I See It

I see lots of posts about younger kids making mistakes, not having a great game, etc. and thought I would offer some perspective based on our recent experience.

My 12-year-old was offered a great opportunity. We live on the east coast and he was invited to play with a team on the west coast.

We do not play a full schedule with the west coast team but play in larger multi-day tournaments. The team is good. They win a lot. They also lose. Here is what I have learned splitting my time between two coasts:

Every tournament has teams that care more about the win than the well being of the children on the team.

No matter where you play, you may encounter the coach that will stall a game to run out the clock and secure the win, you will hear parents heckling children on the opposite team, and you will find those gems that support every child regardless of the jersey the kid is wearing.

Just because a coach yells at a player doesn’t mean the coach doesn’t have the player’s best interest at heart. The coach that never yells at a player likewise isn’t necessarily developing a better ball player.

The best teams will lose to teams that they could have beaten. That’s baseball (and life).

College and MLB Scouts do NOT attend 12u tournaments, even in Phoenix during Spring Training.

Players will have bad days.

Every kid makes mistakes. EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.

No matter how great the pitcher every game will not be a perfect game.

How the kids react to the loss/mistake, is directly related to how the coaches and parents react (this is a biggie and when adults realize this…gamechanger).

If we as parents only focus on the negative the players do the same, get down on themselves and on each other. Then you have a team that will struggle to gel and play as a team (another biggie and also…gamechanger).

As I watch, I see mistakes. I see teams rally, recover and comeback. I also see teams that allowed the mistakes to get in their heads and they fell apart making more mistakes.

These moments are fleeting and will be gone before you know it. Enjoy the ride and try not to stress so much about the wins, the losses, or having the best player on the team.

When those stresses strike, try and find the ways all the players contributed during the game and focus on the contributions instead of the errors.

One day your little guy will be playing high school or college ball and there may be a scout watching. Mistakes will matter, but recovering from those mistakes and moving on could make all the difference.

These are the years when the game is supposed to be fun.

-Jeanne Bird,

Baseball Mom

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