The Baseball Mom Rules

Our baseball season just wrapped up, much differently than we expected or hoped.  Drew watched the last game from the dugout, with an injured knee, but cheering his team on and still a big part of it.  He’s played through illness and injury, with a bruised and taped hand, with a busted lip, a busted nose, a tweaked ankle, with ibuprofen and with many puffs of his inhaler.  The only games he’d ever missed in 6 years of baseball were when his breathing was so bad he was either in the hospital or about to go in.  So it took a lot to hold him back.  Parenting an athlete is much like parenting in general, with a lot of lessons to share.  So as we wrap up the year and look forward to next season, whatever that may bring,

I thought I’d share my observations, on how to be a good baseball mom.  For those of you just entering this fun season of life, or for those who can relate:

1.  Cheer them on.   Seems simple and obvious.  But so many moms, including myself sometimes often, want to correct them and coach them, and point out what they did wrong.  Let the coaches do that.  You only cheer.  (And hey, if you want to cheer so loudly that no one else can hear and it’s positive?  Great!  Just don’t be offended when I sit on the other side!)

greatestplayer

2.  Be prepared.  From the time they’re little, there are seemingly 1,000 things to bring to the park.  Snacks, water bottles, sunscreen, cooling rags, chairs, umbrellas, entertainment for siblings, cameras, and of course the cleats, bats, balls, gloves, batting gloves, helmets, hat, and on and on and on.  A list will make your life easier.  Especially when you’re leaving the house at 5:45am.  Yep, 5:45am.  (And yep, I’ve been that mom who shows up missing things- including his entire bat bag in the days before that was his responsibility)

2010 Season

2010 Season

3.  Leave the game at the field.  Some great advice I’ve heard from one of our favorite coaches, is to leave the game at the field when you get in the car.  When they’re young, they should just be having fun and not rehashing what happened.  As they get older, they already know what they did right and wrong.  Let them move on.  (I may have been known to break this one and threaten my kid because he didn’t swing the bat in a game.)

2011 SandGnats

2011 SandGnats

4.  Surround yourselves with good people.  The most important thing your kid will learn on the field has nothing to do with baseball.  Find coaches who you want them to grow to be like.  Unless your kid is one of the very tiny % of players who will go on to college or the pros, learning baseball skills is less important than life skills.  And even then, they should be hand in hand.  (We have the best around us.  And sometimes the worst!)

2013 Spring Season

2013 Spring Season

5.  Remind yourself that “It’s a Small World After All.”  Be nice.  Unless you’re in the world of travel baseball, it’s hard to imagine how many people become ugly and personal and hurtful.  But it’s a very small world unless you move far away, and you’ll see each other often.  Heck, there’s a good chance your kids will play together again one day.  (Though please God don’t let some of them end up with us again!)

2011 All Stars

2011 All Stars

6.  Toughen’ up.  Mom, I’m talking about you.  We’ve seen a lot of injuries on the field, a lot of blood, and a lot of tears.  Some of it from our son, and some from kids we love.  Let the coaches handle it until they ask you to come help.  This is a tough one.  But your kid will probably bounce back a lot quicker without you running onto the field.  (I’ve never broken this one- mostly because I’m scared of seeing how bad it is, but whatever it takes.)

last game of Spring '13 season

last game of Spring ’13 season

7.  Let them lose.  Some of the best lessons are in a loss.  Even a losing season.  Our kids are going to face tough times in life, they’re not always going to win.  Let them learn to not give up, to trust their teammates, and to give it their all and still come up short.  They’ll grow.  (I HATE losing!  Apparently I haven’t grown enough.)

8.  Push till it’s time.  Drew loves baseball more than just about anything.  He wants to play at as high a level he can.  He can’t imagine life without it.  But sometimes, he’s not giving it his all or wanting the extra workouts, or to miss something because of practice.  If and when he decides he no longer wants to play one day, I’ll support that.  But until that time, I’ll push him to give his all and be his best.  (“That knee doesn’t hurt that bad!  Come on!”  may have been yelled before I realized the current injury was real.)

9.  Enjoy it.  I love our hours at a ball field.  We’re all together, and my kid is doing what he loves best.  Six years ago we started this journey, with a tiny little four year old who couldn’t tell you which base was which.  Watching him grow into the ballplayer his is today has been a great joy.  Not because of baseball, but because of how it’s helped him grow.

Our immediate plans are to rehab Drew’s knee for a few weeks (hopefully that’s all it takes!) and get him back on the field.  We’ll enjoy a bit of summer downtime too.  But before long, we’ll all be ready to get back to what we love.

And guess what’s next?

Ben starts t-ball in the Fall!  More hours at a field, but back to where it’s all fun and cute.  I can’t wait.

Ben_NLA

Play Ball!

 

 

Comments

  1. Lovely tips and I see it being applied to every aspect of a child’s development!

  2. One of my fondest memories of a watching a kids baseball game, was when my friends child (the one I went there to watch) was playing in the dirt with both hands, directly in the runners path between first and second, with his mitt firmly planted on his head as a cap.

    The surprised look on his face when the base runner took off to steal second base was priceless! I still laugh when I think of that. He was I think, 5 or 6 at the time.

    Awesome rules and not just for kids baseball!

  3. I agree with all your suggestions, but especially #3. I bite my tongue on the car ride home so I don’t say anything – my kids know what they did well and not so well, and they have coaches who give them feedback. They don’t need Mom chiming in with her two cents!
    Dana recently posted…When your best friend finds someone betterMy Profile

  4. Will definitely have to keep these tips in mind if I ever have kids or become an aunt!
    The Famous Ashley Grant recently posted…Update- Summer of a Million ViewsMy Profile

    • Thanks Ashley- looking forward to checking out your summer views goal info- would love to make a big goal like that!

  5. As a parent and former coach, I have to say these are great!! My oldest is 6 so I am just getting into all the organized sports, etc., as a parent, and these are helpful reminders about keeping it fun!! Thanks!
    Sarah | LeftBrainBuddha recently posted…“Mind in a Jar”: Mindfulness Practice for our Little BuddhasMy Profile

  6. All great advice, for sports and life in general (which sports is a great way to teach about), especially #4.
    Alana (@RamblinGarden) recently posted…Spring Things – Wild Roses Couldn’t Keep Me AwayMy Profile

  7. Thanks for all of the tips! I will surely need them in a few years when my boys start to play. I love your description of yourself, by the way. Let that sarcasm shine! You’ll find that there are more of us kindred spirits than you ever knew! 🙂
    Shay recently posted…Towel: A Totally (Not) Inspirational Father’s Day Story about Idiot KidsMy Profile

  8. Great post! Thank you for letting me know about it! I see how my post today triggered you to point me in your direction and I’m glad you did! 🙂

  9. Russell Falk says:

    I am a little league coach of nine year olds and I will tell you that I loved your comments on the coach teaching life lessons and not just baseball. Many boys want to play on my teams because we have fun, we kid around with each other and we always have a lesson thrown in throughout the season. Last year we talked alot about courage. This next year our topic will be about never giving up. I tell the parents that the kids don”t care how much I know until they know how much I care. Treasure your time at the ball park… it is a special time.

    • I love that idea of a different topic each year. My husband is truly amazing at this stuff and both my kids have been fortunate to have them as their coach at least for a while. My oldest starts with a new team and a new coach this season, and not knowing his focus concerns me, but I know that even if his focus isn’t quite there it’s a chance for learning and we can make sure we keep focusing on that at home.

      • Russell Falk says:

        Let me explain further about courage. I told them that courage is not the absence of fear but rather not letting fear control you. We talked about having to speak in front of a class or being in a play and getting butterflies in their stomach, I told them that this was their fear trying to control them. We talked about boys who could be playing baseball but they were too afraid of strking out with the bases loaded or making a fielding error or giving up a home run to play. They let their fear control them… but not them. In spite of their fears, they go out and have fun in a very difficult game to play. Finally, I told that I was proud of them, that their parents were proud of them but most importantly, they should be proud of themselves for overcoming their fears. I always say, I am not coaching baseball I am building men.

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