EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — About 45 million kids are involved in organized sports in the U.S. and with spring beginning in a few weeks, kids of all ages are gearing up for baseball season.
While there are many benefits associated with group sports, the downside for some is piled-on ‘parental pressure.’ Eyewitness news explains how to minimize that pressure and increase the fun.
Most days you will find Coach Bill Carter giving hitting and pitching instructions at a facility near Mt. Cobb.
“I ask them, do you want to be good or do you want to be great? I’m looking for I want to be great,” stated Coach Bill Carter, Hitting & Pitching Coach, Monroe County.
“He’s the best coach I’ve ever had,” said Alec, student.
“I’ll work with them, as hard as I can as hard as they want to, to make them better that is the goal,” said Coach Bill Carter.
Coach Carter has been working with kids on the baseball diamond for more than four decades. He spent 32 years as a baseball coach at Pocono Mountain East High School in Monroe County. He sees the benefits of the game first hand, as well as the parental persuasion to prevail.
“There’s some parents that come 2 maybe 3 times a week to get ready for the season,” said Coach Carter.
Alex Brinkman, a senior at North Pocono High School has been taking hitting lessons from Coach Carter since he was eight years old. Now, this 18-year-old trojan will be playing for the Bloomsburg University Huskies in the fall. An accomplishment he attributes to his time spent with Coach Carter.
“It’s made me who I am today,” said Alex Brinkman, North Pocono High School Senior.
Many kids feel pressure to excel in baseball based on expectations placed on them by others, but Coach Carter says perfect practice makes perfect.
“I hit everyday lift almost every day of the week. It’s just grinding all the time,” said Brinkman.
While studies show the benefits of youth sports are high, so is ‘parental pressure’ to succeed. According to research from George Washington University, about 70 percent of young athletes leave organized sports by the time they hit middle school simply because they are no longer having fun and the stress levels skyrocket.
Alex Brinkman’s dad can relate.
“I put a lot of pressure on him. His travel coaches put a lot of pressure on him. He loves to come to coach carter so he can regain his confidence,” said Earl Brinkman, Jefferson Township.
Experts advise parents to curb their own expectations. Below is an Instagram post from Organizational Psychologist Adam Grant of the Wharton School.
The key question is not what accomplishments will reflect best on you, it’s what activity will best build their character?
And it’s character that will help kids work through the disappointment sports can bring.