Baseball all-star checklist for parents

This time of year can be extremely stressful for parents of children participating in youth league all-star tournaments everywhere. The heightened level of competition often brings with it increased expectations, tension and passion. It can be easy for these emotions to be directed down channels that lead to problems. Here are a few suggestions for parents this all-star season.

1. Be realistic. You may have a great team. But there have been great teams that had a bad day, lost a game they shouldn’t have, and were eliminated very early. Remember that baseball is a fickle sport and the best team doesn’t always win.
2. Enjoy it while you can. With that said, remember that your child’s all-star experience might end in two or three games. If you spend that time complaining about playing time or focusing negatively on your child’s performance, you will have turned what could have been a fond memory into one that is unpleasant.
3. If you are upset about your child’s playing time, think about the kids who did not make the team. I have sat through many all-star selections and, when it gets down to selecting the final 3-4 players, it is always difficult. It’s tough because it means that we’re not going to choose some good kids who may be just as deserving as the final ones picked. Nothing is more frustrating then, when those “bubble” players develop bad attitudes once the tournament begins, (nearly always as a result of parental poisoning), about their lack of playing time. Parents and players should be honored and grateful just to have been chosen to be part of the team because there are many kids who would love to have been there, who didn’t get a chance.
4. Remember that the coaches are doing their best. They’ll make mistakes. They’ll play the wrong players, call the wrong play, throw the wrong pitcher, etc. But the league chose them to coach, not you. If you could do a better job, you should be out there helping.
5. When you feel like saying something negative – keep it to yourself. Otherwise you’ll embarrass your child and probably regret it later. When speaking to coaches, umpires, parents or opposing teams’ fans, or even the other parents on your own team, try to say something positive – or nothing at all.

All-stars can, indeed, be a great experience for all involved. But expectations that are tempered along with tempers that are controlled, can help ensure that the only ones who really matter – the kids – get the most of their time wearing the special uniform.