How many times have you told your kid to “Do the best you can.” It’s perfect advice in so many ways, because in the pressure of this game, the obstacles, the many more failures than successes, what you don’t ever want is for a player to be discouraged. What you do want for them is to never feel the stress of this game, and instead just go out there and have fun.
The game is hard enough, why the hell are you gonna work them up more trying to make sure they are perfect out there? It’s a game… go smile… go play, and do the best you can.
Baseball is one of the most difficult games in the world because of how it is played. It’s about skill and mind. You don’t go running around hitting other players. You don’t kick a ball. You don’t run around a track. Trust me, I’m not knocking any other sports here, I’ve played all of them, but for me, there’s a special passion about baseball. There’s a certain pressure and mindset that a player needs to comprehend in this game.
Baseball is a thinking man’s game. Not only that, it’s strategy is difficult and unique. You hit a ball with a stick. There is no time limit. You can be the best on the team, but on any given day, you could end up going 0-4 while little Tommy, who doesn’t hit a lick can go 4-4 and score the winning run.
The game is unpredictable, and teams many times become better on momentum, and not only on skill. It’s truly fascinating. The hardest part to overcome as a kid is this; You will not be perfect, but need to be mentally strong to handle the failures of the game. And trust me… there will be many.
And if you don’t have that mental strength to “get over it” after a bad game or outing, believe me, you will never truly understand the game’s inner workings and will rarely succeed. Nothing is easy in life, and baseball sure as hell isn’t either.
And so, when a parent tells their child, ‘Do the best you can’, it’s sincere and heart wrenching and exciting all in one, because we all know the difficulties of this game, but we also know that if it ‘clicks’, much like a life lesson, it can be an incredible journey. Believe me, we were kids once. We’ve played, we’ve watched and have seen the biggest mistakes on the field and have marveled at greatness too.
But what happens next is what’s most important. Can that player that made the error move on and get past it? Can that champion continue his journey and not fall into the realm of arrogance and ego? Mental toughness must come from inside a ballplayer. It’s what sets winners apart from the rest.
As a parent, we will wish you good luck in our words and are proud that you’re out there on the diamond and like the game, but we hope you get tough and learn that hard work and perseverance will allow you to become a better player and LOVE the game.
And with practice and dedication you start to cut the percentages of failure. As you build your confidence, we see the smirks and smiles on the field after a nice catch or solid base hit. The game is supposed to fun… and now you’re getting a glimpse of that because the skill is getting easier… the mental attitude is maturing inside of you.
And sooner or later that frustration is less and less, because you are starting to understand just how hard this game is. You start to learn that there are no perfect players. Sure, some are better than others, but it means nothing in this game…especially at your age.
When you all walk out there, it’s a clean slate. A first place team could play a last place team, but like Vegas, maybe that last place team wins because of a bad hop to nice hit in the gap when everyone least expected it.
And so…you do the best you can. It means we want you to grasp the game’s complexities, build confidence through learning and practice and have fun. IT DOES GET EASIER. But the biggest part of it is patience.
If you truly love this game, you can never stop working, and you must always be patient with opportunity. Sooner or later, executing everything you learned will eventually give you a triumphant moment… and if you did the best you could to get there… we as parents could not be prouder!
Never give up on yourself during these precious years of growing in this game. There’s zero reason you can’t make it… especially if you work hard… believe in yourself… and do the best you can.
Go grind. Go win.
–Rob Monaco, Father, Coach & Baseball Commissioner
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