The final line of Hanks’ post, reminding us all that, “There is no crying in baseball,” is a reference to the iconic line uttered in his role as manager Jimmy Dugan in the 1992 movie "A League of Their Own."
Well, if you think that's a true statement you haven’t watched or coached enough youth players play the game of baseball or softball.
We often laugh and repeat this famous quote but I can promise you, crying is a part of the game of youth baseball. Coaches, it's time to step up to the plate and start helping the tears.
That's right the dreadful TEARS!
So many coaches ask, how do we get our players to stop crying on the field? I always reply, “you won’t be able to stop it, but you can understand it, and in time it will lessen.”
After one of the players starts to cry, take them to the side and ask them what’s wrong, and then listen. You will most likely hear things like, "I got out and the team is going to be mad". Well, yes you got out, but the team isn’t mad. There are going to be 17 other outs that are made by the team by the end of the game, and you won’t be the only one.
Players cry most of the time because they feel like they let down the team. They aren’t crying for themselves. It’s usually for another reason. They are scared of what their teammates, parents, and coaches are thinking.
Younger players are going to cry and be sad. It is up to us to help manage it, and help them understand what they are upset about, and the better we can do this the quicker they realize that a mistake, an error, getting out, doesn’t define their game it's part of the game.
Tell them, I understand that you're sad, and it's ok to be sad. Did you try your best? Yes? Ok, then let's get on the fence and help your teammates get some hits, and let's score some runs!
You may not be able to stop your players from crying after an out, mistake, or giving up a big hit, but we have some tips that can help.
Staring at them and calling them a “baby”, or saying “come on stop crying”, is not going to help the situation.
#1 FLUSH IT
One of the tools we use that helps is the toy toilet bowl that makes a flushing sound. When a player isn’t happy with an outcome, they come in and flush it down the toilet and it helps them flush away the situation. Teach them it's over and we are moving on. Let them laugh about it. Tell them "we'll flush that down the toilet like a big turd".
#2 CHEER IT OUT!
I go as far as saying, "go ahead and cry as long as your at the fence cheering on your team". If you cry and pout and sit at the end of the bench that's not ok. If you cry but are on the fence rooting on your team and you just need some time to clear the tears, no problem..
#3 GET IT BACK
This means if someone made a great play on your ball, you go rob someone else of the next hit. If you made an error, dust it off and make the next play. Help players move on and focus on what's next!
Coaches let's understand, educate, and help players understand how to move past it and bounce back.
Remember we are coaches and it's our job to help them with life lessons and to help them get through challenging and difficult situations.
Use these tips to help you Dominate the Diamond,
Coach Duke and Steve