The Benefits of MBL and Youth Baseball

three youth baseball players

We! Love! Baseball! And everything that comes with it. How much fun are these kids having?! Our MBL Insiders have been making the rounds to league games and tournaments, taking note of all the great things happening around the MBL.

Coaches building up their players with positive feedback while teaching the game

There are so many great coaches in our communities. Their role and impact cannot be stressed enough. The dedication and time they put in is remarkable. If you walk around one of our qualifying tournaments, you almost can’t avoid hearing these coaches teaching, encouraging, and lifting up the players. It truly is awesome.

Here’s a sample we heard from a coach talking to his team after a tough one-run loss in pool play:
“I am so proud of the way you guys fought back today! You did a fantastic job. Great effort. We almost finished that comeback! This is just one game, boys, and we will get the next one here. It’s early in the year and we have a long way to go – we know that – but what a great start. I know we lost, but this was a great start.”

We asked another coach about things he focuses on in the first month of the season.“The first month, the kids and coaches, really, are figuring things out. Maybe you have some new players. Maybe you have kids who grew four inches over the winter. Maybe you have kids who gained velocity,” he said. “But we focus a lot on team culture, playing as a team, helping the kids create a positive environment. There’s huge value when the kids take care of each other because our game has so much failure – dealing with failure.”

What a great perspective from this 11U coach!

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Parents appropriately cheering for their team – and sometimes their opponent

Parents, your role is really important, too. We’ve seen some great examples of parents appropriately rooting for their team. It’s exciting when you walk up into a tournament, hear the ping of the bat launching the baseball, and the fans clap and cheer. It’s part of the experience for everyone and our game wouldn’t be what it is without this support.

We asked a parent why they love coming to their kid’s ballgames:
“I’m so glad baseball is back! We LOVE these game nights and tournaments. It’s kind of a production packing the chairs and the wagon and rounding up the family, but we all have so much fun watching the kids play, cheering them on and having a great time at the ballfield. Obviously, we want to win games and the kids are competitive, but it’s mostly about the kids having fun, the experience, learning the game and having a good, wholesome time with their friends.”

One of the coolest things we’ve noticed around the ballparks is how many players, coaches and parents are complimenting their opponents after games – win or lose. This is so great. Respect for your opponent is one of the core pieces of good sportsmanship. When a player hears a compliment from an opposing player, coach, or fan, it hits differently. It’s unique. It’s uplifting in a different way than hearing it from your own coaches or fans. This is a powerful thing you can do to not only brighten a kid’s day but make the atmosphere around our games even better.

Walking out of a tournament last weekend, we heard a parent talking to the pitcher from the other team, who had just thrown five shutout innings.
“Hey, you pitched today, right? You were awesome! Great job!”

It can even be as simple as saying “Good game” or “Thanks for coming up; we’ll see you down the road this season.”

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Great effort from our umpires and behavior from our coaches, players and fans

Take a second and think about all the games that have been played so far, between MBL league and the dozens of tournaments. Now think about all the umpires it takes to play those games. It is quite a task for our hard-working umpire assignors to fill all these games and they have done a really good job. Equally as important is the effort put forth from the hundreds of umpires who have worked games so far this year. We at the MBL are proud of you and thankful for your time! We’ve had some hot afternoons (a few of them), umps working multiple games in a day, taking foul balls off the mask, making calls on close plays – and just an FYI, making these decisions can be really difficult. We’ve had dozens of brand-new umpires working the first games of their careers. A tip of the cap to these rookie umpires for enabling us to play competitive games!

We’ve seen many excellent examples of good behavior toward our umpires from our coaches, players and fans. This is especially important with the aforementioned rookie umpires, and we appreciate everyone’s understanding of the fact that these new umpires need time to develop. Just like a player needs reps to become a good shortstop, umpires need to work games to become comfortable and improve. As junior high, high school, and college school years end, there will be more new umps working your games; please continue to respect and support our umpires throughout the remainder of the season.

Until next month, keep up the good work and we look forward to telling more positive stories from around the MBL!

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