Protect Your Kids...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Food for thought...

Even though we're all student athletes at-heart, BALL is actually in the business of serving athletes, their families, and their coaches. So athletes and BALL fans, read on...sometimes it helps to cross train your brain...

When sports turns from your calling to your avocation, eventually you will get a job...With that in mind, following is from one of my favorite business authors, Seth Godin:

You get a job...

> For the money
> To be challenged
> For the pleasure/calling of doing the work
> For the impact it makes on the world
> For the reputation you build in the community
> To solve interesting problems
> To be part of a group and to experience the mission
> To be appreciated

Why do we always focus on the first? Why do we advertise jobs or promotions as being generic on items 2 through 8 and differentiated only by #1?

In fact, unless you're a drug kingpin or a Wall Street trader, my guess is that the other factors are at work every time you think about your work.

Or, if you've learned anything from sports, it's that calculated risks can pay off. So instead of a job, you decide to start a business based on an idea...

> Ideas don't come from watching television
> Ideas sometimes come from listening to a lecture
> Ideas often come while reading a book

Good ideas come from bad ideas, but only if there are enough of them

> Ideas hate conference rooms, particularly conference rooms where there is a history of
criticism, personal attacks or boredom
> Ideas occur when dissimilar universes collide
> Ideas often strive to meet expectations. If people expect them to appear, they do
> Ideas fear experts, but they adore beginner's mind. A little awareness is a good thing
> Ideas come in spurts, until you get frightened. Willie Nelson wrote three of his biggest hits in one week

Ideas come from trouble

> Ideas come from our ego, and they do their best when they're generous and selfless
> Ideas come from nature
> Sometimes ideas come from fear (usually in movies) but often they come from confidence
> Useful ideas come from being awake, alert enough to actually notice

Though sometimes ideas sneak in when we're asleep and too numb to be afraid

> Ideas come out of the corner of the eye, or in the shower, when we're not trying
> Mediocre ideas enjoy copying what happens to be working right this minute
> Bigger ideas leapfrog the mediocre ones
> Ideas don't need a passport, and often cross borders (of all kinds) with impunity

An idea must come from somewhere, because if it merely stays where it is and doesn't join us here, it's hidden. And hidden ideas don't ship, have no influence, no intersection with the market. They die, alone.

- Seth Godin

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

From an old coach...

Tis the season to be thankful.

We are blessed to be still involved in baseball because:

Of the look in his eyes after he has had a big game

Of the tears in his eyes after a tough loss

He drags himself off the cursed video games to come and ask ‘ Dad, wanna play some catch?’

He is learning lessons in life from this wonderful game. He is learning to deal with failure, that hard work and discipline results in more success/fun, selflessness in working towards team goals and to not concern himself with things over which he has no control.

Of all the wonderful friends that we have made at the ballpark that will remain friends even after the bright lights dim.

We are thankful for:

The coaches that care and give so many hours to try to help other people’s kids to have a meaningful and enjoyable baseball experience

The umpires that take so much flack but give so much for the love of the game

The wins that bring such joy and gratification

The losses that keep us humble and make us understand where improvement must be made.

Those wonderful creatures “Baseball Moms”, who Squeal with glee for each Home Run, yet kiss away the tears and offer gentle admonitions to ‘suck it up’ when they get thrown out at home with the tying run and bloody their knee. Who wash their warrior’s unis and prepare his lucky pregame pasta before every game. Who come to love the game and never want it to end.

This little boy's game we call baseball that if we are lucky we can share with our son for a long time but will look back on as some of the best years of our lives!


Please feel free to share this Thanksgiving message with your baseball friends.

Yours In Baseball
Bruce Lambin

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We honor you, Vets!

The Veteran's Day Post didn't get displayed for some reason...

During times like these when it seems that society becomes more and more polarized and self-serving, it's both appropriate and, in BALL's humble opinion, mandatory, that we honor those men and women who willingly place their lives on the line every day so we can live free.

Following is a link to some (not all) of the professional sports athletes who fought for our country. You might be surprised that several non-citizens fought (and fight!) for our country. Included among them was "The Great One", Roberto Clemente.

Thanks to Mike Peticca at The Starting Blocks for such an exhaustive and awe-inspiring article.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How's this for a BALL story...

New Buena Park High School football coach Anthony White didn't know what to expect when he showed up for his spring football workouts. After all, the only league game the team had "won" since 2002 was a forfeit - and they lost that game on the field 45-7.

What he found wasn't encouraging. Not only were there just 23 players in the entire program...13 were academically-ineligible.

What would you do in this "situation"?

Here's what he did...

Thanks to OC Register writer Jeff Miller for an intense and moving real-life story.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Thanks Coach Jen!

We just got an awesome account of a story about sportsmanship and the "right" way to play the game (or any game). Thanks to BALL StoryTeller Coach Jen Solano for a tear jerker of a story about a home run, a torn ACL, and redemption...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Role of the Parent in Sports

Sports tend to die down in the dog days of summer for our family, so when the leaves start to turn and the air gets crisp, I feel the rush of football anticipation grow. To appease my appetite for competition, I recently visited a friend's kid's local school on it's first game day of the new school year.

When I arrived in the stands, I was surprised but entertained to hear a small murmur from the crowd when all of the coaches from each school decided to run onto the field wearing the same T-shirts over their normal coaching attire. On the back of the bright yellow shirts, in big, black letters were these words:

Players Play.
Coaches Coach.
Parents Cheer.

And it got better...

Before the start of the game, each coach gave a short talk to the team's fans about cheering for the kids and not bagging on the referees. It seemed to work. The teams played hard, and the parents were cheering for their kids.

I recently ran across an article dealing with this very issue. The link to a pertinent part of it is here.

As the new school year starts,'s the kids that play, and the coaches that coach. We simply cheer the kids on. After the game, we tell them how proud we are of them regardless of the outcome. Let's leave reviewing the game's mistakes and the constructive criticism to the coaches.

Make each day your masterpiece!

Ted Browne
Chief Storyteller

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tips from the coach...PARENTS

The following is an edited excerpt from someone who has coached youth baseball for over 30 years and had two sons play professional and/or college ball. He has a very gruff writing style, but I have found much wisdom in his writings...

Ted Browne


Last year I went to a Fall league game for incoming HS freshmen. The parents in the stands were brutal. They second guessed every managerial move or nonmove. They opined about the abilities of other players on the team. The mommies were the worst.

I was recently talking to some HS coaches and they told me that parents are completely out of control, particularly mommies. One coach told me of a mommy that barged into his office and announced that in her opinion, the team wasn’t doing too well and that they needed to discuss some changes!

I guess that this is a product of kids playing 100+ games a year and the entire life of the family revolving around the kid’s baseball activities. Parents become way too invested in their son’s baseball experience. It is the kid’s baseball experience, NOT theirs!

Parents that second guess the coach and critique players are called “A CANCER”. It takes only one in the stands to infect the entire crowd. What should be a wonderful and joyous shared TEAM experience becomes a morass of backbiting and self aggrandizement. Parents need to learn to sit back and enjoy watching the TEAM play and SHUT UP. If you just can’t control yourself go down the outfield fence and mutter your rants, away from the crowd.

Coaches, you need to understand you are not just teaching 12 boys to play ball but shepherding families through the baseball experience. You must spend time teaching parents THEIR roles and how to comport themselves at the ballpark. They will enjoy themselves so much more when they are cured from being cancers. In my book, A PARENTS GUIDE TO BASEBALL-Surviving And Thriving Youth League To College, there is a chapter, ”Loose Lips Sink Ships”. In this chapter I chronicle the potential for harm from parents unsolicited opinions at the ballpark.

In a post in a youth baseball board, a mommy laments the lack of communication skills of her son’s HS coach. Her son just couldn’t get the coach to communicate why he wasn’t playing. This reminded me of a kid that went to his college coach’s office and inquired why he wasn’t playing. The coach responded, “if you were my 3rd baseman, I wouldn’t consider us to be a very good baseball team.” Ouch! If you ask a question, you might not like the answer you get.

Yours In Baseball
Bruce Lambin

Friday, July 9, 2010


Many of you know that Beyond Athletic Life Lessons (“BALL”) is a corporate/private-sponsored educational nonprofit, and that Sports Authority's local stores have been a HUGE early supporter of BALL.

GREAT news…

Due to our growing presence in the youth sports arena, Sports Authority surprised me this morning with thousands of dollars’ worth of gift certificates for all participating Beyond Athletic Life Lessons Summer Baseball teams. This works out to $120 per Summer BALL team. The certificates are in booklets that have 24 certificates in $5 denominations. They are good for anything in the store. My son likes the Quench gum, gourmet sunflower seeds and king sized Snickers bars. I like the whiffle ball 6-pack or the whiffle golf ball 12-pack so we can practice his swing. Let your dentist be your guide.

COACHES: You can award these to your players for anything you like, but please consider using these as incentives for completing a BALL lesson or for being named a “BALL Practice MVP”.

In addition to the certificates, the booklets contain several coach and player coupons (such as “get $10 off a $25 purchase”). These are the same “Coaches Club” coupon booklets normally limited to one book per each manager who brings in his/her current roster and sign up for the Sports Authority Coaches Club.

If you visit the location closest to BALL's headquarters (in Fountain Valley, CA), be sure to thank Sports Authority's store 632 manager Shawn Ghalikar. He laid the groundwork for the gift and has been an enthusiastic BALL supporter from the start.

Regardless of which store you visit, please make sure to have your kids thank the store manager the B.A.L.L. way:
1) Look at him/her straight in the eyes
2) Shake his hand with a firm grip, and
3) say "THANKS for supporting our community!"

Make each day your masterpiece!

Ted Browne
Chief Storyteller
Beyond Athletic Life Lessons, Inc.

Beyond Athletic Life Lessons, Inc. (“BALL”) cross trains kids for life…

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Baseball and hot dogs are two pieces of Americana that fit right in with the celebration of our nation's declaration of independence. So do these video clips of three completely different American heroes...

One is a baseball player:

One is a comedian:

And another is a great American actor:

For those that are grateful of the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country, the story of "TAPS":

For those of you that served, we at BALL thank you and are deeply grateful of your sacrifice.

Have a great 4th of July!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Summer Baseball and Basketball Coaches - WOODEN lesson is delivered. Please contact me at 714-334-4023 if you didn't get it. The lesson is an article about Coach John Wooden, written by Rick Reilly.

Incidentally, Rick has a new book out: Sports From Hell ( In conversations with him about the book, he said ithat it was likely age-appropriate for adults, and maybe kids aged 12 and over (you might want to review a few of the "sports" before handing it over to your kid).

I've ordered my copy - if it's anything like his other books, I plan on a few long reading nights when it's delivered...


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Welcome Summer Sports Teams...

In this shortened casual summer season, we'll be giving you an abbreviated BALL lesson plan. Appropriately enough, we'll be kicking things off with ESPN/SI author and TV personality Rick Reilly's excellent visit with John Wooden. Expect it in your e-mail box early this week...and make sure your parents read it with their kids.

As a bonus to your readings, you might want to pick up Rick's new book, Sports From Hell. I just ordered it on Amazon. I spoke to him about the book. He said that there's nothing in it that's inappropriate for high school kids, but you might want to preview it for your pre-teen. If it's anything like his previous books, we're in for a bunch of late nights with the lights on at the Browne House...

Make each day your masterpiece!

Ted Browne