Tips for Being a Good Baseball Mom (and Dad)

When we entered the world of travel baseball, we had to come up with a parenting game plan. Since my husband was coaching, I left the coaching to him (as best as I could). My job as mom was to work on his inner player. To be his cheerleader. Even when he didn’t want it.

Whether they say it or not, our kids want to always have our support. Of course, we all cheer and clap on our players but there’s more to being supportive than cheering.

And when our players need it the most, when they are having difficulties, it can be hard to find the right words.

Tips for Being a Good Baseball Mom (and Dad)

It’s just a game. Hear me out. We all know winning feels good and we want our kids to play their best and win. But it’s not the be all, end all. Getting upset, yelling and screaming about the game, doesn’t change the score on the board. It just stresses your child (and everyone else) more.

Umpires are human beings. Who are also giving up their own time to be with their families. And, yes, they will make mistakes. Keep your comments to yourself and let the coaches handle what is going on out on the field. And, again, you will probably end up embarrassing your child as well.

Don’t feed into the negativity. I know this is hard when everyone around you is complaining or yelling. But don’t feed into it. Try and ignore it as best as you can. It won’t help the situation! Even if you hear another parent talking about your child, keep it to yourself…for now. Address the situation later when the kids aren’t around.

Know when to approach the coach. Depending on the age of your child, you should let your child advocate for themselves to the coach. If we are talking about kids younger than 8 years old, there may be a time and place where you should step in. When approaching the coach, do it in a positive manner. Don’t go in guns blazing. Remember, they really do want the best for each and every player on the team.

Don’t undermine the coach. The coach is there to do a job. Let he (or she) do it! If your coach is telling your child one thing and you are yelling another, they are going to get confused and not know what to do or who to listen to. Sit in your chair or on the bleachers and cheer your kid on!

Stay positive…even when you’re losing. I know it’s hard not to get upset, especially when it’s a tough loss. But your kid knows they lost and they are upset, they don’t need to see mom and dad upset too. This is the time to talk it through with them. Ask them what they think they did well and what they feel they need to work on. Don’t focus on all the errors. Focus on praising them for what they did well with and help them in the areas they need work.

Do not heckle. Can we all remember these are children playing on the field? It takes a lot of guts just to take the pitching mound or stand at the plate. They don’t need to hear a bunch of adults heckling them. It’s bush league and is tacky.

Stay in your seat. Once our boys reach a certain age, parents are asked to stay out of the dugout and off the field. Make sure your child is prepared before the game. If they need you or need something, remind them to talk to their coach first and ask to leave the dugout. And yes, this goes for injuries too! There have been a few times where my son has been hit and I wanted to run out on that field. But I waited. I let the coach get to him first, assess the situation, and then waited to see if he needed more or not. A lot of times, they will get up, walk it off, and be ok!

Being a baseball mom (or dad) is no joke! We all want our kids to do their best and succeed. By remaining calm and positive, you can help build a strong inner player. I know it won’t be easy but the pay off will be worth it!

Why Volunteering at the Concession Stand is Important

It’s baseball season, and this is your friendly reminder, baseball (and softball) parents, to do your concession stand duty without putting up a fight! I know everyone cringes when they hear concession stand duty, but it’s a key piece of most baseball leagues.

If you dread the thought of concession stand duty, take a minute to really think about what the league is asking. In most cases it’s only an hour or two of your time.

Now think about how much time your child’s coaches are giving. Every week, they are giving at least 3 hours for practice and games alone. Even more if they are coaching multiple teams. Outside of practice and games, coaches are working on plans for practice drills and games, they may be buying team equipment, and checking in on their players. Coaches and their families give countless hours for the better of the team and the league.

You can find an hour or two to give back as well.

When your team mom, coach, or league president asks for help in the concession stands, hold back your urge to cringe, Instead, please just say “Sure! Whenever you need me!”.

Do you know what happens if no one volunteers? Since the concession stands are staffed entirely by volunteers, either someone else has to step up (and maybe miss their own child’s game) or they have to close the concessions stands. 

If you sign up for a shift, show up! Don’t make  your coach or concession stand manager stress because there’s no one there to run the stand or that they can’t open the stand at all. 

It’s really not that hard. It’s rolling hot dogs on the grill, selling $1 slushies, and dropping baggies of fries in the fryer, with a bunch of other baseball moms and dads — none of which requires any real skill, or hard work, or perfection.

And it’s what keeps the league going. The concession stand income helps keep registration fees lower,  helps purchase equipment needed for the players or umpires ,  provides funds to upkeep the fields &  any necessary safety items , etc.

Helping Your Child Develop Sportsmanship

After having fun and keeping fit, one of the most important reasons to play a sport is to develop good sportsmanship. How can you help your child develop good sportsmanship? Here are a few ideas.

Helping Your Child Develop Sportsmanship

Start Young. When you’re playing a board game or Go Fish and your child loses, how does he or she handle it? Many toddlers are so focused on the goal – winning – that if they lose, they inevitably will have a temper tantrum.

If this happens with your toddler, remove the game and remove the child from the situation. Once she has calmed down, talk to your child, acknowledge her feelings and remind her that it’s not so much about winning or losing; it’s about having fun. Then try to redirect and talk about previous successes. “I know you feel bad that you lost the game, but you did such a great job riding your bike this morning, didn’t you? Should we go ride bikes?”

Be a Good Role Model. Children always learn from example. Whether you’re a good or bad example, your child will pick up on your tone, your comments, and your actions – everything you do will influence your child on some level. Check yourself and be sure that you are respectful of the coaches, referees, and of course, other players on their team and opposing teams.

Help Your Child Be Humble. If your child happens to excel at the sport, teach your child to be humble. Remind the child to praise all members of her team and her coach who helped, and that there is no “I” in team. Teamwork and humility are keys to good sportsmanship.

Cheer Others On. It’s important to cheer others on and encourage them. Sometimes there’s a kid who always strikes out, but it’s still helpful to be positive and encouraging. And when they do succeed, your child can fist bump them all the way to victory.

Be Honest. Was it on the line or was it out? It’s calls like these that cause the biggest tussles. If there’s no referee and it’s a low-key game, remind your child that it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.

Pick Up. At the end of the game, encourage your child to pick up after herself. Encourage her to pick up equipment; help put away mats, bats, balls, etc.

Cheaters Never Win. 
The other side of being honest is keeping calm when and if someone else cheats. It happens. Or maybe it’s just a matter of perception. Whatever the case, reiterate to your child that it’s important to step back and be the bigger person. Sometimes a ref makes a bad call. Maybe he didn’t see it. Maybe the coach missed something. Realize people make mistakes. Most people are trying their best – move on.

Good sportsmanship is an important skill your child can begin to learn as soon as he or she is able to participate in games. They will need your guidance, and it will pay off. Their good sportsmanship will help them on the field, in school, in business and in nearly every aspect of their daily lives.

Baseball Tips for Parents

Parents need to know quite a bit about baseball before entering into this youth program. Before my kids started playing baseball, I barely knew anything. Sure, I knew balls, strikes, outs, and innings but, after that, nothing! Over the years I have picked up a thing or two, especially about being a baseball mom.

Baseball Tips for Parents

Whose Sport Is It Anyway? Before participating in youth baseball, it is essential to determine up front whether or not this is something that your child wants to do more than you do. Many parents, with good intentions, have come before you and eagerly signed up their children for a baseball team. These very same parents only find out later that their  kids really only did it to make mom and dad happy.

It is essential that you find out, as a parent, whether this is something that your child really wants to participate in or not. Have a heart-to-heart with your child and determine if this is something that they are equally enthusiastic about undertaking.

Commitment and Time. Once you have established that this is something that your child is truly enthusiastic about, make sure you have a sit-down talk and discuss with him or her that this will be a time-consuming activity. Explain that once this commitment is made, there is no turning back, at least for the season.

Speak to your child openly and honestly and discuss with them the virtues of being a team member and a team player. Their part on the team is integral for the overall success of the team. This sport will require practices, games, and a dedicated commitment on both of your parts.

Position. If you have a younger child, you really don’t need to worry about position to much. It’s good for them to play all positions early on so they can figure out which (or ones) they like. Once they figure that out, try to stick with the position that best suits your child’s potential and skills. Do not try to make a star pitcher out of a heavy hitter. If your child has skill that is stronger in one area than another, trust your coach to guide your child accordingly.

Relationships. One of the most important tips for parents is to respect and model appropriate relationships between all the players, and not just on the team. It is your job to help your child develop sportsmanship. Respect and consideration for other parents, other team members, the coach, and opposing players and their parents is integral to what baseball is really all about, after all.

It is very important to model good communication, respect, and integrity throughout the entire season. It is very important to address all issues openly, honestly, quickly, and with the utmost respect.

Teaching a child good communication skills in the arena of sports is a great life lesson – not only on the field, but off the field as well.

With these tips in mind, your child’s starting endeavor into the world of baseball should be a smooth and fun transition.