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Dad Shares Summer Baseball Journey That Will Brighten Your Day

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By day Dr. Joseph James Rigney serves as president of Bethlehem College & Seminary. By night, Joe Rigney is a father of three just getting through life like the rest of us dads out there, some of whom assume baseball coaching duties. While Joe’s not an OutKick reader that I know of, Wednesday he shared one of those stories that was sent in by a Morning Screencaps reader who knows my personal journey with youth baseball and knew I’d appreciate it.

This is exactly the type of story from the world of youth sports that we need these days. Dig in and I’ll see you at the bottom.

(For some reason, these two tweets aren’t embedding, but I wanted to make sure they were included to complete Joe’s story.)

 

 

 

Not a bad story, right? It’s the best baseball movie of the summer that’s not even a movie. It’s a story that should be financed into a movie instead of future Space Jams. The movie title should be simple: Willie and the Wiffle Ball rolls right off the tongue.

While we’re on the subject of youth sports, Chris B. in Texas has been emailing me wisdom he has collected from his days coaching and being a dad. As a father who’s headed down a path similar to Chris, I’m a complete sponge to everything he shares.

Here’s the latest from Chris.

I coached my son year-round from 5 to 12 in baseball (fall & spring), basketball & soccer.  I was also on the board of our neighborhood league for many years, and I recommend getting involved with the league as well.  

Many years ago when I was on the board it was proposed that the league engage with the Positive Coaching Alliance (https://positivecoach.org/), and I was totally against it.  Thought it would be a bunch of trophies for everyone talk.  I was overruled and was I ever wrong.  PCA is fantastic.  They are not at all about participation trophies & not keeping score.  They are just all about being positive to kids while you coach them up.  I went to their talks every season, even when I wasn’t required to go.  I won’t quote these exactly right, but they polled a bunch kids and here are a few things they talked about:
What’s the thing that kids like the least about youth sports?  Overwhelming kids’ answers:  the ride home in the car with parents on their ass about what they did wrong.  This really sunk in with me.  After hearing this I made a point to go the exact opposite way on this.  I started taking notes as the game went along so I could remember who to give the game ball to, and used those notes to tell the players what they did well after the game.  And with my son, I’d have multiple things that he did well on my list to talk about on the way home. I kept it completely positive.  Left the negative things alone.  He knew when he screwed up and didn’t need me to remind him.  I had mistakes written down too, but I saved those for discussion at the next practice.  He is 14 now, I have not coached him in years, but I still take notes during all of his games.  I write down something about most times he fields a ball, good or bad.  Same for at-bats.  I hand him my phone with my notes in the truck and have him read them to me. I include his mistakes now, but don’t beat him up about them.  I usually just ask him to tell me what happened on that play.
What does a player want to hear from his family in the bleachers when he is at bat or pitching?   Overwhelming kids’ answers:  Nothing!  I changed after learning this as well. I don’t give him any instruction whatsoever from the bleachers, and I usually am completely quiet.  If I do say something, I say very generic sorta motivational things like “have fun out there” or “go get him”.
Sorry for the long-winded reply.  Lotsa good PCA stuff here in their resources section

Written by Joe Kinsey

I'm an Ohio guy, born in Dayton, who roots for Ohio State and can handle you guys destroying the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer and everything associated with Columbus.

11 Comments

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  1. This is absolutely everything I love about sports. I’d rather watch 11-year-olds who play for the fun and love of the game any day than what we’ve been given these last few years. This is why sports matter. This is what’s being taken away.
    Must be dusty or something around here, because I think I got something in my eye…

    Btw, hope your boy & his team smashed it last weekend, Joe!

  2. This was great thanks Joe. Little league ball is truly the best.

    On a side note, this makes me so mad/sad for all the moments like this that kids (and to a lesser degree parents) had to miss out on the last 18 months due to foolish policy makers. Glad to see kids back on the field having fun like they should be.

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