Who is Pulling the Wagon?

One of our Certified Instructors had a great quote, “The effort of the athlete should at least match that of coaches and parents”.

This article is specifically for players.

Are you lifting your share of the load? We absolutely love for parents to be involved, but there should be limits. Sometimes a kid will come to a lesson and I start by asking questions to help set the agenda. What are your struggles and triumphs, objectives and achievements? She will look at her parents and say, “I don’t know. They just told me this afternoon that we have a pitching lesson tonight.” I stand there and let the awkward silence fill the air.

The only thing worse is for a parent to jump in with excuses about her being so busy and not having time to think about the upcoming lesson. Who is pulling this wagon?

We want parents to be a part of the dream, but if mom stands there and takes the notes for you, I have no idea if you have ever reviewed them. It is time for homework. “Write the notes from this lesson in essay form, along with objectives, drills, exercises and timetables, and email it to me.” Too often, in the past, I would ask a pitcher if we had addressed a specific issue and she would shrug her shoulders. Mom flips back through the notebook and says, “Oh, yes, we did that last month”. Yet nothing happened? Someone is not getting her money’s worth from lessons.

Recently I met a kid who embodied everything we want in a pitcher. She is in high school and, after we released her from several huge barriers, we were very excited with the results. She immediately began to cry, saying, “I have wasted so much time. Now it may be too late”. She wanted this so badly, and we had to give her a lot of assurance that she could make the changes that would take her to the next level.

After her session, we had another event. A bit later I looked over my shoulder, and this same kid had moved to another section of the facility and was punishing the net, throwing buckets of balls for over an hour to correct issues we had identified. She was back for another session the following day, again in tears, again completing our session then going to another part of the facility to wear out her father with pitch after pitch. Even after three days of this she was not about to slow down.

Her dad texted me two days later. It sounds like she is still pulling the wagon. He is just hanging on for dear life. Both of them are excited about the changes in a kid who had a lot of reasons to give up, but refused to do so.

Several of our Certified Instructors were there. Every one of us would have taken her as a student with great enthusiasm. Why? This kid will come to every lesson with an agenda. She will push our Instructor to push her. She will do simple things like remembering to bring water. She will carry her own batbag. She will push her parents to schedule the next lesson or just do it herself. She never needs anyone to tell her to try harder. She has goals that include timetables. She does not whine or make excuses. Her effort will not simply match that of the parents or her coaches, instead exceeding them so much that it will be tough for them to keep up with her.

A lot of kids have big dreams but, without action, they are just dreams. Then there is the student who makes our day when she walks in the door. How do we recognize the kid that is going to do great things?

-I can clearly delineate your goals without ever having asked you.

-I see you doing the heavy lifting.

-Most of all, I have to constantly remind myself to move faster. If not I am in danger of being over by the wagon that you are pulling.

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