The most important thing any parent or coach can do for our kids is to instill in them a love of the sport. It’s a lesson I learned from the Oakland Athletics third-base coach, Mark Kotsay. Kotsay played 17 years in the Major Leagues and had over 1700 hits. He was the MVP of the College World Series, won an Olympic Medal, worked in the Padre’s front office after he retired, and is now coaching for the A’s. He’s also a dad and was one of my son’s first little league coaches. I hope he doesn’t get mad at me for writing that we weren’t very good that year. But the 6 and 7-year-old boys on that team learned the fundamentals of baseball, formed an incredible bond, and loved every second of that season. As a parent, I couldn’t have asked for more. I asked Mark to share with us a few of his thoughts on youth baseball. Here are his 5 rules.
Mark Kotsay’s 5 Rules of Youth Baseball
- First and foremost, baseball is the most difficult game to play in the world. The best Major League players fail 70% of the time and are in the Hall of Fame. Understand that in life if you fail at anything 70% of the time, you are not very good, but in baseball, you’re one of the best.
- Positive reinforcement is better than negative. In a game of failure, the last thing a child needs is more negative feedback and especially from the people who love them the most.
- While the game is playing, avoid telling kids what to do and how to do it. Development happens when children are allowed to make mistakes and the coach or yourself, after the game, can explain to them what they did wrong and how to correct it.
- Two of the things we can control in baseball as coaches are a team’s attitude and effort.
- LET THEM HAVE FUN!