Friday Two Cents: Coaching T-Ball Using Encouragement: With George Part 7



  For the past 6 years I have organized and ran a softball and T-ball league at the school I work in, yet I have not taken my experience and knowledge of coaching out of the school setting until this year. A colleague asked me to help coach a T-ball team in a league, in the evenings, once a week. We started around mid-May and we finished the regular season last week. But of course after the season comes the playoffs and this past week the team has been busy with a life and death playoff run.

photo 8

George loves baseball.

Unfortunately we lost in the quarterfinals Friday night. Yet, the kids spirits were still high after the game and we did finish 3rd in a league of 10 teams. That is still an accomplishment.

After the game my friend, the head coach, handed out the individual trophies, the most improved and the best sportsmanlike trophy. They were all excited and we took a lot of group shots with the trophies. After, the parents took photos of their children with the three coaches. It was a lot of fun and everyone was enjoying a great season and good times.

While everyone was just hanging around, many parents came up to us and said that we were the best coaches they have seen in many years. We asked why and many pointed out that we did not yell at the children in a harsh manner if they missed a play. Yet we always had an encouraging word for them and always cheered them on. They said that many of the other coaches were not like that with their kids. To be honest when they mentioned it to us I do see many of the coaches acting a bit hard with their kids. Mind you nothing in the way of abusive language or demeaning the kids. But they were almost treating them like they were older children perhaps adolescents, who have been playing for years and not 6 and 7 year olds.

Though upon reflection, the fact that we placed 3rd over all in a league of 10 is very good. Mind you two of our losses were because of forfeits due to a lack of players, (you need 8 minimum to play). If we had those players we may have even played second, who knows. But the one thing that is true and I have seen it in the classroom and when I ran my own leagues, is that encouragement is always preferable to any harsh criticism. That goes for children and adults alike. The kids did great and had fun along the way. In the end their smiles and laughter after losing their last game shows that this principle of encouragement over criticism is truly the right approach. Now if only more people adopt this principle, who knows how far students or adults can go with the right kind of encouragement.  



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