I heard this from a coach that I know and respect. He has coached for years and knows how to help kids grow into young adults through youth sports. He made this comment after someone had just struck out in a baseball game. It did not end the game, it didn’t even end the inning, it was just an out. I had never heard it before and I had not thought about this way. After thinking about it for a while it made sense and led to this blog post.
Tears are Selfish
Passion is great!
Allowing it to affect your game is the difference between a team player and someone that is there, perhaps only, for themselves.
Kids, coaches, and parents know and expect errors, mistakes and mix-ups to occur. That's baseball and that’s life. The real measure of a player is you do AFTER an error occurs.
This blog post is focused on baseball – yet, it is also applicable to any team sport. The focus here is not the say that a kid cannot cry. The tears show they are aware something happened, but it does not necessarily mean they are crying for the right reasons.
Play the game with Emotion,
I’ve seen lots of errors, strike outs, and mix-ups. They are expected. The “Inner Hero” comes out when that kid, sometimes with the help of teammates, shakes it off for the next pitch and resets their level of thinking and their level of play.
Putting it into Action
If you are a coach ask your team to do one simple thing. Ask them to look around. Let them know that these are their teammates. When they make an error, strike out, or do something that doesn’t help the team - that's OK.
Let them know … It's what they do AFTERWARDS that matters.
- If you are a player – Ask yourself the same questions and think about holding yourself to a higher standard and to think about the effect on the team.
- If you are a parent of a player – Think about these points and compare it to what you have seen in youth sports. Again, I’m not saying kids cannot cry. However, along the lines of Coach Frizelle’s and Coach John’s quotes I am suggesting that crying for the wrong reasons is selfish.
UPDATED: This blog post was written with 11 and 12 year olds in mind. I think it’s OK for a younger player to deal with some levels of frustration with tears. However, as the child matures – even at 11 and 12 years old - crying when they make a mistake is not the most effective way to help themselves or the team.
In baseball, the game can turn on one pitch. Kids, coaches, and parents need to be cognizant of this. They should be taught to learn from the experience and to reset themselves and prepare for the next pitch. Who knows – something great might happen. I submit that as these kids get older they will find this to be a great skill in their personal and professional lives.
What do you think?
Are tears selfish? Do tears help the player or the team?
If you are interested in Youth Sports please take a moment and look at my other blog posts on this topic:
- Kid-Spiration – Things I’ve learned from the Kids
- What Umpiring Baseball Can Teach Our Youth
- The Four Roles in (Youth) Sports
- Ready for Combat – Little League Style
About The Author:
I have spent the better part of the last 16 years working in various aspects of the ECM space. I spent time at Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and most recently Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.
** I am available for consulting projects and speaking engagements. My areas of emphasis are business development and alliance management at the Intersection of Enterprise Content Management and Social Media.
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