10 Commandments

The 10 Commandments of a Christian Baseball Parent

This year we will be examining how to be a Christian Baseball parent. Each month we will feature one of the commandments in an article. Hopefully each of us will take a closer look on how we can be a better Christian Baseball parent for our players. It is up to us as Christians to change the culture of youth baseball by modeling the attributes of Christ in all aspects of the game. In December of this year you will have the ability to sign the Christian Baseball Parents Pledge and hopefully post it on your refrigerator for all to see. Join us on the journey to being a better Christian Baseball Parent!

The Ten Commandments

  1. Thou shall make baseball fun
  2. Thou shall always be encouraging
  3. Thou shall not coach from the stands
  4. Thou shall not belittle players, coaches, or umpires
  5. Thou shall ask the coach for drills you can do to help improve a deficit area of baseball
  6. Thou shall find something positive from each game or practice
  7. Thou shall model and teach good sportsmanship
  8. Thou shall have realistic expectations
  9. Thou shall enjoy baseball experiences with our players
  10. Thou shall always strive to live up to the standards of Christ

The First Commandment of a Christian Baseball Parent

Thou Shall Make Baseball Fun

funBaseball is a GAME. Games are meant to be fun and enjoyable. Too many parents put too much pressure on their players. Baseball which is meant to be fun often times turns into something that brings neither joy nor fun to the player or the parent. Baseball becomes almost like a job instead of a game.

Some of the best times I have ever enjoyed with my baseball playing son involves a simple game of catch in the backyard. It is amazing how much fun can be had by just talking and playing catch. We would play a simple little competitive game when playing catch. The thrower is awarded 2 points for any ball that would have struck the catcher in the head and one point if it would have struck the catcher from the waist to the shoulders, first to 20 wins. This simple game improves accuracy as well as enjoying time together talking. Spending time in a backyard game of catch talking about each other’s day is not only very relaxing but it is also FUN.

Watching games together in person or on TV helps to give teaching moments as you watch and enjoy the games. Often times John and I would even at a young age discuss the plays and what each of us saw. We thoroughly enjoyed spending time together learning about the game from watching others play. Special family trips to see a favorite team play in person is another way to bring the joy back into baseball.

As parents it is up to us to find ways to make sure that for our player and for us, baseball is fun. Enjoy the simple things around the game like playing catch or watching a game. The greatest gift we can give our children is our time and for a baseball player spending time on a regular basis with his Mom and/or Dad enjoying the game helps insure baseball will always be fun. The foundation you lay as a parent now will help insure a healthy relationship with your children even when they have become adults.

Just a little footnote, my now almost 24 year old Baseball Coaching son John just stopped by my office on his way to practice to show me some new gear he picked up. We still enjoy the game together because we have spent a lifetime working on making baseball fun. By the way my fantasy baseball team has won our family league the last two years. Just another way to connect and still make the game what it always should be…FUN.

The Second Commandment of a Christian Baseball Parent

Thou Shall Always Be Encouraging

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage encouragementone another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Encouraging words will build up our children in every area of life but especially in the game of baseball. Baseball is a game that you can fail 7 out of 10 times to get a hit and be an All-Star Major League player. I have never known a player to hit 1.000 for the year or a pitcher to never give up a hit or walk during a season. Baseball is a game where we need to deal with failure.

When we take the time to examine not only our words but our tone and body language, sometimes it is not a pretty picture. Instead of building up our players we have had often times the opposite effect. It takes on average 13 positive statements to offset one negative statement. How many times have we said something to our child as they have played the game, we wish we could have taken back? How many times have we come across harsh and uncaring? Sometimes we get so focused on winning and losing we lose focus on what is the most important, our children. We want them to succeed, to enjoy the game and be happy playing baseball. Here is a word of warning to those of you who coach your children, we are often much harder on our own children and less encouraging to them because we expect more from them. It is even more important for the Dad who coaches to realize the most important relationship on the team is with his son or daughter! We are only coach for a season, but Dad for a lifetime!

Take a few moments and look up all the verses in the New Testament about Barnabas, whose name literally means “Son of Encouragement”. Barnabas had faith in Paul when no one else did in Jerusalem. He stood up for John Mark when Paul lost faith in him. Where would we be without Paul’s writings and the Gospel of Mark? God calls each of us as Christian Baseball Parents to be a Barnabas in the life of our players. We need to be encouraging, positive, and building up our players every opportunity we have to do so!

Here are our challenges. Let’s stop and think before we speak. How are our words? Are they encouraging and uplifting? How is our tone and body language? Will you commit to a Barnabas in the life of your player, to be encouraging, uplifting, positive ,and building them up as they play the game?

If we will take the time to meet these challenges I will guarantee you as parents will enjoy watching your player more and your player will enjoy playing more. When we master encouraging behavior as a parent, I am sure it brings a smile to the face of our Lord! Would not Jesus do the very same thing? Blessings!!

The Third Commandment of a Christian Baseball Parent

Thou Shall Not Coach from the Stands

Our third commandment for a Christian Baseball parent is: Thou Shall Not coach from the Stands.
The one voice our children must be tuned into in playing the game of baseball is the coach. When we allow our children to play on a team, we must entrust them totally to the coach when they are between the white lines. It becomes mass confusion when we take it upon ourselves to coach from the stands. As parents we are not always in the know to what the coach is telling our players in the dugout. When we yell out to our child to play differently or to take a different position, we may indeed be telling them to do something the coach has told them not to do. Can you see how confusing that might be? Our children want to obey us and the coach! The authority during the game must be the coach.

It is so important that we allow the coach to do his job with our support and lack of coaching from the stands. We want to have the best possible experience for our children when they play the game. Positive supportive cheering for our team and yes the other team is what we are to do when we attend a game. Allow the coach to make corrections and to well… coach without our voice being heard from the stands doing the same thing.
Get to know your child’s coach. Take a few moments after a game to thank them for the time they spend teaching the game. Most coaches are not paid in youth leagues and coach because of a tremendous love for the game and kids. High School and Middle School coaches are compensated but not very much for the amount of time they put into their teams. During season a High School coach will spend more time with your children playing for him than his own children. Ask your child’s coach how you can support him and be there for him. A simple thank you goes a long way!

The words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount ring true, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” And everything includes the game of baseball and not coaching from the stands while showing appreciation for dedicated coaches!

Fourth Commandment for a Christian Baseball Parent

Thou Shall Not Belittle Players, Coaches, or Umpires

Our Fourth Commandment for a Christian Baseball parent is: Thou shall not belittle players, coaches, or umpires.
Often time in the heat of a game we do not realize what comes out of our mouths. I think it is great to cheer for our team and to be positive in what we say from the stands. It is never acceptable to cheer against another player in youth baseball. We often times forget that youth baseball is for FUN and to learn the game. It is not the seventh game of the World Series. These players are not professional players and we must be encouraging even to members of another team. We must ask ourselves how would Jesus act and what would Jesus say? He must always be our guide in daily living. Opposing players and even players on our own team should be encouraged. There is absolutely no place in baseball for belittling of players.
We also need to remember most coaches are volunteer coaches and even those who are paid in travel team opportunities, all still must be treated with respect. You may disagree with how the coach coaches or who plays when and yes you have the right to do so. As a Christian baseball parent we do not have the right to belittle a coach, ours or another one, with our actions and our speech!
Umpires have a thankless job. In professional baseball these men are on the road for the entire season moving from city to city. In amateur baseball, umpires all have another job and often times umpire out of a love of the game. I have never met an umpire (and I have met and worked with many) who wanted to not do their best to be impartial and fair. Again we may disagree with an umpire’s decision and yes the last time I looked umpires are human just like us who make mistakes even at the Major League level. As a follower of Christ, we must treat umpires with respect as we must any person in authority.
In the book of James chapter three we are instructed about just how difficult it is to get the tongue under control. Verses 9 and 10 remind us that we on the one hand praise God with our tongue and we curse men who are made in God’s likeness and James tells us ‘this should not be”. As a follower of Jesus Christ we must take these words to heart as we strive never to belittle players, coaches, or umpires. Christ would never do so and neither should we!!

The Fifth Commandment for Christian Baseball Parent

Thou Shall Ask the Coach for Drills

Our Fifth Commandment for Christian Baseball Parents is: Thou Shall Ask the Coach for Drills You Can Do with Your Player to Help Improve a Deficit Area of Baseball.

There are always areas in any player’s game that could use some improvement. As you watch your player make notes of things you see need improvement. After a game or practice approach the coach and ask him to show you some drills you can use to help improve that skill. Good coaches will be able to give you some easy drills you can use with your player at home to help them improve.

There are two great reasons to do this. One it gives you the opportunity to spend quality time with your player. The greatest gift we give our children in showing them our love is to spend TIME with them. The second reason is by doing those drills correctly we are helping them to create muscle memory that will translate over to the games and practices. The more we practice a skill, the better we will become at it.

Here is a caution, the drills must be FUN, not WORK. Make it a contest as you set goals for improvement WITH your player. Baseball is the greatest game in the world and for us to enjoy the game as well as helping our player to improve FUN has to be the top priority! Done in a relaxed atmosphere, the drills will be most beneficial to the player and the parent.

One of my favorite verses is Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Baseball is no different. In a non-pressure way, be sure to remind your player that God has given them the ability to play the game and the game should be played for His glory!

Have fun as your player and yes even you will improve when you get drills from your coach to help them improve in the game of baseball!

The Sixth Commandment for Christian Baseball Parent

Thou Shall Find Something Positive From Each Game Or Practice

Did you know that it takes 13 positive statements to offset one negative statement? Too often with our players we tend to dwell on the things they have done wrong in the game instead of finding the things they have done well. That is why it is so important for us as parents to find that positive from each game or practice we attend. We need to be building up our players instead of tearing them down. How many of us have been guilty of not finding something good to point out to our player and finding fault in their play or actions?

In looking for that positive with each baseball experience, do not just look to the actual playing of the game. Your player may excel in a game in cheering for his teammates or even by getting a simple cup of water for a coach, player, or umpire. Reinforce the things you see that build character such as good sportsmanship and service to others. Also do not neglect the actual playing of the game or practice time. If you see improvement in an area you have been working with your player to improve (see last month’s article) be sure to point that out to your player. If you see hustle and a great attitude on the field, praise them! We always can control our hustle and attitude as we play the game.

Jesus was always quick to praise those that did good things. In Mark 12:41-44, Jesus points out the faith of the widow who gave everything she had. Jesus also praises the faith of the Roman Centurion in Luke 7:1-10. May we take time today to become parents who find the positive from each game or practice that we attend and are quick, just like our Lord, to point out the good!

When we take the time to encourage and be positive with our players, we can help them to reach their potential to be the best players possible. Even more importantly, we help them to reach their potential to be the best person they can be in life! Make those positive lists and share them each game or practice with your player and watch them light up as you do so! Blessings!!

The Seventh Commandment for Christian Baseball Parent

THOU SHALL MODEL AND TEACH GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP

Our seventh commandment of a Christian Baseball Parent is to model and teach good sportsmanship. One of the things I have seen missing in sports in general over the past few years is sportsmanship and baseball is no exception. Too many times I have witnessed parents cheering against another player from a rival team. There is no excuse or reason for us to ever cheer against someone. I want to win as bad as anyone, but not at the expense of cheering an error or a bad plate appearance.

Sportsmanship begins at the core of our faith in Christ. Did not Jesus teach us to love one another and to treat others as we would want to be treated? We must take our faith to the stands as we watch and use our faith in teaching moments to teach our players the importance of sportsmanship. We cannot be guilty of setting a bad example to our players. Educators and coaches are not the greatest teachers in the lives of our children, it is us as parents. We must look for ways to model good sportsmanship and encourage the same behavior in our players.
How can we do this? If a player from another team makes a good play or gets a good hit, acknowledge that in a positive manner. It is just fine to compliment a great play from the opposition. It is important for us to model and to teach humility in winning and graciousness in losing. Our task is to show winning isn’t everything, but giving our best effort is everything. Good sportsmanship comes from good character and that is molded from an early age by us as parents.

Let’s take a good look at ourselves and our actions as we watch our children play the game. Are we modeling Christ like behavior? If we are then we are well on the way to modeling and teaching good sportsmanship! Blessings!


The Eighth Commandment for Christian Baseball Parent

THOU SHALL HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

The Eighth Commandment of a Christian Baseball parent is to have realistic expectations. This may indeed be the hardest one of all. It is very difficult for us as parents to be objective when it comes to our children. When we have unrealistic expectations of our baseball players we tend to put a tremendous amount of pressure on them. When they fail to reach the standards in play that we expect, it is hard to mask that disappointment to them. One of the things our children never want to do is disappoint us as parents, for when they perceive that have disappointed us to them they are a failure. The last thing any of us would ever want to do is to cause our children to feel like a failure!

Realistic expectations are hard to have in the game of baseball. We tend to think our children can do no wrong and are all All-Stars. As long as we are teaching our children that giving their best at all times at practice and during the games is most important, we will be on the road to seeing clearly the skill set or lack of skills our players.

A very few of our players will have the skills or desire to play baseball even in High School. Even less will make the jump from High School to College baseball. Very few players who get the chance to play professional baseball will make it to the Major Leagues. So when we have expectations that do not match either the skill set or desire to play at the highest levels of the game, we are creating potential problems with our player.

One of the greatest gifts and responsibilities God can give a husband and wife is to be a parent. We want our children to reach their potential in life, to succeed in everything they attempt. When we seek God, He is always there. The way to have realistic expectations is to simply ask God for help to see clearly the future or lack of a future our children have in the game! Enjoy the time you have in watching your children play the game, because for most of us that time will come to an end. No pressure from unrealistic expectations, only encouragement to enjoy playing the game for our players, will help us to create a great environment for success not only in baseball but more importantly in life! Blessings!

Our Ninth Commandment of a Christian Baseball Parent

The THOU SHALL ENJOY BASEBALL EXPERIENCES WITH YOUR PLAYERS

One of the greatest gifts we can give to our children is ourselves. What they desire most of all is our time. For a baseball player who loves the game, some of the best time we can spend with them is sharing baseball experiences with them. My son is now a High School Baseball Coach. He loves the game and has been a student of the game for as long as I can remember. That love of the game was begun when we spent time together watching and talking about the game.

Most of have baseball games being played at higher levels near to us. We can attend High School, College, Minor League and yes even Major League games. Take the time to not only go to the games with your player, but talk about the game. Some of the best times John and I have shared are around trips we have made to watch baseball.

Take the opportunity to teach your player about the history of the game. There are a lot of great books and DVDs about the history of the game. Ken Burns’ PBS series Baseball is one of the best histories I have seen of the game.

I can’t count all the games John and I have seen, but even more important than watching the games are the times we simply went out to the back yard and played catch. Some of the best times of my life have been spent just playing catch and talking. Last year I was asked to throw out a first pitch at a local Minor League game. I needed to throw some so John and out went outside and played catch. We both enjoyed that time and talking about how many times we had played catch!

Building baseball memories with your players takes only one thing….time. Take some time today and spend that quality time with your player building memories that will indeed last a lifetime! Blessings!

Our Tenth Commandment of a Christian Baseball Parent

Always strive to live up to the standards of Christ
I think we left the most challenging commandment to the end!

The world as a whole and the baseball community as a part would be a much better places if we as Christians would just live more like Christ in our daily lives. Philippians 3:27 says, ”Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” The once popular wrist band, WWJD (what would Jesus do?), should be the mantra we as Christians live our lives. In every aspect of our lives we should react as His people just how He would react.

Jesus has set the bar high when it comes to behavior. It is not about us, but others. It is not about being served, but being a servant. For us to reach His standards of living we must spend time with Him daily. We must grow in our faith by learning more about Jesus so that we can live more like Jesus. When we reflect Christ by the way we live each day, the world will be a better place. We are called to be salt and light to this world by reflecting the Light of the World and flavoring this world with the love of Jesus.

For the problems that plague not just youth baseball, but baseball as a whole, to be solved we must live like Jesus would live. We must love and serve our fellow man. We must share the love that Jesus has so freely given to us. The greatest gift we can give to God, who gave us the greatest of all gifts that first Christmas morning, is a life that is lived for His Glory by His Love!

For us to be the Christian Baseball Parents we need to be, it all starts and ends with CHRIST! Are we living or lives by His standards? Are we growing in our faith daily? Are we committed to give Him our lives in love and service? May we all make a commitment to Christ right now to live for Him by living like Him! Blessings!


THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF A CHRISTIAN BASEBALL PARENT

CONCLUSION
Our prayer has been that this series of articles will help all of you who parent baseball players to be able to bring Christ back to the baseball field. The culture of baseball today needs the example of Jesus more than ever. If we as Christians don’t bring Jesus to the baseball field who will?

May God bless you as parent a baseball player with the love of Christ. We hope you will take the time to print the Ten Commandments form, sign it, and put it on your refrigerator as a reminder to always bring Christ to the game of baseball! If we can be of service, do not hesitate to call on us!

Ephesians 6:10

David Daly