Good habits always begin in the home, as does respect.
One of the most important values to teach your child in sports is respect: respect for their coach, teammates, rules, and safety.
Today, I’m going to talk about respecting coaches.
My son begins instructional league baseball on Saturday. For an hour and a half every Saturday, he will attend what is essentially a baseball clinic, much like his hockey clinics. He will learn different skills each week that he will be able to utilize in pee-wee baseball next year and beyond.
We’ve been playing baseball (wiffle ball) in the yard for a few years now so he has a very basic understanding of how baseball is played. Over the past few weeks we have taken things up a notch, getting him comfortable swinging an aluminum bat, as it weighs more than a wiffle ball or nerf bat, and practicing catching with his glove.
Like any kid though, my son likes to goof off. A child is more likely to goof off and not take things seriously when in the presence of a family member or friend than a teacher or coach. However, it is still important for your child to respect you while playing sports- even if it is just in the yard.
Tonight, my son and I were batting in the yard. (Real bat, but wiffle balls. No broken windows!) When he was throwing the balls back to me, he was rolling them, throwing them over my head, throwing a bunch at a time- basically just making it more work and take longer to get the balls back to me. I told him to take his time and throw them to me one at a time nicely. When he continued to goof off, I made him throw them back nicely.
It is important for him to recognize now that acting like that is not going to fly with his coach. I told him that and told him that if he wants me to teach him to play that we are going to learn to play the right way. This doesn’t mean that we cannot have fun, but he is going to learn to act with good decorum and respect.
Additionally, I will be helping the coach with his baseball clinics so he will need to learn what I did as a kid playing softball: to respect my parent as a coach. Just because I’m your mom, it doesn’t mean that you can get away with acting like a clown or get preferential treatment.
Teaching your child these rules and sportsmanship and etiquette at home will translate onto the field/ice/court/etc. Developing good habits now when a child is most impressionable is going to carry into his or her later years. My parents were the same way with my brothers and I. We had a lot of fun playing catch in the yard, but you were going to conduct yourself in a way acceptible to a coach.
Not only is this important for respect, but for safety.
After we were done with baseball, we played street hockey with my brother. Jordan was acting up around the goal when he was warned not to. I accidentally hit him in the leg with the ball. If you’ve never been hit with a street hockey ball, let me just tell you that it stings. And I didn’t even hit the ball that hard, but he was certainly left with a red mark on his leg. It was of course an accident and I felt terrible, but had he not been grabbing at my brother’s legs and listened to directions, he likely would not have been struck with the ball.
I must have it out for my kid because yesterday I hit a line drive with a wiffle ball and it grazed his cheek. He was completely okay and laughed but accidents are going to happen. You can’t prevent them all, but you can eliminate the unnecessary ones like what happened today!
Foster good habits at home in the yard. Your child’s coach will be appreciative.