I challenge any of you to walk into your boss’ office today and tell them, “Hey Boss, thanks for teaching me everything I know, investing your personal time in me, and making me the exceptional employee I am today, but, I have a second job that is going to take priority over this one now. Don’t get me wrong, I will be here when I can, when the other job doesn’t need me, but that job is going to come first from now on.” I am certain your boss would ask you to pack your things and immediately show you the door. However, this is exactly what we are teaching children today. Then we are surprised when the real world smacks them in the face?
I challenge every coach, at every level, in every sport, to implement the following policy as it relates to attendance on your team:
Practice Attendance Policy
All players are expected to be at ALL games and ALL practices. Of course, there are times when conflicts will arise and you will not be able to make games or practices, we understand that. The following are acceptable reasons to miss a practice or a game:
-School Function or event including High School Practices
-Religious event or Special Family Event (Wedding, Baptism, etc….Birthday parties do not apply..lol)
There are no other legitimate reasons to miss practice or a game. If the player is going to be absent, it is the player’s responsibility to let me know when and why. If a player misses a game or practice for any reason other than what is stated above, the penalty for the absence will be:
-Will not start next played game. (There may be times when more than 2 are absent and this is impossible, but when possible, it will be strictly enforced)
-Will play mininums during that game (6 defensive outs and 1 at bat) The Little League Mantra is
Loyalty – Character – Courage
Definition: the state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations. (dictionary.com)
It is important in any relationship to have loyalty. From simple friendships, to complex business relationships, without loyalty, the foundation upon which to build cannot withstand the pressures that will be placed on it. Rather than allow our children to develop bad habits, we must teach them loyalty by demanding loyalty to team. If they chose otherwise, then it is our duty as leaders to demonstrate what happens to those whose loyalties lie elsewhere.
We must remain loyal and true to those who are loyal and true to us. Every day our loyalties are tested and every day we must make decisions that impact those around us, often substantially. The kids that are loyal to our teams must be rewarded and taught that loyalty and trust are something that cannot be taken for granted, they are character traits that result in rewarding circumstances.
Definition – the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing. (Dictionary.com)
I write about character in just about every article I write, both here and in the
Volusia/Flagler Parent magazines. My position on the impact of sport in the development of a child’s character are clear. Sport builds character. What character it builds is directly attributable to the manager and coach as well as the support system at home.
Do you want the character of your team to be one of integrity, or one of sacrifice? Ten years from now nobody will remember if the Giants beat the Red Sox or the Heat beat the Diamond Gems, but they will remember their coach didn’t reward their loyal character, so why should they provide it to their boss, company or customer? Maybe we need only look in the mirror to figure out why dedication to cause and commitment to quality are lacking in our country today.
Definition – the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. (Dictionary.com)
How many times have you stood in the box and watched a kid walk to the plate with fear in his eyes? What did you do? You encouraged him of course, and how often did he or she reward you with giant smile standing on second base after a line drive over the shortstop’s head? Why do we find it so easy to instill courage in others, but so hard to find it within ourselves?
I challenge you to have the courage to play those players loyal to your team. The ones who come to every practice, every game, don’t complain when they sit out, and give you 150% when you insert them in the order. As always, I think you might be surprised how well they perform when the pressure is applied. Then, you will be teaching two life lessons.
1. You can do anything you put your mind too
2. Nobody is irreplaceable.
Life is about choices, make good ones.
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