They are after a ring of their own, proof that they were part of the best team in baseball. Still, there is no doubt in my mind that winning as a team is much more significant and rewarding than having success as an individual.
Peary, Danny 1949-
This ideal should be taught much more often on the professional level; even more important, as Harry points out, it must be injected into youth, high school, and college sports. Almost every professional athlete played in organized sports programs in their youth. Why have so many come through that experience without having developed good character traits, learned good sportsmanship, or discovered what it takes to be a winner, including sacrificing for the good of the team?
Youth sports would seem to be ideal for introducing solid values to kids, but as Harry laments in this book, too few kids are allowed to have fun, enriching experiences.
Like Harry, I was fortunate. Sports was my saving grace as a youngster, too. But on the ballfield, where I had success and was part of a team, I felt differently. My older brother and idol Frank was a big leaguer, so I felt pressure to be a good example and not a bad sport. I also was lucky to have a sandlot coach, Jim McElroy, who impressed upon me that players should do whatever is necessary to help the team win, outside of breaking or bending the rules.
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The fundamental lesson I learned, and that I now teach my players, is that for a team to win on a consistent basis, players need to exhibit unselfishness. I discovered that I could strike out four times and still feel good if the team won, as opposed to being happy if I got four hits in a loss. My own philosophy includes many of the concepts I first learned as a kid playing for Coach McElroy; and what I teach major leaguers is appropriate for coaches to teach Little Leaguers.
For instance, my players buy into the fact that winning as a team is more important than who the hero is.
As Harry contends, if you string enough little things together, they spell success. Moreover, players are better able to concentrate because a big task like winning the game is never daunting if their focus is always only on little things like sacrifice bunting, running hard on the bases, and moving a runner to third base with less than two outs.
Everybody seems to be consumed with the bottom line — winning — yet hardly anyone is really interested in how you get there. Even in professional sports, there are many athletes who are extremely talented but lack direction and have a hard time focusing their talent and energy on the team approach. It really bothers me to see all the talk and taunting that goes on in sports, most visibly in football and basketball, by players who have to tell you how good they are; it seems to me that the only person they are trying to convince is themselves.
When interviewed, they make a big point about how they want to win a championship, but few of them have the necessary patience and commitment to do it. Believe me: Doing it and talking about it are two entirely different things. As the New York Yankees have proven since , nothing is more important than the quality of the people involved. In most cases, it was learned and developed in their formative years, while they were involved in youth sports. The unselfish, forthright, principled players we admire and hold up as models to our young people — I would guess that they were the ones lucky enough to have someone teach them what it truly means to be a winner.
I have always judged people on effort as opposed to the bottom line, and I wish all coaches at all levels did the same.
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Summary In addition to developing athletic prowess, team sports present a great opportunity for nurturing critical social skills in young athletes. Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. Edited by Nancy W.
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Sheehy III All rights reserved. Jacket printed in the United States by John P. Pow Co. With plenty of advice on bestowing praise, tempering unwanted behavior, and supporting kids and teens on the field, Harry Sheehy shares lessons and wisdom learned from more than two decades of working with young athletes at Williams College and Dartmouth College. Encouraging parents to get involved, Sheehy demonstrates how sportsmanship can help instill important life values that extend beyond the game. Meet the Authors. Danny Peary More about the author.
Harry Sheehy More about the author. Joe Torre More about the author. What do you remember about the game?