Alli and I have coached youth soccer for years so we have had plenty of experience with youth sports but this was our first encounter with youth sports as Parents!!! I did volunteer to be a coach because they were asking for volunteers but we received an email from our coach. She was a competitive softball player her whole life and is an elementary school teacher which made both Alli and I very happy because we knew it would be organized...or so we thought.
Let me first say that I LOVE BASEBALL. I grew up watching the NY Yankees and it was passed down from my mother's side of the family. I have very vivid memories of playing wiffle ball in the backyard with my Pop & of reading the newspaper every morning and going over the Yankee box score. I can still recall going to my grandparents house and there always being a game on TV.
Fast forward to Declan's first T-Ball practice. 10 kids of varying abilities throwing baseballs everywhere, half the kids playing in the dirt, with no real structure. As I am watching this I realize that baseball is the most boring game for kids to play! One person at bat and every other player in the field waiting for the ball. Our coach had no plan we just played with no direction. After a few minutes of witnessing this disaster I just grabbed a few baseballs and walked onto the field. I started throwing balls to all the kids while we waited for the hitter to change his helmet to give to the next kid. I just wanted to keep them engaged and give them a few reps. I thought she might get mad but she was actually thankful. By no means am I Joe Torre but I just wanted the kids to have fun and actually practice.
My first thoughts on Youth baseball:
1. I have spent a lot of time with Declan playing catch but never thought to teach him about where to run to after you hit the ball off the tee. It was pretty clear that no other parent had either because every time a kid hit the ball off the tee the batter would run straight to the ball... PARENT FAIL!
Lesson: Don't assume kids know anything.
2. There has to be structure at practices/games. If you leave little boys bored they will find something to keep busy. In baseball that involves dirt!
Lesson: Prepare to have dirty kids with red clay all over them if practices/games are boring.
3. We have played three games so far and the best coaches were two women. They drew circles in the dirt at the positions they wanted their kids to play and then assigned the kids to these circles. They switched the kids after the first inning. (BRILLIANT IDEA)
Lesson: Steal good ideas when you see them (We had circles next game)
4. Women coaches should never wear Spaghetti strapped loose fitting tank tops when coaching youth baseball.
Lesson: Sports bras were made for a reason.
Some pictures of Decky's baseball adventure:
1. Practicing in backyard
4. New baseball pants & cleats
Little game at the Chastain's house!