Saturday, March 11, 2017


With Little League and all spring baseball tryouts and the regular season upon us, it is important to remember what our kids are playing the game for. Our children play the game for fun, for the competition and for the team comradery.

As parents, we have to provide them with the best opportunity to succeed. Being a role model parent and spectator is a huge part of your child’s season.

While the overwhelming majority of parents are great spectators, we all have seen the ones that make the experience enjoyable. From yelling at the umpires to second guessing the coach and the worst ones who think their kid is better than everyone else and openly lets that be known! Of course there is always going to be a few players better than others and if that’s your kid, be humble about it!

Photo: Kim Cameron / Lucia in action
The 14U team I coached last year played a team from Connecticut in a tournament over the summer. I won’t say which organization it was because I’m not trying to call them out or anything, I’m simply just giving my observations here. Their coach was a jerk and for two innings egged on the umpire to throw him out. When he finally did get tossed, he clapped obnoxiously and thanked the ump as he walked off the field while all the parents were yelling F bombs and telling the blue how much he sucked. It was a joke. Is that the kind of atmosphere you want your 13 or 14 year-old around? I sure as hell don’t!

Most of the umpires you encounter, especially in Little League, are local volunteers who may be making a few bucks. But these guys and gals are not professionals, just like your child. They will make mistakes just like your child will make errors. It happens, people make mistakes. Let your coach talk to umpire if there is an issue. That’s his job.

The coach of your child’s team is also more than likely a volunteer. He is giving up his time to teach your children about America’s Pastime. They are also not likely professionals. They will also make mistakes, so give them the benefit of the doubt. That doesn’t mean that some won’t put their child’s interest first or play favorites and when that happens, it’s very unfortunate. If you need to speak with the coach, pull him aside and discuss your concerns in a personable manner.

As for the volunteer coaches, 95% of you do your best to accommodate all the players and make it a point to do the right thing, but if you find yourself playing favorites, take a step back and remember this is for the kids, not you. That doesn’t mean don’t try and win, but it does mean assure you are allowing each player the opportunity to have fun. Little League will be something he or she remembers for the rest of their life’s.

During the games, cheer and cheer loudly. Encourage not only your child, but every player on the team! As a parent and coach, I know it is tough. I found myself coaching my kid more than the other kids at times. It is tough to separate, but when you catch yourself, take a step back and remedy the situation. Teaching the young players about the team concept is important.

Following the game, remain encouraging. If your player had a rough game, don’t hound and criticize them. If they want to discuss their miscues, then listen and encourage, if they don’t, let it be for now. Most kids realize that they didn’t have the best game, or did, and don’t necessarily need to be reminded. Over 99% of these kids will not be professionals. This is meant to be a fun experience.

I understand that some parents aren’t able to make it to all the games, life gets in the way, I get it. But if you happen to be one of those parents who skips games for no good reason, do yourself a favor and reconsider. Your child is only young once and only gets one Little League career. Be there to support them as they will remember that, I know I do. Watching these games will be something you will never forget either. Embrace the opportunity to watch your children be kids.

Being there to support your children in a positive manner makes the experience that much better for everyone. It is important to teach our kids how to be good people and to do the right thing. It is important to teach them to be respectful and be good teammates. It is important to teach them how to enjoy the dog days of summer. It is important for them to enjoy themselves.

Just as important as it is for you to lead by example. For your child’s sake, make sure you are a great sports parent!

--Dan Lucia

BYB 'Series' Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @DManLucia

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