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MLB managers Girardi, Matheny discuss youth sports

March 31, 2017 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
Days before the start of the 2017 MLB season, two of the game’s most accomplished managers shared their thoughts on parenting and some of the most common issues in youth sports.

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi and St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny spoke with The Washington Post on everything from encouraging kids to stay in the game to the role that parents play in helping them succeed.

You may recall, Matheny, in 2009, wrote a letter to parents who recruited him to coach their youth baseball league. The letter caught the attention of coaches who shared Matheny’s frustration over parents who get a little too involved in their child’s athletic endeavors. Girardi, on the other hand, last fall voiced his concern over sport specialization, something that continues to be a problem in youth sports despite overwhelming evidence showing it might actually cause more harm than good.

In this week’s article from The Post’s, Girardi was asked about helping kids succeed.

“When it comes to sports or anything that kids pursue, I believe it has to be the child’s dream, not the parent’s,” he said. “You’ll never be good at anything for a long period of time if it’s not your own dream. Your son or daughter has to be the one who says, ‘Let’s go shoot baskets, Dad,’ not the other way around. If you’re making your kid go to practice, he or she is going to wind up disliking the sport, and it’s not going to be enjoyable for either of you.”

Matheny talked about parents who become vocal at their child’s games.

“In baseball, kids are trying to do one of the hardest things in sports: hit a moving pitch, throw a strike or make a play in the field,” Matheny said. “So when parents are up there screaming at the top of their lungs, even the positive stuff like “You can do it,” it creates more pressure when the kid doesn’t do it. He already feels he’s let his team down, and now he’s let you down as well. I would challenge parents to ask their kids what they want you to do when watching their game. Do they want you out there yelling? Hopefully, kids will have the freedom to be honest. I have yet to see a kid who likes to be yelled at.”

The full interview with Girardi and Matheny is worth your time. Check it out by clicking here


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