Paradise Hills Little League ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico USA: For Parents

Paradise Hills Little League Boundaries

Boundaries for Paradise Hills Little League (as established by NM District 8 Little League) are:
- Paseo Del Norte Boulevard to the South,
- Golf Course Road to the East and
- The Bernalillo County line to the North and West.

Please see the boundary map below.  For those residing outside of the boundaries of Paradise Hills Little League please visit the NM District 8 web site at http://www.eteamz.com/district8llb
for information on surrounding area Little Leagues.


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Monday, March 8
Sideline Suggestions (10 Things Kids Say They Don't Want Their Parents to Do) By Darrell J. Burnett, Ph.D.

Volume 5, No. 2 - March 2010
Sideline Suggestions (10 Things Kids Say They Don't Want Their Parents to Do)
By Darrell J. Burnett, Ph.D.

  1. Don't yell out instructions.  During the game I'm trying to concentrate on what the coach says and working on what I've been practicing. It's easier for me to do my best if you save instructions and reminders for practice or just before the game.
  2. Don't put down the officials. This embarrasses me and I sometimes wonder whether the official is going to be tougher on me because my parents yell.
  3. Don't yell at me in public. It will just make things worse because I'll be upset, embarrassed, or worried that you're going to yell at me the next time I do something "wrong."
  4. Don't yell at the coach. When you yell about who gets to play what position, it just stirs things up and takes away from the fun.
  5. Don't put down my teammates. Don't make put-down remarks about any of my teammates who make mistakes. It takes away from our team spirit.
  6. Don't put down the other team. When you do this you're not giving us a very good example of sportsmanship so we get mixed messages about being "good sports."
  7. Don't lose your cool. I love to see you excited about the game, but there's no reason to get so upset that you lose your temper! It's our game and all the attention is supposed to be on us.
  8. Don't lecture me about mistakes after the game. Those rides home in the car after the game are not a good time for lectures about how I messed up -- I already feel bad. We can talk later, but please stay calm, and don't forget to mention things I did well during game!
  9. Don't forget how to laugh and have fun. Sometimes it's hard for me to relax and have fun during the game when I look over and see you so tense and worried.
  10.  Don't forget that it's just a game! Odds are, I'm not going to make a career out of playing sports. I know I may get upset if we lose, but I also know that I’m usually feeling better after we go get a pizza. I need to be reminded sometimes that it’s just a game.

(From Playbook for Kids: A Parent's Guide to Help Kids Get the Most Out of Sports. The Gatorade Company)


Dr. Darrell Burnett is a clinical psychologist and a certified sports psychologist specializing in youth sports. He has been in private practice in Laguna Niguel, California for 25+ years. He is a member of the Little League International Board of Directors. He was listed among the “Top 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America” by the Institute for International Sport. His book, IT’S JUST A GAME! (Youth, Sports, & Self Esteem: A Guide for Parents), and his Sportsmanship Card Game, GOOD SPORT! are described at his website, www.djburnett.com, along with his other books, booklets, and CDs on youth sports and family life.

© 2010 Little League International. All rights reserved.




A Parent's Guide- UNDERSTANDING KIDS AND SPORTS
It is important to understand children's motivation to participate in sports in order to fully appreciate the impact adult behavior can have on the children who participate in organized sports. Dr. Martens provides this advice in Parents Guide To Little League Baseball.

Why Children Play Baseball

You can fulfill your responsibilities better as a Little League parent by knowing why young people choose to play baseball and why they choose to quit. The most important thing to know is that children have the right to choose. Of course it's OK to encourage your child to play, but it's not OK to pressure her or him. The difficulty is in distinguishing between encouragement and pressure. You'll need to be very careful that you don't push your goals onto your child so hard that playing Little League becomes stressful.

Why Children Play

Young people play baseball because they like the action and excitement of the game. They don't want to sit on the bench or be spectators; they want to be involved in the action. They like close scores and playing teams of similar ability who challenge their skills. They don't want to get walloped, nor do they find much fun in clobbering another team.

Young people also play baseball because it provides opportunity to make new friends, but more importantly they want to play sports with their existing friends. These are the qualities that make sports fun for young people.

Why Children Quit

Young people say they quit baseball for the reasons given here (listed from most to least important).

  1. Change in interest to other sports and nonsport activities
  2. Lack of playing time
  3. Failure and fear of failure
  4. Disapproval by significant others, often coaches and parents but sometimes teammates
  5. Psychological stress, usually from too much emphasis on winning
  6. Too-intense training
  7. Fear of injury

By far the most common reason young people give quitting baseball is that their interest has shifted to other things which should not be seen as negative. As we all do, children sample life's activities to see what they are good at and enjoy doing. If your child does not enjoy baseball but would prefer to play the clarinet, for example, there is nothing wrong with this.

We adults should be concerned, however, when young people quit baseball or any activity because their self-worth is threatened through repeated failure, adult criticism, or inordinate stress. You and your child's coach are responsible to see that playing baseball enhances your child's self-worth, not destroys it. Otherwise, it is best for your daughter or son to seek a more positive activity.

Enhancing Self-Worth

The challenge of helping every athlete feel worthy is a difficult one. Adults must find a way for every athlete to experience success in an environment in which actual winners are few and losers are many. The basic problem is that young athletes learn from coaches, teammates, and parents to gauge their self-worth largely by whether they win or lose. The devastating result is that athletes then feel they can only maintain their sense of self-worth by wining.

Some adults also teach young athletes to believe they are entirely responsible for winning or losing a game. This is certainly incorrect. Wining or losing are determined by many factors, not only the play of any one athlete, but also the play of teammates and opponents, officials' calls, and luck.

So when young people learn to evaluate their self-worth according to winning and losing, they do so on the basis of something they do not entirely control. This can lead to athletes' taking credit for success and blame for failure when they are not entirely responsible for either one. Consequently, the most important thing you can do as a parent is to help your child use a different yardstick for success.

Success for an athlete must be seen in terms of exceeding personal goals rather than surpassing the performance of others.

Winning is important, but it becomes secondary to an athlete's striving to achieve personal goals. In baseball, personal goals might include such things as making good contact with the ball when batting, fielding balls correctly, throwing accurately to the base.

By learning to focus on personal goals, goals related to behaviors he or she has control over, your child is much more likely to be successful, regardless of the outcome of a game. The important thing for you here is to help your athlete set realistic goals, for doing so ensures a reasonable degree of success. Given all the competitive pressures and peer influence young athletes face, it is you and the coach who must help your child set realistic goals.

When you help your child set realistic goals, she or he will likely experience more success and feel more competent. By becoming more competent, a child gains confidence and can learn skills of moderate difficulty without fearing failure. So you can see that setting realistic goals robs failure of its threat. Rather than indicating that athletes are not worthy, failure indicates they should try harder.

De-emphasize winning reemphasize the attainment of personal goals. This principle is the key to enhancing your young athlete's feelings of self-worth.

© Copyright 1993, Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.




A Parent's Guide - COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR CHILD'S COACH
Your child is likely to be considerably influenced by his or her coach, not only in learning how to play baseball and enjoy the game but also in physical, psychological, and social development. Because coaches are powerful role models for young athletes, they face tremendous challenges and considerable responsibilities.

Of course, we cannot tell you about your child's particular coach; you will need to find that out. But we can tell you some things about Little League coaches in general. They come from all walks of life, motivated by their love of baseball and their desire to teach young people. All Little League coaches are volunteers; two of every three have children participating in the program. They donate many hours a week throughout the season to coach your child and other young athletes.

Unfortunately, as in many human endeavor, there are a few "bad apples" in the coaching world. Little League does all it can to eliminate ( or reeducate) them, but once in while a poor coach slips through. Thus, it is important that you make sure your child's coach acts in your son's or daughter's best interest.

Evaluating Your Child's Coach

Use the Coach Evaluation Checklist to help you find out about the person with whom you are going to entrust the welfare of you child.

COACH EVALUATION CHECKLIST

  • Coaching Philosophy
    Does the coach keep winning and losing in perspective, or is this person a win-at-all -costs coach?
    Does the coach make sure that learning baseball is fun?


  • Motives
    What are the coach's motives for coaching?
    Does the coach seek personal recognition at the expense of the players?


  • Knowledge
    Does the coach know the rules and skills of the sport?
    Does the coach know how to teach those skills to young people?


  • Leadership
    Does the coach permit players to share in leadership and decision making, or does he or she call all the shots?
    Is the coach's leadership built on intimidation or mutual respect?


  • Self-Control
    Does the coach display the self-control expected of the players, or does she or he fly off the handle frequently?
    When kids make mistakes, does the coach build them up or put them down?


  • Understanding
    Is the coach sensitive to the emotions of the players or so wrapped up in his or her own emotions that the kids' feelings are forgotten?
    Does the coach understand the unique make-up of each child, treating children as individuals?

  • Communication
    Do the coach's words and actions communicate positive or negative feelings?
    Does the coach know when to talk and when to listen?


  • Consistency
    Does the coach punish one youngster but not another for the same behavior?
    Is the coach hypocritical, saying one thing and then doing another?

  • Respect
    Do the players respect and listen to what the coach says?
    Do the players look up to the coach as a person to emulate?


  • Enthusiasm
    Does the coach demonstrate enthusiasm, for coaching baseball?
    Does the coach know how to build enthusiasm among the players?

 

No One Is Perfect

There are several ways to learn more about your child's coach. Don't feel you are snooping; you are fulfilling your obligation as a responsible parent!

  1. Talk with the coach to find out answers to the questions in the checklist.
  2. Observe the coach in practice and games.
  3. Talk with other parents who have had children play under this coach.

Remember, no coach will be perfect (just as you are not a perfect parent), but you need to be satisfied that your child's coach meets some minimum standards.

Dealing With Unsatisfactory Coaching

Parents often have a difficult time dealing with their child's coach when they decide that he or she is coaching in a unsatisfactory way. Thoughtful parents are reluctant to interfere and hesitant to remove their child from the team. Children may resent being forced to quit; they fear losing face and may enjoy the sport so much that they want to continue participating in spite of a poor coach. Parents must use good judgment in such situations, communicating with both the child and the coach to resolve the problem.

We recommend that you begin by discussing the problem with the coach. Explain your concern and then listen to the coach's perspective.

If the problem with the coach is not severe, consider taking special steps with your child explain the coach's unsatisfactory behavior when it occurs. When children have help to recognize negative behavior, they often can learn positive lessons. For example, if the coach throws a temper tantrum whenever a player makes an error, help your child understand that this reaction is the coach's problem of self-control. Explain that mistakes are part of learning. Make it clear that you value the improvement your child continues to show, despite the coach's negative reactions. This intervention requires wise counsel and time on your part to avoid pitting your child against the coach's methods or philosophy.

If discussing the issue with the coach does not resolve the problem, then you need to consider going to your local Little League officials. If they cannot remedy the problem to your satisfaction, then determine the feasibility of transferring your daughter or son to another team.

If all these fail, and you consider the problem to be bad enough, you may need to remove your child from Little League. If the coach's actions are illegal, then of course you need to contact the appropriate legal authorities.

Helping Your Child's Coach

Remember that most coaches are striving to do the best they can. You can help make the coach's job a bit easier, as well as help your child enjoy Little League more, by doing the following things:

  1. Let your child know you support his or her participation in Little League. Get involved volunteer your time in the league, practice with your athlete, attend games, and show that you care.
  2. Provide your child with proper equipment and encourage its correct use.
  3. Monitor your child's participation so that you know how your child is developing.
  4. Do not interfere with the coach unless the coach has clearly erred.
  5. Keep the coach informed if your child is injured or ill.
  6. Make certain your child is sleeping and eating property.
  7. Help the coach when asked to do so. You might be needed to raise funds, drive kids to games, keep score, or even be an assistant coach.
  8. Keep control of yourself show by your example how you want your child to behave on and off the field.
     

© Copyright 1993, Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.




A Parent's Guide- WHAT ABOUT MY CHILD?

How much time should my child devote to baseball?

In hopes of creating superathletes, some parents push their children to practice 2 or more hours every day from the time they are 8 or 9 years old. Few children have the natural desire to pursue anything baseball or other activities with that degree of dedication. Children whose whole lives are built around a sport miss out on other important aspects of growing up. Consequently, they all too often "burn out" or come to resent the sport and the adults who pressured them to play.

Little League should not demand all of your child's leisure time. She or he should have the opportunity to learn other sports and recreational skills as well as to attend to schoolwork and the natural pursuits of youth. We urge you once again to let your children determine the degree of his or her commitment to Little League without pressure from you or the coach.

For most 8-year-olds, two or three 1 hour practices a week and one or two games is about right The season should not be too long, either 8 to 12 weeks is enough. As a child's age, skill, fitness, and interest increase, so too can the length and frequency of practices and games.

What is the risk of injury to my child in Little League?

We know that injuries constitute one of parents' foremost concerns, and rightly so. Injuries seem to be inevitable in any rigorous activity, especially if players are new to the sport and unfamiliar with its demands. But because of the safety precautions taken in Little League, severe injuries such as bone fractures are infrequent. Most injuries are sprains and strains, abrasions and cuts and bruises. The risk of serious injury in Little League Baseball is far less than the risk of riding a skateboard, a bicycle, or even the school bus.

Can I help my child's performance through her or his diet?

Not only can you help your child perform, you can help him or her establish healthy eating habits for life. Explain to your Little Leaguer that the body is like an engine; it runs as well as the fuel it has to burn. "Junk food" is junk fuel, which causes the engine to sputter. "High performance" fuel comes from a diet that's good for all of us one high in complex carbohydrates (60%) and low in fat (20%) and protein (20%).


Psychological Concerns

Can Little League be too stressful for my child?

It can be, if your child is made to feel that self-worth depends on how she or he plays baseball. When the things most important to your child such as love and approval are made contingent on how well he or she hits and fields, your child is likely to experience high levels of stress. But fortunately, research has shown, this doesn't happen very often. For the great majority of children, baseball is no more stressful than many other activities in which they participate. When coaches and parents keep winning in proper perspective, Little League rarely causes too much stress.

But what if my child appears to be overly stressed?

Begin by talking with your child, and perhaps to the coach, to uncover the cause of the problem. Almost always the stress is caused by anxiety about how the coach, teammates, or you will feel about your child if she or he performs poorly. Help your Little Leaguer understand that striving to win is important, but that his or her worthiness as a person is not determined by how well he or she plays or whether the team wins or loses the game. When young people know that their self-worth is not determined by their batting averages or fielding percentages, they are likely to fin Little League to be overly stressful.

Can my child care too much about Little League?

It is good for children to be committed to activities like baseball, to care about how they perform, and to push themselves to achieve excellence. Developing commitment is a useful lifetime skill. Let your child care, and care with your child. But sometimes children care too much: They equate their self-worth with winning and losing, they mope around the house endlessly after a loss, they ignore their other responsibilities. When this occurs, it is your job to help your child put things in perspective.

What do I say after a game when my child did not play well?

Sometimes it's hard to know what to say to your child after a disappointing outcome. When children know they did not play well, they don't want to be told "You played great!" And when they have just lost a game they do not want to hear "It's really not important." At the moment , it is important to them, and they expect to be permitted the dignity of their unhappiness.

Although parents mean well, comments like these sound superficial and reflect a lack of sincerity. Children seem to have a built-in apparatus for detecting "phony" comments, and they resent them deeply. When parents are insincere or provide false praise, the child learns to place less value on their words and later may be unable to get full satisfaction from deserved praise. In short, be generous with praise and sparing with criticism, but don't be a phony.

Should parents attend practices and games?

Attending a few practices during the season so you can see what your child is learning is a good idea, but always being there may not be. We encourage you to attend all your Little Leaguer's games, but if your presence appears to make your child nervous, it may be better not to go to the games until your child gains more confidence in her or his playing abilities. The best way to find out if you should attend practices and games is to ask your child if he or she would like you to come!

What if my child misbehaves?

Throughout this guide we have placed most of the burden for a successful sport program on adults you as the parent and your child's coach. But sometimes children misbehave they break the rules or are uncooperative, uncontrollable, or irresponsible. Children should be helped to understand that they have obligations to their parents and to the coach when they become part of the Little League team. They are responsible for cooperating with coaches and teammates, for being prompt to practice and games, and for managing their own conduct. When children misbehave, the coach has some right and responsibility to discipline them. Ultimately, however, the responsibility to discipline belongs to you, you must fulfill it wisely.

Little league encourages awards of honor certificates, team pictures, and inexpensive medals or pins at the end of the season. Are these awards desirable?

Children wish to be recognized for their accomplishments just as adults do. Giving children recognition for their achievements is fine as long as the rewards are not extravagant and they are awarded fairly. The danger in these practices occurs when children lose perspective about the significance of such recognition, wanting to play only when tangible rewards are at stake. You need to help your child see these rewards merely as recognition for past accomplishments, not guarantees of future success. Your child needs to realize that these extrinsic rewards are only one benefit of sport participation and that the more important outcomes are the intrinsic rewards of fun and satisfaction.

© Copyright 1993, Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.




A Parent's Guide- YOUR ROLE AS A LITTLE LEAGUE PARENT

Local Little Leagues are entirely volunteer organizations. Each league depends on adults like you to organize and conduct every aspect. Not only do adults serve as administrators, volunteer coaches, and umpires they also help with field maintenance, fund-raising, concessions, and numerous other special projects.

Your willingness to exchange time and effort for your child's benefit and enjoyment is very important to the functioning of your local Little League. Cheering your daughter or son on from the stands is one important way to be involved, but we invite you to do even more by volunteering to help run your local Little League program.

Without a doubt, Little League is a family affair that gives parents and children a common ground for spending time together. Whether you are coaching the players, selling popcorn to the fans, or bringing soda for the team after the game, your family will enjoy being a part of Little League in your community. Most of all, your will appreciate the benefits of your enthusiasm and involvement in his or her activities.

When winning is kept in perspective, there is room for fun in the pursuit of victory or more accurately, the pursuit of victory is fun. With your leadership Little League can help your child learn to accept responsibilities, accept others and most of all, accept her - or himself.

Keeping Winning in Perspective

Are you able to keep winning in perspective? You might answer with a confident yes, but will you be able to do so when it is your child who is winning or losing, when your child is treated a bit roughly by someone on the other team, or when the umpire makes a judgment against your child? Parents are sometimes unprepared for the powerful emotions they experience when watching their sons and daughters compete.

One reason that parents' emotions run to high is that they want their children to do well; it reflects on them. They also may believe that their children's failures are their own. Parents need to realize that dreams of glory they have for their youngsters are not completely unselfish, but they are completely human. Parents who are aware of their own pride, who are even capable of being amused by their imperfections, can keep themselves well under control.

Being a Model of Good Sportsmanship

Flying off the handle at games or straining relations with the coach or other parents creates a difficult situation for your child. Just as you don't want your daughter or son to embarrass you, don't embarrass your Little Leaguer.

It's no secret that kids imitate their parents. In addition, they absorb the attitudes they think lie behind their parents' actions. As you go through the Little League season with your child, be a positive role model. How can you expect your child to develop a healthy perspective about competing and winning if you display an unhealthy one? Remember Little league is supposed to be a fun experience for your child, and one in which he or she will learn some sport skills. Winning will take care of itself.

Some parents seem to abandon good principles of child rearing when their child is participating in sports. However, just as your child's home, school, and religious environment affect the type of person he or she will be, so does the sport environment especially when your child is young. Remember this:

- If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
- If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
- If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
- If children live with praise, they learn to like themselves.
- If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
- If children live with recognition, they have to have a goal.
- If children live with honesty, they learn what trust is.

Note: From "Great Projects Report," Baltimore Bulletin of Education, 1965-1966, 42 (3).


Parents' Checklist for Success

Here is a list of questions you should consider when your child begins playing Little league. If you can honestly answer yes to each one, you will find little trouble ahead.

  • Can you share your son or daughter?
    This means trusting the coach to guide your child's Little League experiences. It means accepting the coach's authority and the fact that he or she may gain some of your child's admiration that once was directed toward you.

  • Can you admit your shortcomings?
    Sometimes we slip up as parents, our emotions causing us to speak before we think. We judge our child too hastily, perhaps only to learn later the child's actions were justified. It takes character for parents to admit they made a mistake and to discuss it with their child.

  • Can you accept your child's disappointments?
    Sometimes being a parent means being a target for a child's anger and frustration. Accepting your child's disappointment also means watching your play poorly during a game when all of his or her friends succeed, or not being embarrassed into anger when your 10-year-old breaks into tears after a failure. Keeping your frustration in check will help you guide your son or daughter through disappointments.

  • Can you accept your child's triumphs?
    This sound much easier than it often is. Some parents, not realizing it, may become competitive with their daughter or son, especially if the youngster receives considerable recognition. When a child plays well in a game, parents may dwell on minor mistakes, describe how an older brother or sister did even better, or boast about how they played better many years ago.

  • Can you give your child some time?
    Some parents are very busy, even though they are interested in their child's participation and want to encourage it. Probably the best solution is never to promise more than you can deliver. Ask about your child's Little league experiences, and make every effort to watch at least some games during the season.

  • Can you let your child make her or his own decisions?
    Decisions making is an essential part of young person's development, and it is a real challenge to parents. It means offering suggestions and guidance but finally, within reasonable limits, letting the child go his or her own way. All parents have ambitions for their children, but parents must accept the fact that they cannot mold their children's lives. Little League offers parents a minor initiation into the major process of letting go.

Throughout the guide Dr. Martens discusses your responsibilities as a Little League parent. Here we summarize the major responsibilities for you to review.

Parents Responsibilities

  1. Let your child choose to play Little League and to quit if he or she dose not enjoy baseball. Encourage participation, but don't pressure.
  2. Understand what your child wants from participating in Little League and provide a supportive atmosphere for achieving these goals.
  3. Set limits on your child's participation in baseball. You need to determine when she or he is physically and emotionally ready to play and to insure that the conditions for playing are safe.
  4. Make certain your child's coach is qualified to guide your child through the Little League experience.
  5. Keep winning in perspective by remembering Athletes First, Winning Second. Instill this perspective in your child.
  6. Help your child set realistic goals about his or her own performance so success is guaranteed.
  7. Help your child understand the experiences associated with competitive sports so she or he can learn the valuable lessons sports can teach.
  8. Discipline your when he or she misbehaves, breaks the rules, or is uncooperative or uncontrollable.
  9. Turn your child over to the coach at practices and games, and avoid meddling or becoming a nuisance.

© Copyright 1993, Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.