Sebastopol Little League: Tips

Saturday, December 10
10 Tips for Parents


A good experience for the players begins with us: the parents. It is up to us to make baseball more enjoyable while we teach skills and provide life lessons. But remember, no matter how much we love the game, we do it for the kids.

These thoughts can make for a better experience for the kids and parents. We believe that these ideas will help to make the next few months more fun for your children, more enjoyable for you and a lot easier on those people who volunteer their time and skills.

1.  Work with your child. There really is little more satisfying than going out at least a few evenings a week and playing ball with your kids. This gives them quality time with you and helps them improve their skills. Someday your child will look back fondly on the spring evenings spent playing catch with mom and dad.

2.  Get involved. The program is run entirely by volunteers and we can use all the help we can get. Anything you do helps all the kids. At our ages, most of our new friends are the parents of our children’s friends and teammates. The more you help out, the more people you meet, and we can always use more friends. Working the concession stand is a great way to help and meet people, after all what’s a baseball game without a hot dog? If you love the game, but can’t be available often enough to coach, umpiring is a great way to help. In addition to making baseball a more satisfying experience for you, you’ll be able to teach your child things that others look for in a game. If you don’t think you’re qualified, don’t worry, Little League provides all the training that anyone needs and you can be calling "safe or out" before you know it. All you need to be an umpire is an open mind and a deaf ear.

3.  Show up for games AND practices. In today’s busy world it’s difficult to juggle schedules, but this is your child. The more involved you are, the more interested your child will be in improving their skills. It’s only a couple times a week for a few months. If you can’t make it to practices, then don’t criticize the manager’s or coach’s decisions during a game.

4.  Respect the rules. This is one of the most important things that the players should be learning. If you don’t agree with a call keep it to yourself, at the least, complain quietly. If there’s a team rule that you disagree with take it up with the manager or a league official on your own time, not during a game with everybody listening.

5.  Speak up if you are unhappy with your manager. One of the most frustrating things for a board member is to have a parent come to us after the season and complain about a manager. Your issue can’t be addressed if the manager doesn’t know that it exists. Don’t assume that they know you are unhappy; talk to them. The managers and coaches put in lots of time and effort and want every child to have a positive experience. If you talk to the manager and are still unhappy, talk to the division rep or player agent.

6.  Don’t create pressure. Although many children (and parents for that matter) dream of becoming professional athletes, the reality is that they are children and deserve to enjoy the game as children. Don’t expect more than they can deliver. Give positive encouragement to all players on both teams.

7.  Losing is a normal part of competition; help your child learn to accept it. No one likes to lose, but the nature of a team sport is that one team will win and one will lose. Teach your child that the final score is not the most important thing. Far more important is their improvement and their sportsmanship. One of life’s ironic truisms is that we learn more from failure than success. Learn from the losses, discuss how your child can improve for next time, but never place blame.

8.  Have Fun! Baseball is a game and should be a positive experience for everyone involved: players, coaches, umpires and parents. Winning is nice, but losing is inevitable. If you can’t enjoy the game without winning, you are missing some of the best things about baseball. A good at bat or a great defensive play will stay in your memory far longer than the score of any game.

9.  Don’t panic if your child is injured. Although baseball is not a contact sport, there are occasions when players collide or other non-contact injuries occur. We are all concerned about our children’s well being, but if your child suffers an injury, remember, kids are able to sustain a lot more than adults are and most coaches are familiar with the usual baseball injuries. Let the coaches handle the situation. They don’t need to deal with a frantic parent along with an injured child.

10.  The program only gets better if you help. We can’t stress this enough: VOLUNTEER… we need you. One of the biggest irritants that we have is those who will not give their time, but are quick to criticize. If you can’t be part of the solution, don’t be part of the problem. If you think that something needs to be changed, get involved and help change it.