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Parents - Involvement or Interference???

- excerpted from the article by Dr. Moe Gelbart in FASTPITCH WORLD - August '96

Interference

1. Don't go into the dugout to give instructions.

The girls have coaches, and they have worked hard on developing cohesion and a mental attitude toward the game. Yelling out tips, advice, correction, or criticism will in no way improve your daughter's performance. The same principle holds true in yelling out advise from the sidelines. Keep in mind, the content and accuracy of the information is not the issue. Help not asked for is criticism. If your daughter has not asked for your advise, then don't give it.

2. Don't question the coach's decisions during or between games.

As a parent, you have a right to your opinion regarding playing time, attitude, criticism, etc. However, I recommend the 24 hour rule - speak to the coach 24 hours after the game. By then, the dust has settled, tempers have cooled, and saner heads prevail. At that time, be specific as to your concerns. Beginning at approximately 14 years old, I believe it is important for you to empower your daughters, and teach them to take care of their own needs. Rather than speak for them, encourage them to speak up for themselves.

3. Don't make a spectacle of yourself during the game.

Loud and rude comments to umpires, opposing coaches, or even opponents may seem humorous to you, but your daughter is cringing in the dugout with embarrassment. Always keep in mind that you are a role model, and act on the field the way you would want your child to behave.

4. Don't tell your daughter everything she has done wrong on the ride home from the game.

Trust me, this is not what is considered quality time and sharing. You may thing it is helpful, but she feels criticized. In addition, she already knows that the error she made in the seventh inning that allowed the winning run to score was not good, and does not need to be reminded of it by you.
 
 
 

Involvement

1. Always be positive.

Learn to encourage, not criticize. If you don't have something good to say, don't say it.

2. Be a parent, not an agent.

Talk to your daughter regarding her concerns, and help her to learn to take care of most issues herself. Rather that criticize coaches and players, and make excuses for herself, take the excellent opportunity to teach her how to cope with adversity. Don't make lists of demands for the coaches to follow.

3. Spend time practicing at home.

In the years to come, you will both treasure the memories of tossing the ball around, much more so than of victories and losses.
 

4. Volunteer your time.

Ask the coach how you can help, and follow his/her direction. Your daughter will appreciate your positive involvement, and be proud to have you as part of her team.

5. Attend games and cheer.

As I have stated on many occasions, we must always keep in mind that positive self esteem is the primary goal of sports, not [just] winning or losing.

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The hitter's "backyard basketball goal" makes home batting practice as easy and convenient as shooting a "game of horse"! What could 25,000 more practice swings a year do for your game? Think about it!

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