We all come into this world with nothing. We start with a blank slate. Basically, life is what we make it. We end up as the sum of our experiences. Our experiences at home, at school, at work, and in our leisure time help form and shape our values and beliefs and contribute to the development of the knowledge, skills and abilities we need to be successful in life. These opportunities to develop and grow are especially critical during the pre-teens and adolescence when young people are seeking to make sense of the world and their place in it.
Our efforts bring forth accomplishment, and we can naturally contribute to the people around us, especially our young people. We need to be a source of inspiration.
We build up our experiences slowly at first from those with who we are in direct contact, such as our parents, teachers, coaches, and friends. The wider the range of positive information and influence sources available to a child, the faster he/she will learn.
Research shows that youth who participate in organized sports are less likely to use recreational drugs and alcohol as well as to participate in detrimental activities, such as gangs and other forms of violence and vandalism. Studies have also found a correlation between youth sports programs and community regeneration. Young people aren’t the only ones to benefit. Youth sports programs have been referred to as “the new neighborhood.” Positive effects extend to families and communities. Research indicates that youth sports programs for youth are likely to have more benefits that far outweigh the costs.
Babe Ruth League, Inc. operates and makes decisions based on these values. Molding the way for the youth of our program in a positive manner is always our primary goal. We need to remember to coach beyond sports. As advocates of youth sports, our responsibilities need to go beyond the field of play. We are responsible for guiding and molding young athletes into strong adults who will become future leaders.
There are many ways to accomplish this goal. Consider these examples:
- Meet with the families of your team members in order to better understand each player’s character. Get to know your players well. Discover what is best for each individual.
- Organize team events to raise funds to support the less fortunate. If the fundraising drive is to support the less fortunate in your league, maintain absolute anonymity for those players.
- Encourage your players’ involvement in community projects. Consider volunteering as a team.
- Teach your players to prioritize their lives, manage their time and ENJOY LIFE!
- While the intention is to succeed in every game, remember to encourage your players to gain an education and learn about life. Teach them about responsibility, and that once their responsibilities are complete, then they compete on the playing field.
- Teach your players that the manner in which they conduct themselves on the field can affect more than just the game. Remind them that younger children look up to them and it is important they conduct themselves in a positive manner.
When it comes to participating in youth sports, kids consider the following:
- They want their time to count. They want to feel they are getting something out of it, rather than just filling their time by sitting on a bench or the like.
- They want opportunities to connect with peers and adults. They want to make new friends, spend time with existing peers and build sustaining relationships with adults.
- Most kids balance competing interests and responsibilities making flexibility a necessity. Youth need to feel they are important to the team by being engaged in a mix of activities, both on and off the playing field.
The success of youth sports depends largely on the quality of the leaders. Leaders who can develop positive relationships with youth and provide challenging and interesting activities. Leaders who use the sum of their experiences facilitate youth participation and provide ongoing professional development. A lot of kids say they participate in youth sports because of caring volunteers or personal mentoring relationships.
In summary, we are the sum of our experiences. The sum of our experiences also has a big, and potentially lasting, impact on others. Lessons learned are growth opportunities. The right values provide direction and guidance for life’s important lessons. Your support is the people, places and things that give you a sense of balance. All in all, your purpose is who you want to be and what you want to share with others. In Babe Ruth League, Inc., our purpose is our youth. Let’s keep all of their experiences positive ones!