The Effect of the Manifesto

Across the country, people have been reaching out to Mike with their own stories of how the Manifesto affected them. Do you have a story to tell? A comment to share? Tell us about it!

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Read Experiences from the Manifesto...

Mike, Thanks so much for this

Mike, Thanks so much for this Manifesto. I'm a lifelong Cardinals fan and love the game a baseball. A love I have shared with my children, especially my 10 year old son Mark. He has played rec. league ball since he was five, and this is his first year playing on a tournament/travel team. It has been a tough decision for us to let him play because of what we had seen from other teams in the past, i.e. the overbearing parents, and many other negatives. However, this year he was invited to join a team of very positive and supportive parents and coaches. I am a firm believer, like you, that it is all about the boys, and not the Dads living through them, and I think that this team is all about the boys and their enjoyment of the great game of baseball. I just want to thank you for being such a good role model for coaches and parents and I have recommend that all those involved with our team read your Manfesto. Thanks once again and Go Redbirds.

Mike, thank you for putting

Mike, thank you for putting down what a lot of parents have wanted for thier kids in sports. Because of my negative experiences, I was reluctant to let my son play baseball. Fortunately, we had great coaches who taught the game the right way and set great exapmples for the boys. My son is now playing D-III college ball and has done a little coaching himself. Good luck this season (not too much luck...I'm Reds fan!) and thanks again!

Nice work Mike! I share the

Nice work Mike! I share the same poritions as you as a coach and a parent of a 10 year-old in Little League. I live in Southern Orange County California where the youth baseball scene is "hyper competitive" and most of the fun for the kids has been removed. I am an assistant coach on my sons team and almost quit this week because the manager could not remove himself from the game. He blew up at the kids after a 2 run loss and singled some of them out as failures. We held a team meeting (coaches and team mom) after kids complained about what happened. The coach told me that he was feeling alot of pressure to win because out team had a target on their back this year. I tried to get him to understand that this team isn't about him and his perceived pressure and it wasn't fair to the kids to put that on them. It got really ugly! I had to lay down my sword to keep peace on the team. I did make it clear that I will continue to develop all players and ensure that the game reamains fun. The manager told the team that we only have three hitters and will only pitch three starters. So many coaches that I've seen make the game about themselves and feel like if they don't win it all the season was a failure. No pressure for the kids, right? I think your "manifesto" should be posted on all Youth baseball websites and mandatory reading for all coaches and parents. Maybe you could simplify some of the ideals and propose some type of oath for parents and coaches. Thanks.

Mike,

Mike, We have been working on connecting the coaches around the country for the last ten years at The California Season of Life Foundation based in the San Francisco Bay Area. We rooted for you when you were a Giant and had no idea of your story, what a great one it is. www.seasonoflifefoundation.com is our site. We work closely with Joe Ehrmann and Jeff Marx. I recently gave a speech to 20 high school football coaches on the topic of a coach led code following Ehrmann's Transformational Coaching concepts and we now have three counties in Nor Cal focusing on that. Monterey, Santa Clara, and Sacramento all have momentum. Please continue to stay on the path you are on and we look forward to supporting your efforts in any way we can. 415-843-1216 Drew@banyantreestrategies.com

Manifesto

What a wonderful philosophy. So proud to have you as the manager of our St. Louis Cardinals! Thank you for contributing to my list of the good things in life!

Valuable Insight -- Thank You.

Mike, Thank you for your blog. Even though I'm a lifelong Cubs fan, I still recognize the value of your insight. ;-) Your post on parents who are too demanding of their kids' success (whatever their definition of "success" is) was poignant. I'd be very interested to know your thoughts, however, on parents who venture to the other end of the spectrum and think their kids are better than they actually are -- and who challenge the coaches' decisions whenever the opportunity arises -- without taking into consideration the overall coaching philosophy or TEAM strategy. What is your suggestion for diffusing such situations, when parents feel they must go to bat (no pun intended) for their kid (almost always parent -- rather than player -- initiated)? In an era of entitlement, this seems to be more and more prevalent and affects so many layers of the game. Thanks again.

A must read

Mike: the Manifesto is an excellent document. It should be required reading for every parent, every year, before the first practice starts. In the future, I'm going to do just that.

Thank you for this

I've been having issues with parents lately in an 8 year old league. We went from an instructional season to playing tournaments. I tried to explain the difference to the parents. But this shows that I really didn't need to. This will definitely help explain the situation to the parents. Help me by coaching with me or leave me and your kids alone when we're practicing and playing.

I appreciate the Manifesto, I

I appreciate the Manifesto, I have worked in our local public school for many years and I first became acquainted with it from one of our coaches who was sharing it with his players and their families. Youth sports is clearly an area that needs improvement and our community is no exception. My experience however, has actually been with the blog itself. I began reading it with my 7 year-old son because he loves sports and loves the Cardinals and I knew it would be family friendly. What started as some quiet reading time with my son, soon turned into an idea. We began our own blog that we call Raising Johnny Ballgame (apparently anyone can have a blog these days). We decided that we would relate all blogs no matter the topic to two main things, Christianity and sports, and the goal would be to recognize the simple beauty in everyday life. What we have discovered has been amazing. Not only have we spent the summer doing this as a family (the boys keep a list of suggested topics), but the most interesting thing has been the responses of others. It's opened dialogue with people about church, baptism, spirituality, sports and of course baseball and often from those that I would never have expected to read it. We even got one great Bible study lesson out of it on service and still get messages about what it's like to live with a kid that dreams big. It's just been a great experience and I wanted to say "thank you". I know your family doesn't have the time to do it, we hardly do, but I appreciate that you gave your time. It inspired us to give some of ours. I would encourage others to journal their family experiences whether they post it as a blog or not. It's been a great thing to do with two crazy boys who love sports.

the letter

I think that the letter you wrote to parents of little leaguers is about the most tactful and respectful way to get across to parents that they need to back off a lil and respect those who take the time out of their lives to coach their children,for the love of the game. These are volunteers who put their lives on hold to cater to the children of others who either don't have the time or knowledge or guts to coach. Not to mention the umps who are there for the fun of it, not to be berated by unknowledgeable parents. Great letter Coach, I'm an uncle who may cheer and talk a lil loudly at games and I will suppress my efforts to be heard, thanks to your letter. You really got across the main points of fair play and respect of others in a very tactful way and I applaude you for it, I hope all leagues, not just baseball leagues , hand this letter out , or parts of it that pertain to the coaching, parenting and sportsmanship aspects,that parents of all sports should read and feel accountable for. My brother, a former minor leaguer, and his friend coached our 9-10's to the state finals and lost, but they still heard stuff from parents complaining,,,, I encouraged him and his friend to send your letter out and let's hope those parents look in the mirror and recognize . Thanks Coach, from a lifetime Phillies fan, you got my respect, well done sir!

Parent Coaches

I love the Manifesto, but the big issue with kids baseball, or any organized kid sports are untrained parent coaches who THINK they know how to coach, and always play their own kids in the best spots and do not even try to develop the other kids.....

Well said Words

Mr. Matheny. I was watching the Little League World Series and saw the story on your Manifesto. I right away looked it up and read it. These words are something My wife and I have always Believed in. This is My story. We come from a small town in the State of New Mexico, I have 2 boys and a girl. My wife and I weren't Athletes when we were young so when our kids started playing sports it was a new world for us. Initially when it started it was Fun, as they got older the competition became more of a challenge and we left it in the hands of the Coaches to teach our boys. So now starts the Personalities of the Parents changing, the voices yelling at the kids and the referees and or umpires. This is were the enjoyment of sports changed to the Embarrassment of being a fan. Our town has a Bad reputation for having obnoxious parents, and traveling to other areas I think there's a few in every crowd. So reading your Manifesto I feel you have definitely found a subject that should be put to the top of the list in every sport. Now I am not the perfect fan and I've had my embarrassing moments, which not only was I embarrassed of my actions but I did learn from it. My 2 sons our now graduated from high school and starting there careers , my daughter is entering High school and is into Drama class and guitar. So the only sports I enjoy now is College or Pros, but the best part of that is I'm able to Enjoy sports once again which I haven't been able to do since watching my kids Enjoy playing sports. Thank You for your effort and I hope this opens a lot of parents eyes to their actions.

Thanks mike

I would just liked to thank you for this manifesto.i love this game of baseball like no other.have always wanted to pass on my knowledge of the game to more youth than just my two sons but as you nailed it the only team that I would like to coach would be orphans also.i have spent the better of the last 10 years around little league watching the parents and how rediculous they act and the end result is there child acts the same way on the field,not hustling ,throwing helmets,tossing bats in frustration.while most of the kids that act like that are the coaches kids and then rewarded by playing time and being picked as an all star.it doesn't make sense to me.i am going to print your manifesto up and bring it to the winter meetings for the little league of Petaluma .this is going to not settle well with a few of the parents but I don't really care anymore.....if I have to sit through another season of what they call baseball I'm going to go crazy....I was taught like you hard noise baseball,dedication,respect,hustle(I grew up watching Pete Rose my hero)mr hustle,the exact way I have taught my two boys.with ped's takeing over the past decade of baseball has been real sad.its ruining the greatest American game ever invented.why is it so hard for the commissioner to get some balls and ban this stuff for good and forever....they won't even let the greatest hitter/ player I watched in the hall of fame and for what reason?did he take peds?No he didn't but was any of his gambling making him get more base hits?No.80% of baseball players are not home run hitter and they are trying to make them that.....my youngest son gets frustrated cause he is hitting doubles in the gaps not homeruns at 12.why cause of espn,the media,and all the parents that think a homeruns is the best thing in baseball.i ask my son do you want to hit a homeruns and go 2/10 or would you rather go 6/10 with 2 stolen bases 3runs scored and 4 RBIs?thats baseball ,hitting ,stealing and always thinking.thank you again I needed to read that

Mike is an inspiration to ALL ages

I ran into Mike Matheny at McCalister's off Olive. I asked if he would give me an autograph for my (what was then) 82 year old mother. He gladly did that, allowed a picture of myself with him. He signed with John 3:16. My mother was very excited. Tonight, at 86 years old, she rooted on the cardinals from her living room. She was unable to go to the game but she was there in spirit. She prayed that the Lord bless this kind man who took a minute of his time to bless her just a few short years earlier. With Christ ALL things are possible. Thank you Mike Matheny for blessing so many lives! Not just the young - but those that are elderly (but perhaps young in spirit)!! Congratulations and know your faith and witness to the Lord will be a blessing to more than you know.

Manager St. Louis Cardinals

Praise God we have a manger like Mike I knew before I came to this blog that he had class! I thank you for the way you handled the cardinals now they are off to the World Series !!! Brenda

10 Year Old Baseball

Mike, As a parent and coach of a 10 year old son and team, I can't express how much I appreciate this! I find myself repeatedly asking myself, is this what is best for the boys. Sometimes its hard to see the forest through the trees. It is a fine line for coach/parent knowing when you need to push these young men and when you need to step back because they're just 10. I am lucky! I have 3 great men to help me coach and lead these boys. My question to you and anyone that cares to respond is, How do we teach 10 year olds its not all about winning, when so many other teams base everything on nothing but winning. We talk to the boys, but there are so many teams that do not have our perspective. It is very hard for a 10 year old to grasp why other parents and coaches are doing and saying what they do. We tell them to focus on each pitch, dont worry about what other people say, and we don't believe in what they say, but they're 10 and its hard to zone out. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Chris

Thank You Mike!

I shared the letter with my wife as soon as I finished it! We both saw the same things. I'm the parent of a 9 year-old and I'm asked to coach year after year. I refuse every single year because our parents are not willing to let me coach their sons the way I coach mine. I coach my son your way Mike. The most important things to me are sportsmanship, game concepts and the approach to the game (that I always refer to as mental toughness). I don't allow a lackadaisical attitude or disrespect towards teammates, coaches or officials. During the game I'm silent while he goes to work. Any issues are hashed out in private away from the game. As an example my son's primary position is shortstop. The coach had 3 pitchers and never afforded any of the other kids an opportunity to throw. My son simply made up his mind one day that he wanted to pitch. I told him we can work on it, and when you're ready YOU will have to ask the coach for an opportunity. My son did just that and has been considered the ace ever since. But how ridiculous is that? There is no such thing as a 9 year-old staff ace! No 9 year-old is getting drafted tomorrow. He simply made the most of an opportunity that all of the boys should have had to begin with. That's our job. Expose our boys to the skills, tools and opportunities that allow them to bring out the best in themselves and their team. Let the boys go to work and play the game. The take-aways in terms of building their integrity, character and ethics far out weigh any meaningless stats. We're building men more than ballplayers.

Friend shared this info and I wanted to give feedback

Mike, God bless you. As a little league coach of baseball, basketball and football, I approve. Kids want and need structure. The want to grow and have fun. Most of the time, kids are taught that getting their way and belittling someone else will accomplish this. It doe not. I have always told parents that once they came inside the fence, they belonged to me. They could have them back when they come off the field. When parents coach from sidelines or harass kids with opinion and negative thoughts it confuses them and their loyalties. Structure and growth is what they want. Enjoy the kids and their accomplishments. Respect those in authority. And don't sweat the the small stuff; you will never change an umpire's mind and tomorrow it won't matter. God bless you!

Deeply impressed!!!

Mr. Matheny. I'm a Korean baseball daddy my 11 year-old-son playing little league baseball. I was really impressed with your Manifesto. Usually, we think about the difference in teaching between eastern and western culture and I always have some interests about how the US coachs teach their children. But your manifesto tells me how coaching and teaching something is really difficult especially to very young boys and it always comes from the dedication and consideration. From this day... I will try to share the moments of learning and thinking with my son with or without conversation in the field. Thank you, Mr Matheny!!!

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