Georgia Little League

I Made My Kid Cry, Not Happy Tears

It was early in the season. School was still in. My son had a big game versus the other top team in our league. I am a very competitive person. My son, who was eleven at the time, isn't, and it's something I've struggled with. I always wanted him to have a little more fire in his belly. I talked about the game the entire week. I asked him each day if he was excited. He'd just give me a quick, "Yep."

We all knew who the opposing pitcher would be. I reminded my son of the pitcher's tendencies . . . starts off with two fastballs, then throws something off speed. "I know," was all my son said. I told him to keep his weight back, and after the two fastballs move up a little in the box. My son was the starting second basemen, and with our pitcher throwing a nice fastball, I told him he was likely going to get a lot of action because the other team wouldn't be able to pull his pitches. "Be sure to get your glove dirty." Read more .....

 
I Tried to Coach My Son Into a College Baseball Scholarship at Age 10

It was hard for me to see him strikeout or miss a ground ball. Through Tee Ball and Coach Pitch, I knew he was just learning, but once he got to Player Pitch and the Major Division, I thought that there was no way he was going to make it to the next level of baseball if he didn't improve. As much as anything, I didn't want my son to be seen as an inferior or less-talented player. Thus, began dad's nightly 'baseball camp' in our basement over the winter.

I thought the only path toward improvement was that he should practice more and put in more work in the offseason. We would hit baseballs off the tee in the basement, and I would help him with his swing mechanics. We would pitch and field ground balls inside. I wanted to teach him the value of hard work. While I had good intentions, my son was still too young for this level of commitment, and he began to see baseball as a chore. Read More .....

 
An Open Letter to the Out of Control Sports Parent Sitting Next to Me in the Stands

Dear Out of Control Sports Parent,

You.

Yeah, you.

The one shouting "Get the rebound!" to your kid. The one with the heart palpitating so loudly that you cannot contain yourself. The one yelling and complaining about the coach. The one hollering at the 13-year-old referee. The one angry at my kid for making a mistake. The one hollering at the kids who made a mistake running the scoreboard in a recreational tournament in a meaningless pool play game.

Yeah, you, the one whose spouse won't sit next to you during the game. The one who is micromanaging every aspect of the game and turning what would be a pleasant normal Saturday into a heightened state of anxiety for all of us, including your fellow parents stuck next to you for today's game, this season, and our kids' childhoods.

PLEASE STOP!

PLEASE CALM DOWN!

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I Pushed My Son to Play Little League® Past His Enjoyment

My son was such a cute, little Tee Baller. He loved going out there and running around. I loved watching him and taking photos. It was just so adorable.

Then, all the sudden, he was in the Minor Divisions. He still liked the game, but it became clear that he wasn't going to be a standout baseball player. He started getting frustrated because he wasn't as talented on the field as some of his friends that he had been playing with for the past few years.

My son is a quirky, intellectual kid, who would gladly stay in his bedroom on his computer or tablet all day long. But, he still loved the game, even though his heart might not have been in playing it. So, we continued to sign him up. It's what you do. You play Little League. When he got drafted to a Major Division team, he was excited, but hesitant because he knew he wasn't as strong a player. Read more.....

 
I Sat in My Car Instead of the Dugout

Last year was my son's first time playing baseball. I knew very little about the sport. One of his friends played Little League® the previous year, told my son it was fun, and the next thing I knew I was handing in a copy of his birth certificate, and some proof of residency. He was signed up.

My ex-wife took him to the tryouts. And, as luck would have it, he made the same team as his friend. We split duties taking our son to practices before the season started. When it was my turn, I'd drop him off, and then run some errands or stay in the car returning phone calls, texts, and emails. I'd watch a little of the practice from the car. Again, I didn't know much about baseball, but it seemed to me he was pretty good at it.

One day, there was a knock on my window. It was the coach. He asked if I was Timothy's father. I nodded. He told me that he thought my son was a natural, and that he's a pleasure to coach. I thanked him for sharing that with me. He then told me that the person who usually keeps the scorebook couldn't make the first game, and asked if I could do it. I mumbled something about not knowing much about the game, and that I'd probably have to work. Read more.....

 
Parent Confession: My Outburst Embarrassed Everyone

I was all fired up as I sat in the third-base bleachers behind our dugout. I didn't think the opposing manager was playing fair. My son's manager would give signs to the catcher, who would then relay what pitch to throw. The opposing manager would then yell a comment to the hitter. When our manager called a fastball, the other manager would yell "quick bat." When a change-up was called, he'd yell "keep your weight back." I watched it all game, and complained to a few other parents. They didn't seem to believe me or care. One father pointed out that manager was yelling other things like "nothing high," "protect the plate," "wait for your pitch." It didn't matter. I was convinced he was stealing signs.

In the fourth inning, their pitcher hit two straight batters. My son was up next. A fastball nicked his elbow. The opposing manager called time, and walked to the mound. When he didn't make a pitching change, I yelled, "He has to come out! That's the rule!" My wife told me to be quiet. "That's the rule!" I yelled again. Read More.....

 
Parental Peer Pressure: I Drove Our Team to Specialize in Baseball

Throughout my son's Little League® days, he played travel ball. It was very time consuming and costly, but there were definitely benefits, mainly Steven's improvement. He was always talented, but he became a top player with all the extra baseball.

Steven played football for several years, but I felt if he was to continue to advance in baseball, he needed a 100 percent commitment to the sport. So, despite reading about all the problems with specialization, we gave up football. Steven wasn't thrilled.

I'm not one of those fathers who believe my son will be a Major League Baseball player. I told him the future goal with all of the hard work is to make the high school varsity team as a freshman or sophomore. I figured if that happened, college scouts would have two opportunities to see his skills - on the high school field and at travel ball showcases.

Read More....

 
I Didn’t Understand the Seriousness of my Son’s Steroid Use

We are a baseball family. I played Little League Baseball® and so did both of my boys. Our oldest son went on to play collegiate baseball and was scouted by several Major League teams, and was Taylor's idol. Like his older brother, Taylor played Little League and then played on his high school team. He was a very talented player, and had dreams of pitching in college and one day playing in the pros.

Taylor was very competitive at everything he did - in school and in his social life. During high school, he was never satisfied with just being in the starting lineup, he wanted to be the number one pitcher on his squad. Read more ...

 
I Focused on Performance, Not Fun

It's winter time now and snow is on the ground, but as I drive by our local Little League® field, I can envision the kids cheering from the dugouts and putting on their batting helmets to step up to the plate.

This will be my son's last year of Little League. He loved baseball from the start, and it felt like forever until he was old enough for Tee Ball. It was clear from that first year that he was naturally better than many kids his age. Read more...

 
I Stressed Over My Son’s “Failure.” He Did Not.

I was well aware that baseball is considered a sport of failure. A player gets just three hits in 10 at-bats, and he is successful. During my son's third year of Little League®, and second of Coach Pitch, he struck out time and time again, and hit for an average of .125. I know this because I kept game stats from the bleachers. His previous year was even worse. Yes, I kept game stats then, too.

Every time he came to the plate, I tightened up, and got a pit in my stomach. I'd mutter to myself: Please, Aaron, just get a hit. After he'd strike out or hit a little dribbler to the kid playing near the mound, I would just shake my head, and yell: Come on, Aaron! My wife would say in much calmer voice: Don't worry about it, kiddo. Keep doing your best. Read More..

 
I Pushed My Son to Play Like His Brother and Pushed Them Both Too Hard

Three years separate my sons. My oldest, Drew, graduated from the Little League® program last year. Our league doesn't have a division beyond Majors, so he's playing for a few other teams in the area. He's doing great there, just like he did during his Little League days. As a Little Leaguer®, he played up in Majors as a 9-year-old, made the All-Star team each year, and was the best player in the league his final year. Drew did not get his talents from any family gene. His success came from hard work.

My other son, Brayden, is ten. He's never shown the dedication of his older brother, but I knew he had the ability to be just as good. The problem is that he just hasn't shown the interest. Looking back, though, I guess the real problem is that since he's been six, I've pushed to get him to be the baseball player his brother is. I've done all the things with Brayden that I did with Drew... regular visits to the cages, private pitching lessons, baseball camps, sharing videos of drills. Nothing worked. Baseball never seemed important to him. But, I kept pushing. Read More

 
I Was a Chirping Coach, Now I'm a Bruised Umpire

Joe gave me a glare I'll never forget. He was one of our long-time umpires, and I was a long-time coach in our league. Like any coach, I did my share of grumbling about the umpiring.

Usually, I kept those complaints to myself, muttering under my breath. This time, I was a bit louder, and Joe heard me say, "Oh, come on!" after a close play at the plate. As the dust settled, Joe's glare blazed at me straight through his mask.

Between innings, I apologized, and Joe waved the incident away with a smile. He was cool that way, but it all takes a toll. A couple seasons later, he announced he was hanging up the mask because he was tired of taking flak from coaches and parents. Read More

 
The Mistake of Making Everything About Baseball

It's pretty fair to say that I'm a baseball junkie. I have been one for as long as I can remember. My Mancave is an MLB shrine with everything from autographed baseballs to pennants to rugs to cardboard cutouts of players. When I sit in my New York Yankees chair watching a game, I keep a scorebook, noting every pitch, hit, error - you name it. Lots of times my son watches the games with me. It's a good opportunity for me to bond with him. Problem was, my obsession with baseball went far beyond my Mancave, and it ended with my son losing interest in the sport he once loved. Read More

 
Little League® to Travel Ball and Back Again

I started my son in the Little League® Tee Ball program when he was four. I had worked with him quite a lot prior to that. I know that may sound weird working with a kid at such a young age, but his older brother played baseball, so he was always around. The sport came natural to him, and he loved it. While I wasn't thrilled he'd be hitting off a tee because he could already hit a pitched ball, I figured we had to start somewhere, and Tee Ball was all that was available.

The coach was great! While I can't say my son progressed all that much during the Tee Ball season, other kids definitely did, and he had a ton of fun. I was glad he played Tee Ball, and I looked forward to the following year when I assumed there would be some kid pitching. Well, there wasn't. Read More ...

 
My Facebook Posts Almost Ruined the Season

It started with a slight dig toward the manager. After a win where my son played the minimum requirement, I posted on my Facebook page: Nice victory! Hats off to the regular players! Go team! The post included a photo of the scoreboard, which read Sharks 12 - Stripes 6. Within a minute of the post, my wife texted me: Stop!

Not only did I not stop, my posts became more direct as the season went on. After a game where my son only played right field, I posted: I guess all positions are important, even the one no one wants to play. #pickingdaisies. Read More...