Mike Matheny: A Letter To The Parents
Mike Matheny knows baseball. Even if you’re a Cubs fan, you know Mike Matheny knows baseball. He started out playing little league, went on to compete in Big Ten ball, and finally wound up in the major leagues as a catcher. Before becoming the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, Mike coached his son’s little league team. While doing so, he found that one of the biggest problems in youth sports is overbearing parents.
First appearing nationally on ESPN during the 2013 Little League Baseball® World Series, the Matheny Manifesto, as it later became known, was a detailed letter written for the parents of his son’s baseball team. It not only let them know how he was going to coach, but it addressed concerns and expressed conditions he required from his team’s parents.
We encourage you to read Mike Matheny’s Letter To The Parents before reading the rest of this post.
Although nothing more needs to be said, we’re going to touch on a few of our favorite quotes from his letter below.
“This experience is ALL about the girls.”
What a powerful sentence. Mike Matheny wrote this letter to convey this message. Whether it’s a fun, laughable moment, a learning opportunity or simply winning a game (which is not that simple, really), it’s ALL about the girls. It’s ALL about the team. “If there is anything about it that includes you (the parent), we need to make a change of plans.”
Every aspect of softball—and youth sports, in general—is for or about your child. Whatever pleasure you get from watching your kid compete on a softball field is like extra credit. Enjoy!
“I believe the biggest role of the parent is to be a silent source of encouragement.”
Remember, it’s ALL about the girls. By loudly cheering, chanting and yelling, “Come on, let’s go”, you’re adding more pressure to the kids. Believe us; we the coaches have put a lot of pressure on these kids. We’ve also put a lot of pressure on ourselves to excel for the sake of the girls and the team.
If you’d ask your girl what they want you to do during the game, they would say, “Nothing.” Sure, it’s great to congratulate them after a win and give them a hug after a loss, but they certainly don’t need the added pressure.
“You as parents need to be the silent, constant, source of support.”
“If you hand your child over to me to coach them, let me do that job.”
We can’t say it enough, but remember, it’s ALL about the girls. With that in mind, please let us do our job. The main thing they need to hear from you is that you enjoyed watching them and that you hope they had fun.
We know it’s going to be hard not to coach from the stands, but we’re confident that this does not have a positive effect on their development as a player or their overall enjoyment. Please clap when they do well—clap loudly—but when it comes to coaching, let us do our job.
“There is not an excuse for lack of hustle on a softball field.”
We may not win every game, but we sure are going to hustle. From the time they take the field until the time they leave it, they’ll hustle. They will run to their position, jog to the plate and back to the bench when they make an out. Although hustle can’t necessarily be taught, it can be motivated, so we’ll do everything we can to ensure our teams hustle.
“Players that do not hustle and run out balls will not play.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Mike. This has been one of our core principles ever since the Blue Devils were founded in 1990. Applicable throughout one’s life, “Hustle” is one of the many traits your girl will develop as she learns the way of the Blue Devils.
Thanks for reading! We’ll leave you with this quote:
“I also think that there is a great opportunity for these girls to grow together and learn some lessons that will go beyond their softball experience.”