Protect Your Kids...

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Spare Part...

Every season, coaches need to make difficult decisions. One is deciding which player starts and which player sits. And sometimes, it's a coin flip that makes the decision.

How can a coach explain this to a kid? A parent?

An analogy I’ve used in this end was shared with me by Hall of Fame Wrestling Coach John Dahlem. It’s simply called “The Spare Part”.

It goes something like this:

I have a car that needs spark plugs. It’s an old car, so sometimes oil fouls the plugs and the engine doesn’t work as good as when the plugs are clean. So when I go to the store, instead of ordering 8 of them (one for each position in the engine), I order 12. And when one fouls, I replace it with one of the other four that are on the shelf. But when I replace one of the plugs, I don’t throw it away. A fouled plug isn’t broken, it just needs to be cleaned and re-gapped (adjusted).

After I take it out, I work with the spark plug to clean it up again so that it’s ready to be “plugged in” the next time it’s needed.

Here's the point: The fact that I am only using the first eight that I take off the shelf doesn’t diminish the value of the four that are still sitting there, does it? And if I take out one of the plugs and replace it with another, that doesn’t mean that the replaced plug isn’t going to be used again, does it?

This week's lesson about Brian Downing provides the perfect opportunity for this discussion. Confident yet unassuming, Downing was known as one of the hardest working players of his era. Downing was the type of player every manager loved having on his team…and every aspiring player should try to emulate. As legend has it, Downing was cut from his high school team, and only had three at-bats in two years of college ball. He was a spare part! The “gift of time” allowed him to hone his skills when no one was looking – and that made all the difference.

Make each day your masterpiece!

Ted Browne

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coaches...expect another lesson soon...

The next lesson is another Angel.

He is 5th all-time at his position in lifetime home runs. He batted .264 as a high school baseball player and was cut from his high school team. He signed with the Chicago White Sox after 2 years at Cypress Jr. College, when he hit .333 (1 for 3 over 2 years).

His is truly an inspirational story warning all of us to never give up on our dreams.

Who was he?

Go to the BALL facebook page to find out...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Challenge...

One of the annual lessons we "invented" at BALL is "The Challenge". We're doing one right now for a local high school baseball team.

The Challenge builds on the story of Roberto Clemente and the Wooden maxim "Help Others." It enables coaches to develop 3 key areas that are important in their chosen sport: Physical skill, emotional intelligence, and mental toughness. And best of all, it's age-neutral. Any kid from 6 to 18 years old can compete and learn valuable lessons about themselves in the process.

It's also a dynamite "feel-good" fund raiser for local charities, the league sponsoring the team, and the team itself. But the success of the event is not determined by the amount of money raised, but by the number of individuals "touched" by the kids with the community awareness plan. Businesses love to brand this type of event. And it's extremely simple to implement.

In a nutshell, The Challenge works something like this:
- Each kid practices every basic skill needed to be successful in playing that season's sport by participating in one 45 minute "station-to-station" practice;
- Each kid learns about 3 local kid-centric charities and then develops his own "community buzz" action plan about creating local awareness about those charities;
- Each kid is able to better develop his/her competitive spirit by participating in each "block" of the lesson.

Another cool thing: no matter what the level of physical skill or parental support, everyone can "win" at least one section of The Challenge or win a prize. The only people that "lose" are the ones that fail to participate. And each kid, even if he doesn't finish at the top of the block, is successful based on Wooden's success definition.

Do you accept The Challenge?

Make each day your masterpiece...and help others!

Ted Browne
Chief StoryTeller

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Don't let what you CAN'T do dictate what you CAN do: Jim Abbott

Click over to our Facebook fan page for more...

This week's lesson is about an Olympic Gold Medal winner who was on the mound the day the first USA team in decades won an international game on Cuban soil. Who was he?

ANSWER: Jim Abbott.

The way we into 7 year old Jimmie to the kids is to give any kid $10 who can tie his shoe in 10 seconds or less...using just one hand.