How to Encourage Your Child to Play Baseball

This was a guest post by How2become

A thin line is often all that separates a long lasting relationship with baseball that begins from a very young age and carries through to adulthood, and abandoning the game after the first few weeks of missed swings, hopeless pitches and standing around in the field in uncomfortable stockings.

Baseball is a technical game with a very steep learning curve, and personal motivation is the key element to ensuring that children persist with the sport especially through the more difficult earlier stages when they are learning the game and building their skills.

Making sure your child approaches the sport with the right frame of mind is no easy task – more so if your child is afraid of being hit by the ball (which is a common enough occurrence, after all). There is a big difference between gently encouraging your child and giving him or her the time and space they need to get a feel for the sport, and aggressively pushing them to the point that they developreservations and resistance towards the sport.

Here are a few tips that can help you make sure you are doing the right thing by your child when you’re attempting to get them to try baseball.

Let them know thatsometimes it’s a bit scary for every kid, and adults too!

Explain to your child that it’s perfectly normal, and downright wise, to be afraid of objects moving quickly towards your body. However, you can also talk about all the cool protective equipment that they’ll be wearing to protect them from head to foot.

With younger children especially, playing different games using the ball with your children, like oversized golf or undersized soccer, or perhaps catch with the family dog are great ways to give your child time to become familiar with the ball and eventually dispel any fears they may have of it.

Look at everything from your child’s perspective

This is a hard one. Remember that children don’t do sports to necessarily become school champions, like their dad was or could have been if only…Kids play sport to have fun with their friends and release a bit of energy and sothere is really no place for criticism, and unnecessary expectations.

You can give tips, but try to be conversational and relaxed about it, and acknowledge that any part of the game the child is struggling with can be really tough, but you can see that they’re getting better and better every time. Remember that at younger ages, the psychological aspects can far outweigh the physical ones. Make sure they’re enjoying the game and enjoying child-parent time that your involvement is providing.

Be understanding if they want to stop or take a break from the sport

If the child isn’t enjoying the sport and starts talking about giving it up, then you should probably back off and respect their wishes. You can try a few anecdotal stories about not giving up just because it’s more difficult than they first imagined, but “I shouldn’t have spent all this money for equipment and club fees on a quitter” is certainly unfair and unwarranted. If they do give up, keep playing with your child in the park at weekends, or take them to a few games at the local stadium, you may very well find that it was simply a passing moment and the desire to play again returns.

Always, always positive

From one dad to many out there who may be reading this piece; when we’re watching our kids play, it’s almost as if we’re out there ourselves and we can even get a little upset when they screw up or get sniggers and jeers from the other kids. It may take a lot of effort to not react negatively but it’s absolutely crucial that we don’t.

Always, always be positive and stand up and shout encouragement when they’re having a bad run. Show your children that you’re proud of them and that you’re their biggest fan no matter what happens and who wins, and you will certainly be doing everything a good parent can do to help their children take up baseball.

And if they don’t become champs, you’ve still given the kind of support that children thrive on to do better and go further in sport and everything else that they do, and that is what we’re there for, after all.

Richard McMunn is the founder of How2become.com and the author of this post. Richard spent 17 years in the Fire Service and now provides specialist recruitment training for those looking embark on a public sector career. You can also connect with How2become on Twitter

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