How to Prepare Your Child for His First Little League Game
- Updated: April 18, 2015
Now that spring has sprung and winter is finally over, it’s time for your child to lace his cleats, grab his glove and head to the diamond for his very first season of Little League Baseball. It’s an exciting time for you and your child, but this excitement and anticipation can quickly turn negative if your child isn’t properly prepared to take the field. Yes, baseball at the Little League level is more about having fun and improving your child’s game than it is about anything else — but there are certain tangibles and intangibles that your child should be bringing to the field. With that in mind, here’s a look at how to best prepare your child for his first Little League game.
Knowing the Game
As we previously mentioned, baseball at the Little League level is all about having fun and improving as a ball player. However, your child should know the basics of the game before playing, including the various positions and their respective tasks. Remember, at this early stage of play, your child is likely to play many different positions. He should know the rules, especially if his Little League rules deviate from the standard three strikes, four balls format (many Little Leagues only operate with two strikes and three balls to speed gameplay). Children should also know the basics, such as running through first base, throwing to the cutoff man on balls hit to the outfield, and why it’s important to call it if you’re going to catch a fly ball.
Aside from knowing the rules and positions, there’s also the matter of performing. Encourage your child to practice in the days leading up to his first Little League game. This can include activities as simple as playing catch to practicing taking ground balls to batting practice.
The Right Equipment
Aside from knowing the game, your child has to have the right equipment: The right equipment won’t just help your child perform, but in many leagues, such equipment is often required for safety purposes. The team should provide uniforms, but here’s a look at some of the equipment you’ll likely be responsible for outfitting your child with before the big first game:
- Jock strap
- A baseball glove (Note: Be sure to break this glove in properly before the season so that your child feels comfortable with it.)
- A bat: lightweight ones usually work best for young players.
- In some cases, a child may be required to have his own batting helmet.
Don’t overlook equipment. Not only are a glove and bat necessary for your child to play the game, but other gear like the right shoes and a protective jock strap can ensure your child stays safe while playing.
Sportsmanship is arguably the most important element that should be enforced at the Little League age, as setting a precedent for good sportsmanship now provides a strong foundation for the future. You should teach your child to win the same way that they lose — with class. After all, it’s part of the game. Of course your child may be disappointed after losing a game, but he should not be a poor sport about it. Make sure your child knows to shake hands with the opposition after each game and congratulate the opponent, win or lose, on a good game. Also make sure that respect is shown for the umpires as well.
Above all, be sure your child knows that the ultimate goal when playing should be to have fun — express how excited you are to watch him and how proud you are of him.
Shana Brenner is the Marketing Director for CoverSports, an American Manufacturer of protective sports covers for gymnasiums and athletics fields.