MBA Coaches' Toolkit
Babe Ruth Mission Statement
The beginning of April signifies the official start of the youth baseball and softball seasons. Dads and moms are posting team schedules on the refrigerator. Some girls and boys may be a bit nervous to be starting a new sport; while others are veterans of the game, eager for another season on the field. It is during this time of year that thousands of Babe Ruth leagues across the country hold their Opening Days. Many festivities and fun times are planned: team and individual pictures, exhibition games, great food, community solidarity, parades and much, much more.
It is also during this time of year that we must reinforce Babe Ruth League, Inc.'s mission. Above all else, Babe Ruth League, Inc. is for our kids. In adopting rules, in establishing standards, and in ALL planning, our primary consideration is what is best for our participants. This is affirmed in our Mission Statement, which reads:
The Babe Ruth Baseball/Softball program, using regulation competitive baseball and softball rules, teaches skills, mental and physical development, a respect for the rules of the game, and basic ideals of sportsmanship and fair play. In all aspects, Babe Ruth League, Inc. is committed to providing our participants with the very best educational, sports experience possible. It is our fundamental belief that every child with a desire to play baseball or softball be afforded that opportunity.
As coaches and parents, we need to realize right off the bat that it is not always about winning. Regardless of the age of our kids, with a positive youth baseball or softball experience, they will grow physically and emotionally. Most sports activities inherently teach such attributes as teamwork and determination. But baseball and softball are unique in that they can often mirror life itself. The great length of baseball and softball seasons and the mere fact that failure is an innate part of the games offer coaches and parents opportunities to teach many more of life's admirable virtues and skills.
We must use the game to show kids how:
.to learn the basic fundamentals while having fun.
.to play because they want to - not because someone else wants them to play.
.to realize that learning new skills is just as important as competing (if not more important).
.to accept challenges and how to handle good times and bad. Teach them to accept their own mistakes and not to blame others for them.
.important teamwork is over individual success. Working with a team is a skill that the child will use longer after his or her playing days are over. Teamwork will impact future work and home life.
.not to dwell on mistakes but to learn from them and move on. Anyone who has ever competed knows that losing goes hand in hand with competing. The only way you ever succeed is to learn how to cope with failure. Life on the diamond provides a great learning environment to develop skills to deal with frustration and losing.
.supporting and believing in a coach or a teammate is admirable. To know that others have confidence in you and believe in the work you are doing can be the difference between success and failure.
.in team environments, they can learn to lead by example, while others learn they impact their teammates with a positive attitude. Both leading and following are valuable and show how one can contribute to individual or team success.
.important sportsmanship is both on and off the field.
.the importance of setting and achieving goals will help them improve, not only in the game, but with every endeavor in life.
These life lessons capture the very essence of why we encourage our children to play youth sports. There are many more valuable lessons that can be learned by participation in youth baseball and softball. We must take the time out of our schedule to discuss with our kids all the skills they are learning through their participation in a sport, and then show them how those skills can be used in life. Remember, to create an atmosphere that kids really love being a part of requires a lot of work from coaches and parents. But, when you're able to pull it off, it pays big dividends for the kids.
As a team, let's keep our primary emphasis on participation for ALL players at all levels of athletic ability and make sure the participants have FUN