I was talking to a neighbor yesterday who is aware of my involvement in youth baseball and other kid related activities. Her boys are involved in league baseball here. During our conversation, the subject of practice came up. It seems she is very concerned that her boys are complaining about their practices. They don’t want to go, but they want to be on the team. It’s too hot, too cold, too hard, etc. Since her boys are 11 and 9, complaints of this type are not unusual.

I wanted to give her a good response that would allow her to make the best decision about having her boys continue with this sport, so I went home and constructed this 5 question survey and sent it to her.

  1. Are any of their complaints specific to the coaches? Sorry to say, but there are good and bad coaches. A good coach will “push” your child to perform at their best level, but still be approachable, professional, and likeable.
  2. Is your child stressed? Are they involved in too many things? Is their school work very demanding? You might need to eliminate something from their schedule, but it might not be baseball practice. Practice and the associated physical activity can be a great stress relief.
  3. Is baseball a good fit for them athletically? If not, you’ll need to decide whether one-on-one skills training might help, or if it’s a general fitness problem, then decide the best way to address it or find another sport.
  4. Is there a different activity your child would prefer? Maybe they are musical. I do think active sports is an important component and should be included in a schedule of weekly activities. If the alternate desired activity is video games, which is very common, I think video game time should be limited.
  5. Have you thoroughly discussed the practice issue with your child? Not on the way to practice, not going home from a practice, but at another time, one on one. Try to listen more than you talk. This is not the time for any “it’s important to be a member of a team” type talks. Let the coach handle that.

I’m sure my neighbor will make the best decision for her boys. Personally, I hope they stay involved in sports.