How Old Are Boys In The Little League World Baseball Discussion: Mike Matheny Letter to Parents of Youth Baseball

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Discussion: Mike Matheny Letter to Parents of Youth Baseball

Mike is a man of strong character and shares his strong ethics with the players he coaches. I agree with about 80% of what he said in his letter to his parents. I’ll give my thoughts on a few issues that I think Mike might understand.

When I was in the dirt with my players, I had very little trouble with my parents. The age of the boys I was given the responsibility to train was between 12 and 15 years old. Before that I was on the staff of other coaches and worked mostly with my son Jeff.

I had a parent meeting with the material and explained the rules similar to what Mike says about player and parent responsibilities. Parents were directly involved in my program and they were part of the success. The team needed help with fundraising and travel. We were a baseball family and with the help of my coaches and assistant coaches we were a great group. We were not a trial team like many travel teams in St. Louis. I had all local guys and we won a lot and we were always able to beat or compete with the teams that were drafted.

My concern for Mike is a matter of emotion. I can’t see a player who is a competitor breaking his back on the diamond not being able to show emotion. I would teach my players that when you make a label, you have to sell it. I am a big competitor and most young athletes are the same way. If there is a play at second base and the runner is definitely out, for the player to show no emotion is ridiculous! What should be done is for the coach to let the players show their emotions, but not to show the referee, by arguing. Players will never argue with referees, a player can say “I’ve got it” and then walk away and let the coach take care of the situation. That’s what a good coach is for, and he has to step up to the referee and say I think you missed the call. Then smile and listen to what he says, then return to the dugout. I think this is the perfect way to lead a youth team on this topic.

In my opinion, this level of baseball is all about player development. I told my players and parents that I was preparing my players for high school and beyond. I wasn’t as concerned about the refs’ calls as I was about playing the game the right way. We had a play that my third baseman jumped to his left and threw from his knees to first; the ball was in the dirt, but she grabbed it. The referee said the runner was safe. My coaches were freaking out, I calmed them down very quickly and said that Ross and Brett did everything right. It was really good baseball!

I can’t imagine fans at a baseball game being silent and not yelling support for the players. I wouldn’t expect my parents or fans to behave like this at a game. What should not be tolerated is arguing from the stands with the referee or verbally abusing the other team. When I was in the dirt, I always got along with the refs and I always had the respect of the men in blue. Head coaches need to understand that you are in charge of keeping the entire baseball family under control. I can’t imagine that “Come on, let’s go, you can do it” adds more pressure to the player. I think this shows support for the player and the team. I can’t imagine being at a baseball game and not hearing the fans rooting for the players.

Mike also writes about losing respect because kids hear their parents complain about teachers or coaches. Mike goes on to say that his dad taught him that the coach is always right, even when he’s wrong. I don’t agree with this at all, I wouldn’t want my son to be a robot for a person who doesn’t think for himself and doesn’t agree with the wrong coach. I think we need to have more people standing up and saying what is right and what is wrong. I have to say that one of the reasons I started this business was to improve coaching at all levels. I think baseball needs to be played much better, and the reason it isn’t better is because of bad coaching. I see so many mistakes at the major league level that shouldn’t be happening. I’m talking about the little things and the basics that major league players should know. I have many old timers who feel the same as I do on this subject.

In conclusion, we need baseball coaches who are hard working, honest, responsible and who really know how to teach the game. Mike is one of these coaches and I just don’t agree with him on the emotion of the game.

Mike Matheny Letter to Parents http://www.mac-n-seitz.com/teams/mike-matheny-letter.html

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