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Are You Forgetting Something?

By August 31, 2022 No Comments



Are You Forgetting Something?

by C.A. Phillips



Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT)



I love the game of baseball. So much so that I have achieved the little-known “Grand Slam” of the sport: I have played it, I have coached it, I have parented boys who have played baseball, and now I am a youth baseball umpire. I figured it was time to take the punishment I doled out for so long.


As much grief as umpires can endure at times, I’ll say seeing the game from a completely objective viewpoint has quite literally opened my eyes and ears to aspects of the game I had been blind to for decades; none more than how coaches and parents talk to their players and children.


As parents, of course we gladly take on the role of provider, protector, educator, doctor, and counselor. I know as a dad and coach, when it came to the game of baseball, I poured my heart and soul into helping my kids become their very best. I would go throw BP on an off-day, or catch a bullpen session. I’d hit them ground balls. I take them to pitching and hitting lessons. I’d buy the new bat, get the new glove, purchase arm bands and batting gloves and any other “essential” accessory. But, you know what I forgot along the way? Encouragement.


I see coaches and parents today who treat their own sons like a deadbeat or a criminal if they make a mistake. And, it kills me because I wonder if my kids experienced anything similar when I was upset at them. I was hyper-critical of their performance. I am a perfectionist in most everything I do. And, while I didn’t necessarily expect perfection from them, I did expect a lot.


In the years since I coached my boys, I have apologized to them numerous times for how I acted, and expressed regret at how I yelled at them for making an error, or for wanting to talk about all the things that went wrong on the way home from the ballpark. Instead, I now think about all the fun we had and the priceless time we shared on the diamond.


At the ages of 22 and 18, my boys are no longer “kids” – but they ARE my kids. And, I’ve learned to be a support, a helper, an edifier, and an encourager. At this stage in life, they need it more than ever. I just wish I had learned to do it sooner.


Don’t make the mistake I made by focusing on all the things your kids and players are doing wrong. Work with them to improve and grow, and lift them up with your words as often as you can.

“Correction does much, but encouragement does more.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe




C.A. Phillips is a lifelong sports enthusiast and youth baseball coach, and currently serves as the Communications Pastor and Director of Men’s Groups at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, Ga.  He lives in Kennesaw with his wife, Amy, and his two sons, Chaz and Chandler.





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