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How to be a good baseball parent

Updated on September 27, 2015

Not all calls by the umpire are right and not all equipment is appropriate

The breeze is blowing through the chain link fence, kicking up the dust. Your kid is at bat. There are two outs in the bottom of the 9th. Your kid has two strikes. The pitcher throws. It's a ball and you wait for the umpire to call it a..."Strike". What! You jump up and before your feet even hit the ground, you are yelling. At one time or another, every parent has objected to a call. There are just better ways to handle a bad call than just yelling.

Being a good baseball parent also means that you buy age appropriate and league approved equipment. Don't let that cute little face sucker you into buying that flashy bat. There ultimate decision should be your choice.

Such cute kids!

All Stars big shots

Another day at the ball field. Our child is the one of the left and we have learned that it is better to keep these four separated.

Baseball helmets - What you need to know before buying a helmet

Wilson Sleek Baseball Batting Helmet (Black, Youth)
Wilson Sleek Baseball Batting Helmet (Black, Youth)

Batting helmets are required for any player batting or running the bases. Even the smallest children are required to wear one. Batting helmets should fit snugly and not move around when the head is turned. The face guard is not required and is at parent discretion. Our child does not like them but one more hit in the mouth and he might change his mind. They are a safety feature I think should be required with the helmet. If the helmet gets hit by a batted or thrown ball, check it immediately. If there is any hairline cracking, it is time to replace it.

The manufacturers of baseball helmets all have good products. We use Wilson only because they have the color our child wants. Make sure that you get the correct size. The T-ball helmets are not for children playing in older groups.

In league play the use of face masks and chin straps are recommended. The helmet should not have any decals other than the players name, number, team name or logo. No other decals are allowed.

 

Practice and game schedules

Good baseball parents make sure that their kids make it to practices and games timely.

Children will not success at baseball or any sport if they do not practice. Parents instinctively want their children to do well but allowing them to skip practice or arriving late undermines their skills. They also don't learn their team members strengths and weaknesses. Without understanding how their team members play prevents them from working as a team. They need to know who will back them up and who is the child who is not the best at catching. They need to know who will hit the ball. This helps them make decisions during the game.

If you are one of the parents who constantly makes a scene, it's time to rethink your attitude.

Sportmanship is learned by example

Part of being on a team is to learn sportsmanship. What the parents do in the stands makes an impression on the kids. Parents who continually criticize their children destroy their self-esteem. Parent who yell at the umpire tells their kids that they do not have to play by the rules. Parent who make fun of the children on the other team should be removed immediately.

Sending the wrong message is something that will teach the child to be a bad sport.

Every league has staff to resolve issues

The umpire (I know it seems like I am picking on them but we have had pretty bad umpires lately) makes bad calls. Yelling at them from the stands will not make it any better. It's hard if the bad call is at your child's expense but track down a board member. They are there to resolve disputes. They are also there to make sure that the parents and other attendees toe the line. They will remove people who drink on the field as those who are overly abusive towards the children on their team or the other team. Do not sit in silence if you don't like the way things are going. Find someone. It may not change the outcome of the game but it can help it from happening in the future.

Actually paying attention to the game

This is a favorite picture. He was really young here and didn't always watch the game.

Treat your child with respect

You may call him boo-boo at home but he may not think it's so cute when his team members start calling him that. Fortunately, when they get to All Stars, parents aren't allowed you use individual names and must only use the team name. I think that's when the kids are the happiest.

If they make a mistake, don't make a big deal of it. If they are having a bad day and you just can't keep your mouth shut, walk away and take a break. Your being upset will not help your child. Even kids have a bad day at the field once in a while.

Gloves

Wilson Game Ready Soft Fit Infield/Pitcher Baseball Glove (Brown), Right Hand Throw, 11.75"
Wilson Game Ready Soft Fit Infield/Pitcher Baseball Glove (Brown), Right Hand Throw, 11.75"

There are many gloves on the market. You can see on the description for the glove that it says Infield/Pitcher. That where our child plays. He also has a catcher's glove. There are gloves for the outfield as well. In the younger divisions, an all purpose glove is probably best but by the time they get to Junior High, the glove will matter. If in doubt, ask your coach before buying.

Make sure that you condition a new glove. It needs to be flexible.

 

After the game, talk about the highs and lows

Whether they win or lose, share your thoughts with them. Children are disappointed when they lose a game so talk about the good plays or hits and ask what they thought they could do better. Tell them how much fun you had. Parental approval goes a long way to ease disappointment.

Baseball should be fun. It is never about winning but all about the journey.

Baseball helmets - What you need to know before buying a helmet

Batting helmets are required for any player batting or running the bases. Even the smallest children are required to wear one. Batting helmets should fit snugly and not move around when the head is turned. The face guard is not required and is at parent discretion. Our child does not like them but one more hit in the mouth and he might change his mind. They are a safety feature I think should be required with the helmet. If the helmet gets hit by a batted or thrown ball, check it immediately. If there is any hairline cracking, it is time to replace it.

The manufacturers of baseball helmets all have good products. We use Wilson only because they have the color our child wants. Make sure that you get the correct size. The T-ball helmets are not for children playing in older groups.

In league play the use of face masks and chin straps are recommended. The helmet should not have any decals other than the players name, number, team name or logo. No other decals are allowed.

All star game in Big Bear, CA

He was 11-yrs-old and delighted to be playing in Big Bear. For the kids, it was a prime location. For the parents, it was a long trip up the mountain. Still, they did well although not winning, held their own. We all had fun.

I wish he was coaching our teams

Mike Matheny is the St. Louis Cardinals Manager. .Mike coached his kids after retirement and this is a letter to the parents on his team. He has a lot to say to his parents and all of it is important.

Cleats and other equipment

The National Pony League Organization does not allow metal cleats until the kids reach the Pony Division. There are many cleats on the market so be sure you are getting the ones for baseball.

If you child is the catcher, they are required to have a mask with a throat guard, chest protector, shin guards, athletic supporter with a cup and an approved headgear. The coach may provide all the required equipment except the athletic supporter.

No shorts are allowed as part of the uniform. Specifically, pants that do not cover the knees. Baseball pants are required for league play but even at practice, they are recommended. We would not consider sending a child to practice in jeans or other pants not specifically made for baseball.

No jewelry, except medical alert items are allowed on the field.

What kind of parent are you?

Found this on Facebook. It says it all.
Found this on Facebook. It says it all. | Source

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    • MichaelBurkesp profile image

      Michael Burke M Ed 2 years ago from Rapid City SD

      There is a lot that can be learned from little league sports. The adults bear much of the responsibility in determining if these life lessons build a successful foundation or not. Parents and coache have a tremendous impact.

    • smithlights profile image

      smithlights 6 years ago

      Great lens, especially the part about sportsmanship. My brother plays, and we have some dads who yell at the ump for bad calls or repeatedly make comments about them. I figure that it doesn't help anything, and the boys will pick that up and start making comments (or excuses) too. Also, I've seen some dads (yes, it mostly is dads) put a ton of pressure on the kids. They are 10 years old! Let them play ball!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      My husband grew up playing sandlot ball and then little league daily during the summers. Even today, baseball is very meaningful to him. I enjoy watching a good game myself.