Before you mutter under your breath about how “stupid” your son’s Little League coach is… I want to ask you something; What do YOU do to further a child’s confidence and talent on the baseball diamond?
I’m a father. I’m also a Little League coach and I treat each job with passion. But when it comes to coaching your kids, I do my best to treat them fairly, to make sure they understand the game, and to be extra careful in allowing my players to grow in their abilities on the field. I also preach respect. Respect for their teammates, for their coaches and for their opponent. That’s because without respect, the game becomes a spectacle.
There will be ups and downs when I coach your kids in Little League and that’s because as much as I want to win every game, I also understand that we may lose. I understand that errors and strikeouts are going to happen. I also understand that my team may fall short. But when the season ends, whatever the outcome, I know my players will walk away knowing more about the game and about themselves then they did before they started.
And so I ask you again; What do you do to further a child’s confidence and talent on the baseball diamond? I leave New York City with enough time to coach your children and get them motivated before each game. And yes, I do it for 3 months straight. You however, show up during the 1st inning, making sure we’re winning.
I’ll take that extra moment to make sure your son uses a lighter bat and keeps his head down on the ball if he’s struggling at the plate. You roll your eyes at me like I’m wasting everyone’s time. I’ll even give your kid the ball and tell him to take the mound in a critical moment of the game. No, I’m not banking on them losing like you think I am. I’m encouraging my players to challenge themselves, to build their confidence and conquer their goals.
I am a coach for Little League baseball. I’m proud of that. It may be the most gratifying time for me as a person. That’s because getting through to these kids means I did something right. If I can allow a ballplayer who lacks confidence to do something great, for 1 inning, for 1 single out, I’ve done my job. I want kids to walk in liking baseball, but then I want them leaving the season loving it.
So do me a favor. Spare me the drama about how bad we are as a team. Go ahead, throw your hands up in disgust as my pitcher just gets rocked for 3 runs in the first inning and talk about me behind my back all you want…by the way, I hear you. But remember something… I am a Little League coach for your kid and I do it to make children love baseball. I want to make a difference, despite players flocking to lacrosse and despite spending less time with my family for 3 months of the season. I do it because if these kids can learn anything from me as their coach, they’ll learn patience, confidence, integrity and respect, not just in this game, but in their lives.
Yes. Respect. I know a few people that need a refresher on that.
–Rob Monaco is a father of 4, Little League Commissioner and Coach for the past 7 years. He is passionate about the game of baseball and writing.