Thursday, July 29, 2010

Youth Baseball: Cooperstown Dreams Park More Tips for Coaches (Part Two)

During a recent conversation with an area coach this past week, I was reminded of a special rule that applies to Cooperstown Dreams Park competition. Coaches need to understand this special rule and communicate it to their kids. This rule cost us a run in a game. This rule cost the team, of the coach I recently talked to, a game in the elimination tournament and a chance to advance.

From the Cooperstown Dreams Park Official Rules
Headfirst sliding is permitted only into first, second, or third base. Headfirst sliding IS NOT allowed into home plate.

In the second game of pool play for our team, our leadoff batter worked a walk. He went to third on a single. He then tried to score on a pass ball. He read the play well and got a good jump. The catcher got the ball quickly and tossed it underhand to the pitcher who was covering home plate.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Youth Baseball: Cooperstown Dreams Park More Tips for Coaches (Part One)

Here are some more tips for Cooperstown Dreams Park directly from a coach who just competed in Cooperstown last week.

My son is looking for a new baseball team so I have been talking to quite a few coaches from some of the top teams in this area.  Most of these coaches went to Cooperstown Dreams Park this summer. One of the coaches asked me if I was StatsDad and we talked at length about the experience. He told me that my tips were very helpful to him and his parents. I asked him if he would add his tips and he did.

Cooperstown Tips from a Coach:
  • Cooperstown has it down – trust the system – it really works.
  • Check in early.  Boring and a pain for parents and siblings, great for the team and the coaches.  80% of the teams checked in on Friday.  1st night of sleep (Friday) was not great as the kids and coaches got used to the place. Once the newness of the situation was behind the team, the 2nd night of sleep (Saturday) was much better. You want your team to be well rested for play on Sunday.
  • Have kids get a red belt and a blue belt.  Nothing in info about belts, they are not provided - we had to make a last minute run before we left town.  Get two pairs of white pants.
  • Laundry is a pain, have to separate and count each item.  Have the kids help count, but don’t let them do the forms themselves.
  • Clearly communicate playing time plan.  We told parents a head of time that we were batting 9 with subs and would plan to play each player as evenly as possible for the pool play.  All the players paid the same money and deserved the same shot.  For the first six games each kid sat 6 innings, 3 innings at a time in different games.  A few players sat an extra 1 or 2 and only one an additional 3, but it worked out due to pitching. Setting expectations with the parents and the kids before play worked for us, my phone was silent for PT issues.
  • Lots of mandatory meetings – make sure head coach goes, better if two coaches go and two stay with the kids.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Youth Golf: Are You Prepared For Your First Loss To Your Kid? (Part 2)

Nic at age 3
Yesterday, I wrote in a post that I was preparing for the day when my son would eventually beat me at golf. I really didn't think that it was going to happen today.

My son Nic (age 13) hit every drive 225+ and did not miss a fairway all day. I struggled on a few holes and my son ended up beating me by 5 strokes. He was on in regulation countless times and if not for several 3 putts, he would have beaten me by much more. He even had his first eagle putt on the 408 yard par 5, 12th hole. (White Tees)

The Main Point

If you do not want your kid to beat you at a sport before they are adults, I recommend that you do not allow them to start playing at 3 years old. Don't buy them the latest equipment, and absolutely do not buy them lessons or send then to golf camps.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Youth Golf: Are You Prepared For Your First Loss To Your Kid?

Are you prepared for the first time when your kid legitimately defeats you in a serious game of skill. Losing at Candyland is one thing, but losing at golf or tennis or any other sport is another thing completely.

On Friday, my son wanted to tryout his new clubs. He talked his mom into playing a round of golf. They decided to play at the local public course where my son will play his golf team matches in the fall. If, of course, he is fortunate enough to make the team again.

My son shot his best ever score on the course and beat his mom for the first time ever. He beat her by 7 strokes.

On Saturday, my son wanted to show me how well he was hitting the ball and talked me into playing a round of golf. We decided to play at our club which is a very difficult and long course compared to the public course he played the day before. (White Tees 72.2 rating and 129 slope 5640 yards / I played the Gold Tees 71.8 rating 132 slope 6553 yards)

I am a golfer, but I am not very good. My handicap index is 19 which means I shoot between 90 and 100 but plenty good enough to beat some upstart kid. Right?

We were having a great time and he was hitting the ball really well. He loves his new Maxfli Varsity clubs. (See my post regarding these clubs.) Then my son, Nic, got hot. He got a par 5 on the long 4th hole, a par 3 on the 5th hole and lipped out a par putt on the 6th hole for a bogey, 5. He took the lead after 6 holes.

Feeling the pressure on the 7th tee, I popped the ball up and it landed on the ladies tee. (Embarrassing I know.)  I then tried to make up for this terrible drive by hitting my next shot as hard as I could. I hit it well, but OB. I was sitting 3 on the ladies tee while my son's 225 yard drive from the forward white tees was beautifully positioned in the middle of the fairway.

I composed myself and was not going to let him beat me. Not yet. I crushed a hybrid that jumped over his ball and rested 100 yards from the pin. He hit his next ball over the green into the water. I was bummed for him. I hit my approach shot 5 feet from the pin. He chipped it close. I sank my putt and he missed. We tied the hole at 6 each.

I ended up getting a birdie on 8 and a par on 9 to beat him by 3 strokes. Nic ended up with his best 9 ever on our club course and he was thrilled. What impressed me most was that he was rooting for me as much as I was rooting for him. I guess a son never wants to see his hero lose.

The Main Point

It seems like yesterday when I bought my son his first set of clubs, snoopy clubs. He was three. Ten years later he is ready to beat me. I am OK with that, but I am going to make him earn it. At the same time, I am going to get him / give him the instructions to do it.

I vividly remember a hot day in the summer of 1977, that is the day I beat my dad for the first time at tennis on a court in Clark, New Jersey. I was 13. It was the greatest feeling in the world. I don't think that I beat him again until several years later. I went on a business trip with him to Austria. We played tennis on a red clay court after one of his meetings. I beat him in our one and only international match. I still remind him that I am the family's international champion.

I recommend that you make your kid earn their first win. It will be so much more special.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Youth Basketball: McFlurry All American

On the basketball court, my daughter is typically in her happy place. One Thursday night during the first game of a doubleheader basketball game she was not. You could see it on her face.

Her best friend is on the team and was suppose to sleep over after the game, however plans quickly changed prior to the game. The team only had 5 players for the doubleheader so the coach sent out a note appealing for a sub or two. CC's best friend has a cousin who plays for a select team nearby and could play so arrangements were made to get the cousin to the game. These arrangements included a sleepover for the cousin at the best friend's house. This canceled the sleepover at our house. CC was not happy.

Game 104 and 105

CC started the first game at point guard. CC is our team's leading scorer so she drew the best defender from the other team to cover her. The defender happens to be the best defender in the league and gave my distracted daughter fits during the first quarter. CC's team got down 12-0. The coach decided try the guest player at point guard. The girl is very good and had some success. It was a good coaching move because the top defender continued to defend CC. CC was not happy seeing her sleepover competition also take her point guard position.

The top defender eventually went to cover our guest player as the game progressed. This opened the door for CC to score six fourth quarter points. CC's team lost by 1 point. It was a great game but my daughter was sad.

There was a one hour wait between games. CC could not wait for the coach to end the post game speech. As soon as the speech was done she immediately walked out the door of the gym and motioned me over. I could see the sadness on her face.

"You know what you need?", I said.
"A M&M McFlurry. There's a McDonald's down the street"
"Before the second game?"
"Why not?"

She got the McFlurry and we talked. She expressed how sad she was about not having a sleepover and how pissed she was that she was not the point guard anymore. I explained to her that it was a good coaching decision since it opened up the offense and eventually helped her score 6 important points late in the game. I told her that she would be back at point guard for the next game. My daughter started to relax and look forward to the next game.

As the next game started, CC was on the bench. She had played the entire first game and the coach wanted to make things even. The timing was not good. CC turned to me with a "I told you so look". CC eventually got into the game 3 minutes later as the point guard. She faced a much weaker defender compared to the last game and CC scored in the double digits including a nice give and go with the sleepover competition. The smile returned to her face.

The Main Point

Sleepovers are more important than winning a basketball game when the girls are nine years old and ice cream before a game can be beneficial.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Youth Sports: Coaches Don't Compete With Your Players

Almighty Dad recently posted about parents competing with their kids. It is a good read and a good message for parents of athletes. The story about the dad of the track athlete could easily fit in my Crazy Youth Sports Parents Series. The kid in the story worked hard at the 880 and finally broke 2 minutes. After this great accomplishment, the dad reminded him that he did not best his high school time.

From Almighty Dad
The difference between success and failure is sometimes nothing more than one person’s momentary hesitation – the introduction of self doubt.  It’s at that moment that they get beaten and they fail.  Even momentary doubts are enough to give someone a serious handicap in life.  The difference between winning and losing is so slim that it becomes the little things that make the difference.  You, as a parent, should want your kids to be better than you, and your kids should not be stifled because of your own latent insecurities.

The Main Point

While I was reading the post Don't Compete With Your Kids, I was thinking that the same elements of the post could be written about coaches. I often wonder why coaches yell, intimidate and introduce self-doubt in their players. Self doubt perpetuates failure. It is that split second of hesitation before a jump shot, or a shot on goal, or the throw down to second that causes a failed execution. The best coaches help kids learn from their mistakes they do no dwell on them. The Almighty Dad post made me wonder if certain coaches undermine their players to make their almost forgotten little league career seem better. Who knows?

Parents heed Almighty Dad's advice and coaches take the lesson to heart too.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Youth Golf: Buying Clubs for a Teen Boy

Do you have a young teen son who plays golf? If you do, you know how hard it is to buy them the right size golf clubs. 

Most junior clubs are too short and the men's clubs are too long. Many boys in this age range, the ones who have not had their growth spurt yet, opt for women's clubs. 

Last week, by son broke his 7 iron on his Walter Hagen Junior Set. We were already contemplating buying him new clubs because his junior set was limited in the number of clubs and because he was getting too tall for them. With golf team tryouts in 2 weeks, my wife and I decided to buy him new clubs.

We went to Golf Galaxy tonight to buy some clubs. During the drive over to the store, I tried to prepare my son for the possibility of buying lady's clubs. I promised him that there would be some clubs without any overtly feminine markings. 

When we got to Golf Galaxy we were greeted by a very knowledgeable salesman. I told him that we were looking for left handed clubs for my son. The clerk sized my son up by eye and he told us that we had three options. 
  • We could buy what he called a varsity set - clubs made for boys older than 12.
  • We could buy lady's clubs.
  • We could buy a really light set of men's clubs. 
We shopped last year and neither Golf Galaxy nor Dick's Sporting Goods had any clubs between the junior sets and men's sets. So we were thrilled to try the varisty set. 

We tried the Maxfli Vasity set described below. The clerk took the clubs out of the box and my son went to the indoor driving range to try them out. He immediately loved the feel of the clubs. They were a heavier than his junior set and the steel shaft irons did not flex. He felt more in control.  

The salesman said that my son swings too hard to consider a women's set and was a few inches too short for a men's set.  He strongly recommended the varsity set. My son did not need convincing he was sold. The 15 piece set was on sale for $199 (from $299), so I did not need any convincing either. 

The Main Point
Kids grow, golf clubs do not. When your young golfer is growing you almost need to buy them new clubs every year. Fortunately Junior Club sets are affordable. I am not sure how Maxfli and Golf Galaxy sell a 15 piece golf set for $199, but I am not going to ask.

The following description is from the Golf Galaxy website.

Golf Galaxy
Maxfli Varsity Set for Ages 12 Years and Over. Height Range: 58" and over. 15 Piece Set includes:
  • Oversized Titanium Face Driver -Oversized Titanium Face Driver provides forgiveness and Titanium distance. Strategically placed weight screw is low and back to provide high launch and longer carry.
  • Stainless Steel Fairway Wood -Stainless Steel 3 wood features a fixed screw to lower the center of gravity to help hit shots higher and longer.
  • Hybrid Utility Irons -Easy to hit 3i and 4i utility hybrid clubs with combine the distance of fairway woods and the accuracy of irons. Hybrids also feature a fixed screw to lower the center of gravity to help hit shots with a higher ball flight.
  • Wide Sole Undercut Irons (5,7,9,SW) -Wide sole undercut irons move the center of gravity low for more distance and accuracy on all shots.
  • Alignment Putter -Soft, milled face alignment putter has a high moment of inertia to reduce twisting on miss-hits.
  • Lightweight, Durable Stand Bag - Lightweight stand bag features a durable nylon construction, dual carry strap to evenly distribute weight and five pockets to store all of your golfing needs.
  • Graphite Shafts - Ultralight graphite shafts increase clubhead speed for maximum distance.
  • Premium Headcovers -Multi material construction is durable and protects clubheads and shafts
  • 600D Polyester Rainhood -Protects clubs from rain and moisture during play or while in storage.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Youth Basketball: The Will to Win

I like watching basketball. It's a more intimate game than soccer, baseball, softball or football. The fans are so close to the action. What I like the most is that I can see the determination on the faces of the players who are in it to win it.

Games 101 and 102

I watched my daughter play basketball on Thursday and Saturday this week. On Thursday, her 4th grade team was playing against all 5th grade team. The difference in size between the two teams was considerable. The 5th grade team intimidated CC's team and beat them by a wide margin the first time they played two weeks ago. The final score, however, did not tell the entire story. In the second half of that game our scrappy girls outscored the 5th grade team and gained some confidence.
In the rematch Thursday, our girls came out fighting early and led the entire game. The excitement in the stands was incredible. The 5th grade parents were complaining that the 4th grade girls were fouling too much. The parents of the 4th grade team were yelling back. They felt compelled to remind the 5th grade parents that the 4th graders are much smaller. They should have just ignored the other parents. The parents were trying to ruin an incredible game.

I was most impressed with my daughter's will to win. I was also impressed with the will to win from the twin tower twins on the other team. Both girls a full 12 inches taller than my daughter, clearly did not want to lose to a younger team.

My daughter played the entire game because several girls including the backup point guard were on vacation. Her energy level never diminished when it counted even though it looked like she was going to throw up. Her desire to drive the lane never diminished even though she was getting beat up. She clearly wanted to beat the older team. You could see it on her face. I could feel her will to win every time she made eye contact with me as the game went to overtime.

The 5th grade team had tied the game at the end of regulation and then won on a free throw with 2 seconds left. CC's team lost but it was a moral victory against a much bigger team.

Saturday morning CC played against the best coached team in the league. The two best girls on that team are her teammates on her elite soccer team. It was fun to watch them battle each other. My daughter wanted to beat her friends just as badly as she wanted to beat the 5th grade team.

Unfortunately, her team was no match for the other team and CC's team fell behind 18-0. The well coached point guard from the other team schooled our team. She would pass the ball then break for the basket for a classic give and go. My daughter's attention was diverted in the direction of the pass. Finally, I yelled to CC to cover the passer instead of the player receiving the pass. The coach heard this and reinforced this concept. CC understood and marked the passer. The coach also worked some pick plays to free CC to shoot more. These two tactics turned the game around and CC's team ended up outscoring their opponent 11-8 in the second half. CC scored 8.

The Main Point

Basketball is a great game for parents to watch. You can see the sweat. You can see the dogged determination of the kids who want to win. Some kids want it more than others. As the game gets longer and the gym gets hotter, the kids with the will to win are easy to pick out compared to the other players. I believe that the will to win is innate. Some people are born with it, most were not. My daughter has it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Youth Softball: All Star Playing Up

Our daughter, CC, played up in softball this year so that she could play with and against girls of her skill level. During the regular season, she did particularly well in the field. She held her own at the plate, but was not a standout in her first full season in facing kid pitchers.

Regardless, CC was one of only two players from her team who played on the All Star Team. During the All Star Team Tournament, CC did very well in the field, but she was over matched hitting against the very best All Star pitchers.

Games 98,99 and 100

CC walked 3 times and stuck out 3 times against pitchers who threw pitches faster then she has ever seen. She played great in the field.

CC is going into 4th grade while some of the All Stars were going into 6th grade. Girls really grow a lot during these two years and the size difference was very apparent as you can see in the pictures.

We have decided to move her back down next year if she decides to play softball again.

The Main Point

Confidence is an important success factor for both baseball and softball. We played our daughter up in softball so that she could play with and against girls of her skill level. We noticed in the All Star Game that the better players were bigger and better.

We have decided to move our daughter back down to her age group where she can be a star and where her confidence can soar.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Youth Baseball: Elbow Injury (Part Two)

The results of my son's MRI were very encouraging. No surgery is needed. Thank God. The doctor said that the ulner-nerve is extremely inflamed which is causing the pain and the occasional numbness in the hand. He prescribed some anti-inflammatory meds, 4 weeks of rest and a compression sleeve to keep the nerve in place during activity.

Tryouts for the 2011 season are in two weeks. There is a lot of uncertainty around the future of his current team so he was planning on trying out for several teams this year. We are hoping that the coaches of the teams he is going to tryout for will remember him because his arm will not be ready in time for the tryouts.

The Main Point

Tryouts are based on skills displayed during the tryout, but we all know that politics are involved too. My son has been on the short end of politics before so maybe he can benefit from it this year. My son has a great reputation for hustling and hitting. He is also a catcher that the other teams do not run on much, so coaches must know him. Maybe a few phone calls will do the trick.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Youth Basketball: My Daughter is a Ball Hog

As my daughter's confidence in basketball increases the amount of passes to her teammates decreases. She is the point guard for her summer league team. I am slightly embarrassed to say that she gets the ball from her teammate and then goes full speed weaving through traffic to the basket for a shot on almost every possession.

In her defense, she plays on a summer league team that only plays games and does not practice. It's more like streetball and the team doesn't have any set plays. Still I know that it must be very frustrating to be the kids who never get the ball or their equally annoyed parents.

Game 97

CC's 4th grade team lost to a much bigger 5th grade team 21-9. CC scored 7 points and took 80% of the team's shots. My wife and I were yelling for her to pass the ball the entire time. I think we did this to relieve our guilt.

Before the next game, I am going to work with my daughter on the art of passing. I'll teach her to use her speed and dribbling ability to penetrate into the lane, but then bounce pass the ball to a teammate when the defense converges on her.

The Main Point

It's fun to watch your kid takeover a game, but it is also a little embarrassing when your kid is a ball hog. I am going to teach my kid to be a great passer like Magic Johnson, John Stockton or Steve Nash.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Youth Baseball: Elbow Injury

Two years ago my son broke his elbow pitching. The fracture was in his growth plate. The elbow injury happened because he was compensating for an injured shoulder. The elbow healed very quickly and rehab strengthened the shoulder. He returned to play that year but was prohibited from pitching.

Last year, he had mild discomfort in the arm off and on all year. He did a much better job with pre-game stretching. He was the primary catcher and did not pitch in many games it was a successful injury free year but there were some indications late in the year that an injury was looming.

When the 2010 season started back in January, my son Nic experienced some moderate discomfort in his shoulder. We immediately started him on the shoulder exercises needed to strengthen the muscles around the rotator cuff. My son loves baseball and feared that he would not be able to play ball so he faithfully did the exercises everyday. The shoulder was strong by the start of the season and the discomfort in his shoulder disappeared.

Midway through the season, my son started experiencing elbow discomfort. As a catcher he throws quite a bit, but the problem started when he made a rare appearance in the outfield. A ball in the gap went to the wall. He hustled after the ball and threw the ball all the way into infield without the proper technique. He immediately felt pain. We iced it and continued with the shoulder exercises and got him feeling good again. So good that he wanted desperately to pitch. Smartly, the coach did not allow him to pitch because my son was experiencing temporary discomfort after the games he caught that required lots of throwing.

In the last game of the tournament last weekend, with a runner on and one out. Nic tried to throw out the base stealer. He felt a pop in the elbow and could not finish the throw. The ball sailed into right center field. He was immediately taken off the field for ice.

We went to the doctor the next day. X-Rays were negative which was bad news. Bone breaks heal naturally and quickly in growing boys. The doctor ordered an MRI. We hope that it is tendinitis or similar that can be cured with meds and rehab and not a tear that would require Tommy John surgery.

The Main Point

I allowed my son to dictate whether he played or not. Only he can tell me what the arm feels like. I think that I should have been more proactive and shut his season down earlier. I fear that I violated my pledge to prevent these types of injuries. I will post about the test results on Wednesday.

Youth Softball: Coaching is a Big Commitment

When you volunteer to coach it comes with responsibilities. It also comes with an expectation for a certain level of commitment.

My daughter's softball team basically completed the regular season two weeks ago. I say basically because we did not make up several games that were postponed due to rain. Rainouts are a pain in the butt for coaches. The home coach needs to coordinate with the visiting coach and find an agreeable time to play. Then the home coach needs to coordinate a field and umpires for the selected time and date. It can be an long iterative process. I have coached baseball before and know that this takes time and effort. My daughter's team had several rainout games that were not made up this season. That was disappointing. We paid the league fee for a certain number of games and associated practices. We also want our daughter to get as much experience as possible during these developmental years.

Furthermore, we qualified for the end of season playoff tournament but the coach opted out of it because he had a family commitment one of the two weekends of the tournament. He made this decision unilaterally. He did not ask the parents. He did not seek an alternative solution. This was disappointing too.

Luckily, my daughter, CC, made an All Star tournament team. Although she is clearly one of the best players on the team, we were a little surprised that she made the All Star team because she plays up.

CC participated in several practices with the All Star team last week. That team had a really strong coaching staff and she learned a lot.

The Main Point

If you decide to coach remember that it comes with responsibilities and a certain level commitment. Make sure you are up for all the sacrifices you need to make.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Youth Sports: Five Tips for the End of the Sports Season Party

My daughter recently went to an end of the season pool party for softball. The end of the season party for any sport is an expected tradition. Some coaches do it right and others do not. I have been a coach and can honestly say I did not do a great job of it in the beginning, but learned what worked and what did not over time.

Here are my tips for the end of the season sports parties.

1) Pick a location that is big enough for the group. Typically the player will come with their parents and some siblings. If you have a team of 12 kids expect 40-50 people to show up at the party.

2) There are several options for the location of the event. Each has its pros and cons.
  • Your house. Pros: this is the inexpensive option for the families of the players. You can control the entire event. Cons: This is the most expensive option for the coach. It would be difficult to ask for money so likely you will be the one footing the bill for all the food and drinks. By the way, I would not serve alcohol at the end of the season party at my own house. You do not want a parent drinking at your house and then getting in the car with kids. Finally, you and your spouse will also have to clean the house before and after. I think that the negatives out weigh the positives which brings us to option two.
  • A pavilion at a park. Pros: Lots of room for a big group.  The kids have plenty of space to run around. You can have a parents vs kids game in a park. These always go over well until some out of control dad takes out a kid. It happens every time. The park option can be inexpensive, if you have everyone bring their own food. When I have done this, I usually provide the hamburgers, hot dogs, ketchup / mustard / relish and charcoal. I have had the parents bring cups, dishes, a side dish, dessert or chips and their own drinks. They can decide to bring alcoholic beverages or not. Again, I would not buy and serve alcohol to parents who are going to be driving their kids home. Cons: This can be an expensive option if you foot the bill for the food and drinks.  The weather is unpredictable. You might need to coordinate permits to use the park.
  • A restaurant. Pros. The least expensive option if you have the parents pay for their own meals. If you want to be generous, buy the pizzas for the kids and let the parents buy their own food. Find a restaurant with a party room that can be closed off for a trophy ceremony. You are not responsible for parents that drink and drive. Cons: Is there is not a party room you may find that it is too loud to do the player speeches (see Tip #4 below) with any effect.
  • Neighborhood Pool - same as Park Pavillion except you have the added stress of watching your kid in the pool.
3) Have your spouse take pictures of the kids through out the year and have these pictures projected on to a screen during the party. Many parents do not take pictures of their kids during the games. These are the parents who love to see their kids in action shots most. This is always a hit at my end of season parties.

4)  Prepare a speech. Notes for each player should be written prior to the event. You do not want to forget a player. Talk about the great things that each player has done. It is not hard to find the positive contributions of each kid, even the ones who struggled compared to the studs. Again preparing notes will help make each kid sound special. I do a recap of every game throughout the year and send the recaps to parents every Monday. I reread these recaps to remind me of the great things that happened on the field during the year as I prepare my speech notes. One of my son's soccer coaches had a powerpoint presentation with highlights, stats and pictures for each kid. The kids and the parents loved it.

At the end softball season party, my daughter's coach gave a little prepared speech about each kid. He call my girl CC a natural. I sadly did not attend the party due to work, but when I got home my daughter ran up to me and said, "Hey dad, coach Geoff called me a natural. Mom said that means that I was born with mad skills. He also announced that I made the All Star team."

5) Buy your kids trophies if they finished 3rd or better in the league. I do not believe in giving kids trophies for mediocre performance. At the beginning of the year, I collect $10 per player to buy end of season trophies and to put the names on the back of the jerseys. Trophies cost anywhere from $4 to $10. If they win a league trophy or finish below 3rd, put the trophy money toward the party.

The Main Point

The end of year party is a time to celebrate a great season and to make each player feel great about their contributions to the team. The impact of your words will last a long time.



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