Sunday, April 10, 2011

Youth Baseball: Find a Confidence Building Coach

To succeed in baseball you need skills, knowledge, passion, a short memory and the most important ingredient, confidence.

My son had all of these ingredients until last year. Last year, my son struggled and I blame myself because I saw it coming.

My son enjoyed three years of success playing under a task master head coach who taught him the game and an assistant coach who built his confidence. After the 2009 season, the confidence building assistant coach left the team. Unfortunately, he left with little notice so we didn't explore options. 

Prior to the 2010 season, my wife and I were very concerned about my son's baseball psyche without the assistant coach there to counterbalance the head coach. Sure enough, Nic had the worst season of his career and 2010 turned out to be a long painful season to endure as predicted. There were some bright spots during the year, like Nic's first home run over a fence in Noblesville Indiana and the entire Cooperstown Dreams Park Tournament. Despite these highlights my son still contemplated quitting the game that he loved so much once. 

Luckily, I persuaded my son to tryout for other teams for the 2011 season. During the tryout process,  coaches saw his potential, his leadership and his knowledge of the game. All of them were complimentary. The tryout process was the first step back to a confident state of mind. 

During the tryout process, we interviewed coaches with as much scrutiny as the coaches were evaluating my son. We were in search of a confidence building coach. We not only found a confidence building coach, but we found an entire coaching staff who would provide a positive environment. We jumped at the opportunity.

My son played fall ball with the new team and struggled in the beginning. His self-confidence was still low, but the confidence that the coaching staff had in my son was still sky high. By the end of the fall ball season, my son was hitting the ball hard and was looking forward to the spring season.

Single over the SS
Returning to the Field after a 3 Run Double
This weekend, playing against some of his old teammates who were now scattered among other teams, he enjoyed success again. In the semi-final game of the tournament he had 6 RBIs. He did it by getting back to his old style of hitting the ball the other way. 

My son also played a flawless second base (when he wasn't catching). When my son asked his previous coach if he could earn a chance to play second, the coach chuckled and told my son that he is not an infielder. He completely dismissed him.

It was a thrill for me to watch my son this weekend. I got to see his contagious smile and his geniune love of the game again. 

The Main Point

Quick word of advice. Find a coach who builds confidence and run away from a coach who erodes it. I was an idiot for not finding a better situation for my son last year.

6 comments:

  1. This is pretty much vital in any sport and in and competitive arena. The challenge is that you have to also foster some independence in the child - for example, if the coach is ill for a period, does the child still display the confidence, or is it dependent on the coach being there?

    There's a subtle difference, but if they are to progress beyond the youth game, they need to be able to build and sometimes re-build their own confidence. To somehow develop an unshakeable sense of their own ability.

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  2. Well said - especially the part about building and rebuilding confidence because sports can be humbling.

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  3. What a great picture! You are right; It is wonderful to see that terrific smile back on the baseball field again.

    And when Nicky is happy, he hits! Should be a really fun summer.

    Pop Pop

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  4. I ran across your article and you hit it dead on Thanks. We put so much power and hope in our Coaches that they have our childrens best interests at heart they are afterall helping build or destroy our little guys self esteem and confidence as a Mom I can only say so many times just keep trying harder do your best but when your 9U coach stomps hs dreams every weekend and makes him begin to question if he is a 'True Ballplayer" its tough. I will be pickier in the future if he will want to play next year Thanks Again

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    Replies
    1. There are a lot of great coaches out there - ones that win too. I hope you find one.

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  5. Confidence really matters a lot in our development and growth process. Most probably, we should have strong confidence level to improve our skills and attitude. Due to lack of confidence, we are unable to improve our body language, personal skills, concentration, and many others. So, we need a strong confidence level to improve our skills.
    Confidence Tips

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