Here is the baseball play on words:
Most people seem to think that playing baseball, or any youth sport, is only about kids having fun. I know they mean well by that sentiment, but it bothers me to think that youth baseball is simply about having fun. Only kids can decide what is fun or not. Hear me out.
As mentioned, I know that in a way, I am talking about a baseball “play on words” here, but to me it’s a meaningful play on words. No matter what is said or written about youth baseball, people always come back with, but it is and should be all about having fun. OK, true, and everybody agrees with that, and that is true about most things in life – it’s about having fun. People always insist, “When something is not fun, don’t do it,” but they do not realize that fun comes and goes at various stages of one’s development, and it is not automatic, and that cut and dried. If every player quit when things were not fun, there probably would be no major league players, so people should quit insisting the game is just about having fun. Fun is doing good, no fun is doing bad – fun comes and goes.
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Some kids innately love baseball and it is fun. Others do not enjoy it, no matter how much adults try to make it fun. Then there are those players, who are on the fence, they can take it or leave it, at that point in their lives. Generally, whether players join the fun camp comes with how much baseball success they have. Success turns them into the having fun camp, whereas a lack of success, turns them to the having no fun side.
Success is the biggest determinate of fun, not adults insisting it be fun. Nobody can make the game fun for kids – not their parents, not their coaches – the fun is up to them. Some people are half full thinkers and some are half-empty ones, and others cannot automatically change them.
Baseball Play on Words – Coaches can’t make it fun, but keep the having fun possibility alive
From my experiences, most youth baseball coaches do not have the experience at coaching baseball, to make the game fun, and that is OK. To reiterate, the coach’s job is not to make the game fun for kids, in and of itself – and that is the baseball play on words – but to coach them in a way that they have a chance at that success. The success comes at different points in players’ careers, when the fun follows. Until that point, coaches have the responsibility of not taking the fun out of the game, which is an important distinction from “making the game fun.” Staying positive with coaching and parenting, which all adults can choose to do, buys the time kid’s need to join the fun side of sports, or not.
Once again, this may seem like a baseball play on words, but all coaches and parents should know how to keep the fun possibility in the game by coaching the baseball skills and strategies, without going to the negative side of coaching.
Adults, keep the fun possibility alive, by not doing these:
- Nagging kids to practice more
- Never being satisfied with their results
- Failing to praise effort
- Failing to look for and tell kids of little signs of improvement, no matter how small the improvement
- Expecting improvement to come in leaps and bounds
- Expecting kids to have fun all the time – remember, striking out is not fun
- “Showing kids up” in front of others by singling them out with negative talk or actions
- Demeaning kids’ characters with “You” talk, instead of describing their actions.
All of the above, even though a baseball play on words, is a long way of saying that a coach’s role is to give kids a chance at success by developing players skills with positive coaching, so the having fun possibility remains. Adults, parents and coaches, cannot automatically make baseball fun, nor is that their main job, but it is their job to keep the possibility of players having fun in players’ baseball futures through knowledgeable coaching of the game – fun will be decided by the players.