The Effect of the Manifesto

Across the country, people have been reaching out to Mike with their own stories of how the Manifesto affected them.

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    Dear Mr. Matheny, Thank you for writing such a wonderfully inspiring book. As a coach of a 12U youth baseball team, and father of a 12 year old catcher; I couldn't agree more that youth sports is, first and foremost, all about the kids. Sadly, this is a fact which is lost on many parents, largely due to their desire to make their child the next (insert name of MLB All-star). This Summer, our team had the privilege of playing a Warriors team from your program in Cooperstown, NY. To say the least, your boys continue to play the game right, well and with class. The experience, a game which began at 1am and ended after 3am, and your book, have inspired us and helped us to become better coaches; looking more at the larger picture of grooming young men to become responsible adults and persons of great character. For that, I simply offer my thanks, appreciation and gratitude.
  • St. Louis Cardinals and real life

    As I was reading " Methany's Manifesto" , I recalled another St. Louis Cardinal, Ted Wilks. Ted was my grandfather but he and Sophie adopted me and raised me as their own. I can recall when Ted was asked to take charge of the Little League in Houston, Texas and he said basically, that the only way he would tackle that position is if parents were banned from the games. The lessons Ted and Sophie taught me were right in line with what Mr. Methany is saying . I have enjoyed life and have raised two successful and wonderful sons as a result of these teachings. I am a teacher and have taught almost all grades from k- 12 and despite what theories and support programs are developed, the missing ingredient to success for many lies in this foundational set of values. Thank you , Mr. Methany,for being willing to speak the truth , even if it isn't politically correct ! Respectfully, Jeanie Wilks This year my school has chosen sports as a theme. I hope that in some way , we may be able to instill some of these basic values and the concept of teamwork making the dream work ( our motto this year )
  • Thank you Mr. Matheny

    Dear Mr. Matheny, I have 2 sons ages 12 and 10. Your book has made such a positive impact on on me not only as a youth sports coach but more importantly as a father. It has also re-inspired my faith in God. I have recently went through a tuff time coaching all stars (no need to go into the details) due to many of issues you mention in your book. To be honest, it made me question if I should hang up but after reading your book it made me realize that I shouldn't let others and their negativity push me away from something I love to do. I will continue to Coach and keep your philosophy in the forefront of everything I do. It's all about the kids. Thanks again and God Bless you and your family. Heinrich
  • thank God we are not alone

    Coach, thanks so much for all you are doing. I left my position at a local Rec program for the very reasons you state in the book. I have recently joined the leadership ranks with the American Legion. I have finally found a home and our model moving forward for the 13-17 year old Jr. Division is almost a mirror of the program you started. Thanks for the confirmation we are on the right track.
  • deepest appreciation

    I'm not even half way thru the book and it has altered the way I coach, but more importantly how I parent my 7 year old son. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your willingness to be agent of change in youth sports.
  • The Manifesto

    Hi Mike, Love your book! I grew up in northwest Ohio (Tiffin) and really related to your experiences growing up ... except, rather than baseball, I played hockey ... and at Ohio State not your school up north. Then, I coached youth hockey in the St. Louis area for about 10 years. While I talked with my hockey parents about hockey, I didn't write a manifesto. One time when there was a "ruckus" in the stands, one of my players said "Coach Drake, are those our parents." When I responded "yes," he said "It's embarrassing isn't it." Hope parents and coaches will go to your Manifesto and start that kind of culture in all youth sports.
  • Conversations/Agruments with Umpires and the Car Ride Home

    Mike thank you for helping us youth coaches put the "game" of baseball or any other youth sports game into perspective. I have the great opportunity to be a part of the coaching staff of my two sons as well as the sons of my friends. We play in Utah under the name the Utah Owlz. How great it is to spend time with these young athletes and help them develop their skills and character. It's difficult to pinpoint one thing learned from your manifesto so I'll direct my comments to two. First of all, our young athletes in most cases know what they did good or bad in a game so in the car ride home simply saying "I sure love watching you play" has had such a positive impact on them and our relationship. Secondly, as a youth coach of both my boys simply having a conversation with Mr. Umpire is so much more effective than the sprint from the dugout to argue a call. I get it it's part of the game and at times necessary to fire up the players but in my experience, those young umpires are going to make mistakes and need some coaching or conversations themselves to improve. Thank you for the guidance and inspiring words as we all look forward to those beautiful days we get the privilege of being in the dugout or on the field with our boys or girls at the yard.
  • Minor Hockey Manifesto

    Hi Mike. All your words apply to minor hockey parents in Canada, and I suspect everywhere minor hockey is important/popular. I've coached 9-11 year old boys at the recreational (house league) and representative (all-star) levels the past couple years and I adopted the exact same approach to coaching - the season is successful when each player improves and the team comes together to be more than the sum of its parts. I appreciate you sharing your words with the World. Steve Breault Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • Coaching youth sports

    I have coached Little League baseball and youth soccer. Every season I got the parents together and gave them the same speech. I told them we welcomed them at games to cheer for our kids, but we would not tolerate them booing other players or the umpires/referees. I was pleasantly surprised to see that every year the parents responded in kind. We took the same message to the players: play hard, support each other, respect the other team, its coaches and the umpires/referees. Most of the kids got it most of the time, so I considered that a win. When I got around to youth soccer I found I had to give the parents a statement on what I thought a successful season meant. I told them that the season would have been a success if the kids wanted to come back and play again next year. I told them that we would practice and play hard but that the joy of the game always had to be first, and that we as coaches would never do anything to go against that. We had talented players, medium players and always two or three who had trouble tying their own shoes. My special joy was working with what our other coach called "the projects", mostly because that was me in my own youth sports days and I remember to this day that I was shuffled to the side because I did not have any particular skills. I swore that I would never do that to any of my players. We were a co-ed soccer league, and on every other team the girls were an afterthought. All the girls on our teams played for me on defense, and the first day of practice I stood them in a circle and told them that when they come to the field in their kits they were no longer girls they were soccer players, and I had the same expectations of them as I did of the boys. They trained hard, practiced hard, and played hard in the games. I am defense-minded and I made sure all of them realized that as far as I am concerned defense is the heart of the team. They became proud of what they had to contribute. With a defense of about 60-40 girls, in three years we had a goals-against average of .85 a game. Later I became head coach of an older youth team. One of our players had absolutely no talent and to boot had a very abrasive personality. I took it on myself to teach him basic ball skills after practice, but he was a constant irritant to his teammates. In our first game I had an idea. I pointed the other team's best player and told him to climb inside that kid's jersey; his one job was to make sure that kid never got the ball. I also told him to do to him what he always did to his teammates at practice, and he grinned. The other player never got past midfield, and in the fourth quarter got so frustrated with my boy's energy (and trash talking) that he pushed him to the ground right in front of the referee, earning himself a red card. I named that boy player of the game, and for the rest of the season he worked harder in practice, was far less obnoxious to his teammates, and in every game took on the same assignment. He didn't get any other players red-carded but he established himself around the league as a determined pest. I guess my take-away from my time in youth sports is that it has to be fun for the kids. There is plenty of time for winning and losing to be everything. For the youth, the game has to be the thing. Most of them will probably not continue on, though I saw several of my kids doing well in high school and getting college scholarships to play in smaller colleges. That made my day.
  • Manifesto for MLB

    Manifesto for the youth and parents are great and good ethics to live by. Kids are kids and need to be taught about sports, sportsmanship, respect for the game and those involved. Parents also need to respect and realize that kids need to be taught and that their dreams as parents for the child to excel is not always in the cards. It is a game!! It is suppose to be fun and educating for them!! I think all professional sports players and teams should practice the Matheny Manifesto! Though it is their profession, they need to be reminded that kids, parents, are all watching them, idolizing them, and wanting to be like them. Sports fans as well need to read this manifesto for it is easy to judge others, to judge athletes, coaches, managers, from their seats and couches. Thank you Mike for your stand in youth sports, as I had always taught my children the same code of ethics and respect for the game and players, as well as those who officiate. I now have the opportunity to teach my grand-children as well. God bless you and good luck in 2015!
  • Used your ideas and it is amazing

    To all the Parents of --------Ghosts, We wanted to take this opportunity from the coaching staff to thank you and your boys for your participation this year in -------- Ghost Elite Baseball. We had a great team last year and hope to continue winning games and having fun. It has been great to see how close this team has become and the boys will hopefully continue to be good friends. Last year we made the playoffs which is unusual for a first year team. The real goal of the first year and especially this year is to teach the kids to play baseball the right way, with class. I believe our kids did that last year and we will keep that tradition going. We didn’t win every game but they did respect their teammates, the opposing players, the coaches and the umpires. We had a great interest from new players that did not play for us last year to become a part of this Elite team. The teams we play this year will be more competitive and the selection of players was extremely difficult. You should be very proud of your boys for making this Elite team. As parents you know that a large part of your child’s improvement is your responsibility. The difference for kids at Age 11-15 is the amount of repetition they get in Hitting, Pitching and Fielding. As a parent you can help out tremendously by playing catch, throwing batting practice, hitting ground balls, or finding an instructor who will do this in your place. The more of these fundamentals, the better your child will become. We are not only looking for great players this coming year. We are looking for great “Teammates”. We are looking for the players to be ready to play each game. Fast jog out to field to take position and to home plate when they are about to bat. Players that will hustle to all bases and listen to their coaches (without interruption) at all times whether during a game or during practice. The players that we have on our team this year for the most part will be 12 years old. We know they are young but they are also coming to an age where as coaches our job will be to make sure they know the fundamentals and become better each game to advance to the next level. The coaches have had quite a bit of experience in coaching and playing the game in both the high school and college levels and we will bring our experience and knowledge to the boys as best we can. Some of our coaches are quiet and more reserved. Some teach by drilling fundamentals into the players in other ways. The goal this year is that every single player on our team will improve as a player, as an athlete and as a person. In terms of the coaches we had very few complaints last year in terms of batting order, position etc. A greater focus this year will be placed on positioning of the teams members. We will be using more statistics and evaluating each boy after the game on how they can improve while emphasizing the positive. One of the coaches will be sending an evaluation form after each game on what they can do to make themselves better for the next game. There will also be changes on how we play games. This year in terms of position and batting order there will be noticeable differences that we wanted to make you aware of now. There will be set positions as well as a set batting order each week. Your son will know where they are playing days before the games take place. This way they can be prepared mentally during the weekday practice(s) as to what they have to do to be successful in the positions they play during the game. During practices we will also be having the parents become more involved by hitting balls and making sure the practices keep moving. (more on this to follow). ***Please also respect the dugout this year. We had complaints from umpires as well as the league to keep the dugout area for only players and coaches. This is twofold in that it is not only an insurance issue but the players became confused last year by having multiple instructions shouted to them from the dugout area.*** If there were complaints last year there were reasons the parents had and we immediately tried to deal with them in the best way possible.. If you have a complaint or need to discuss something with a coach please feel free to do so with the coaches. We are very open to hearing your feedback and we will respond in all cases. One thing as coaches we would like to request is that when discussing to please keep this between you and the coaches. Please try not to let the players hear your complaints. All of the coaches are really looking forward to this new year. We will let you know when practices start and we ask that your boys be ready to work hard, hustle and play hard. Have a great fall and get ready to watch the boys win some games. It’s going to be a great year….
  • Deeply impressed!!!

    Mr. Matheny. I'm a Korean baseball daddy my 11 year-old-son playing little league baseball. I was really impressed with your Manifesto. Usually, we think about the difference in teaching between eastern and western culture and I always have some interests about how the US coachs teach their children. But your manifesto tells me how coaching and teaching something is really difficult especially to very young boys and it always comes from the dedication and consideration. From this day... I will try to share the moments of learning and thinking with my son with or without conversation in the field. Thank you, Mr Matheny!!!
  • Friend shared this info and I wanted to give feedback

    Mike, God bless you. As a little league coach of baseball, basketball and football, I approve. Kids want and need structure. The want to grow and have fun. Most of the time, kids are taught that getting their way and belittling someone else will accomplish this. It doe not. I have always told parents that once they came inside the fence, they belonged to me. They could have them back when they come off the field. When parents coach from sidelines or harass kids with opinion and negative thoughts it confuses them and their loyalties. Structure and growth is what they want. Enjoy the kids and their accomplishments. Respect those in authority. And don't sweat the the small stuff; you will never change an umpire's mind and tomorrow it won't matter. God bless you!
  • Thank You Mike!

    I shared the letter with my wife as soon as I finished it! We both saw the same things. I'm the parent of a 9 year-old and I'm asked to coach year after year. I refuse every single year because our parents are not willing to let me coach their sons the way I coach mine. I coach my son your way Mike. The most important things to me are sportsmanship, game concepts and the approach to the game (that I always refer to as mental toughness). I don't allow a lackadaisical attitude or disrespect towards teammates, coaches or officials. During the game I'm silent while he goes to work. Any issues are hashed out in private away from the game. As an example my son's primary position is shortstop. The coach had 3 pitchers and never afforded any of the other kids an opportunity to throw. My son simply made up his mind one day that he wanted to pitch. I told him we can work on it, and when you're ready YOU will have to ask the coach for an opportunity. My son did just that and has been considered the ace ever since. But how ridiculous is that? There is no such thing as a 9 year-old staff ace! No 9 year-old is getting drafted tomorrow. He simply made the most of an opportunity that all of the boys should have had to begin with. That's our job. Expose our boys to the skills, tools and opportunities that allow them to bring out the best in themselves and their team. Let the boys go to work and play the game. The take-aways in terms of building their integrity, character and ethics far out weigh any meaningless stats. We're building men more than ballplayers.
  • 10 Year Old Baseball

    Mike, As a parent and coach of a 10 year old son and team, I can't express how much I appreciate this! I find myself repeatedly asking myself, is this what is best for the boys. Sometimes its hard to see the forest through the trees. It is a fine line for coach/parent knowing when you need to push these young men and when you need to step back because they're just 10. I am lucky! I have 3 great men to help me coach and lead these boys. My question to you and anyone that cares to respond is, How do we teach 10 year olds its not all about winning, when so many other teams base everything on nothing but winning. We talk to the boys, but there are so many teams that do not have our perspective. It is very hard for a 10 year old to grasp why other parents and coaches are doing and saying what they do. We tell them to focus on each pitch, dont worry about what other people say, and we don't believe in what they say, but they're 10 and its hard to zone out. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Chris
  • Manager St. Louis Cardinals

    Praise God we have a manger like Mike I knew before I came to this blog that he had class! I thank you for the way you handled the cardinals now they are off to the World Series !!! Brenda
  • Mike is an inspiration to ALL ages

    I ran into Mike Matheny at McCalister's off Olive. I asked if he would give me an autograph for my (what was then) 82 year old mother. He gladly did that, allowed a picture of myself with him. He signed with John 3:16. My mother was very excited. Tonight, at 86 years old, she rooted on the cardinals from her living room. She was unable to go to the game but she was there in spirit. She prayed that the Lord bless this kind man who took a minute of his time to bless her just a few short years earlier. With Christ ALL things are possible. Thank you Mike Matheny for blessing so many lives! Not just the young - but those that are elderly (but perhaps young in spirit)!! Congratulations and know your faith and witness to the Lord will be a blessing to more than you know.
  • Thanks mike

    I would just liked to thank you for this manifesto.i love this game of baseball like no other.have always wanted to pass on my knowledge of the game to more youth than just my two sons but as you nailed it the only team that I would like to coach would be orphans also.i have spent the better of the last 10 years around little league watching the parents and how rediculous they act and the end result is there child acts the same way on the field,not hustling ,throwing helmets,tossing bats in frustration.while most of the kids that act like that are the coaches kids and then rewarded by playing time and being picked as an all doesn't make sense to me.i am going to print your manifesto up and bring it to the winter meetings for the little league of Petaluma .this is going to not settle well with a few of the parents but I don't really care anymore.....if I have to sit through another season of what they call baseball I'm going to go crazy....I was taught like you hard noise baseball,dedication,respect,hustle(I grew up watching Pete Rose my hero)mr hustle,the exact way I have taught my two boys.with ped's takeing over the past decade of baseball has been real sad.its ruining the greatest American game ever invented.why is it so hard for the commissioner to get some balls and ban this stuff for good and forever....they won't even let the greatest hitter/ player I watched in the hall of fame and for what reason?did he take peds?No he didn't but was any of his gambling making him get more base hits?No.80% of baseball players are not home run hitter and they are trying to make them youngest son gets frustrated cause he is hitting doubles in the gaps not homeruns at 12.why cause of espn,the media,and all the parents that think a homeruns is the best thing in baseball.i ask my son do you want to hit a homeruns and go 2/10 or would you rather go 6/10 with 2 stolen bases 3runs scored and 4 RBIs?thats baseball ,hitting ,stealing and always thinking.thank you again I needed to read that
  • Well said Words

    Mr. Matheny. I was watching the Little League World Series and saw the story on your Manifesto. I right away looked it up and read it. These words are something My wife and I have always Believed in. This is My story. We come from a small town in the State of New Mexico, I have 2 boys and a girl. My wife and I weren't Athletes when we were young so when our kids started playing sports it was a new world for us. Initially when it started it was Fun, as they got older the competition became more of a challenge and we left it in the hands of the Coaches to teach our boys. So now starts the Personalities of the Parents changing, the voices yelling at the kids and the referees and or umpires. This is were the enjoyment of sports changed to the Embarrassment of being a fan. Our town has a Bad reputation for having obnoxious parents, and traveling to other areas I think there's a few in every crowd. So reading your Manifesto I feel you have definitely found a subject that should be put to the top of the list in every sport. Now I am not the perfect fan and I've had my embarrassing moments, which not only was I embarrassed of my actions but I did learn from it. My 2 sons our now graduated from high school and starting there careers , my daughter is entering High school and is into Drama class and guitar. So the only sports I enjoy now is College or Pros, but the best part of that is I'm able to Enjoy sports once again which I haven't been able to do since watching my kids Enjoy playing sports. Thank You for your effort and I hope this opens a lot of parents eyes to their actions.
  • Parent Coaches

    I love the Manifesto, but the big issue with kids baseball, or any organized kid sports are untrained parent coaches who THINK they know how to coach, and always play their own kids in the best spots and do not even try to develop the other kids.....
  • Agreed

  • the letter

    I think that the letter you wrote to parents of little leaguers is about the most tactful and respectful way to get across to parents that they need to back off a lil and respect those who take the time out of their lives to coach their children,for the love of the game. These are volunteers who put their lives on hold to cater to the children of others who either don't have the time or knowledge or guts to coach. Not to mention the umps who are there for the fun of it, not to be berated by unknowledgeable parents. Great letter Coach, I'm an uncle who may cheer and talk a lil loudly at games and I will suppress my efforts to be heard, thanks to your letter. You really got across the main points of fair play and respect of others in a very tactful way and I applaude you for it, I hope all leagues, not just baseball leagues , hand this letter out , or parts of it that pertain to the coaching, parenting and sportsmanship aspects,that parents of all sports should read and feel accountable for. My brother, a former minor leaguer, and his friend coached our 9-10's to the state finals and lost, but they still heard stuff from parents complaining,,,, I encouraged him and his friend to send your letter out and let's hope those parents look in the mirror and recognize . Thanks Coach, from a lifetime Phillies fan, you got my respect, well done sir!
  • I appreciate the Manifesto, I

    I appreciate the Manifesto, I have worked in our local public school for many years and I first became acquainted with it from one of our coaches who was sharing it with his players and their families. Youth sports is clearly an area that needs improvement and our community is no exception. My experience however, has actually been with the blog itself. I began reading it with my 7 year-old son because he loves sports and loves the Cardinals and I knew it would be family friendly. What started as some quiet reading time with my son, soon turned into an idea. We began our own blog that we call Raising Johnny Ballgame (apparently anyone can have a blog these days). We decided that we would relate all blogs no matter the topic to two main things, Christianity and sports, and the goal would be to recognize the simple beauty in everyday life. What we have discovered has been amazing. Not only have we spent the summer doing this as a family (the boys keep a list of suggested topics), but the most interesting thing has been the responses of others. It's opened dialogue with people about church, baptism, spirituality, sports and of course baseball and often from those that I would never have expected to read it. We even got one great Bible study lesson out of it on service and still get messages about what it's like to live with a kid that dreams big. It's just been a great experience and I wanted to say "thank you". I know your family doesn't have the time to do it, we hardly do, but I appreciate that you gave your time. It inspired us to give some of ours. I would encourage others to journal their family experiences whether they post it as a blog or not. It's been a great thing to do with two crazy boys who love sports.
  • Thank you for this

    I've been having issues with parents lately in an 8 year old league. We went from an instructional season to playing tournaments. I tried to explain the difference to the parents. But this shows that I really didn't need to. This will definitely help explain the situation to the parents. Help me by coaching with me or leave me and your kids alone when we're practicing and playing.
  • A must read

    Mike: the Manifesto is an excellent document. It should be required reading for every parent, every year, before the first practice starts. In the future, I'm going to do just that.
  • Valuable Insight -- Thank You.

    Mike, Thank you for your blog. Even though I'm a lifelong Cubs fan, I still recognize the value of your insight. ;-) Your post on parents who are too demanding of their kids' success (whatever their definition of "success" is) was poignant. I'd be very interested to know your thoughts, however, on parents who venture to the other end of the spectrum and think their kids are better than they actually are -- and who challenge the coaches' decisions whenever the opportunity arises -- without taking into consideration the overall coaching philosophy or TEAM strategy. What is your suggestion for diffusing such situations, when parents feel they must go to bat (no pun intended) for their kid (almost always parent -- rather than player -- initiated)? In an era of entitlement, this seems to be more and more prevalent and affects so many layers of the game. Thanks again.
  • Manifesto

    What a wonderful philosophy. So proud to have you as the manager of our St. Louis Cardinals! Thank you for contributing to my list of the good things in life!
  • Mike,

    Mike, We have been working on connecting the coaches around the country for the last ten years at The California Season of Life Foundation based in the San Francisco Bay Area. We rooted for you when you were a Giant and had no idea of your story, what a great one it is. is our site. We work closely with Joe Ehrmann and Jeff Marx. I recently gave a speech to 20 high school football coaches on the topic of a coach led code following Ehrmann's Transformational Coaching concepts and we now have three counties in Nor Cal focusing on that. Monterey, Santa Clara, and Sacramento all have momentum. Please continue to stay on the path you are on and we look forward to supporting your efforts in any way we can. 415-843-1216
  • Nice work Mike! I share the

    Nice work Mike! I share the same poritions as you as a coach and a parent of a 10 year-old in Little League. I live in Southern Orange County California where the youth baseball scene is "hyper competitive" and most of the fun for the kids has been removed. I am an assistant coach on my sons team and almost quit this week because the manager could not remove himself from the game. He blew up at the kids after a 2 run loss and singled some of them out as failures. We held a team meeting (coaches and team mom) after kids complained about what happened. The coach told me that he was feeling alot of pressure to win because out team had a target on their back this year. I tried to get him to understand that this team isn't about him and his perceived pressure and it wasn't fair to the kids to put that on them. It got really ugly! I had to lay down my sword to keep peace on the team. I did make it clear that I will continue to develop all players and ensure that the game reamains fun. The manager told the team that we only have three hitters and will only pitch three starters. So many coaches that I've seen make the game about themselves and feel like if they don't win it all the season was a failure. No pressure for the kids, right? I think your "manifesto" should be posted on all Youth baseball websites and mandatory reading for all coaches and parents. Maybe you could simplify some of the ideals and propose some type of oath for parents and coaches. Thanks.
  • Mike, thank you for putting

    Mike, thank you for putting down what a lot of parents have wanted for thier kids in sports. Because of my negative experiences, I was reluctant to let my son play baseball. Fortunately, we had great coaches who taught the game the right way and set great exapmples for the boys. My son is now playing D-III college ball and has done a little coaching himself. Good luck this season (not too much luck...I'm Reds fan!) and thanks again!