I’ve spent the last two articles/episodes talking about how weekend tournaments are ruining youth baseball player development.Just to clarify one last time - I didn’t say weekend tournaments are ruining youth baseball - I said they are ruining youth baseball player development!
This time, I want to talk about a few things you and I can do to help fix this and allow our players and teams to get the most out of their current experience without sacrificing their long term development.
Listen 🎧 above or read 📖 below! Enjoy!
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Quick Recap of the Problem
The thing is, it’s not really just the tournaments. It’s how we as parents and coaches are doing it. And remember, there are exceptions, however we’re all at risk of falling into this trap.
I went into detail of the issues in part one here
and part two here
Don’t just take my word for it. Check out this comment on the original post that came from a current pitching coach in the Cleveland Indians organization (who is a former college coach and also a dad of good youth baseball players):
Here are the headlines, but listen to the audio version for a quick summary of each:
⚾ Coaches (and parents) chase the wins instead of long term development.
⚾ Young players are not ready for this type of baseball.
⚾ High costs keep many from being able to play.
⚾ Week after week grind monopolizes time.
⚾ Being good and winning doesn’t always equal development.
⚾ It’s not like any other level of baseball.
⚾ Kids don’t get to learn how to be baseball players.
How to Fix or Avoid These Pitfalls
I’ve got a few ideas, and I could talk about this for days.
For now, I’ll break this up into two sections - what I like to call the the strategic
and then the tactical
The Strategic (or Philosophical) Approach
This is your mental approach - your philosophy as a parent and/or coach. Literally how you think and approach the season, the games, the practices, the ups and the downs. This is the culture you have on your team, or in your house.
To figure out what your approach is, and more importantly what it should be, ask yourself, and answer, these questions:
⚾ What are your goals? (check out one of my first episodes about this)
⚾ Is winning going to be the priority?
⚾ What about development? Where does that fall into the priority list?
⚾ How about fun? Where does that fall?
⚾ What do we want to get out of all this time, energy, effort, and money?
⚾ Would I rather be the best team now, or have my players ready for later?
It’s important to actually think about all those questions. Write down the answers. Talk about them as a family. If you’re a coach, talk about them with your team and parents.
Talking about this will help with accountability as you move into the tactical approach, which is by far the hardest, and what I’ll talk about in a minute.
After you’ve answered the questions above, drill down a little further and answer some of these questions.
⚾ Am I okay with a
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