As a parent, one of the most important responsibilities that you have assumed is instilling a set of values into the life of your child. The process of teaching children values is sometimes a very challenging proposition, however if you have a child who is involved in youth baseball it may be much easier than you think!
Some of the American values that children learn from playing youth baseball include teamwork, perseverance, social mobility and even democracy. Sure this may sound like a far-fetched idea but really… it’s not. Let’s take a look at each of these values and how baseball helps to teach children the principles.
Teamwork – This one is pretty simple to understand, and while it can be learned through other team sports as well it is particularly important for a baseball team to function like a well-oiled machine. If just one member of the infield is unwilling to act as a member of the team, an entire game could be lost. Therefore, all members of a baseball team need to work together in order to encourage, applaud and truly give each play their all.
As a parent, it is important for you to also be a part of the team by attending practices and games, cheering for every child on the field and celebrating the successes of each and every child involved in the games.
Perseverance – If at first you don’t succeed… persevere. This is what we all want to instill in our children. Baseball helps children to learn how to keep trying until they get it right. For example, after a few strike outs a child may become focused on getting a hit in the next game. You might actually be surprised to see how devoted your child will become to practicing his or her batting skills. And, a child who is tired of playing in the outfield may work tirelessly to get a shot at playing first base. This is perseverance, and as parents this is one of the skills that we know our children need to be successful in all areas of their lives.
Social Mobility – I know that this may sound like a value that really doesn’t belong in a discussion about youth baseball. But, if you take a closer look you will see that a baseball team is a good representation of society in that natural leaders emerge, as do natural followers. Commonly, the leaders and followers may actually change “position” among their teammates through improved performance or the discovery of a player with a tremendous skill in a particular area.
As parents, our goal should be to encourage leaders and follower both by keeping an eye out for possible bullying behaviors that often appear in situations where children are given the opportunity to naturally select their own hierarchy.
The Importance of the Individual – Much like baseball teaches the importance of teamwork, it also helps to teach children that being an individual is just as important as being a part of the team. That is because although baseball is a team sport, a win depends on the ability of each individual to perform his or her best in both offense and defense. There are few other team sports where the success or failure of an entire team can come down to the performance of one or two individuals. For example, if the pitcher is having a bad day and walks most of the batters – there is little likelihood that the pitcher will stay on the mound for very long that day. And, if a first baseman is catching every ball hit in his direction there is little chance that the coach will opt to send in a replacement.
By Author. All Rights Reserved. Date
November 14, 2006
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