Sunday, April 25, 2010

Youth Baseball: Overcoming a Slump

Game 26

Rain threaten the likelihood of baseball on Saturday. My son was actually hoping for a rainout. This is not typical. My son, Nic, who has a lifetime average well over .400, is currently struggling at the plate. He was thinking a little break might be helpful. The rain held off for the first day of the tournament so the games were played.

On the 45 minute drive to the field, I talked to him about playing through slumps. I told him that Mark Teixeira, All Star 1st Baseman for the World Champion New York Yankees, is a notoriously slow starter. I told him that Teixeira, who signed a $160M contract, is currently batting .123 after 65 at bats. I told him that he starts off slowly every year, but he always finishes near the league lead in HRs and RBIs. I told Nic that Mark still contributes in a big way. He still plays Gold Glove defense at first base and he plays with passion regardless of his average.

To make my point, I had Nic use my iPhone to see how Mark Teixeira had an impact on the game Friday night even though he went 0-4 in the game. Mark Teixeira went from 1st base to home on Robinson Cano's double down the line. Teixeira scored after a violent collision at home plate with the catcher. Parents please note, I told my son that under no circumstances should he ever run into the catcher. I was simply underscoring that playing with passion never goes into a slump unless you let it. Also, there is a debate about this play featured below. Some think that it was dirty, some think that it was clean. I think that he would have been safe with a hook slide, but it is a split second decision. Mark Teixeira is not a dirty player, he is simply a player who plays with passion.

Nic went 1 for 3 with a double. He played great defensive catcher and throw out two basestealers.

The Main Point

There are many ways to contribute to a game besides getting hits, scoring goals, making points. Praise hustle over hits. Praise guts over goals. Praise practice and preparation over points scored.

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