Development

Parents: Are You Doing Everything You Can To Help Your Ball Player? Maybe It’s Too Much!

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One of the biggest blessings in disguise during my baseball career was my dad knowing nothing about baseball. As part of a military family, he traveled a lot, and never stayed in a location long enough to play organized sports. So when I was about 3 or 4 years old and started to fall in love with sports, he was not the dad who could teach me everything I needed to know about the game. In fact, he didn’t even know the right people to connect me with to teach me. So as my passion for the game grew stronger and stronger, I was forced to learn the game on my own (a true blessing.) I watched games on TV every night. I followed my favorite players and tried to mimic what they did. I listened to the announcers to understand different rules of the game.

The result? I knew more about the game of baseball at age 6 than my dad has ever known.

Throughout my playing and coaching career, I’ve seen the opposite situations. Dad’s who know everything there is to know about the game, and force-feed their sons all the information they could possibly want. Which to some degree will give them an early advantage. However, as a former player, I can tell you my career would have been much shorter had I had this so-called advantage. I would’ve been deprived the opportunity to learn, grow, and understand things on my own.

Instead, I was forced to go out of my way to research, learn, and apply certain concepts. I stayed up late at night watching videos on YouTube and reading books like The Science of Hitting by Ted Williams. My dad didn’t even know who Ted Williams was before I was born!!!

I learned because I watched. I learned because I listened. I learned because I read. I learned because I had to learn in order to improve.

Now, I’m not saying dads should pretend to know nothing about baseball in an attempt to have their sons learn it all on their own. If you have information and knowledge that can help your son learn the game of baseball, you should share it.

But if your son is passionate about baseball, or anything else for that matter, help him find the right path, resources, and people to guide him without telling him how to do it. I think the hardest thing for “baseball dads” to do is to back off and let the player figure it out for himself.

Think about it as a child learning to talk for the first time. You don’t tell a child how to talk. He listens, observes, and finally associates a correlation between words and objects. When you think about it, it’s pretty crazy!! Kids are actually better learners than adults! Why? Because they’re creative in the way that they learn. They’re not forced to learn a certain way until they get older. At that point, their learning stalls because learning becomes narrow and structured. There’s a hidden power in learning and discovering things on your own, and this applies to baseball as well.

My dad never taught me how to throw, swing, or run. Instead, he took me outside and played catch with me for hours on end. Never saying a word about my throwing mechanics or forcing me to do something a certain way. I figured it out.

He would throw wiffle balls to me in the front yard. Never once saying I should swing a certain way, get my back elbow up, or keep my head down. I would mimic what I saw on TV and learn by trial and error. I figured it out.

My dad was a support system. Not a coach. He did whatever he could to help me live my passion. But he never interfered with my passion.

Parents and coaches take note of this.

It’s like the old story of the fisherman teaching his son to provide for his family. You don’t give your son the fish (the answer). You give him a rod and some bait (the supplies) and let him figure it out from there.

I consider myself an expert on the topic of baseball. And it’s because I was given the blessing to discover things on my own.

But if my son happens to be passionate about baseball, will I force-feed him all the information I know now? Absolutely not. I will simply point him in the right direction, support him on his journey, and let him figure things out through the power of trial and error.

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About Brian Hamm

My name is Brian Hamm and I am all about "Baseball Development". Through my journey as a high school and college player, I always felt that a competitive advantage eluded me. I constantly researched and discovered new resources, ideas, and theories that have shaped how I coach today. It’s my goal to work relentlessly in order to give my players, clients, and coaches the biggest competitive advantage that will allow them to reach their full potential. My mission is to spread my knowledge to baseball players around the world and help change the developmental process forever.

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