Why it’s important for your kids to get the right development

by Admin on June 27, 2018

This is my 21st year serving as professional baseball swing coach. That’s a lot of hours invested in to helping young players get to where they want to go. It takes 10,000 hours to develop a skill, so, if you do the math, you’ll see that I have amassed more than 40,000 hours of training hitters.

Some of you are familiar with my for-profit business Diamond Directors, where I provide the blueprint of success for diamond sport athletes. Along with my wife, Kelli, I’m also the co-founder and CEO of L.E.A.D. (Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct), an Atlanta-based non-profit 501c3 that partners with Atlanta Public Schools to empower an at-risk generation to lead and transform their city of Atlanta using baseball as the vehicle. Together, we have been leading in Atlanta for 11 years byway of L.E.A.D.

I have coached Travel Baseball at the world-renowned East Cobb Baseball for more than five years, helping play a key role in the development of hundreds of boys working to grow into to professional baseball players, parents, soldiers, politicians, pastors and many other significant roles in the world.

I asked three of our L.E.A.D. Ambassador parents to answer a six-pack of questions that can help you and your child find the proper baseball development and why that is so critical today.

Submitted by Toshia Williams Ingram

Toshia Williams Ingram

Describe the qualities of the best Travel Baseball coach.

The best qualities should include: personal experience, knowledge and expertise of the game and business; professionalism, organization and managerial skills; honesty and passion; financial stability; the ability to recognize strengths and weaknesses in his players with the aptitude to effectively strengthen those weaknesses and perfect the strengths; genuine care, interest and concern for each player; leadership with the capability of commanding respect from others no matter the audience; and a personable or approachable personality.

Describe the qualities of the best Travel Baseball team.

The best qualities include, but are not limited to, sportsmanship among all the players; respect and encouragement among the players, coaches and parents; one with no “daddy ball” attributes or a dad who can be fair; one who builds and develops skills and aptitude; offers exposure; has longevity; one has actually played the game on a collegiate or professional level; strong leadership; a seeker of talent and development, despite winning or losing; one who possesses standards, ethics and clear expectations; fair player rotation and team size; and one who holds a mission and global commitment. I’d also like to see more community involvement and humanitarianism from Travel baseball teams.

What do you not like about Travel Baseball?

I don’t like “daddy ball;” mismanagement of funds; the disregard for single moms; dishonesty; broken promises to players/parents; lack of and miscommunication; inability or disregard to effectively strategize the game and players, i.e., playing the same players in the same positions when players are not producing. I also don’t stand for poor sportsmanship and disrespect among and between the coaches, players, parents, other teams and umpires; coaches who are not versed on game or tournament rules; the imbalanced/misdirected focus of winning games versus skill development; paying expensive fees and not receiving a return on the investment—from player exposure to skill development. I also don’t like the lack of constructive criticism and encouragement from coaches; benching players without informing or discussing the reasons, not affording the player the opportunity to correct deficiencies; and the running of ineffective practices.

Describe the type of man you want your son to be at age 30.

I expect my son to have matured into a man who is God fearing, humbled, true to himself and possesses character, honesty and integrity. I expect him to be successful in his craft and God-given talent. I expect him to be a man with wealth—financially, mentally, physically and spiritually. I want my son to be a man who has learned from his mistakes and from those of others to better himself. I would like him to contribute productively to society, give back to others and be a self-starter with drive and ambition. And I expect him to be a man who is financially responsible and wise with his net worth.

What are the top five things a young man needs in order to become a “good man”?

A “good man” can be defined in a number of ways. I choose to define a good man by biblical teachings as the word is always consistent and true:

  1. The Word of God in some capacity of his life
  2. The characteristics of Boaz, i.e., a fruitful worker, respect for women, etc.
  3. Love and humility in his heart
  4. Perseverance
  5. The desire to want to do right and be better man.

What are the top five things a young man needs in order to become a collegiate and/or professional baseball player?

  1. An intelligent, experienced mentor and/or nurturing encouraging supportive family and network willing to invest
  2. Physical endurance and fitness
  3. The ability to read, effectively communicate (written and orally), comprehend and ask questions
  4. Drive, passion, skills and talent
  5. The ability to play every position on the team.

Submitted by Kristi Cameron

Kristi Cameron

Describe the qualities of the best Travel Baseball coach.
The best coaches are like the best parents and the best teachers. Before anything else, they bring respect and empathy to their role. They remember being a child or teenager, and they use this recollection to guide the ways they relate to and motivate players. They have high, but realistic expectations, and they don’t accept less than what is expected. They respect the athletes with which they work, and they see the ways in which their role as a coach in each child’s life has a lifelong impact.

The best coaches know the sport they are coaching—the fundamentals, the beauty of the game and the rules. They have a passion for it, and they are forever improving their understanding of the game. But beyond growing in the knowledge of the sport, they are also looking to improve in the human aspects of the coaching role. They are curious about effective strategies of communicating with kids, parents, other coaches, umpires, and others. They are dedicated to the team, the sport and the individuals involved.

Describe the qualities of the best Travel Baseball team.
Neither of my kids have played Travel Baseball before Will’s experience with Ambassadors, so I don’t have a great deal of experience from which I can comment. My younger son, Eli, played on travel soccer teams for several years. I also have experience as the mother of sons who played on many teams over the last 13 or so years, from T-ball to basketball, soccer to baseball, football and ultimate frisbee. I can comment more generally on the qualities that were common on the best of these teams my children grew up playing on.

From the most basic standpoint, these teams were coached by people who really knew the sport and were able to help the kids improve their play. Coaches were also passionate about the sport, which made the sharing of their knowledge more enjoyable and meaningful for the players.

Coaches on my sons’ best teams took extra steps to ensure the kids knew one another well, cared about one another and treated one another with respect. The coaches also modeled all of these attitudes for players. Without fail, if one of my kids was on a team that cultivated team relationships so that kids knew and liked each other, the team would invariably play better by the end of the season—usually surprisingly better. Trust is so essential to teamwork, and the best teams have trust at their foundation.

Great teams also supported the kids in their whole development. Allowances were made for academics, other “extracurricular” experiences, travel, time with family, etc. The coaches on the best teams understood the importance of being well-rounded and of having the opportunity to pursue several interests or passions at a young age. But even with this, there were expectations for the kids in terms of their commitment to the team. The stakes became higher in team sports as my kids grew older, so at some point players were expected to make choices about which interests they wanted to pursue more seriously, which necessarily meant letting go of other possibilities.

That’s how the real world works: You really can’t have it all, and making good choices for yourself is part of the path toward adulthood. Another thing great teams teach players is about how the real world works, and what challenges you should be prepared to face in the future.

On the best teams, my kids were seen as individuals who had important contributions to make to the team, but the team was always the focus rather than individual players. Individuals were expected to play for the good of the team and to make some personal sacrifices out of respect for the team.

What do you not like about Travel Baseball?
The reason my son Will never played travel baseball, and the reason my son Eli no longer plays on a travel soccer team, is due to the cost. I appreciate and understand without question the necessity of the high fees—coaches deserve compensation when working at this level, uniforms are prohibitively expensive, and the travel itself is costly. But with that said, travel team sports are mostly something that just hasn’t fit into our family budget.

I also can imagine that, when you play on a travel baseball team, it can be challenging to maintain a balance between baseball and the rest of the important things happening in the life of a young person.

Describe the type of man you want your son to be at age 30.
When I think of Will at 30, I imagine a person who has worked hard and intentionally for the kind of life he wants, a young man who is achieving the goals that he has for himself. I see him continue to set and work toward new goals. I want him to feel a desire to be of service to others in some significant way, and to recognize that he’s a part of something bigger than himself. I want him to be aware of what is happening in the world around him, to be engaged in society, to see himself as a lifelong learner. I want him to know he has something meaningful to contribute, and I want him to feel a moral obligation to make a contribution. I want him to be kind and hard-working, happy and satisfied, compassionate and level-headed.

What are the top five things a young man needs in order to become a “good man”?

  1. The desire, ability and willingness to reflect on his behaviors and attitudes in an effort of constant self-improvement. “Know thyself.”
  2. Curiosity, especially curiosity about the experiences of other people. Curiosity makes a good man more open to hearing about and understanding the experiences of others, and more willing to share his own experiences with others. Empathy seems to grow hand-in-hand with curiosity, which is another reason curiosity is essential to good character.
  3. A strong foundational education that supports a young man in seeing himself as an essential member of society, with a unique point of view and perspective that deserves to be heard.
  4. The presence of caring adults who set high expectations that demonstrate how much they believe in a young man’s capabilities. These are adults who see him as a competent, powerful human with unlimited potential. Adults like this can serve as a mirror for a young man, letting him see his “best self” reflected back to him through the trust and faith that adults have in him.
  5. A good work ethic built on the understanding that without work, there can be no relaxation, and both of these two forms of action are meaningful and worth experiencing.

What are the top five things a young man needs in order to become a collegiate and/or professional baseball player?

  1. Dedication to the sport and a passion for playing.
  2. Self-confidence, and a belief in his ability to do his best. You can see it in the best baseball players when they step to the mound: They have the belief that they belong there.
  3. Discipline, which typically involves good time management skills combined with the ability to delay gratification.
  4. An understanding that there is always so much to learn, and that even experts in a field don’t know everything about it.
  5. An appreciation of the team and how each member contributes to the greater good of the group.

Submitted by Jamika Woods

Jamika Woods

Describe the qualities of the best Travel Baseball coach.

In my opinion, they are being competitive and knowledgeable of the game, which helps drive players to really exhibit their best at all times. They should also have self control, and the ability to focus and keep their composure in any situation. They should be a positive thinker and aware of the importance of team building, and above all, a sense of self-regulation. Keeping all emotions in check gives players confirmation that the coach is human, but can maintain dignity.

Describe the qualities of the best Travel Baseball team.

They should consist of players who have the hustle and enthusiasm for the game. A strong team connects to make appropriate decisions when allowed to and when conflict occurs. Respect is also a major key quality everyone should possess. Always display dignity and never break rules of sportsmanship and the game.

What do you not like about Travel Baseball?

I believe travel baseball is a great experience for the fun of the game and competition. They’re always on and off the field opportunities to learn skills and fundamentals of the game as well as having elite exposure to advance in the game. But there was the spending of endless amounts of money on teams that weren’t providing JaVien with what I felt he needed to get better and advance. It became disappointing and frustrating. Another failed part I found often was the ability to communicate accurately with players as well as with parents.

Describe the type of man that you want your son to be at age 30.

My daily prayer for JaVien is by age 30 he will be an independent, responsible and a law-abiding citizen of his community, and remain humble by always extending time, support and resources to his community and youth. I also pray that God allows him to remain focused, disciplined and dependable in hopes of obtaining his ultimate goal of becoming a professional “African-American” baseball player.️

What are the top five things a young man needs in order to become a “good man”?

  1. Faith and spiritual connect should be first and foremost
  2. Respectful as a gentleman, and always exhibit a sense of confidence, honesty and maturity.
  3. Drive to be independent and self-sufficient
  4. Always uphold honor and dedication to his community and elders
  5. Make constant goals long- and short-term, and stop at nothing to attain them.

What are the top five things a young man needs in order to become a collegiate and/or professional baseball player?

  1. Baseball mentality—It’s truly a game to played from the neck up.
  2. Baseball personality
  3. Overall athleticism, passion to play, knowledgeable of the game and open for flexibility
  4. Ability to celebrate gains and grow from falls
  5. Develop a lifelong skill of being able to accept constructive criticism in a positive way and always strive to get better.

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

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C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, C.J. has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.

 

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