What I learned from being a dad – coach – volunteer for a 7 year-old recreational baseball team … and how it relates to the future growth and overall well being for the game of baseball at the MLB level.

It all started like this … Or at least how I remembered it (haha!). My wife and I debate about the other “dad-coach-volunteer” who I thought wanted this to happen for his kid. I thought I was volunteering to be the practice and skills coach. But here’s how it went down.

My wife: David, would you help (key word help) coach a baseball team this spring so Charlie can play.

Me: Uhhhhhhh … I don’t know if that’s a good idea … straining in thought – do I have the time? … would this be hard on me? … hard on Charlie?

My wife: Well, my friend says the league does NOT have enough coaches and there are several kids on a waitlist. If we want Charlie to play, then you need to coach, and we can get him in the league. My friend says that her husband will also coach and do it with you.

Me: Ok, go ahead, sign him up and I’ll do it (meaning I will help out and TEACH the kids some basics).

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

A few days later my volunteer status as a coach enabled the league to take players off the waiting list and fill up the 8th and final team. But now, I am the head coach of my son’s little league team (again, got me by surprise a bit). I received an email to show up for a player draft to pick the teams.

What, a draft? This is recreational youth baseball, right?!!! Why is there need for a draft?

Totally blindsided … I didn’t even have the opportunity to hire scouts or have phone conversations with agents about “signability”. I pondered if this was Bud’s going away gift (or statement) to the great state of TN? Or has Manfred implemented a nationwide mandate … drafts for all little leagues (this was right during the transition). I pulled out my phone, looked up the cell number of Scott Boras and almost (just almost) made the call. Then I considered calling Brodie VanWagenen of CAA Sports. Scott and Brodie are two of the top 5 sport agents in the game of baseball. So I thought, just maybe, they might represent a player or two in this draft. (note: this paragraph is somewhat a joke, with some true facts sprinkled in it. I elected not to call either agent)

I gave the email and player list to my wife. She then picked the team with children from the local elementary school, surrounding neighborhoods, and other sport teams (bkb) Charlie played on (over the immediate past year).

I showed up to the WAR room, ready to announce my presence with authority … Nuke LaLoosh style. It was a Sunday night, and after about the third minute, I was wondering … what the heck is going on. Am I really at a “draft” for a 7 year-old baseball team … what have I gotten myself into?

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

At about the 15-min mark into the draft (I know that to be the exact time period – because I was fixated on my watch and evaluating everything – Dick Grouch style (note: the scout that signed Derek Jeter). I picked a player who had a terrible ranking … he was remarkably out of order (last page … also determined by the league).

Chaos and disarray broke out in the WAR room … Comments like, “who is that kid … where is he ranked? … what page is he on? It was my third pick chosen out of the “proper” ranking order. With the questions flying at me like I was in a courtroom on trial, it was prudent that I announce to everyone that my wife had picked the team based on “school friends” and I was simply a puppet following orders. I thought I would get some laughs … crickets. I quickly became damaged goods. My presence of authority gone! The ball traveled like there were flight attendants on board … (paraphrasing Crash Davis … watch this). Not only did I here “crickets”, but I also received some stern looks indicating that my actions were not appreciated. Apparently drafting out of order was not the right path to take!

The draft finished, and THEN, (make sure you are sitting down reading this) the trades occurred. At this point, you might be fighting with the little guy, in the back of your mind, who is telling you to stop reading this … for it can’t be true … this is nothing more than a fictional story. But I promise you, it’s not – TRADES in a 7 year-old baseball league.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

Fittingly, the two teams that requested trades (which I granted – now playing General Manager) are 2-of-the-4 teams in the league that were 1) the better teams by won/loss record, and 2) the teams that “cheated the game by running up the score” and justified it by claiming, “we are just trying to teach our kids to hustle.” One of the teams had eight coaches, all geared-up with matching uniform jerseys and hats (some of them even wore cleats – Jim Leyland style).

During the preseason preparation period, I offered and suggested to both of these gentleman that we could practice together, and for half of the allotted practice time we could get the kids to scrimmage each other and teach them “how-to-play” during the scrimmage. Both coaches rejected my offered, for they wanted to practice on their own. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it.

Note: for any person involved in the sport of baseball, at a high competitive level, would tell you that the most proven and significant process to advance in physical skill is to develop by “playing-the-game” through competition.

Another quick side note: there is no catcher position in this 7-yr-old baseball league – more on this later.

I hope this sets the stage … now, on to what I have learned.

The Cold Hard Truth

… being a little league coach (under this current little league system) is definitely not the gig for me. In retrospect, I would have never committed to doing it.

For starters, I had very little understanding of the league setup and how things would be operated. In conjunction with that, I didn’t envision many challenges in 7 year-old “coach-pitch” / catcher-less baseball.

See, over the years, I dealt with challenges. I’ve dealt with players who found themselves in jail overnight. I’ve dealt with college athletes and volunteer coaches on other sport teams, yet in the same athletic department, send my players to the hospital for stitches (frustration turned into rage from a season ending hockey loss). I’ve dealt with players who have been accused of academic fraud. And, of course, I’ve dealt with competing against the greatest coaches and players at the collegiate level. These were challenges. I felt ready for catcher-less baseball!

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

But truth be told, I am not a very good 7 year-old coach. As I reminisce about the experiences of the past, I had a lot of fans … players … parents … and others, share many “choice” words with me, indicating that I’m not a very good coach at all. The media even choose to place emphasis on perceived failures … Haha. I viewed the failures as learning opportunities. As they say, chalk it up … just part of the process/system. If you are not creating buzz, you are not pushing the “boundaries of effort” in the quest to obtain elite achievement.

But please, let it be known, I am fully aware that I am NOT the world’s greatest coach (HOF status is not my goal). I don’t claim to be, nor do I ever aspire to be. . And that’s a good thing – because there are plenty of coaches that hold that title. They are dominating little leagues all over the country – just ask them, they will either tell you or prove it by their ability to wave runners home … in a league with no catcher position (another haha – enough of the bad jokes). The truth … I do have a skill set, knowledge base, and many distinctive elite collegiate-level experiences in the game. Simply stated, I have … been-there, done-that … as a coach!

Regardless, another truth … there is proof that I’m not a very good coach of 7 year-old players. When I tell a kid … he’s late, and he needs to get his stride foot heal down earlier; I get blank stares. When I tell a kid that … “getting your elbow up” is not good and rather instruct him to drive his top hand into the hitting slot; the player switches their grip on the bat. My approach and expectations are at a different level of commitment.

Coach David Grewe's Little League Declaration

On top of that, it’s hard to coach your own child. Parents, typically fathers as coaches, lose perspective when it comes to “blood”. (Note: see all-star lineup photo: there were only two teams out of 8 that didn’t put their son on the all-star team. On top of that, you can read that the game was designed to be fun … therefore no practices or scoreboard. Which proves and indicates, the main objective of the season was not focused on creating a fun experience, as practices and the scoreboard were a central part of the league setup). The unexpected outcome, of coaching your own child, usually centers on disgust and jealousy, surrounding the role of the son, by teammates and parents – culture is drastically affected. I know this to be fact because I have coached teams with this exact challenge.

One of the mothers (friend of my wife), who had a son on another team in our league, told us that when the all-star list went out to all league participants, she quickly noticed how the selected few were the coach’s son. EVERYONE NOTICES.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

The main challenge I faced and lesson learned; my perspective and mindset were totally opposite of the league rules / alignment (I’ll explain in detail in the next few paragraphs). Ultimately, my end desires for the players didn’t match those created by the system that is setup by the league structure.

I entered the season with the right attitude, but it was a constant “internal” fight to maintain it. Why, you might ask? One simply reason … the league setup and “system” was poorly constructed. The league rules / system created a poor environment that could be manipulated by coaches seeking personal objectives. The coaches (collectively as a group) didn’t share the same end-desires for all players in the league.

See, we could have easily taught our boys “ways-to-manipulate-the-game” or forced them to follow instructions that would have contributed to them winning games. We could have taught the pitcher to immediately cover home plate on every play. But in doing so, we would have disrespected the game, and taught them the wrong way to play. For example, most teams taught their infielders to race after the ball, get it, and then immediately raise both hands into the air to alert the 14-year old umpire to stop the play. Overall, 75% of the players in this league will need to be un-taught these actions over the next three years.

The “system” of the league helped promote the “win-at-all-costs” mentality in our society.

Now I admit, I am a very competitive person (love winning), and I get frustrated when athletes and/or coaches playing the game are disrespecting the sport. (Some of the coaches in our league had good intentions … they just didn’t know any better … note: this is why a coaching certification process is critical).

David Grewe's Little League DeclarationPlease, don’t get me wrong … again, I love winning. I am a very competitive person, and enjoy the feeling associated with winning … the right way. In 7 year-old baseball, the coaches that focused on winning (rather that teaching the game the right way … according to a set of shared objectives) were easy to spot out. Not all of them purposely tried to break the rules, they just did whatever they could to create that ALL IMPORTANT competitive advantage to ensure that their team “scored the run” and won the game. Some didn’t break the rules, but some did … as their focus was clearly on winning – at all costs.

How could you spot them out, you ask? The coaches would …

  • Play the same player at 1st base every inning vs. giving all kids an opportunity
  • Played only the best player(s) at pitcher vs. rotating players to the “prime position” (note, I surveyed our team at the end of the year and 10/12 players listed pitcher as their favorite position)
  • Move a player off 1st base during the middle of an inning because he didn’t catch the first coupe of balls thrown to him. (seriously … I got really frustrated at this one)
  • Stack a lineup (good hitters at top and bad hitters at bottom) vs. rotating the batting rotation on ability and on a game-by-game basis.
  • Stroll down from the 3rd base box in the middle of an inning to make sure the scoreboard operator “gets it right” and adds a run for their team. This totally proves they were focused on the scoreboard.
  • Scream at their base runners to “keep running” … “go to third” … “go home” vs. teach their players to ALWAYS keep their eye on the ball and own the responsibility to make the decision to run to the next base. (concept of empowerment + reaction)
  • Example 1: Runner on 1st base – ground ball to SS – he keeps the ball in front of him, doesn’t catch it perfectly clean, but still makes an effort to throw to first and complete the play. The 3rd base coach is found yelling at his runner going to 2nd base to continue running to third. And this robot runner (I call them this when they have no idea what is going on, and just listen to the programming) seems baffled for a second, his head spins, then he “obeys” his coach and sprints over to third base. He has no idea what just happened.
  • Example 2: Runner on 2nd base – ground ball anywhere – runner takes off to third base, and the auto-wave coach is yelling at his player to “go home – keep running”. (reminder: there is no catcher in this league = there can never be a play at home)
  • The play at first is typically one of three “safe” outcomes: 1) slow developing play, late catch, 2) Over throw, or missed throw, 3) bobbled, kept in front, but the 1st baseman comes off the bag … doesn’t stay attached.
  • Recorded outs at first base are “rare” and typical only occur when the ball is hit directly to the pitcher or 2nd baseman (and the 1st baseman is good at catching the ball), or hit right at the 1st baseman, and he can field it and run the ball over to get an out without throwing the ball.

Ultimately, when you add it all up, if I would have known about the league setup, I would have probably not committed to doing it – another lesson learned. However, on the flip-side, without the experience, I would have never learned the lesson. It did give me the opportunity to face these challenges, experience the journey, and create this declaration. See, over the years and through my failures, I have found that there is always a positive in every situation … we just need to seek the truth … find IT.

The FOCUS of DA Coach

Coaching is a very rewarding profession and occupation. At the youth levels, many times it is on a volunteer basis. In my desirable world, my approach and expectations of players is set at a totally different level of commitment … opposite of what is expected at the youth level. That’s why I coached at the collegiate level.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

However, regardless of level (professional – collegiate – high school – youth), in order for a coach to maximize a players’ potential and lead them, the objectives, of both the player and the coach, need to be understood, accepted, and implemented, in the daily development process, by both the player and the coach (and ultimately, match that of the team). At the little league level, players don’t have an objective – the coach and parents own the objective. And therefore, everything must revolve around a system. Even at the high school level, a coach is handed his players, and consequently, discrepancy in objective can be a problem / challenge.

I believe the systems in some recreational youth sports, and most definitely in recreational little league baseball, is disruptive to both development and purpose. And because of this, the future of the game of baseball (at all levels, including the MLB fan participation level) is at risk.

Want proof of risk … some foreshadowing?

We can easily look at the sheer performance level of athletes and see, that many times, games are being lost, rather than won. But beyond this negative performance trend, over the last 10 years, we have witnessed many different examples of the negatives effects that the current system has created. Here are three in baseball (some call them the big three).

  1. The game of baseball has lost a great number of minorities to other sports – namely basketball and football.
  2. The injury rate of pitchers is truly an epidemic.
  3. More and more foreign-born players are taking roster spots in MLB (mlb front office executives are seeking every possible competitive edge … it’s a business … it’s a reaction to recent collective bargaining agreement)

The Major Social Issue

The more important social issue is the development of our youth. And I am not talking about the development of hitting or pitching mechanics. I talking about youth development, according to a standard of moral guidelines aimed at enhancing positive character traits.

We are currently living in a very challenging time. Many aspects of our society automatically promotes the win-at-all-costs mentality … even some educational / school systems. It’s a competitive world we live in. And, as a consequence, parents feel the need to provide their child with anything and everything to “Make IT” … earn the starting spot, be on the all-star team, or get the college scholarship.

Coach Grewe's Little League DeclarationWhat do they do? They buy their child all the new equipment. They hire the specialized coach … the private hitting coach … or the private pitching coach … or speed training coach. They focus on their child becoming bigger, faster, and stronger. These parents place the emphasis on a training program … using every available means, including technology … and many times, they force (or enable) their child to play the sport year-round. They spend thousands of dollars in the process.

These parents think that sport specialization, starting during the ages of 5-12, will be the deciding factor in getting the college scholarship offer … 5-12 years down the road. They think it is critical to start early … the 10,000 hour rule (thanks Malcolm).

Check out this article … written on the current state of the little league baseball world. It highlights some of the points I am alluding to. (I’m not the only one). And in reality, these actions are what turn our youth away (see article at end … 70% of all youth quit sports by age 13).

This is all a negative consequence of the current youth little league systems … combined with our current social trends. As a result, we (those in the game) have witnessed the development of both new and old business, all evolving around the opportunity to “make-a-buck” … off promises of hope.

I have been blessed to live it – experience it – on a first-hand basis. I just happen to be the perfect age. I played the game (as a athlete) just prior to the explosion of both travel leagues and the emergence of the tournament / showcase organizations going to market. And then I was a collegiate coach / recruiter during the explosion period … the development of some businesses exploiting those promises of hope.

Coach David Grewe's Little League Declaration

Most, if not all, of the coaches at both the D1 level and in professional baseball, do not believe that sport specialization is good for either the game of baseball, or the athlete. They would rather the multi-sport player … the athletes who have experiences in sports other than baseball. (Example. Joe Maddon article … click here Chicago Tribune article). Elite coaches and scouts want loose, athletic and free. And you don’t become it by training the body in the “same” activities … year round. You get it by competing in as many sports as possible, and in using different muscle groups.

But there is a much larger social issue in sports, and specifically in baseball. This mentality places a large emphasis on having defined skills vs. the well-diversified “portfolio”.

I’m not talking about a financial plan. I’m talking about the development of our youth … the next generation(s)!

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

Parents need to know that God-given talent will always be KING, and performance will always be QUEEN. The athletes with God-given ability will ALWAYS pass up the athletes who are manufactured through skill development. The robot-athletes (trained through the hours in private lessons) will eventually have their batteries run out of juice and get rusty. The Bryce Harper’s and the Mike Trout’s of the world will always rise to the top with their God-given talent (it was fun to scout both of them … AC games in Long Beach + Grand Junction for Bryce). Talent might get a player to the top, but it won’t keep them there.

The difficult part that most people (parents and young athletes) don’t understand is that the timing is different for all athletes. And that is why … the all-star players, the hall-of-famers, the best-of-the-best, are committed to the holistic approach in development … namely, being complete in mind, body, and character. They don’t rely on physical skill to control the timing.

Parents need to understand that good talent evaluators are not looking for defined skills. Why? Because defined skills will plateau. Loose and athletic skills, with freedom to react with intention, resolve and purpose during physical activity, will not.

The social problem is that in trying to “keep-up-with-others” (focus on comparison), parents are led to believe it is a physical skill development issue. They think that they can purchase the path for their child. They can purchase the “perfect-swing” or perfect “pitching motion”. Some even “buy-in” to the shiny new gadgets … the new technology and video analysis on the market.

And because the timing is never determined by a set date (namely, when a athlete will reach their potential), parents try to speed up the process by “purchasing” their child’s future. And through a lack of knowledge of the player development process … they believe it can be manufactured and needs to happen at an early (young) age. Remember, the facts prove that 70% of all youth athletes drop out by the age of 13!

So What Needs To Happen?

The focus needs to be shifted. The focus needs to be centered-on developing positive character-habits in our youth, and in the end, the talented players, who embark on the journey in being complete, (the 3D athlete link) will emerge at the right time. Hard work and skill development is simply a prerequisite for athletes.

We need to create youth sport leagues and “participation systems” designed to build up young people. We need to eliminate the youth sport leagues that break down the kids as a result of negative consequences associated with either the “everyone gets a trophy” or the “winning is the main focus” league mentality. In life, you don’t always get a trophy for your effort. On top of that, through a very advanced understanding, the focus on winning is a deterring factor in building confidence.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

In amateur baseball, the focus needs to be on developing young men, according to the character traits of high achievers. Build them up to be ready for the challenges at the higher levels … high school, college, or professional. The focus needs to be centered on elements within their personal power of choice: namely, effort, hustle, and attitude (photo). They need to be taught to own their actions. They need to be empowered with the beliefs that they can make it on their own, and they don’t need a coach or instructor to hold their hand and tell them what to do on every swing or pitch. They need to learn that failure is the path to success. That it’s ok to fail. They need to know that success doesn’t breed confidence … that success only enhances proof of confidence. Ultimately, the focus can never be on outcomes (winning), but rather, the steps in becoming the best you – the 3D player.

Here’s the catch (no pun intended) … our youth (age 5-10) can’t grasp these concepts and understand these elite player development processes. And most coaches (at all levels … some professional and collegiate included) don’t focus on implementing them … They either don’t have the knowledge base or they have too many other responsibilities … they don’t have the time … they need to win now – to keep their job. I was no exception. At times, as both a young assistant and as a D1 power five head coach, I fell victim to this mentality. It’s a constant battle for all coaches. The great coaches eliminate these obstacles through a commitment to a core philosophy and system of development that becomes a staple of their program / organization. (Ex. Duke Basketball, Alabama Football, Virginia Baseball)

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

Therefore, because our youth can’t grasp the concepts, we need to do it for them. And because most youth coaches don’t know the elite player development processes, a system needs to be implemented that automatically creates one for everyone to follow.

Oh, and by the way, the young players, who are taught according to these values, quickly fly-by the players who fall into the trap of purchasing their way to the starting lineup by focusing on skill mechanics and lessons. Athletes built according to a holistic approach in development outlast the ones who are not. Their achievement endures. Their careers don’t come to a sudden halt. The manager of Pittsburg Pirates is facing this same challenge at the big league level (see article here).

I’ve coached roughly 33 players a year, for 13 years at the college level. I have recruited, coached against, or scouted /evaluated approximately 60% of the U.S. born players in MLB. Time will pass when I can’t say that anymore, but for now it’s a fact. And over the years, I have witnessed a great number of players (including myself – as both a player and coach) fall victim to a failed mindset … opposite of what I learned builds a champion (6 Steps).

Special note: We are entering uncharted waters in youth sport development and we need change, not lifejackets. It can only be shifted through a NEW SYSTEM built according to a set of standards, objectives and procedures.

The system must be designed to create a positive experience through the concept of empowerment.

How Relevant Is This Problem?

As I stated in my recruiting piece (read it here), because everything always follows a natural trickle down effect (professional → major D1 level → lower collegiate level → high school level → youth sports level), everyone sees and feels the rumblings.

Following the pattern in professional sports and over the last 10 years, amateur sports, at the major D1 level, has turned into a highly visible and “evaluated business” that is judged on end-results over a short period of time. The end-results are measured by short-term performance – only. Many parents and players at the lower levels – high school and youth – are reacting to this.

There are many factors that have contributed to the broken systems … but one of the main reasons is the explosion of the profit driven media being influenced by technology.

Ultimately, players and coaches (at both the collegiate and professional level) don’t have the luxury of TIME. Everything is moving faster … faster … faster. Some high school coaches even feel the heat.

These issues have contributed to the win-at-all-costs mentality in our society – and especially in sport competition. It’s the rumblings, and the reactions, that we need to be worried about. This is a huge problem in the world of youth and amateur sports … and as I mentioned before, I have been blessed with the personal experiences. I have lived it … at both the major collegiate level, and most recently, at the very lowest level of youth baseball.

How bad was it with the little 7 year-olds? Beyond the examples already mentioned, our team had a great time … It was a FUN season … because that was our focus. Our players had a blast and it was evident in their attitude. That was our #1 objective. Other parents even went out of their way to make it known that they wished their child had experienced the same. However, the league setup did not enable all of the other teams / players to share in a positive experience.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

In the final moments of the championship game, (yes, there was a playoff in this 7 year-old league – remember the Coach Mora video) when the losing team realized the game was out of hand, they (the “losers”) started crying in their dugout … how about that for a 7 year-old baseball experience. There is no crying in baseball (photo) … and there should not be losers at age 7. As many of us adults know, there will be plenty of losing experiences in life. It should not be a part of the youth development (ages 5-10) in sports. In phases 2 and 3 (will read shortly), athletes will learn many important life lessons from both winning and losing.

This story is proof that the focus on winning was a very negative experience for these young players.

Development in the amateur game is being replaced by winning … winning at all costs. And again it trickles down from the professional sports. Here is more proof … watch this video of a Steve Kerr presser from the NBA Finals.

Coach Grewe's Little League Declaration

As you can see through my comments in my Facebook post, I agree that he’s right; you don’t win a trophy based on morality (alone). You win a championship because the opposing team is decimated by injuries and you have the best three-point shooter in the history of the NBA on your team. Who just happens to be the league MVP … Who just happens to be an athlete whose development didn’t happened according to the timing of most others … Who just happens to be an athlete who didn’t get highly recruited out of high school … Who just happens to be a player who took the holistic approach in becoming elite … namely a three-dimensional athlete … Who just happens to be an athlete that is focused on helping his teammates excel and in leading them to the top of the mountain … Who just happens to be an athlete who is built upon faith and values according to morality (see shoe photo and article explaining 3:14 … and MMTB and LEAD).

If this Steph Curry example, and the entire Steph Curry story as a whole, is not proof that what I am stating has both value and purpose (the implementation of this declaration and a much needed social change), then I worry about our youth. I worry about my own kids. I worry that the future is dim and the seat-fillers in baseball will be lost to other arenas.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

See, I believe you can win a trophy and live a life according to a high standard of morals. I know I did it. And I know it’s a reason why others can’t do it again. Karma is real. And only time will tell if this holds true for Mr. Kerr. I think, for the most part, Steve lives a life according to a high standard. He just made a mistake, during a high-pressure moment. Even though we don’t accept it, we can understand how it can happen. We all know that at the professional level, a lot is at stake … a lot of money! And many times, morality is pushed to the side (even though it doesn’t need to be). A professional sport is a big business.

Here’s the sad part, the trickle down affect is that coaches at lower levels, in amateur sports where making money is not the top priority, believe his actions are justifiable and can/should be followed. On the contrary, both manipulation and lying can also be interpreted as a direct violation against the basis of social justice. If you are a person of strong faith, you believe this will affect your soul. And therefore, when our society awards this immorality, individuals in the game get caught in the storm (remember the storm?).

Please know I was a big fan of Steve Kerr … always have been. That’s why I was really disappointed in his actions. I personally, even though I don’t know him on a personal level, think Steve Kerr is a man of character … who simply made a bad choice. I wish he had followed the system of the United States Army.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

In the Army, all member ranks, from generals to private first-class enlisted, abide by a code of silence. This silence is critical in saving lives. In sports, it’s not a life or death circumstance (however some view it to be … perspective). The lessoned learned … it’s not disrespect to the media; silence is simply a choice to prioritize your unit.

In my last year of collegiate coaching, I told our sports information director that I would not talk to the media and I abided by the system implemented by the Army. I held to a code of silence with the media, because it was the right thing to do … the most critical thing for the development of our young freshman. It was about our unit … our team. In the end, I left college coaching and resigned (on a Thursday during the season) from my following year duties as the associate head coach. It was based on the Tuesday newspaper article that caused the team uproar. There was not a code of silence. I stayed with the team for the rest of the year, in silence. We won 7 of our last 8 games. I firmly believe personal choice is displayed through action. My choice to leave college coaching will, most likely, prevent me from ever coaching at that level again. And I am ok with that consequence, because I want something more. And in life, you always have to give up things you love, for things you love more. On top of that, I want to coach and influence in different ways.

And so I stand today to announce that this win-at-all-cost mentality is destroying amateur sports. And it is time for change.

Special note: It can only be shifted through a NEW SYSTEM built according to a set of standards and procedures.

Call of Action

It’s always easy to make a stance, backed by researched data, or better yet, real-life experiences, to prove a point. I am confident that I have done so. The hard part is to provide a solution and direction of action. I have learned that change only occurs when individuals, who want to make it happen, commit to a strategic vision.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

The good thing is that Rob Manfred has this “issue” as his top priority. The big question is whether or not the solution is centered on the core development of our youth, and the implementation of a system that will automatically eliminate some of the developmental challenges facing our youth. The positive future of the game will be the by-product outcome.

And so with this declaration, I will be offering my solution, as well as, my personal assistance in the execution plan. I will contact MLB, Ron Manfred, Chris Marinak (the office of the commissioner), as well as, Tony Clark of the MLBPA, and their partners, to offer our proposal and my involvement. I know they are working on some initiative together.

HERE IT IS: Overview and Distinction of Leagues

Before we go into the detailed action plan, let me clarify that there can be – and should be – a distinction between recreational little league teams and travel little league teams. There is not a great need to offer both during the first development phase (ages 5-10), but there is, in phase two (ages 11-14) and phase 3 (ages 15-17).

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

The difference lies in the talent level. Some players NEED to play in more competitive leagues. Why? They are advanced and physically gifted in talent. They “get bored” in recreational leagues. They need the more advanced level of play to keep them engaged. For example, this would be like a Vegas travel team that would have attracted the local talents of Bryce Harper and Joey Gallo (former signed recruit of mine).

Therefore, I firmly believe that offering two different leagues based on talent and core objectives is good. Some of the objectives will overlap, but not necessarily. Ultimately, based on the level of physical talent, parents (and hopefully the kids) will choose what league they participate in. The choice should not be based on assumed benefits. Because in reality, and if things stay status-quo, according to this declaration, and the Steph Curry example, the benefits of the recreational league will far out-weight the current setup of the travel leagues.

Competitive ball (travel leagues) is for the advanced and athletically gifted … let the fire burn. This league is for the players who absolutely LOVE the game. They love sports. They love baseball. They would rather be on the diamond than on the couch with the iPad playing video games. They ask the question … every day … do we have practice tonight? And they have natural athletic ability. These players “love” to play all-day long … and will travel.

David Grewe's Little League DeclarationRecreational ball is for players who just want to play the game – give effort. They enjoy being with friends outside of school and it’s fun to compete while playing baseball. They might not have the passion to play the game every day. But a few nights a week, during a few months of the year, the opportunity to play the sport of baseball is a perfect outlet for the development of character (through sport). It’s enjoyable. Recreational baseball specifically aligns to the dictionary definition … amusement, fun, to relax or refresh the body or mind. (hint, hint … the rec-ball players are the future seat fillers in MLB stadiums in 2035 … are we truly looking that far ahead … we need to be!)

The adoption of this declaration can be implemented in two ways … note: this is only for the spring season or the main playing season (northern states who only offer summer baseball). It’s a 3-month period of participation. This is not specifically designed for fall-ball or summer baseball in the southern states (but it could be used). Here are the two ways:

  1. Assuming each organization splits their teams into two leagues based on talent and the previous mentioned distinctions, the system can be implemented for only rec-ball teams, players age 5-10, in the league organization. Note: if travel ball teams stay alive, they do their thing, as they wish, and do not abide by declaration rules.
  2. The organization wants all teams and players in their league to receive the two core benefits associated with the declaration (keep reading). Therefore, they banish league differentiation. There are no travel teams (age 5-10) during the spring season. Travel teams are formed during the summer or off-seasons. All players are grouped according to age.  Talent evaluations are held to organize the teams based on ability. The league officials split the teams according to talent. And for both safety issues and competitive balance, the teams play against similar talent.

As you will see below, the start of middle school, or age 11, becomes the transition period when competitive play and the focus on the scoreboard becomes more of a priority (for some). This is the age when positive execution of the sport is more frequent. The game is cleaner … a walk is not an automatic triple.

The Double Play (6-4-3) Development Phases

I want to take a quick minute to discuss our development phase breakdown. Without spend a great deal of time explaining the advanced-level procedures that going into both the personal and player development processes, I simply want to categorize three different “time-periods” that systematically aid in building our youth for the future.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

This first development phase is a 6-year period (5-10 year olds). This is the target phase of our little league declaration. This phase is the foundation of all baseball experiences.

It leads into phase two … a 4-year development period (age 11,12,13,14). This is when players start to learn through competitive game situations. They learn the importance of how performance translates into winning. They compete for Williamsport.

Then, the final phase … phase 3 is a three-year period (age 15,16,17) when talent differentiation is defined through game day performances. This is the phase that determines what players will earn the opportunity to play at the next level. Exposure, and college or professional opportunities, is directly tied to performance during this final phase.

When it’s organized like this, then clear and established objectives for each phase will help develop the player. Each development phase will have a set of guidelines, designed to build the complete player – advance in skill, mindset, and character. The structure will automatically help eliminate the worst desires of parents, coaches, and businesses built upon promises of hope.

The Declaration Details

Regardless of player talent level, there are several things that can and should happen, in youth sports, to improve the system / league setup. With a strong background in baseball, personal development, and the player development process, I propose this new system.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

I hope Rob Manfred, Chris Marinak, (the MLB Office of the Commissioner), combined with Tony Clark, and the MLBPA, and their partners, will support and help implement this declaration for all little league baseball programs. Below are the three main elements, critical for the phase one development period.

  • First, and most importantly, clear objectives must be – understood, accepted and implemented – for both rec teams and/or travel teams. Then, systems can be built according to the objectives.
  • Secondly, a commitment to educating coaches – namely, a coaching certification process (standard of coaching excellence) needs to exist.
  • Finally, a player and personal development program needs to be implemented for all players in the league.

 

The Little League Declaration: The Objectives for players age 5-10

  • Fun, Fun, Fun
  • A positive experience is the designed outcome
  • Create a positive experience through letting the kids create their own experience
  • Focus on physical activity while playing the sport of baseball
  • Fair and balanced game performance system set to objectives and followed by all member teams
  • Focus on learning, development, and “respect of the game”
  • Top three core points of emphasis: Effort, Hustle, and AttitudeDavid Grewe's Little League Declaration
  • Focus on competing against a standard of excellence (not the scoreboard)
  • Winning is not the focus or the standard of comparison
  • There is no scoreboard!
  • If used … The scoreboard measures team development and not team comparison
  • Participation pledges for all (coaches, parents, and players) Ex. Parents become committed to saying; “I’m proud of your effort tonight, (name of kid). That must have been fun.” on the car ride home.

By clearly defining the objectives (associated with league setup), there can become a nationwide standard for youth baseball that produces a positive experience (end-result).

Also, specifically aligned to MLB’s pitchsmart program, all coaches and leagues would follow these guidelines. Note: I would eliminate 9-10 year olds from pitching, for many reasons mentioned below.

Pitching guidelines: http://m.mlb.com/pitchsmart/pitching-guidelines/

I believe both recreational ball and “travel ball” should coincide with the grade school experience and have an emphasis on both development and fun. The moment of truth in youth sports (namely little league baseball) should be at the age of 11/12 when a kid enters middle school. A big part of my philosophy (based on research) is built from two main reasons: 1) player burnout rate, and 2) the increase in arm injuries in the sport of baseball.

As explained below, and briefly mentioned above, I would eliminate kids from pitching until 11 years old. Why you might ask?

Well, for many reasons that all seem to connect at some level. First, the arm injuries in baseball are becoming increasingly more frequent (epidemic) … especially with the development of year-round sport specialization. Secondly, many kids are not skilled enough to pitch, and therefore, those that show greater ability will get more mound time – which, contributes to the wear and tear on the arm. Thirdly, most little league players lack arm strength, due to physical maturity, and thus it makes it hard to actually throw strikes. And when that happens, umpires make bad calls, walks are more frequent, pass balls are the norm, stolen bases become automatic, and the game gets ugly. It quickly turns into a negative experience.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

Because arm injuries are so frequent (even HOF pitcher John Smoltz has concerns), I believe we should prevent players from pitching until they get to middle school and the second phase (age 11-14). On top of that, there should be a strong “pitch smart” guideline program in place … with a NO-curveball-till-high-school rule. We need to teach the execution of the 4-seamer, 2-seamer, 1-seamer, and changeup. This would automatically arm (no-pun) a pitcher with 17 different pitches (locations) to execute. At a young age (both phase 1 and 2), we would be teaching players how to pitcher, rather than how to throw. The emphasis would be on location vs. velocity. The radar gun will not be the dominating factor in skill level. This would also drastically improve the development of players in phase 3. The foundation will lead children to higher levels of performance.

On a side note, John Smoltz’s comments are very powerful. Please take time to read this article. It provides more proof that our mission (with this declaration) will change lives.

On another side note: Some think this would potential disturb the “tournament” business of some organizations, but there is always a solution to any challenge. Tournaments will still happen. Organizations will still make money. (Note: if Hockey can eliminate its under-12 national championship, then just maybe … we could learn a thing or five)

Here is the age (year in school) and league setup that I declare important for player health, youth character development, and the greater good of baseball:

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

  • Under 6 year-old (Preschool) – Tee Ball (herding cattle)
  • 7 year-old (1st Grade) – Coach Pitch
  • 8 year-old (2nd Grade) – Coach Pitch
  • 9 year-old (3rd Grade) – Machine or Coach Pitch
  • 10 year-old (4th Grade) – Machine Pitch or Coach Pitch
  • 11-14 year-olds (5th Grade / Middle School) – Player Pitch (preferably no mound for 11 & 12) Flat ground / competitive W/L baseball begins (scoreboard)

 

The New System: The Structure (aligned to objectives: 7-8 year-old recreational teams)

This would be an example of the new league system for recreational little league teams for players age 7-8. Below is an example of the details – league setup, rules & regulations.

  • All teams follow same practice plan / educational and development system to teach the game (one practice per week w/ make up date scheduled)
  • 2 teams practice on same field on same night
  • Both teams rotate through stations with development objectives
  • Both teams finish practice with short scrimmage (playing the game)
  • All teams follow a game performance plan / educational system on how to play game the right way (one game per week with make up date scheduled)
  • Emphasis on defensive execution – throwing to first base
  • Emphasis on outs at base made by “right player”. Example, shortstop doesn’t field the ball and then race to 3rd to outrun the base runner from 2nd base, and run right past his teammate. Goal is to throw ball to 3rd baseman
  • 12-man rosters / 6 batter innings / Each player bats 4 times per game
  • 8-inning games or 55 min time limit
  • 4 infielders / 4 outfielders / 1 pitcher / 3 substitutions
  • Defensive rotation system
  • Base to base advancement – unless ball is in outfield and untouched by defensive player. Player advances to next base until ball is released by outfielder as he throws ball in to infielder
  • Must be forced home by a hit ball (no catcher)
  • No plays at plate / unoccupied base
  • Base coaches follow educational training and use arm motions – no (limited) verbal commands / yelling at players
  • Base ump (1) / optional scoreboard (1) ump
  • Coach Pledge
  • Parent Pledge
  • Player Pledge

Optional Creative Scoring System: Rewarding Performance

All teams measure success and development according to a point / run system

Scoreboard system (defense)

  • Receive run/point for fielding ball cleanly and throwing to base.
  • Receive run/point for catching ball cleanly / in air or short hop pick.
  • Receive run/point for all players on team getting into athletic ready position on pitch.

Scoreboard system (offense)

  • Receive run/point for putting ball in play and running full speed to 1st
  • Receive run/point for great base running decision through a player choice – going 1st to 3rd on ball in outfield.
  • Receive run/point for crossing home plate.

The New System (aligned to objectives: 9-10-yr-old recreational teams)

To be announced and offered (only) to member leagues … a few examples.

  • Catcher position is active
  • Every inning starts with runner at second base (goal is to score him)
  • No stolen bases allowed (All runners take 3-foot lead with focus on proper secondary lead footwork)

 

The Two Core Benefits of our Little League Declaration

Without question, our proposed system will create a positive experience for the kids. However, there are two core benefits that are associated with leagues that adopt our declaration. The first is a coaching certification process. And the second is a baseball development program that teaches the players the proper way to develop in both skill and character … the foundation.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

This is the power of the platform. Here’s the kicker: When leagues make the choice to adopt the declaration, and become a member league, by abiding by the nationwide standard of rules and guidelines, they receive access to the coaching certification process and player development program. This becomes the main reason WHY our little league declaration is a “no-brainer” for any and ALL organizations that offer baseball as an outlet for young players age 5-10. It almost becomes essential to join up as a member league … creating a WIN, WIN, WIN … positive for the players, the coaches, and the parents who want the best for their child.

Let’s break it down:

The Coaching Certification Commitment

This might be the most critical component of preparing youth baseball players for the future. Because most coaches, if not ALL little league coaches, are volunteer coaches … many of them are not “trained” in the profession. They have day jobs that pay the bills. They coach, and sacrifice time, out of the desire to provide opportunities for their child. This is highly honorable. 

And therefore, it’s critical to coach-the-coach … train-the-trainer!

Why is this important?

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

Without this proper instruction, the “right” set of objectives, and a commitment to a set of core values, our youth will fall victim to an outdated and poor system that exists in many leagues all across the country. For I believe coaches can be the difference makers. But coaches need to be educated.

I have spent a great deal of time researching both learning models and the most effective processes for development. I have learned that a proactive certification model that aligns with a training course is the best way (path) to distribute information. On top of that, it’s the best way to transfer the information into an action plan. We have learned that providing a resource center of information is just not enough. There needs to be accountability through a certification process.

Therefore, a key element of this declaration is the commitment to educating youth baseball coaches through an “expert” coaching certification process. All coaches, of member leagues, would go through a coaching certification course at the start of each season. The course would be taught by collegiate and professional coaches, as well as, selected professional players who want to be a part of the program. The course will be designed according t0 age groups and the double play development phases. It will be recreated (freshly designed) each year.

The Development Program

Aligned to the same objectives, all coaches of member leagues would receive a 12-week baseball development program that would be used as a “coaching outline” for the season.

The development program would also be taught by collegiate and professional coaches, as well as, selected professional players.

A key component of the development program would align with the structure of the new system. Where two teams would practice on the same field, at the same time, and then play each other in a scrimmage. Part of the development program would also include a weekly skills game – all centered on creating a competitive way to have fun. Also, for all three of the development phases, the players would be empowered to choose practice activities. Empowerment leads to freedom, which leads to moments of great achievement … the primary lesson I learned from coaching a team that won a D1 national championship.

The purpose of an organized development program is to build a foundation of excellence (both in baseball skill and in character) for young kids. It is not designed to create any competitive advantage … as the focus cannot be on winning. Competitive advantage will start in the later stages of the double play development phases. Coaches would follow the same development outline … as teams would be “working together” during the developmental practices.

Here is an example: The core pillars of development: 12-week plan overview (3 month season) for the 7-8 year-old divisions. The key to any personal or physical development is two-fold: know the information and core objectives, and then, have an implementation plan that can be set in motion. The development program that we would provide to all league members would be accompanied by weekly practice plans, game lineup forms, as well as, additional training guides …

 

Preseason Practice #1:

  • Baseball Focus: The basics in throwing / catching / fielding
  • Character Focus: The introduction to Effort, Hustle, Attitude

Preseason Practice #2:

  • Baseball Focus: The basics in hitting & baserunning
  • Character Focus: How young players focus on Effort, Hustle, Attitude

Preseason Practice #3:

  • Baseball Focus: The basics in how to play the game (teaching the system)
  • Character Focus: The emphasis on sportsmanship

Season Week 1: Practice #4 + Game #1

  • Baseball Focus: The proper ready position on defense + hitting development 1
  • Fun Skills Game #1 …
  • Character Focus: The emphasis on being a good teammate
  • Game Objective: …

Season Week 2: Practice #5 + Game #2

  • Baseball Focus: Defensive position responsibilities 1
  • Fun Skills Game #2 …
  • Character Focus: The emphasis on encouragement
  • Game Objective: …

Season Week 3: Practice #6 + Game #3

  • Baseball Focus: Baserunning 1 + hitting development 2
  • Fun Skills Game #3 …
  • Character Focus: Dealing with failure … focus on being positive … eliminate can’t
  • Game Objective: …

Season Week 4: Practice #7 + Game #4

  • Baseball Focus: Defensive position responsibilities 2 + players choose activities
  • Fun Skills Game #4 …
  • Character Focus: Respect for others (teammates + opposition), parents, etc.
  • Game Objective: …

Season Week 5: Practice #8 + Game #5

  • Baseball Focus: Infield play development + hitting development 3
  • Fun Skills Game #5 …
  • Character Focus: Focus on self … did I give my best? Honesty
  • Game Objective: …

Season Week 6: Practice #9 + Game #6

  • Baseball Focus: Outfield play development + players choose activities
  • Fun Skills Game #6 …
  • Character Focus: Resiliency: Recommit to Effort + Hustle + Attitude
  • Game Objective: …

Season Week 7: Practice #10 + Game #7

  • Baseball Focus: Baserunning 2 + hitting development 4
  • Fun Skills Game #7 …
  • Character Focus: Hard work is always needed
  • Game Objective: …

Season Week 8: Practice #11 + Game #8

  • Baseball Focus: Defensive position responsibilities 3 + players choose activities
  • Fun Skills Game #8 …
  • Character Focus: Kindness + Appreciation
  • Game Objective: …

Season Week 9: Practice #12 + Game #9

  • Baseball Focus: Baserunning 3 + hitting development 5
  • Fun Skills Game #9 …
  • Character Focus: Courage + GRIT
  • Game Objective: …

Season Week 10: Practice #13 + Game #10

  • Baseball Focus: Infield play development 2 + players choose activities
  • Fun Skills Game #10 …
  • Character Focus: Perseverance … Never Give Up
  • Game Objective: …

Season Week 11: Practice #14 + Game #11

  • Baseball Focus: Outfield play development 2 + hitting development 6
  • Fun Skills Game #11 …
  • Character Focus: Self-Control
  • Game Objective: …

Season Week 12: Practice #15 + Game #12

  • Baseball Focus: Celebration practice + players choose activities
  • Fun Skills Game #12 …
  • Character Focus: Celebrating the Effort, Hustle, Attitude
  • Game Objective: …

 

Now, how is all this possible? First by choice, then by action!

There are two different ways in which we can make this a reality. The first is through Rob Manfred and the MLB commissioner’s office, in conjunction with the MLBPA. Below is an official proposal to MLB to financially support this initiative. We truly want this to be spearheaded by MLB, so that the MLB brand will receive the long-term benefits (seat-fillers).

If this declaration is not accepted by MLB or the MLBPA, there is always a second path. Little League Organizations around the country, that want the benefits stated above, can hire us directly (very affordable one-time fee). We would provide the operational guide / league rules documentation for participating teams (including a scheduling plan). We would implement a coaching certification program. And we would provide a 12-week player development program (similar to the one above, but with added details).

Official Proposal to MLB and the MLBPA

We want MLB (+MLBPA, and their partners) to be the brand behind the little league declaration. The office of the commissioner would be the lead change-agent committed to providing a character-based development foundation to little league organizations throughout the country, for players age 5-10.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

MLB will be the legs behind the mission. They will be the reason WHY the development of our youth is steered away from the negative effects of the winning-at-all-costs mentality. MLB will be the organization claiming responsibility for the positive effects of building character-strong young men through baseball. The long-term benefit will be seen through packed stadiums in year 2035.

The focus on providing this foundation would create a positive experience for the little league participants, age 5-10. This foundation will be critical in preparing them for the more competitive levels of amateur baseball. Again, aligned according to the double play development phases, this is the critical first development period for young baseball players. A positive experience, at an early age, will play a significant role in sustaining the future of the game. And right now, this age group is a very important target market. Again, they are the future seat-fillers.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

This declaration (the plan) can help solve the aforementioned big three negative side affects that are currently hurting the game of baseball. MLB, with the help of the MLBPA, is the all-powerful brand that can step-up to the plate and drive a base-knock the other way … Jeter style … to win the (final home) game!

Ultimately, it’s about a long-term winning strategy. And so, if we put winning to the side for a short period (ages 5-10) and build a foundation … MLB comes out on top … over the long-haul … Just like Jeter did! Note: a former player of mine was the starting pitcher against the Yankees in that game.

The TIME is NOW, Mr. Commissioner. And Mr. Clark, please come back from the land of bearskin rugs, barbed wire, and rocket fuel, and help make this happen. We don’t question your manliness!  We know you are man enough! (www.areyouclarkenough.com) Let’s do this!

Side note … operational forecasting: I believe it would take a significant grant (approximately $17 million) to operate this youth baseball initiative … the right way. The office of the commissioner would show commitment and leadership through a $2M grant, spilt over a few years. Each MLB club will contribute $500K annually to operate local divisions. Each local division would have an operating staff that would work with designated little league organizations. All revenue details and business plan elements would be implemented, in private, through a collaborative arrangement with all parties.

Local divisions (outlined below) would be managed, by a staff of 8, according to a geographic structure, which would aid in the implementation plans according to weather challenges and seasonal timelines.

  1. Northeast (ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT)
  2. East (NY, NJ, MD, PA, DC, DE)
  3. Midwest (MI, WI, OH, IN, IL, KY)
  4. Plains (ND, SD, NE, KS, IA, MO, MN)
  5. Southeast (GA, FL, AL, TN, SC, NC, WV, VA)
  6. South (MS, LA, AR, TX, OK, CO, NM)
  7. West (CA, AZ, UT, HI, NV)
  8. Northwest (AK, WA, OR, WY, MT, ID)
  9. Latin America (tba)

 

Risk of Announcement

I know that the announcement of this little league declaration comes with some risk. Any organization, from a local little league to the all-powerful MLB, could try and steal it, change a thing or two (here or there), and claim it as their own.

On the record, as of 7/1/15, (the official date of this publication), there is no such public announcement or proposal that has any of the aforementioned elements (system outline, certification process, development program) of our little league declaration.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

We are the first to market with this declaration.

And therefore, if any organization (including MLB) proposes or implements, any of our three elements (new league structure for ages 5-10, accompanied with a coaching certification process for little league baseball coaches, and a 12-week baseball development plan for little league players and coaches) then they have chosen to steal the ideas/plans from us. And if they do so, our justification of need, proves why our society desperately craves a shift in focus … a concentration on the moral values and character foundation found in leaders of excellence.

In truth, any little league can steal the outline we highlighted. It would be a sign of adulation and respect. We would be honored. But we didn’t list the complete operational guide / league rules documentation plan. On top of that, it would be hard for them to execute the coaching certification or coaching instructional plan, built from expert instructional experience.

Summary

I firmly believe that our society needs a shift in focus. I have been blessed with experiences that prove such. I believe we need a shift away from the focus on immediate outcomes and a shift back to the strong core moral values of our past.

If championship teams and elite athletes follow a proven path to excellence, why can’t we teach our children the same? This declaration is what we believe is needed for the next generation of players, which in turn, benefits the future of the sport. We need to …

  • Change the way we measure performance and evaluate winning and losing
  • Adopt a system of excellence centered on playing the game “the right way”
  • Teach the following concept of competition: Measure performance against a standard of excellence by using the opponent and game situation as the necessary “tool“ to perform our best. (opponent is the tool … challenge viewpoint vs. comparison viewpoint)

If this can be done, then little league baseball can be a very positive environment for kids. The word of mouth will spread from family to family. And the game of baseball will be known for the positive experience it plays in the lives of our youth, age 5-10.

David Grewe's Little League Declaration

On the flip side, if we don’t create change now, the system will continue to chew kids up, spit them out, and the game will not grow. In the year 2035, MLB stadiums could be half empty … It’s a risk that leaders should guard against. The product on the field will be saturated and built from foreign-based markets. Athletes will gravitate to other sports such as Lacrosse. And the sport will fall far behind football, basketball, and maybe even soccer. What once was the nation’s pastime will become … hard to predict where it might fall.

It’s time to forecast the imminent and then work backwards to create the future of choice.

The fact is 70% of all youth athletes will quit sports by the age of 13 (source: changing the game project) http://changingthegameproject.com/why-kids-quit-sports/ I love the quote in this piece … “A 70% failure rate may earn you millions of dollars in professional baseball, but it is not serving our kids in youth sports.”

Let’s try and change this in the sport of baseball. And by doing so (the implementation of this declaration), it will automatically elevate the level of play (in phase 2 and 3) through competition. Everyone will benefit. However, regardless of the by-product effects it may produce … let’s make sure that when our children are done playing the game, the experience was positive.

How You Can Help

Special note: This is a message to all volunteer administrators and little league coaches … We commend you for all the time and effort you spend in promoting the sport of baseball. You create opportunities for our youth, and that alone, is very meaningful. In no way shape or form, is this declaration aimed at degrading your effort and commitment. On the contrary, our goal is just the opposite. Though this declaration, we aspire to raise you up and praise your efforts. Our goal is to highlight the need for change. Evolution is a part of everyday life. And the evolution needed in the sport of baseball is a systematic change to league structures according to development phases. You, the little league coaches and the little league administrators, will be the individuals responsible for growing the game. This responsibility is powerfully rewarding. I anticipate you will feel great joy from it.

We will be reaching out to MLB and the MLBPA, in July of 2015, with this declaration. We sincerely hope they see its value and social mission and then commit to spearhead its distribution process. We simply want to be a spoke in the wheel (click here) and a small part in helping the game grow.

If by chance they do not want to be associated with our declaration, then we will embark on the mission through our sports leadership company. We will package and offer the three elements of this little league declaration as a trademarked product to little league organizations.

We hope you enjoyed reading this. We apologize for any grammatical mistakes. As we always admit, we are not journalists, editors or professional writers … just coaches seeking to influence positive change.

We also hope you enjoyed some of the added photos and videos … Aligned to the #1 objective of this declaration … Simply our way of having fun!

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© 2015 | Coach David Grewe, Founder and CEO, Potential Meets Legacy Sports Leadership