Jim Leyland on Pressure and Developing in Youth Sports

Jim Leyland

Detroit Tigers Manager, Jim Leyland shares with us his thoughts on pressure and developing in youth sports. (Click image for video).

As a parent, I used to talk to my son and say, “Look, I don’t care if you ever play baseball. But no matter what you do – including baseball – if you want to give it a shot then give it your best shot. You can’t go about it half way.”

I’d say, “You’ve got to give it your best shot. It has to be fun and all that, but you also have to give it your best shot. Give yourself the best opportunity, if you enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, then don’t be playing for me. I don’t really care about that.

So, I think you have to be into it. But I think there’s too much extreme in today’s world of youth sports. The parents go berserk in the crowd…the coaches…there is so much pressure that needs to be relieved from these kids and just let them play – let them be kids!

We want to push them so fast. Sports has become one of these things where … when I was a kid, you played all three sports. You went from one right to the other.

Now there’s so much pressure, so much instruction, so much weight lifting, so much training. I know it (seems) all good because their philosophy is, “Well, if you don’t do it, you won’t keep up with the Joneses.” But I don’t really think that is necessarily the best way to go about it.

You just have to let a kid develop. Let him be himself. Work with him. Try to help him. But stay away from the pressure. There will be plenty of time for that – if he’s good enough at some point to play professional baseball or get to the big leagues. And make it good pressure – make it fun pressure. Don’t make it a strenuous pressure where these kids are just burnt out. Because they get burnt out real quick.

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  • Big Thank You

    Mike, agree with keep these videos coming great stuff. Hope you will send a big thank you to Coach Leyland and all the other coaches/players that take time to contribute to your site. It is great advice.
  • Awesome!

    Thanks for sharing and encouraging us in our same belief that kids need to be kids and work hard but without the pressure! Awesome!
  • Keep it up

    Keep these coming. That one hit home. Great read and great advice.