The basketball and wrestling seasons are upon us. There will be many great games and matches played at every level all the way down to the youngest athletes, who are kindergarten age, participating in elementary programs or Bower League.
I am a big believer in children participating at whatever age they are ready. Not when the parent is ready, but when the child is showing an interest and wanting to play. The most important thing when getting started – whether it’s basketball or the violin, is that the young boy or girl wants to do it. It has to be something they like and have fun with. Parents please remember this.
Encourage, help, but don’t choose the activity for your child. Parents will say, “They are young, how will they know what they want to do?” Watch them. If a child loves kicking around a soccer ball, but has never picked up a baseball mitt, don’t sign them up for t-ball. Let them play soccer. As they get older they may show an interest in baseball. “But I want them to explore everything,” a parent might say. This theory is good in the backyard, but if they have no interest don’t make them play an organized sport because you want them to. You will only push the youngsters away from the sport. Remember Mom and Dad are not playing, your child is. Make it something they have an early passion for. Chances are if mom was a great third baseman, her child will enjoy the game. However, don’t be upset if Suzy doesn’t want to play the ‘hot corner’ at age six. Learn your child’s interests and help them develop their talents and if their interests change – love and support their new activity. Just don’t let them sit in front of the TV, computer or other gadget of the day.
I have taught all that I have coached over the years, three simple rules:
Rule #1 – Behave like a gentleman or lady, no matter what you are doing or where you are at. This is a rule for life, not just the season.
I have heard about some bad behavior in recent months involving youth sports. Guess what? It’s not the kids. Locally there have been incidents of an umpire being struck by a coach, parents threatening football officials and coaches at youth and middle school levels being ejected or receiving multiple unsportsmanlike penalties. In the words of the legendary Vince Lombardi, “What the heck is going on out there?”
Rule #1 – Behave like a gentleman or lady. We have a responsibility as a coach, parent or spectator to set an example and teach these young folks proper behavior. Yes, there is passion and the heat of the moment of competition, but certain lines cannot be crossed. Respect should be shown for the officials, the opponent and your own coaches and fans.
Do not criticize or complain. Behave like you would want your child to. There is a much bigger picture here. Their personal growth and development.
These games being played are supposed to be fun and improve your child as a player and person. The most important thing in life is not winning or losing a ballgame.
The lessons learned from playing and competing in athletics can help you for a lifetime. Learning to respect authority, how to be a member of a team, how to listen and turn instruction into action, being a gracious winner, not wanting to lose – but when it happens, appreciating your opponents efforts and showing respect, hot to learn from a negative and improve, how to learn from a positive and become better and the list goes on.
But Rule #1 has to be – always behave like a gentleman or lady. This also applies to adults.
What are Coach Webb’s other rules?
Rule #2 – Listen and learn. Pay attention to what is being said and apply it to the game. Learn it and execute a skill through proper repetition – another rule for life.
Rules #3 – Have fun. This could begin my three simple rules. No matter the sport they should be playing because they enjoy it and have fun doing it. Coaches and parents need to make sure we do everything to encourage and keep it fun. There is only a short time in each person’s life they can play whatever game they love. Make sure we let them enjoy this time and make memories for a lifetime. Most of these memories will be about the journey they traveled not the final score
By the time you read this, Loyalsock Head Basketball Coach Ron Insinger should stand alone as the Keystone State’s record holder for career wins. I am penning this article on Friday due to our printing deadlines.
All of his 800 plus wins have been while coaching at Loyalsock. Remarkable – 40 years, one school! I think it is safe to say this will never be duplicated in today’s world.
C.I. is a true gentleman. I have played for him, been a coach on his staff and am honored to call him a good friend for over 30 years. His ability to be positive and include everyone is second to none. He has the best people skills of anyone I have ever met.
Congratulations C.I., not only for the wins, but also for who you are and all that you have done for so many. Your life’s work stretches far beyond the basketball court.
This is why I believe he has enjoyed coaching at one school for the length of his tenure.
We will be featuring C.I. in our 12/18 edition.