Children, Parents, Coaches!
Author: Sean Guyre
Many parents and children have to deal with coaches that do not have the same philosophical beliefs as they do. This is especially important to recognize when your children are in the transitional years. Ages 8 and 14 are crucial to learning the fundamentals of a sport. Children go from less competitive informal games with lenient rules to entering high school where coaches are extremely competitive. Coaches at higher levels hope to win and prepare the players to gain a spot to play in college or professionally.
Parents and Coaches!
Yes, some of you believe that the children need to keep the position that they will play in college or one day professionally. Newsflash! Most of your children will never play at that level. So, we need to address the problem that plagues the U.S. There is an unhealthy pressure put on both children and coaches to give the best players the best positions. However, we need to realize that in these formative years, playing all positions can be beneficial.
We do not know which of these kids will grow up to be 6’5” and have the athletic ability to play in the NFL or MLB. Not all kids are gifted athletic ability, but when they are eight or ten years old they should learn all of the positions.
This is because they may fall in love with one position more than another that you or the child never would have never discovered if you or a child is stuck on one position. It’s valuable to recognize that the child may end up thriving at another sport or another area of life and not be involved in sports at all. We need to give children a fair opportunity to learn the sport as a whole. Then they will enter middle school and high school with the skills of being a well-rounded player.
My high school baseball coach once told me that it is difficult for him when freshman tryouts come and all of the best players have all played shortstop growing up because that is one of the most athletic positions on the baseball field. The challenge is that all of the athletic students have to learn to play other positions at a late age. For example, if we take the pressure off of a child to become a pitcher, he might try basketball player or excel at another position or sport.
There are parents that take their kids outside or to the gym every single day. They make them practice to be the best. While hard work, determination, and perseverance are all admirable values for our children, please do not live vicariously through your children. Please stop pressuring them to excel in something that perhaps they do not even enjoy. Communicate with your children. Communicate with your coaches.
Build healthy communication and create a good moral structure that coincides with safe and healthy fundamental skills. Practice happiness and celebrate success with your child. Would you force a child to play the violin if they had a passion for science and experiments? I hope not. So, please America, think about the betterment of our children’s future. Promote the well-rounded athlete that can happily be engaged in healthy competition in a safe way.