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Managers are like parents.  At the outset of the game, the manager reviews the rules and posts the starting line-up.  Similarly, the parent reviews the day’s expectations and ensures that everyone knows, understands and does his/her part in order to start the day off on the right foot.  Strive to establish a standard of parenting and managing, whereby, a supportive and nurturing structure is created that produces an environment for a player/child to flourish.  It is all in following and implementing a consistent routine.

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Children are like players in that they both have strengths and limitations and a comfort level from which they work.  For example, through daily batting and hitting practice, fielding drills and one-on-one instruction, players repeatedly work on honing their skills.  Children arrive at school or at home confronted with a daily routine, which may include practicing their math multiplication times table or spelling tests; whereby, the expectation in clear:  do the best you can, practice, apply what you know and ask questions.  Be the best player you can be and the result will be greater feelings of self-confidence and the ability to take positive risks.

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The teacher calls you in for a meeting on a Friday to discuss that your child is  failing geography.  That weekend your child tells you he/she has no homework.  You believe them and they go out and have an amazing time.  The Monday after the weekend, your child has a geography test and fails.   The teacher comes back to you and offers your child a re-test and your child happily takes the test again, but again fails.

If this scenario happened on the baseball field, the manager would consider the following action(s):

  • Face-to-face meeting.
  • Fine.
  • Suspension.
  • Possible trade.
  • Demotion to AAA.
  • Other disciplinary action.

Be the best possible player and take responsibility for your actions on the field – even if it’s tougher in the short term. In order to reach your full potential, there need to be limits in place, and goals set to surpass. Only good things can happen by practicing and learning.

An umpire’s position in a baseball game is similar to a parenting job.   Both are charged with explaining and delivering the rules to be followed.    If an individual can umpire fairly and consistently, the players will appreciate the effort and realize that you are there for the goodness and integrity of the game.  This approach also applies to parents and how they approach their children.  When the rules are applied consistently, children will cooperate and behave accordingly and feel better about themselves and what is being expected.  Be the best umpire you can in order to ensure that your family is respectful of each other and can enjoy each other.

The parent attends a school meeting to discuss the level 1 received in geography with the intent of trying to understand how things got to be as bad as they are as well as coming away with a game plan for their child to follow.  The parent returns home, asks if there is homework to be done.  The child indicates ‘no’ and goes out for a fun-filled weekend.   The parent learns after school on Monday that the child had a geography test and failed.  The teacher calls home to arrange a re-test and the parent accepts.

As manager, be firm, but fair.  For example, the following weekend perhaps they should stay home  and miss out on something they were wanting to do.  Lay out the ground rules and assume that your player is not being completely honest and follow through with your expectations.   For example, often pitchers will pitch with some pain and not let their manager know until after they get pulled early from a game that they had some discomfort during the prior week.    Managers need to be constantly communicating with their players and checking things out with other personnel so as to avoid any surprises.

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I find it incredible how often children enter my practice as virtual strangers and within seconds of taking a seat in my office, go on the offensive as to why they are in my company. In general, I love sports, and I love parenting.  The parallels are striking.  For example, being a parent on the day of your child’s Sweet Sixteen celebration has so much in common with managing a baseball team during a World Series game – in both instances, neither can afford to take the day off, and both require the consistent effort of active, hands-on work.  Staying on top of every situation and not giving in when things get difficult, will make all activities more predictable, and therefore, more enjoyable.  Sometimes, all your child needs, is what an excellent player needs…a great coach. As Babe Ruth said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” Let’s play ball!