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How To Motivate A 10-Year-Old Player

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"On the 9-and-10-year-old baseball team I coach, two players seem like they don't even want to be there. I encourage them a lot, spend additional time with them and have talked with their parents about the issue, but nothing seems to work. I am tempted to just teach them how to draw a walk, crowd the plate and bunt. How can I approach this problem and best finish out the season with these two players?"

PCA Response by Mike Farley, PCA Trainer-Milwaukee
Unmotivated play is tough to tackle. You might start by making sure that these two do not feed off of each other by putting them in positions separate from each other (even in the batting order).

At 9-10, mom and dad may have placed them in baseball for you to babysit. That's not fair, but it does happen. Your frustration is because their expectations are not your expectations. Still, your job is to coach... and to teach. At PCA, focusing on mastery is crucial in helping all athletes become winners. Inactivity and inattentiveness is not "winning" behavior.

You may need to get back to the most basic of basics... that baseball is fun. Inject more fun into practices, for example, by turning drills into mini-competitions. Teaching these players how to draw a walk, crowd the plate and bunt may be as far as you can move them toward their potential, and if it keeps the game fun and interesting and helps them feel a success that keeps them coming back for more baseball, so be it.

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