Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Losing is hard

Losing in hardMy seven year old is a very good baseball player.  I don't say that because he is my son, but because I've seen him on the field. 

Like in youth soccer, little league baseball doesn't necessarily keep score.  In other words, everyone wins.  Our son's coach decided to practice that ideology.  To my son, his team won all games.  In reality, they lost a couple of them. 

During the tournament, those rules don't apply. You either advance or not. If you advance, you win. If you don't, you lose.

Try explaining not advancing to a seven year old who has been told he's been winning all season long. 

My son doesn't take losing lightly. Actually, he takes it quite personal. He did, however, hold his anger and frustration until he got inside the car and was buckled-up. After that he let go and cried the way home.

Like every dad caught in this circumstance, I reassured my son that he did great on the field. I used the old cliché that there is no "I" in "TEAM" and that it's a group effort. The team lost. Not just my son.

Indeed, he did good on the field.  There were a couple of errors he made, but he was strong on first base and right-field. He did have two hits and brought in two runners.

Perhaps what confused the team was that they thought they had an extra half-inning. In tournament play, however, the game was limited to 60 minutes, period. So, the team did not have that extra half to catch up and score points. In other words, rather than focusing on scoring hits, the team should have concentrated on defense and prevented plays.

Of course, these are five, six and seven year olds playing little league baseball. How do you reprogram their concept of the game to focus more on defense.

Then again, these are kids.  What we should be instilling in our young players is to play to have fun.

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