boy in green t shirt and white pants holding a baseball bat
Photo by Michelle Price Miller on

We teach leadership. It is important to teach athletic leadership skills rather than assume that children will casually absorb them by osmosis. Part of the instruction is identifying character traits of successful leaders. Three of the most important are integrity, trust and loyalty.

Some are crowned with leadership because of family connections. Their father was the coach. Lacking leadership training, children may emulate what they see on TV or in the movies. Popularity is not necessarily an indicator of a wise leader.

Leaders must learn to react to winning and losing with poise and dignity. Their followers look to them as a positive role model. Baseball is certainly a game of failure. Most major leaguers fail more than 70% of the time at the plate. We have to teach players how to handle personal and team failure for their life after sports . However, if you work with children it’s not unusual to hear the many excuses for failure.

• The umpires are out to get me
• My teammates turned against me
• I always get bad press nobody recognizes how good I am
• The coach plays favorites
• The rules are not fair
• Something’s wrong with my bat
• I won the game
• The team lost the game
• Saying you are sorry is a sign of weakness

It’s important to teach children how leaders except responsibility for their actions and hold themselves accountable. That is the beginning of trust. That is followed by earned loyalty. The result is a positive team culture and an opportunity for consistent success.

It’s important to hold all leaders accountable. Sometimes it’s easier when you put it into a sports analogy.