Mike Matheny, the current manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, had a 13 year MLB career. After his professional playing days he had a stint coaching youth baseball before becoming the Cardinals manager. As he started out in his youth coaching adventure he wrote a letter to the parents of the kids on his team. It has become known as “The Matheny Manifesto”. In youth coaching circles it has become a somewhat legendary tale.
The gist of the letter is to set parent expectations for the season. What he does in the process is outline what’s wrong with youth baseball. And, in some regards, how coaches fail to teach kids the life lessons that will stick with them beyond their baseball playing days.
It should be required reading for anyone coaching youth sports. It serves as a reminder that our job as coaches and parents is to let the kids play the game, have fun, be pushed, and learn. Learn respect for authority, how to deal with failure and success, how a team works, personal accountability and hundreds of other lessons.
As parents and coaches we are robbing our kids of too many valuable life lessons in an effort to “protect them”. What exactly are we protecting them from…this is just baseball for crying out loud!
Why not use baseball as an opportunity to teach kids how to fail? It’s better for them to learn in a setting that doesn’t have real long term impact on their lives.
Coaches and parents, read The Matheny Manifesto.
Question: What are you going to change about how you coach or parent your kids after reading The Matheny Manifesto? You can leave a comment by clicking here.