District 4

Parental Peer Pressure: I Drove Our Team to Specialize in Baseball

Throughout my son's Little League® days, he played travel ball. It was very time consuming and costly, but there were definitely benefits, mainly Steven's improvement. He was always talented, but he became a top player with all the extra baseball.

Steven played football for several years, but I felt if he was to continue to advance in baseball, he needed a 100 percent commitment to the sport. So, despite reading about all the problems with specialization, we gave up football. Steven wasn't thrilled.

I'm not one of those fathers who believe my son will be a Major League Baseball player. I told him the future goal with all of the hard work is to make the high school varsity team as a freshman or sophomore. I figured if that happened, college scouts would have two opportunities to see his skills - on the high school field and at travel ball showcases.

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I Didn’t Understand the Seriousness of my Son’s Steroid Use

We are a baseball family. I played Little League Baseball® and so did both of my boys. Our oldest son went on to play collegiate baseball and was scouted by several Major League teams, and was Taylor's idol. Like his older brother, Taylor played Little League and then played on his high school team. He was a very talented player, and had dreams of pitching in college and one day playing in the pros.

Taylor was very competitive at everything he did - in school and in his social life. During high school, he was never satisfied with just being in the starting lineup, he wanted to be the number one pitcher on his squad. Read more ...

I Focused on Performance, Not Fun

It's winter time now and snow is on the ground, but as I drive by our local Little League® field, I can envision the kids cheering from the dugouts and putting on their batting helmets to step up to the plate.

This will be my son's last year of Little League. He loved baseball from the start, and it felt like forever until he was old enough for Tee Ball. It was clear from that first year that he was naturally better than many kids his age. Read more...

I Stressed Over My Son’s “Failure.” He Did Not.

I was well aware that baseball is considered a sport of failure. A player gets just three hits in 10 at-bats, and he is successful. During my son's third year of Little League®, and second of Coach Pitch, he struck out time and time again, and hit for an average of .125. I know this because I kept game stats from the bleachers. His previous year was even worse. Yes, I kept game stats then, too.

Every time he came to the plate, I tightened up, and got a pit in my stomach. I'd mutter to myself: Please, Aaron, just get a hit. After he'd strike out or hit a little dribbler to the kid playing near the mound, I would just shake my head, and yell: Come on, Aaron! My wife would say in much calmer voice: Don't worry about it, kiddo. Keep doing your best. Read More..

I Pushed My Son to Play Like His Brother and Pushed Them Both Too Hard

Three years separate my sons. My oldest, Drew, graduated from the Little League® program last year. Our league doesn't have a division beyond Majors, so he's playing for a few other teams in the area. He's doing great there, just like he did during his Little League days. As a Little Leaguer®, he played up in Majors as a 9-year-old, made the All-Star team each year, and was the best player in the league his final year. Drew did not get his talents from any family gene. His success came from hard work.

My other son, Brayden, is ten. He's never shown the dedication of his older brother, but I knew he had the ability to be just as good. The problem is that he just hasn't shown the interest. Looking back, though, I guess the real problem is that since he's been six, I've pushed to get him to be the baseball player his brother is. I've done all the things with Brayden that I did with Drew... regular visits to the cages, private pitching lessons, baseball camps, sharing videos of drills. Nothing worked. Baseball never seemed important to him. But, I kept pushing. Read More

I Was a Chirping Coach, Now I'm a Bruised Umpire

Joe gave me a glare I'll never forget. He was one of our long-time umpires, and I was a long-time coach in our league. Like any coach, I did my share of grumbling about the umpiring.

Usually, I kept those complaints to myself, muttering under my breath. This time, I was a bit louder, and Joe heard me say, "Oh, come on!" after a close play at the plate. As the dust settled, Joe's glare blazed at me straight through his mask.

Between innings, I apologized, and Joe waved the incident away with a smile. He was cool that way, but it all takes a toll. A couple seasons later, he announced he was hanging up the mask because he was tired of taking flak from coaches and parents. Read More

The Mistake of Making Everything About Baseball

It's pretty fair to say that I'm a baseball junkie. I have been one for as long as I can remember. My Mancave is an MLB shrine with everything from autographed baseballs to pennants to rugs to cardboard cutouts of players. When I sit in my New York Yankees chair watching a game, I keep a scorebook, noting every pitch, hit, error - you name it. Lots of times my son watches the games with me. It's a good opportunity for me to bond with him. Problem was, my obsession with baseball went far beyond my Mancave, and it ended with my son losing interest in the sport he once loved. Read More

Little League® to Travel Ball and Back Again

I started my son in the Little League® Tee Ball program when he was four. I had worked with him quite a lot prior to that. I know that may sound weird working with a kid at such a young age, but his older brother played baseball, so he was always around. The sport came natural to him, and he loved it. While I wasn't thrilled he'd be hitting off a tee because he could already hit a pitched ball, I figured we had to start somewhere, and Tee Ball was all that was available.

The coach was great! While I can't say my son progressed all that much during the Tee Ball season, other kids definitely did, and he had a ton of fun. I was glad he played Tee Ball, and I looked forward to the following year when I assumed there would be some kid pitching. Well, there wasn't. Read More ...

My Facebook Posts Almost Ruined the Season

It started with a slight dig toward the manager. After a win where my son played the minimum requirement, I posted on my Facebook page: Nice victory! Hats off to the regular players! Go team! The post included a photo of the scoreboard, which read Sharks 12 - Stripes 6. Within a minute of the post, my wife texted me: Stop!

Not only did I not stop, my posts became more direct as the season went on. After a game where my son only played right field, I posted: I guess all positions are important, even the one no one wants to play. #pickingdaisies. Read More...