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Don't be THAT (youth baseball) dad.

Some of the greatest things your child can learn from youth baseball are independence and confidence. If you, as a dad, are your child's main concern you're not prepping him to be independent or confident. Make an honest self evaluation and decide before the season starts you're going to be as cool as ice come your child's next season.

Here's the warning signs you're THAT dad.

When things aren't going well for your kid, he looks at you.

Joe Girardi sums it up well in his quote above. Make sure you communicate to your kid your main concern is you want him to have fun playing and competing, and whether he's 0-3 or 3-3 you're proud of him. If he's looking for you while he's on the field he's searching to please you rather than learning from the in-game experience. It would be wise to watch from somewhere your kid cannot see you if he always looks to you, and stay away from the dugout.

You can't help but always talk about the game in the car ride home.

Rather than lock your kid in a moving jail he can't escape use this time to offer an encouraging word like, "I'm proud of you." The best players have a short memory and don't get too high or too low. If you bring up what your kid did wrong or what he could have done better you're not helping your child's ability to keep baseball in the place it belongs - at practice or at games, not in the car.

You can't keep a calm demeanor.

You know that phrase, "When I grow up I want to be just like my dad!".....

If you do not want your kid to be a nervous wreck while he plays, and also be a nervous wreck when he becomes a father then keep your emotions in check. As a baseball father you can be such a great source of encouragement. If you show negative emotion and energy when your kiddo does not perform well he's going to follow in your footsteps. Instead, be that calm in the storm that does not waver. Be the house built on concrete, not sand. Be unshakeable and your kid will learn these traits from you.

You can't enjoy watching because you're too busy coaching from the stands.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight watching your child play his youth sports because his precious childhood athletics are going to be over in a flash. Rather than rob yourself of the joy of watching your child develop by insisting on yelling commands from the stands, take in and capture the moments you'll never get back. Coaching from the stands will only take away from your child's ability to focus and have fun while he tries to decipher what you're saying, what his actual coach is saying, and the pressures the game naturally puts on your child all by itself.

You scold, talk down to, or demean your kid while practicing with him.

Your child can really improve his game if you, as a father, actually feed him extra repetitions outside of team practices. In fact, it can be an incredible bonding experience for you two. If you can't hit, throw, or field with your kid without keeping it calm and positive you're doing more harm than good. Don't poison this potential quality time by making it miserable.

You obsess over where your kid hits in the lineup, plays in the field, and you keep meaningless statistics.

You're the leader, and if your kid see's you fretting over where he's hitting in the lineup or playing in the field, let us ask you this: what are you really teaching him? You're teaching he's entitled.

When we handle lineups for youth games sometimes we'll purposely hit a kid lower in the lineup or sit him on the bench just to see how mom, dad, and kid respond.

When your kid gets to high school and there are 18-20 kids on the roster do you think he's not going to sit the bench? If your child is lucky enough to play beyond high school do you think he's not going to sit the bench? Sitting on the bench is going to be reality at some point, so let's learn to make it a time to be a great teammate while watching and learning.

"My kid had a .650 batting average at (enter age here).....do you really think that batting average is accurate and relevant from tee ball up until high school? We've never seen a 9 year old defense be able to make the majority of routine plays. In fact, a hard line drive out is more valuable than the weak pop fly that was too high for the other team to catch.

Lastly, no college recruiter or pro scout is going to put much, if any, weight into batting averages and ERAs. Your kid could hit .950 his senior year of high school and not get recruited if he doesn't display the tools require to hit at the next level.