Nationwide, just 4 out of very 100 youth baseball all-stars will play high school varsity baseball in 12th grade. Four out of those 100 high school baseball players will play college baseball. Four out of those college baseball players will move on to pro ball.
Although you may not, as a parent, know the actual numbers, most of you realize that the odds that your child will make it to the pros are very long indeed and you don't expect you child to be a professional athlete.
Real purpose of sports
So, what is the real purpose of amateur sports? Most parents will say to teach athletic values and leadership skills. But exactly how does that happen? As a culture, we expect student-athletes will become leaders by merely participating in sports.
How does that plan work in your own careers, Mom and Dad?
Our children are members of the information age, the knowledge age. They tap into technology and access information like getting a glass of water. They not only want to know how, they want to know why.
Teaching athletic leadership is perhaps our biggest challenge in skill development. We need to do more than identify the prettiest, the biggest, most handsome, most talented performer and anoint them as captain. We need to inform, inspire, educate and provide opportunity. In sports there are only two choices: become a leader or a follower. Either choice requires a vital understanding of leadership and integrity.
How well do you know the game? Did you know that baseball is the only game where the defense has the ball; the offense spends its entire time running away from the ball. In every aspect of baseball there are two choices: ball/strike, safe /out (I bet you can identify a lot more!).
Baseball is a game that attracts young people who are comfortable making decisions. Every game they accept instant accountability. We admire and respect that leadership trait in them.
Since 1992 I have been committed to providing instructional content that develops athletic values and recognizes the concept of the student-athlete as a whole. With my sons, we have taught thousands of athletes and have sent over 160 players on to college baseball.
Yes, some are proficient athletes but more importantly, they all are student-athletes of excellent character. As educators we must realize the value of our mentoring may not be judged in the short term. But we all must recognize our challenge - our joint responsibility. One day in the not-so-distant future, today's students will be in the stands ... as parents, reading articles like this.
Updated November 23, 2011
John Pinkman is a MomsTeam's youth baseball expert and nationally known baseball expert and pitching coach. He can be reached at John@Pinkman.us.