A Coach’s Effect on Youth Athlete’s Development

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness.

My friend – a father of five and a good youth basketball coach – sent me this email:

“Here’s a stupid story. My son is playing minors baseball (with actual pitching) this year. He’s always been a real confident player (almost cocky), and he’s an above-average player at his park and easily the best player on his sorry team. Anyway, he swings at a lot of bad pitches. His coach yells at him and threatens to move him back in the order every time he grounds out or pops up on a bad pitch. I stayed out of the way until I realized he was so nervous at the plate that he was striking out. I finally got it out of him that he was trying to walk because he was afraid of swinging at bad pitches and he wouldn’t swing until he had at least two strikes and then he would swing at ANYTHING. I told him to stop listening to his stupid coach and swing at anything he thought he could hit. Anyway, he ended up making the All-Star team and is doing OK again.” […]