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Inside Pitch Magazine, July/August 2022

Intentional Walk: Support

By Keith Madison, Chairman of the ABCA Board of Directors & National Baseball Director for SCORE International

Parents leaning on bleachers watching youth baseball gameFred is a successful baseball coach. He works hard and pours everything he has into his team. They give all they have during practice, but he also meets with individual players before practice and after practice; this gives Fred an opportunity to get to know the players better and to help them become better teammates and more mature students of the game. Sometimes he spends hours each week talking to his guys after practice or a game. Fred loves his players and he loves to see them improve their skills and become more competitive and grow as individuals. It’s rewarding.

Jennifer loves being a coach’s wife (most of the time). Jennifer and Fred have two children and live in a nice neighborhood. Jennifer stayed at home with the kids for a few years, but when they started school and became more active she decided to utilize her teaching certificate and enter the world of elementary education. She loves seeing Fred with his players. Their respect for him and the way they give him their full attention brings a smile to her face.

Before marrying Fred, Jennifer didn’t know very much about baseball. She certainly didn’t know how much time it took to develop players and travel to away games. There is also the culmination of activities around the house and at the kids’ schools that keep Jennifer either in a car or on the phone arranging a friend to help out with transportation.
Tess is in ninth grade and is changing so fast that Jennifer can’t keep up with her. She’s involved in volleyball, her friends…and now she finds herself thinking about boys…a lot.

Freddie is a great kid. He’s in seventh grade. He loves baseball and hanging out with his friends. He’s moving past the “bat boy” phase and now loves to play the game with his buddies on a travel team. He’s doesn’t get to see as many of his dad’s games as he used to. But, he plans on playing on his dad’s team someday; that way he can spend more time with him and be able to show him that he’s a good player, too.

As a head coach, Fred needs support. He would love it if his Athletic Director would show up more frequently. He would see how this program needs another assistant coach, a new batting cage and a few chair back seats so that the fans can be a little more comfortable (especially the alumni and those who donate money).  Sometimes he feels alone. Jennifer is with Tess attending a meeting with the volleyball team. Freddie is with his best friend and his family at a travel ball game in another town. Fred’s game is over. It didn’t go well. Now, all alone near the infield he sees the sports reporter from the local paper walking toward him with pad and pen.

Support. Fred needs it. Jennifer needs it. Tess needs it. Freddie needs it.


Suggestions for Fred and Jennifer: 

  • Schedule time to meet as a family each week to discuss the family calendar. Communicate which activities each can attend. Include academic deadlines and social events.

  • Sometimes it’s very difficult to attend all athletic and social events on the family calendar. Perhaps you can spend some time at a particular game or event. The family meeting will allow each family member to realize the importance of each family member’s activity.

  • “Keep the main thing the main thing.” Even though work commitments consume most of our time, it doesn’t mean they are more significant than family and faith commitments. We should never neglect what is most important at the beginning and end of each day. Family meals are tremendously important. I know that we are in the 21st Century, but family meals (with a prayer of thanksgiving beforehand) without distractions of electronic devises are important…even if it means getting up a little earlier for breakfast, on occasion, or scheduling dinner together three or four times each week. Add it to your calendar.  It will be your most important appointment.

  • Continuing with “keeping the main thing the main thing,” start each morning off with a “quiet time” asking God to give you wisdom and to order your steps for the busy day ahead.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” —James 1:5

Pray for your family, your team and the decisions that you will be making during the day. It will make a positive impact on your day, your week, your season and, most importantly, your family. Your ultimate support will come from God.

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” — Matthew 6:6

Inside Pitch Magazine is published six times per year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt association founded in 1945. Copyright American Baseball Coaches Association. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without prior written permission. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, it is impossible to make such a guarantee. The opinions expressed herein are those of the writers.
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