I really identify with this scene from the new movie Home Run—which opens today (4/19) in theaters.
The main character, Corey Brand, is a baseball star who gets suspended by his team for character issues, and his agent sends him back to his childhood home to put his life and his reputation back together. As part of the deal, she volunteers him to coach a local youth baseball team.
This scene shows a breakthrough between Corey, as coach, and a boy who lacks confidence at the plate:
Now, why do I identify so much with this clip? Because I grew up playing football and other sports, and I know the power of a coach’s positive words. That’s part of the reason why the Championship Fathering fundamental of coaching is so powerful for me. I had the privilege of learning from some great men who coached me.
Now that I’m in my fifties, it’s amazing to think about the knowledge and life skills they were transferring to me and the other players all those years ago.
I think about times when a coach did something like Corey does in this clip … he pulled me over to the sideline, looked me in the eye and spoke from the heart. He knew I could do better, and in the heat of competition he wanted to send a clear message. I’m not sure I always listened as well as I should have.
There were other times I remember from playing football in high school. I used to run back punts and kick-offs, and I can vividly remember a few times when our team was behind or in a close game, and our coach instilled great confidence in me through his words. As I waited there for the kick-off, I would hear him say, “We need one, Carey. Run it back for us.” He showed that he was depending on me, and his words helped me focus and dig a little deeper, reaching for excellence.
That’s how I see myself when I’m coaching my children—from my teenage son to my adult kids and their spouses, and even my grandkids. I’m aware of my responsibility in this area, and it affects how I talk to them, how I touch them, and how I hold them—how intentional I am when I’m with them.
And even if you aren’t into sports that much, you probably received some encouragement from people along the way, and it made a difference for you.
That’s also what I challenge you to do in your fathering—use the power of positive words to your children’s benefit. We have to constantly be thinking about the fact that we’re transferring knowledge and instilling confidence in our children.
That’s what coaches do, and as men who want to be Championship Fathers and coach our children to be all they can be, it’s what we should all be striving for as dads.
ACTION POINTS for Dads on the Journey
- Place your hands on your child’s shoulders and look him or her right in the eye, then affirm something you’ve noticed that he or she has done. Or simply say, “I love you,” or, “I’m proud of you.”
- When giving your child instructions, also seek to instill confidence. Say, “I believe in you,” or, “You can do this.”
- What’s your tone of voice usually like when talking to your child? Make sure you aren’t coming off as sarcastic, irritated, bothered, or disappointed. (Those really aren’t motivating for kids.)
- Give your child a task that will help the family in some way. Give hands-on instruction if necessary, and encourage him. Kids need to feel necessary and important.
- Watch your words—especially when dealing with a heated issue with your child. Avoid statements like, “What are you thinking!?” or “Can’t you do anything right?”
How did a coach, teacher or parent inspire you during your youth? And how do you try to do this regularly for your children? Please join the discussion by leaving a message either below or on our Facebook page.
Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.