Coaching and teaching - many through the mortgage process and others on the field

Category: Coaching (Page 1 of 8)

Baseball Parenting: Fostering Growth, Resilience, and Sportsmanship

Parents can help play a crucial role in shaping a child’s experience and success in baseball.

When kids take up baseball, parents can provide support and guidance that not only enhances their athletic abilities but also fosters essential life skills.

Encouragement, patience, and promoting a positive sportsmanship culture are vital elements in baseball parenting.

Support

First of all, baseball parenting is about providing unwavering support and encouragement to young athletes, especially at younger ages.

Kids often face challenges and setbacks in the sport, and it is crucial for parents to be a source of motivation during these times.

Remember – even the best players fail 7 out of 10 times at the plate!

Celebrating their successes and offering words of encouragement when they encounter failures helps build their confidence and resilience – and in many cases makes them want to work harder to get better.

Patience

Secondly, patience is a virtue that baseball parents must absolutely embrace.

The development of baseball skills takes time and practice. Understanding that progress is gradual helps parents avoid placing undue pressure on their children.

By maintaining a patient and supportive approach, parents create an environment where young athletes can learn at their own pace, explore the game, and improve without feeling overwhelmed.

Culture

Furthermore, promoting a positive sportsmanship culture is essential for the baseball parent.

Encouraging respect for teammates, umpires, coaches, and opponents…and adherence to the rules of the game instills values that extend beyond the baseball field.

This sounds cliché, but teaching children the importance of good sportsmanship helps them develop strong character traits, such as integrity, humility, and empathy, which they can carry into other aspects of their lives.

Balance

Lastly, it is essential for parents to strike a balance between involvement and allowing children to experience the sport independently.

While guidance and support are crucial, parents should also give their young athletes space to learn from their own mistakes and develop their decision-making skills.

Independence and autonomy in the game can empower kids to take ownership of their progress and achievements, fostering a sense of responsibility and self-reliance.

In Conclusion

Baseball parenting is a critical aspect of a child’s development in this most difficult sport.

Encouragement, patience, and promoting a positive sportsmanship culture contribute to a nurturing environment that allows young athletes to flourish.

By offering solid support, understanding the importance of patience, and instilling essential values, parents can play a vital role in their children’s baseball journey while imparting lifelong lessons that extend far beyond the confines of the baseball field.

“Lessons I Learned While Playing For Mike Leach”

As you might have heard, one of the more interesting and dynamic coaches in college football, Mike Leach, died of a heart attack this week.  He was 61 years old.

Coach Leach was a colorful character, always great in his press interviews and known as a brilliant offensive mind when it came to football.

More importantly, however, he was meticulous in his preparation…and that’s where things get interesting. 

Not only was he preparing his players for next Saturday, he was preparing them for life, which is what great coaches do.

I’m linking to an article from one of his former players, Cody Campbell, as to how Coach Leach impacted his life.  It’s a must read and you can find it here…

By the way, Cody Campbell played offensive line at Texas Tech for Coach Mike Leach and then for the Indianapolis Colts before co-founding Double Eagle Energy Holdings in Fort Worth, Texas. He is also a member of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s board of directors.  You can find out more about Cody here…

How To Mentally Recover In The Middle Of A Game

man with white t shirt running to baseball home

As I’ve mentioned previously, one of my favorite athletic mental coaches is Dr. Patrick Cohn of Peak Sports Performance. Dr. Cohn is a sports psychologist out of Orlando Florida.

He’s always teaching on mental toughness – as well as the techniques athletes can use to grasp it.

What improves a baseball player’s ability to turn his performance around in the middle of a game?  This is the topic that Dr. Cohn addresses in this article.

Some excerpts…

Memories

Multiple mental factors affect an athlete’s ability to turn around a game, such as perspective, emotions, focus, and thoughts…

One mental factor often overlooked is the role of memories. Memories can be your friend or foe and shape how you respond in the middle of a game.

Memories flow in and out of your mind throughout a game. Sometimes, you are aware of those memories, while other times, those memories are just below our conscious awareness.

old phots in a brown box

The memories we grab on set into motion a series of mental and physical reactions that affect how you perform during a game.

A Real World Example

Let’s set the stage… Your team is down two runs in the ninth inning. Earlier in the game, you were fooled on several off-speed pitches and struck out twice. Now you are at the plate with the game on the line, bases loaded, and two outs.

At this point, thoughts and images fill your head. Memories of striking out preoccupy your mind. You remember how embarrassed you were chasing balls out of the strike zone. 

You are afraid of “failing” again. You think, “I’m going to be the reason we lose.” You feel so much pressure that you are a bundle of nerves at the plate. You have difficulty getting a good read on the ball and can’t focus on the pitch.

man sitting on bench near track field while sun is setting

This is a similar experience of a player who responded to our Softball and Baseball Mental Toughness Survey:

“How can I continue to stay focused after a bad at-bat or several errors that could cause my team to lose? I feel I am unable to keep composure and confidence in these situations.”

Do you see how memories affect confidence and composure? You are thinking about striking out. You remember past errors. If you grab onto different memories, you will perform better.

How about thinking about the time you made the clutch hit in a game and drove in a couple of runs? Or the game you bounced back after an error to make a tremendous play on the field.

For More

I’d invite you to read the entire piece here…

Next Level Athletic Performance – Dr. Patrick Cohn

bench hands field park

As you probably know, one of my favorite athletic mental coaches is Dr. Patrick Cohn of Peak Sports Performance. Dr. Cohn is a sports psychologist out of Orlando Florida.

He’s always preaching about mental toughness – as well as the techniques athletes can use to grasp it.

He sent out an e-mail blast recently that I’ve posted below regarding achieving next-level performance…

How do you go from good to great as a ballplayer? Many players “want” to be better, but their “want” doesn’t lead to action.

person holding baseball bat

You could have the best coach in the world, surrounded by talented teammates, work out with the latest equipment, and dream big dreams, but mere desire never yields positive results alone.

You, of course, need some level of ability. Desire is also important; you need to be passionate about lifting your game. However, raising your game requires instruction, direction, action, and evaluation.

Unfortunately, many players stop at the “desire” stage. Words without actions keep you stuck in a rut.

The 6 Stages of Next Level Performance

1. Passion – When you are passionate about becoming a better pitcher, making a college team, breaking into the starting lineup, or raising your batting average, you can stay motivated to see yourself through the ups and downs.

2. Goal – Passion is desire. However, a goal is a target, something specific you want to achieve. When your goal is clear and specific, you can determine if your plan or actions are on track for achieving your objective.

two female in baseball gears in stadium ready to catch and swing baseball

3. Instruction – You should have someone knowledgeable you can rely on for teaching, coaching, or advising you, such as a coach, elite player, or mental game coach.

4. Direction – You need a plan, plain and simple. A plan is a roadmap that directs you towards your goal.

5. Action – You must act on your plan, not just once in a while or when you feel like working. You must put into action your plan each day.

6. Evaluation – This step is often neglected. Some players give up before evaluating or adjusting their plans when necessary. When you objectively assess your progress, you are more apt to push through the struggle during the season.

When you put into play these six steps, you will accomplish more as an athlete.

You can find out more about Dr. Cohn here – and his blog is here.  I’d encourage you to visit his site and read more!

A Must Read for Pitchers – The ABC’s of Pitching

Harvey Dorfman’s book – The Mental ABCs of Pitching: A Handbook for Performance Enhancement – is a “must read” for pitchers. It’s simply a classic.

My friend Jordan Zimmerman (ZB Velocity) turned me on to Dorfman’s book, as he said it helped him become a mentally strong pitcher and was crucial to his success as a professional pitcher.

Zimmerman still uses it today in his teaching…he told me he keeps going back to his highlighted and dog-eared copy.

Here’s the Amazon link, and I highly recommend that pitchers pick up a copy!

Harvey Dorfman – a Brief Biography

Dorfman was best known as an mental skills/sports psychology coach who worked in education and psychology as a teacher, counselor, coach, and consultant. Prior to starting a business as a mental skills coach. he also wrote for a local paper, taught English, and coached basketball at Burr and Burton Academy in Vermont.

He earned World Series Championship rings by serving as a mental skills coach for the 1989 Oakland A’s and the 1997 Florida Marlins. In 1999, Dorfman became a full-time consultant teaching the skills of sport psychology and staff development for the Scott Boras Corporation, an agency that represents professional baseball players.

Through his books and his teaching experience, he helped thousands of people get more of what they wanted from life through his tough love and clear insight. Some baseball greats give him credit for their success in life as well as in baseball.

Editorial Reviews

When Harvey left our organization to go work for Florida, we didn’t even try to replace him because, quite frankly, his legacy was already throughout our system. All of the players and coaches and staff he touched over the years… had become imbued with his philosophy and approach to the game. They have become Harvey’s disciples.

-SANDY ANDERSON, former President and General Manager, Oakland Athletics, former Executive Vice President, Office of Major League Baseball, currently General Manager, New York Mets.

When you talk to Harv, you get the truth from him, whether you like it or not. He always says, ‘I don’t care about your feelings. I care about your actions.’

-TIM BELCHER, former Major League Pitcher and Pitching Coach.

He’s truly amazing. It’s clear most people don’t want to hear the truth about themselves, but Harv gets in your face, uses a few choice words to get your attention, and he’s got you.

-AL LEITER, former Major League Pitcher, currently Studio Analyst and Commentator.

Harv is absolutely unique. He’s for real – a straight shooter. He gives it to you right on the line, whether you like it or not. Not many people can – or will – do that.

-WALT WEISS, former Major League All-Star Shortstop, currently manager of the Colorado Rockies.

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