The #1 question I get from coaches who teach young players has very little to do with the actual game of baseball:
How do I keep the players engaged?
I have posed this question to thousands of coaches and parents over years.
Everyone typically nods yes and begins rattling off things like, teamwork, grit, determination, respect, commitment, etc.
The reality is the answer is...maybe.
When done right, baseball has the potential to teach our children all of the great lessons mentioned above and so much more; it can be an awesome classroom for life. However, study after study confirms we as parents, coaches and adults often strikeout when we fail to reframe what happens on the field and use it as a tool that can benefit a young person long after the game's final out.
Baseball presents our kids with an endless procession of life lessons (before, during and after the game), but these lessons aren't learned automatically. It is up to us to seize, recognize, and embrace these life changing lessons by taking a big picture view of the game and its impact-- and not just the scoreboard view. It is up to us to discuss these lessons and model the behavior that will set our kids up for success in all areas of their life.
At the end of the day, whether your son wins or loses his next game, it probably won't make the biggest difference in his life. However, the lessons the game affords him when we take this big picture approach, can follow him for the rest of his life and have an impact beyond measure.
What else can baseball teach if we allow for it?
On this Small Business Saturday, my family and I cannot thank you enough for your support over the past two+ years. I am thrilled you are part of the Next Pitch community!
As a family of two small businesses, my wife Gina and I are extremely grateful for the opportunity to do what we love, which is only possible with your support, dedication and trust; we don't take it for granted! Whether it is baseball, softball, ballet, tap or jazz, we hope your child looks forward to being a part of one of our programs throughout the year.
As a baseball coach, I am extremely lucky to have the opportunity to teach the greatest game in the world. Every day I get to see players:
Most importantly, I hope players are building self-confidence that can be seen in areas of their life outside the confines of a baseball or softball field. Isn't that the beauty and the true power of sports?
I know there are other options available to you as it relates to player development. Please know that your support is greatly appreciated, and we hope to earn that support each and every lesson or class.
Thank you for shopping small - and I hope sports has a big impact on your child's life.
As the holiday season approaches, I wanted to share with you some gift ideas for the ballplayer in your family!
Finally, if you are ever looking to give your child an experience he or she won't forget, a 1-2 day trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY is an amazing experience and a must for any baseball fan.
Most importantly, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and please feel free to share your ideas as well as I know our baseball and softball families would love to hear them!
The day I turned 15, I got a job at Grand Slam USA in Norwalk, CT; the home of Mo Vaughn and a city that loves baseball. The facility was less than two miles from my house, and I never turned down a shift.
I probably spent too many hours there - both working and just hanging out. My buddy "TK" (now a coach at George Washington University) would hit and throw daily, and we were lucky to see some great instructors in action, such as George Foster (Red) and Kevin Morton (Red Sox).
It was a great decision by Grand Slam USA to hire me for the sole reason that nearly every dollar I made I spent it almost immediately at their pro shop. I was a gear guy.
I have worked in or around baseball for over two decades, and I always knew I wanted to run my own programs so in 2019 I decided to launch programming year-round - and I needed a name.
If you go to an amateur baseball or softball game you tend to see a lot of players attempting to succeed at a very difficult game, while not playing in the moment. A player is upset, frustrated or timid due to an error or strikeout in the first inning or they fear about what may happen if they lose or make another mistake in the last inning that they aren't playing "where their cleats are" and in the moment.
The Next Pitch mentality encourage players to focus on the only pitch they have any control over... the next one. When a player focuses on what he or she can control confidence goes up and anxiety goes down. We can absolutely learn from the last pitch, but we can't change it as it is out of our control. When a player masters the concept of "controlling the controllables" he or she has the ability to win a lot of pitches and achieve on-field success.