The Mathany Manifesto: It’s About the Kids
Well, not exactly. There were a couple of stops along the way. But Mathany is only a few years removed from coaching youth sports. When asked to manage the team, he set down a list of demands for his parents. The letter quickly became an Internet sensation (if you’re a youth coach, you’ve probably already seen it), shared from coach to coach and league to league.
To prime parents for Monday’s talk by Duke’s Greg Dale (come on, Tarheel fans, you can go; it’s for your child), here are some of Mathany’s thoughts (emphasis added) and a link to what is now being called The Mathany Manifesto. I’ve been meaning to share it here for a few months and now seemed like an opportune time. It’s also worth reading Mike’s blog.
From the Manifesto:
I always said that the only team that I would coach would be a team of orphans, and now here we are. The reason for me saying this is that I have found the biggest problem with youth sports has been the parents.
I think that it is best to nip this in the bud right off the bat. I think the concept that I am asking all of you to grab is that this experience is ALL about the boys. If there is anything about it that includes you, we need to make a change of plans. My main goals are as follows: (1) to teach these young men how to play the game of baseball the right way, (2) to be a positive impact on them as young men, and (3) do all of this with class. We may not win every game, but we will be the classiest coaches, players, and parents in every game we play. The boys are going to play with a respect for their teammates, opposition, and the umpires no matter what.
I believe that the biggest role of the parent is to be a silent source of encouragement. I think if you ask most boys what they would want their parents to do during the game; they would say “NOTHING”. Once again, this is ALL about the boys. I believe that a little league parent feels that they must participate with loud cheering and “Come on, let’s go, you can do it”, which just adds more pressure to the kids.
The boys will be required to show up ready to play every time they come to the field. Shirts tucked in, hats on straight, and pants not drooping down to their knees. There is not an excuse for lack of hustle on a baseball field. From the first step outside the dugout they will hustle. They will have a fast jog to their position, to the plate, and back to the bench when they make an out. We will run out every hit harder than any team we will play, and will learn how to always back up a play to help our teammates. Every single play, every player will be required to move to a spot. Players that do not hustle and run out balls will not play. The boys will catch on to this quickly.
What do you think?