Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Perfectionism - The New Bane Of Youth Baseball?


Ben Franklin once said "Make All the Mistakes You Can as Soon as You Can," and true to form, the remark was a tongue in cheek lesson from a great teacher and statesman.

Of course what Franklin was referring to is the natural and normal process of learning from our mistakes. Ben was inferring the more mistakes we make the more knowledgeable we become, and while we're at it, do it as quickly as possible. Why wait until you're old to become smart?

The philosophy Ben preached is fantastic if you're the type of person who can learn from a mistake and not repeat the same mistake, but there are people who can not tolerate making a single mistake, which we know as a perfectionist.

Perfectionism, obviously not an unheard of human trait, is increasingly creeping into our young baseball players at what I consider an alarming rate and we're not giving it the serious consideration it requires. I believe there are numerous reasons for this increase in anxiety.

1. Pressure from parents to excel....
2. Pressure from Coaches, some who are more concerned about their record than the player's welfare...
3. Pressure of becoming one of the "elite" or "popular" people....
4. And of course, some people are just born perfectionist.

Allow me to back up a second. I am not inferring there's anything wrong with wanting to become a perfectionist, as striving for perfection is the driving motivator for spending hours in the batting cages, or fielding hundreds of ground balls, attempting to be the best you can be.

However, we as adults know perfection can never be achieved in baseball, or any other sport for that matter, as there are no 1000% hitters nor pitchers who record 27 strike outs every game. The issue arises when we preach and teach perfection, but never mention it's OK to fail while we're attempting to reach the unobtainable.

Coaches must be aware of the possible signs of a player developing too much of a perfectionist attitude, whether through peer pressure, parent pressure or take a self examination of your coaching techniques.

1. Does the player become angry or frustrated quickly...
2. Does the player console a teammate who misses a ground ball, but slams his glove to the ground in disgust if he makes the same error...
3. Is the player not quite as happy about a team win if he was 0-4 or is not quite as despondent of a loss if he was 4-4.

Coaching youth baseball is not an easy task. We are charged with teaching the game of baseball and how to skillfully play the game, as well as instilling high morals and work ethics which the players will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

A quick guess is 99.9% of all baseball players never even make the minor leagues much alone the Show, so baseball, with the exception of pleasure or entertainment, will not be a major factor in their adult lives. Let the players have fond memories of the ball field as youth, not an anguishing grind of never being at peace with the results of your labor.
Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player and member of "Baseball Coaches of America" shares his advice on baseball coaching baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:
Article Source:

Article Source:

No comments: