Friday, August 15, 2008

Right Field is for Winners Too

Yesterdays post, "Be Who You Are Supposed To Be" is a very important message not only for players but for parents as well. Let the path of your sons natural ability take its course. So many parents want their sons to become that top pitcher, starting shortstop, lead-off or number three hitter...when in fact he may be none of those things.

We have witnessed coaching Dad's trying to develop their sons into shortstops, when their body type screams first base. Have you ever wondered why a certain pitcher that had a hard time finding the plate was on the mound? Yup, Dad's doing.

One thing I've never understood is why right field is the dreaded spot for young players and their parents. I have actually seen fights breakout at games between parents and coaches because their son was in right field. Never mind that the player had a great arm, good tracking ability and a little power...the hallmark tools of a right fielder. Perception in this case trumped reality. Why do coaches and parents feel that the worst youth players must play there? Let's just say, good coaches don't. Tell Reggie Jackson that right field is for losers. There are Hall of Famers at every position, including some of the best in right field. They all didn't start off at shortstop.

The reason why we see these things is because parents don't let their sons "Be Who They Are Supposed To Be"...Parents have this preconceived image of their son and try to mold them into their image. I don't have stats to back this up, but I would bet that a lot of the attrition in baseball is due to a son being cast into his dad's image, failing at this experiment and then just giving up due to frustration.

The fact is, many parents don't know as much about the game that they think they do. In fact, many know very little or they would be able to analyze their sons skill set and place him into those positions that suit his ability. Or...they could just let the experts make that call, but that has it's perceived downside, because most parents don't want to hear that their son is not good enough for the position that they think is the premier position.

Last October, we ran a post called Showcase Realistic Outcomes" There's a quote in that article that rings true in this case...

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”

In other words, listen to what your coaches, instructors and showcase scouts tell you what your sons position should be. Be realistic and react accordingly to the assessments that the evaluators share with you and your son. There’s no need to be defensive or mad if the evaluation differs from your own assessment of your son. Just be grateful that you know and understand where your child stands in the grand scheme of the baseball world order.

Many of the top Showcase and Player evaluation organizations know exactly what colleges and pro scouts want. They are going to be honest… brutally honest in some cases. The bottom line…Your son isn’t a part of those 5 year old recreational soccer teams that gives out a trophy to everyone in the league anymore. He’s in the real world now, on his way to being a man.

But bottom line...Let his ability take its course and don't try to be the player you want him to be...let his ability dictate that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So true. Our summer team coach does a great job of slotting our players into positions all over the field to see where they would best fit. I like that. My son was more valuable to his high school team this past year because he could play any position vacated by the two way playing pitchers. He could play SS, 3rd or outfield. He benefitted for that summer coaches decision.