Things To Know Before Starting Baseball


Things To Know Before Starting Baseball“Failure is a part of success. There is no such thing as a bed of roses all your life. But failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it. ” — Hank Aaron

Baseball sign-ups are in the air. It’s America’s favorite pastime, and my five-year-old is getting ready to try it out for the first time this spring. My husband played baseball through his senior year of high school, but I know virtually nothing about the sport aside from what I remember from attending a very long Padres game as a child with my dad. Luckily for me, I happen to live next door to a wonderful couple whose family knows baseball inside and out, and they were nice enough to answer some of my questions.

My neighbor is a dad and grandfather to four boys; he has played baseball, coached for 45 years, and now has a grandson who loves baseball just as much as he does. His wife shared how important it is to be the support that a family of athletes needs. My neighbors talked about the good and the bad, and if you’re like me and wondering what to expect with your first baseball season ever, you might enjoy hearing what they had to say.

Here’s what you need to know about baseball, from starting out all the way to college:

  • The first thing to remember is that fewer than 1% of kids will end up playing major league baseball, so put on the brakes and let your young kids have fun.
  • Make sure your kid’s coach is trustworthy and will keep them safe. You also want a coach who WANTS to be a coach, is knowledgeable, and wants to teach his players.
  • The best thing you can do for your kids is practice with them at home. Work on the fundamentals, play catch, practice swinging the bat, and let them use the tee.
  • Playing baseball is a commitment for the whole family. If your kid is decent, they’ll eventually want to play travel ball, which costs money, and takes time and travel, so it has to be a priority for the family.
  • Recently, a local coach shared what a college scout asked him about a player he was there to see: Does he make good grades? Is he coachable? Only after those questions, did the scout bring up baseball skills.
  • Academics are very important for college ball players. They probably aren’t going to get a full ride scholarship based on athletics alone, but they can get academic scholarships. Also, don’t get hung up on Division I, because Division II and III also have great players.
  • Playing more than one sport can help a baseball player be well-rounded and learn time management. It’s also important to be careful not to get seriously injured in a sport like football if baseball is your true passion.
  • You don’t have to send your kids to every college showcase camp available. Some can be good, but they are money makers for the universities, so choose carefully.
  • By eight or nine years of age, you’ll probably be able to see if baseball is your kid’s passion (or not!). If it isn’t, get your child involved in something else where they can be passionate and successful.
  • If you’re involved with coaching your child’s team, there may be a point where you have to turn them loose and not be involved to that degree anymore. You don’t want to be pushing your kid harder than you would any of his teammates, and it takes wisdom (or your spouse’s) to know when this time has come.
  • A pitching machine isn’t necessarily the best tool for practice because it’s helpful for a player to see the pitcher’s arm movements to know how to swing their bat.
  • A coachable kid is one who can learn life lessons from the game, learn to accept defeat, how to put themselves back together again after a loss, be competitive, and take instruction and constructive criticism without getting upset.

In the end, focus on things that will carry over into adulthood, like getting a chance to be successful, being competitive, and learning about life. These lessons don’t have to come through playing baseball, but it can be awfully fun if they do!


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