Coach Sal Lombardo of the Orlando Scorpions Baseball program was my guest on my weekly radio show today. We spoke primarily about the relationship between parents and coaches when boys are in the 13 through 15 age bracket. I asked Coach Sal how parents should handle their concerns about playing time for their players.Â The answer was straightforward and constructive."I want parents to teach their players how to come directly to a coach and have this important conversation. It should not be Mom or Dad going to the coach for this age player." He went on to say that first of all, a coach must be approachable. That's a coaches' responsibility. Next, the player's responsibility is to step up and say, "Coach, I want to earn my way to more playing time -- what do I have to do? In what areas do I need to improve so you'll give me more opportunities?" That's the kind of conversation all young athletes need to master for their athletic life as well as their work life. He added, "A good coach will give that athlete a clear and specific answer to the player knows what he must accomplish to move forward toward his personal goals."
Coach Sal also commented on the heightened intensity level of parents during this phase of development. "It gets pretty competitive and some parents lose sight of the big picture. Both the players and coaches feel the pressure of unrealistic expectations coming from parents."As players and parents invest more time, money, and effort into a sport, it becomes all the more important to retain a love for the game so the fun is never lost.
It's amazing how often the players who enjoy the game the most, are also the ones playing the best. Some people might suggest, "Dah, the reason their having fun is that they're playing so well." I would counter that thought with the words of William James. "I don't sing because I'm happy; I'm happy because I sing."