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Thursday, April 15, 2010

10 Tips to Help Players Get Through the Baseball Season

10 Tips to Help Players Get Through the Baseball Season
By Jack Perconte

In my opinion, there is no sport that requires the whole body skills and concentration that baseball requires. Hitting, fielding and throwing are all difficult skills to perfect. Inevitably, all players endure disappointing performances at some point in the season. The most obvious evidence of the difficulty of baseball is that college drafted players almost never make it to the major leagues without years of continued grooming in the minor leagues. This is different than any other major sport where the best college players are proficient enough to go straight to the big time.

Because of this difficulty, great patience is required by all as baseball players develop skills and knowledge of the game from year to year. Disappointment and frustration can easily set in playing baseball. Additionally, there is very little time between games in a baseball season so once a slump sets in, the season or career can be ruined if people panic at these difficult times. It is important that parents and coaches help players get through these times so total frustration does not set in and so players do not get to the point where they want to quit playing. Unfortunately, many talented athletes leave the sport at a young age because there is not adequate patience shown and encouragement given by adults.

Following is advice for adults when ball players inevitably struggle:

1. Encourage kids to have long-range goals so they do not feel overwhelming pressure to do well each and every game. For example, making the high school team is a good goal for young ball players. A good goal for all players to have is simply being better at their skills at the end of the season than they were at the beginning of the season; this is not always a given.
2. Do not show own frustration in front of kids. Stay as upbeat as possible.
3. Give kids a few days totally away from the game during a rough stretch, if possible, and keep the talk about baseball to a minimum during this time.
4. Remind hard working players that practice pays off eventually, and remind not so hard workers that good results only come with hard work.
5. Remind players that you always believe in them and that they are so much more than what they do on a playing field.
6. A little joke about their play, at the appropriate time, can get them to laugh about it and release some of the tension.
7. Along the same lines, occasionally reminding them of times they did well is good.
8. Watching a bloopers tape can provide some laughs and help players realize everyone makes mistakes, even the great players.
9. Trying to get players to "smile" when on the playing field can relieve tension and help them understand that they should not take the game and themselves too serious.
10. False praise is never advised, but trying to point out little things where the player improved at or did well in a game can be helpful.

Finally, saying "forget about it" to your kids after a tough game when it was apparent that they played hard can go a long way to keeping it all in perspective. Of course, these are helpful tips that can be used with athletes of any sport.

Jack Perconte is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his positive parenting advice and books can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com. Former major league baseball player Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball playing lessons, books and advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick