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Involvement with respect to your son playing baseball beyond recreational levels

September 30, 2011

Laguna Hills, CA – There are plenty of theories that circulate in and around the game of baseball throughout all levels of participation. The ideas shared here on this platform were used during my son’s play and driven by providing every opportunity available during his development. The shear hope for his sincere enjoyment during his path of playing baseball was not left for chance, but rather constantly monitored through a parental involvement. The idea of taking a walk with your son during a baseball career was described in an earlier article. When is it time to stop the parental involvement? Should a parent meet with the high school coach about playing time? Does changing schools help a player get into the college or professional levels? How does playing club, or travel, baseball impact an amateur career? These are just a few of the ideas to be addressed about involvement with respect to your son playing baseball beyond recreational levels.

The concept of stopping a parental involvement with your son playing baseball is near and dear to my heart. The answer is quite simple but also very difficult to follow. Never stop being a parent to your kids… ever. Support and involvement can cause a cloudy area about athletics and more specifically baseball during the wrong stages of a young man’s career. Continue to support their participation with your involvement from a distance. There is no value in coaching your son from the backstop or the stands. Let the coach try to aid your son’s development as a man, a teammate and a player. Surely some coaches are better than others as with players on the field. If you can help your son’s ability to play the game by catching, throwing and hitting the baseball that is great but there are more important things to do as a parent. A very dear friend of mine that continues his professional baseball career as a scout once told me that my son did not need another coach to play he simply needed a supportive Dad from the stands and nothing else. Truly the best advice I could have received when my son entered Laguna Hills High School at the age of 13 years old. Parental involvement never ends from the citizen perspective, but clearly has limits during baseball.

When should a parent face a high school coach about playing time? Never is clearly the best answer here unless you want to start issues that will never be resolved. I always enforced the belief in my son to talk with his arm, glove, bat, legs and intellect to play the game. Work harder than everyone else at throwing, catching and hitting the baseball and any competent coach should place the best players in his line-up to win some games. If the coach does not place your son in the game have your son ask the questions about areas he needs to improve for a better chance to play after the hard work. Feel free to stand behind him during his conversation with the coach for support but let him do the talking and ask the questions. If the coach does not give him the respect to ask the questions then you might just have to step in and help buffer the situation to allow your son to talk. Respect is a two-way street between the coach and player but keep in mind the egos that are tested by all entangled in this equation. The distant approach is typically implemented during the wrong stages of their son’s amateur career. More parents seem to become obsessed during the high school, college and even the professional levels of baseball. The ideas of confrontation during the later years of playing the game can be devastating to a baseball career. Support is the key without engagement for the player to compete for the spot on the roster or line-up card. Actively participating with a coach about your son’s playing time will get him nowhere within the game real fast.

Many families change schools based on coaches, roster spots availability or reputations associated with certain programs. This is really a family choice and the merits come from a variety of positions on this concept. The same can be said about the wide diversity of opinions for signing a professional contracts out of high school versus college. Some players are ready to move on while others are not.  There are pros and cons associated with changing schools for the benefit of baseball development due mostly to education and athletic ability. Some coaches teach the game better than others, just as some players have raw tools to play the game and some need help to improve. If your son can play he should be on the field no matter where he goes to school. College and professional scouts will more than likely find him playing and if not there are plenty of simple suggestions to increase your chances of finding the right college or university to further a career. There is a plethora of advice and practical approaches to keep the uniform on until the player is ready to take the cleats off. Changing schools does not always work as intended but sometimes it will serve a true value for the player’s growth and opportunity to play baseball beyond the recreational levels.

The last area of this article will focus on the popular decisions during an amateur career to play travel, or club, baseball and the potential result of involvement. From a development standpoint, playing on a club team can greatly aid a player and baseball opportunity. The research and time needed to insure your son’s improvement should not be underestimated otherwise you are merely allowing someone to take your money without results. Simply writing a check to play in tournaments or on the weekends will not guarantee improvement if your son does not put in the necessary effort to work on his own. Keep in mind that a few talented instructors throughout the country, and world for that matter, really can help your son improve but there is no magic wand waved over their head walking in and out of the dugout. Your high school team should always have first priority to take part and be very careful trying to add travel baseball during school activities set by the coach. Within the Southern California area there is a growing tendency to play for a club organization over high school and college. Tremendous debate has been triggered over this propensity to ignore the challenges associated with playing in high school and college. There seems to be family logic involved with some of these choices but others are being held to rattling rumors of handling the rigors of college and, or, professional competition based on these growing trends. Only time will tell if this path has merit for being a successful college or professional baseball player with any true substance and value. Now if your high school does not have an off-season program and there is no interest of playing the other sports in season than by all means play baseball during the fall and winter. The paramount suggestion about travel baseball is buyers beware. I am a firm believer that the best programs are the least expensive, or even free to take part. Prime example is the reigning 2011 Connie Mack Champions the Midland Redskins for Amelia, Ohio. My opinion comes from personal experience of my son’s development while associated with the Midland program during the two summers he spent away from home learning how to compete and play without Dad making out the line-up card. Don’t forget the importance to take some time off while conditioning the body and mind for another full season of baseball in school.

There are a heap of concepts related to amateur baseball and a yet a very limited number of stories that can successfully account for playing Major League Baseball as a career. The story has not fully been written within the Lamb household during our experiences associated with the professional phase of John Lamb playing the great game of baseball. There are two things most certain as a foundation for a player’s development. Support and involvement seem to be the common denominators for many if not all the paths to the big leagues. Knowing when to back off and just be a supportive parent is critical for the player’s success on the diamond.

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