Do you know who Mitch Williams is? He is a former Major League Baseball pitcher, who played for six teams from 1986 to 1997. The closer, who made the 1989 All Star team, racked up an impressive 192 saves during his 11-year career. Today, Williams, aka “Wild Thing,” is a studio analyst for MLB Network.
Those are the Wild Thing’s career highlights. Now, how about a lowlight?
Williams, the coach of his son’s 10U team, was recently ejected from a youth baseball game (yes, a YOUTH BASEBALL game) at a Ripken tournament in Aberdeen, Maryland, after calling the umpire a…well, let’s just say he called the umpire a few words we would rather not repeat. When all was said and done, the Wild Thing’s wild tirade lasted an amazing 10 minutes. In the end, Williams had to be physically separated from the umpire by another coach, according to reports. Wow! To make matters worse, Williams then refused to leave after being ejected.
“As a coach of the team and as a public figure, Williams has to set the example for the kids watching,” wrote Yahoo Sports writer David Brown. And you know what? We agree!
Sportsmanship starts with the Parents and Coaches
As you may remember from our previous blog, “Sportsmanship in Youth Baseball: Winning isn’t everything,” we at Sandlot Swag are strong believers in sportsmanship. And we feel that good sportsmanship starts with the parents and youth baseball coaches.
How do you teach your children or your players about sportsmanship?
- Talk About Sportsmanship Often: As a coach, you have to know there is more to baseball than winning, especially at the youth level. Baseball is about teaching. And one of the biggest lessons you can teach is sportsmanship. It is a lesson that will stick with your players throughout their lives.
- Sportsmanship Outside Of Baseball: Remind your players that good sportsmanship is not just a trait they should display on the field. Give them examples of sportsmanship in real life.
- Praise Good Sportsmanship: Just like you would praise a player for a good play, praise them for acts of kindness.
- Practice What You Preach: The whole “Do as I say, not as I do” method of coaching is not the best. If you want your children to display good sportsmanship, you, yourself, must practice what you preach. Your players will take their cue from you. This means no more yelling at the umpire. If you disagree with a call, stay calm and be respectful.
- Have Fun!
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