Did you know that approximately 38% of children participate in Little League between the ages of six and 12? While this number is lower than it had been in the past, the reality is that Little League participation is still high compared to other sports.
From taking your kid to baseball practice all the way up to travel leagues, many parents love watching their kids improve at baseball and respond to motivating techniques from their coaches.
However, it can be challenging at the Little League baseball level when your child doesn't want to go to practice. This is a common scenario for many parents. The great news is that there are several parenting strategies you can use to get your child excited about heading out to the diamond.
In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about motivating your child to engage in the sport of baseball even when they don't want to.
We've all been there. You're the parent of a child who is just starting the home stretch of their Little League season in the summertime. You got them into the car, but they just don't want to go to their practice or game.
As a parent, you're facing a dilemma. Do you give in to your child and their wishes, or do you know that they'll be much happier once they finally get out on the diamond? It can be challenging to know whether or not you are making the right choice no matter what you choose.
However, there are some things you can do to avoid the situation in the first place.
One of the best things to do is to ask a question of your child right after practice or game. Ask them how the game went, or how they felt about their team's performance. When you show your interest in their activity and the things they do, they may take notice.
This can be enough to inspire a young child to look forward to going to their next practice or game, knowing mom or dad is watching.
You can also try to encourage your child to practice their baseball skills at home outside of practice. Sometimes the environment of being with the full team can be intimidating, especially to a young player.
If the young athlete says no they don't want to play, tell them that that's okay. You can always bring up another time.
Another important thing you can do is to be at as many of their games as you can. When a child feels that you are physically present watching them, they feel supported. They're more likely to enjoy being out on the diamond knowing that their parent is there and they are safe.
When you aren't able to make many games, it may make your child feel lonely and that they are doing something they don't really want to do.
As a parent, it can be difficult to keep your emotions to yourself, especially if you have a history in sports. Your child may know about your glory days out of the diamond and may feel intimidated to try to live up to you or another sibling.
You may also have anxiety whenever they come to the plate, wondering if they're going to be a slugger the way you or your family members were. It's important not to let this type of performance anxiety issue out to your child.
Ultimately, at this level of the game, the most important thing is for them to enjoy themselves. You can worry about whether or not they had one or two strikeouts when they reach higher levels of competition. But at the Little League level, it's simply about having fun. Baseball pins are a great motivator too!
Being on a baseball team is a great way to make friends and earn the support of other athletes. For some children, it can be the first time they truly succeed at something. Many kids who have difficulty in school find baseball and other sports a helpful outlet that helps them grow their confidence at a younger age.
Another important teaching lesson as a parent is to allow your children to make their own choices sometimes. It may surprise your child when you tell them that it's okay for them not to go to practice during the week if they don't want to. They may wonder why you are being lenient all of a sudden.
However, they will quickly realize over the weekend when they are not getting playing time what the negative consequences of their actions are. Of course, many parents will try to avoid this approach to parenting, but it is important to give your child some sense of autonomy.
Learning that actions, or in this case inactions, have consequences is an important lesson to learn while young.
Finally, try to have a deeper discussion about the sport with your child. If they just had a great game where they hit a single, double, or triple for the first time, ask them how they felt. You can use this as a bridge to start deeper discussions with them about what their goals in the sport will be.
If they are fired up based on having a good performance, they may tell you that they want to try to play on the All-Star team. You can use this as a discussion to talk about how to take baby steps so that they can achieve their goals.
At the end of the day, there are many things you can do to encourage your child to make it to baseball practice. Even if they don't want to, you can have great conversations with them that inspire them to get back out of the diamond. You can also help them practice at home and realize their own confidence before showing off their skills to their friends in a community league.
If you enjoyed this article about Little League baseball, please check out the other articles on our blog!