Coach’s Corner | A personal perspective
Does the Baseball Bat Make the Little League Player?
This is a question that is often asked by parents and players alike as they enter into the world of playing with little leaguers. The answer is actually yes…and no. As a parent, I would have to say the player makes the difference and not the bat of choice. Yet, as a team mom, I have learned that through the years, it actually depends on how the player feels about him or herself and the love of the game.
One would have to consider many factors including what the player knows, what he wants to learn, and what she can already bring to the game. This is why what a player hits with can be as simple as a stick from back in the day or the number one bat on the market. The player is what makes the bat and the game come to life—even in the little leagues.
Does the Player Make the Bat?
Once a child shows interest in a game like little league baseball, the floodgates of knowledge open everywhere, in that every person seems to know all there is to know about the game. Rather than getting caught up in all the chaos, any young player (and the parents) should remember one thing: the object of the game is to HAVE FUN. Part of the fun involves the “tools” chosen by the parents and/or players to play the game. At times, it would seem that some parents make a bigger game—or show—out of choosing the ultimate, top-notch equipment for their “star” slugger.
However, I have to reiterate that even the equipment cannot make a player play the game, as some kids just want the exercise or fun without having to do the work. For example, my favorite line from kids over the years has been, “Put me in for my two innings so I can get taken out…”
The Other Side of Little League: Players and Bats Unite
Once their innings were up, they were happy enough, but to the parents who paid umpteen dollars for the “perfect baseball bat,” I often got a lot more than just grumbles. Through the swearing and the insults, I have learned that one should not expect high performance out of a child using a bat with the same description, but rather, just let the child play to his or her heart’s content and let the games begin.
As a player grabs the bat, and you see that big smile, even the price of the bat gets forgotten as he or she steps up to the plate and begins to swing.