Do you want to ruin the kids you’re coaching? Here’s part 2 of how to do that:

Have a 7th-game mentality, all the time.

The 7th game of the World Series is a big deal. Pressure. Emotion. Expectation. Volume. Everything runs higher. Fans, players, and coaches live and die with every play. Win or go home. Everything is on the line.

Unfortunately, that same mentality, while justifiable at the Big League level, permeates many youth leagues and youth coaches. This mentality will ruin the kids you coach.

Here are some signs that this is an issue for you:

Question: Does this game mean more to me than anyone else? Honestly, youth league games don’t matter. There are no Major League scouts, no sports television networks, and no post-game interviews. But, what about helping make sure the games matter to the kids? You can’t manufacture that, anyway. If the games matter more to you than anyone else, you may have a 7th-game mentality.

Question: How many times each inning do I check the scoreboard? Do I react and coach according to what I see there? If my team is losing, do I call them out and try to get them fired up? How much does the scoreboard affect what I do? If so, you may have a 7th-game mentality.

Question: Do I always live in the moment? Do I find myself apologizing consistently for losing my cool in the heat of a game?  If so, you may have a 7th-game mentality.

Question: Do I struggle not to be critical of others all the time on the field? How do I speak to my assistant coaches, my players, and the umpires? If criticism is always on the tip of your tongue, you may have a 7th-game mentality.

One day, you may manage in the 7th game of the World Series. Until then, let’s not ruin the kids we’re coaching.

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