Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Youth sports lessons are for players, not parents

Over the years, I've written a lot about sports tutors for kids.

One of the most sought-after is quarterbacks guru Steve Clarkson. He charges $700 an hour. At that price you cater to a well-to-do clientele. Clarkson's students have included the sons of Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky and Snoop Dogg.

On the homefront, my children have hooked up with private coaches on occasion, though at a slightly lower rate. I wouldn't want to say how many runs knocked in to credit to those winter sessions in the batting cage. But I do know that Bill, my son's hitting teacher throughout high school, has become a family friend and remains a mentor to my son. Next spring, Bill is coaching a local high school team. My son is his assistant.

I like what big-leaguer Dirk Hayhurst says about private lessons. When in doubt always remember, it's not about you.

"[Y]our child is NOT you. If you love baseball and he doesn’t, why are you taking him to lessons? Are you hoping he’ll be what you thought you could be? This is a tough bullet to bite, but do it soon and save yourself some drama later. Instructors work with kids like this all the time; kids who don’t want to be there but don’t want to disappoint their parents. No instructor can teach a kid to feel for a sport the way you do."

Thanks to Dennis Anderson, a loyal blog follower in Lawrence, Kansas, for pointing out Hayhurst's blog.

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