The Baseball Observer Nov-Dec 2015 vol 5 - Page 9

and most importantly, people that they were. And, yes, there were times these kids actually got the nod and played a bit more because of the kinds of attributes they possessed.

It actually makes complete

sense. My favorites have

always been the kids who

did the following: gave great

effort, studied the game, came

to practice and games with their

motors running, had a focused attention and effort, had a teachable spirit, put the needs of the team ahead of their own, were polite, were fun to be around, smiled and laughed a lot but were serious when they needed to be, handled themselves maturely, asked questions, carried on conversations with me about things outside of sports, were committed to and then lived our team’s standards, were respectful, pushed others while encouraging them at the same time, did whatever was needed, and were outstanding, unselfish teammates.

Look at that list of attributes and tell me you wouldn’t want people who embodied those characteristics on your team. Of course, you would. Then I ask you - "How could that person not be one of your favorites?!"

Let me close with three messages, one each for coaches, athletes, and parents.

Coaches – Don’t be afraid to have favorites, if your favorites are the kids described above, and don’t worry about playing them more than those who don’t fit the description above. Don’t fall into the trap of rewarding talented players who have poor work ethics, attitudes, and selfish behaviors over the

kids in your program who do everything the right way, the way you want them done, with 100% heart, passion, and love for the game and the team.

Athletes – Work to become a coach’s favorite based on the description above, and start living those things. Don’t try to get by on your talent alone. Recognize that talent will only take you so far, but your effort, your attitude, and your commitment to your team will take you to places that are truly special.

Parents – Help your child understand what I have just explained about becoming a favorite. Make sure that you understand it, too. Don’t fight it; embrace it. Don’t you want your child to be that child, too? Don’t you want your child to be the kind of player and teammate that everyone wants to have on their team? Don’t you want your child to be someone’s favorite because s/he has all the characteristics that make her or him an outstanding person of great character and integrity? Then keep in mind that your child’s coach is looking for that, too.