Larry Bernstein is a high school English teacher and freelance writer. His hobbies include writing, reading, and sports. He and his family live in North Jersey. He blogs at memyselfandkids.com.
Yesterday Larry ran my post on his blog. It was about my experiences sitting in the stands watching my kids play sports through the years. You can visit his site to read that post, I Can’t Handle the Little League Sidelines. Larry is having a different experience this season. Read on.
This past weekend was the big game. It was opening day of my 10-year-old’s first season of Little League Baseball. And it was opening day for me as a coach.
Yup, just another day on the calendar. Nope!
My son, BR, came to enjoy baseball later than many kids. His occupational therapy issues leave him less coordinated than some others. His tolerance for not being good at something is not high.
In the middle of the 2012 season, he began showing interest in baseball. By last year, he was a certified fanatic. His interest, however, centered on statistics and highlights rather than playing.
When it came time for Little League sign-ups a couple months back, he decided he wanted to play. I was happy for his interest. The league he was joining was perfect for a child just getting into baseball. It’s softball, coaches pitch, everyone bats, and excessive competition is de-emphasized.
Since deciding he wanted to join the league, BR has been asking to play baseball all the time.
He and I have worked on fielding. And I have fed BR instructions: step into the throw, stay down on the ball, get your body in front of the ball, use your glove, etc. Side note: The strings on my baseball glove, which I have had since I was about 12, have come apart.
He and I have worked on hitting. And I have fed BR instructions: eyes up, stride forward, bat off your shoulder, swing hard, etc.
This excessive practice time has led to some arguments between us. There have been some tears and periodic yelling. However, for the most part BR and I have been on the same page. Both of us have the same goal: Help BR become a better and more confident player.
And we have had success. BR has taken the instructions and done his best to implement the changes. His improvement is clear to anyone who has been paying attention.
More importantly the extra time together has helped us to bond.
That’s one victory before the season even started.
When a friend of mine asked me to coach with him, I was reluctant. Yes, I know the game. Yes, I like teaching. However, I wanted to focus on BR. My wife brought up my competitiveness. “Are you sure you can be calm?”
Sports bring out competitiveness in me like nothing else does. As the 4th son in a sports crazed family, I liked to blame the nurturing process.
Anyway, along with BR’s performance, I now had something else to worry about as opening day approached.
Well, we are now post opening day. And the results are in.
BR batted 7th and went 3 for 4. He hit the ball well each time. He knocked in some runs and scored a couple of runs as well.
In the field, BR played pitcher’s helper. He was involved in a number of plays in the field. He stopped most of the balls hit at him and threw some runners out at first.
I cheered for our team, offered encouragement, gave instruction as needed, and pitched well. Okay, I was a little loud once – but nothing too crazy. I enjoyed the coaching role.
Lastly, a team victory. Our team, the Valley Brook Veterinary Tigers, won 15-7. Every player on the team had at least one hit.
We at Me, Myself, and Kids are liking Little League.
3 responses to “Guest Post: Little League Sports as a Dad and Coach”
How nice that you’re helping coach. I’m sure you don’t have a lot of free time, but what a nice memory this will be for the two of you when he’s older.
This is a time of learning and support for both of you. Well done for putting yourself out the Larry. BR will remember this and it will always give you something to talk about and keep you connected.
Way to fight your nurturing process, Larry! 🙂