Walsh's Pearls of Little League Parenting

The Little League season has concluded. Your little leaguer has completed an enjoyable and satisfactory season. Your child has shown a desire to continue to learn and foster their baseball skills. It is now time for you, the parent to give them some guidance in this endeavor.

The secret to teaching your child the fundamentals of baseball is to make it FUN. Learn not to be your child’s summer baseball coach. Enjoy the time you spend with your child and play. Playing is one of the fundamental ways of learning. Communicate with the young ballplayer. Let the child control the tempo and request your help in developing the skills.

When it comes to encouraging their athletic children, parents walk a fine line. Offer too little encouragement and your kids will think you’re uncaring. Offering too much, and you run the risk of appearing: a) insincere; b) unrealistic; or (worst of all!) totally embarrassing. For most parents, the main purpose of encouragement is to increase your child’s confidence in their athletic ability.

Create opportunities for success.  There’s a simple word for this: P - R - A - C - T - I - C - E. The more your child practices, the more opportunities they have to do something right. Confidence comes from doing things. Before you can ride a bicycle or drive a car, you have to learn how. Success is addictive. The more successes you have, the more you want to try for.

Help your child learn from their mistakes and then move on. This is probably one of the hardest things for kids to learn. It seems like they either want to dwell on their mistakes to the point of obsession, or else they don’t want to talk about it, don’t want to think about it, and certainly don’t want to analyze it to figure out how not to do it again. You need to help them understand that what matters is not doing something “wrong” or “badly.” What matters is recognizing the mistake and using it to do better next time.

Look for the “good” reason behind the mistakes your child might make. There will be times when your child, will do something that, on the surface, appears incredibly stupid. But before you jump all over them, take time to ask them what their reasoning was. You may find that there was a method to their apparent madness. I would encourage all parents to do what they can to help keep sports fun for their kids. Remember, a person rarely succeeds at something unless they enjoy doing it.

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