28 episodes

Tips, advice, experience, and observations, for parents and coaches, to help get the most out of the youth baseball experience!

www.getelbowup.com

Elbow Up Youth Baseball Kevin Burke

    • Sports
    • 5.0 • 108 Ratings

Tips, advice, experience, and observations, for parents and coaches, to help get the most out of the youth baseball experience!

www.getelbowup.com

    You Should Play Multiple Sports

    You Should Play Multiple Sports

    I've long been a proponent of young athletes playing multiple sports. There are so many benefits to learning different skill sets, playing with different teammates, and taking mental and physical breaks from the daily grind.

    As summer and fall youth baseball seasons were winding down, I received a lot of questions about what to do in the off-season to help get ready for next season.

    I always begin my answer to this question with "take some time off" followed closely with "play another sport." And then of course we talk about lessons, strength and conditioning, family time, etc.

    I recently saw a Facebook post in a youth baseball group essentially downplaying the importance, or need, for playing other sports. I use this episode to refute his claims and explain why your son should be playing multiple sports in the baseball off-season.

    What Comes First, the Chicken or the Egg?

    Kids aren't just born elite athletes. Sure, there are freaks of nature that are born with more natural size, strength, speed, and agility than others, but they don't just come out of the womb ready to play in the MLB, NFL, or NBA.

    They are elite athletes because they played multiple sports early and often - and mostly with less structure and training than we have today.

    Again, and as I always say, there are exceptions. But these guys were born into families that encouraged being outside playing with balls of all sports, spent the time learning by doing, and kept their bodies moving at different speeds and in different directions for much of the year.

    There are  others that spent their time outside the house playing football, basketball, baseball, or any other ball that would keep them away from their unfortunate situation inside the house. Often it kept them out of trouble. And the byproduct was becoming a better athlete.

    What if my son doesn't want to play other sports?

    Why even give them the option when they're young?

    It's not an option at my house. I literally tell my son every year, "I don't care what you do or play, but we're going to do some activity that keeps you moving and busy."

    Can we just do strength and conditioning?

    Well, you can. But there are at least two likely issues with this.

    One, it's expensive. The average parent, myself included, does not have the expertise or the facilities to do this correctly. To get what you need out of it, you need to go at least 3 times per week.

    That's going to run you MINIMUM $100 a week.

    Why not pay $150 for the whole basketball season, practice or play 3 days a week, learn new skills, put them outside their comfort zone, get coached by new unfamiliar coaches, and do something different?

    For way less money.

    My opinion based on experience

    Bottom line, your son might actually end up a Major League Hall of Famer having only played baseball his entire life.

    But in reality, there's a close to zero percent chance he ends up a Major Leaguer anyways, no matter what he does.

    Just as high schoolers aren't equipped to determine their ultimate career path, nine year olds aren't equipped to know what's best for their athletic development.

    Get them experience in uncomfortable situations. Let them practice playing for coaches they don't know. Encourage them to do things they aren't really good at. Put them in a position to learn to compete in many different situations.

    There's very little downside to playing multiple sports, and t
    If you enjoyed today's episode, please rate the podcast and leave a comment. I would appreciate it more than you know.

    And be sure to check out my weekly newsletter and website over at Elbow Up Youth Baseball! I'd love to have you join the community. It's free and there's no spam!

    • 21 min
    Reflecting on 3 Years of Elbow Up

    Reflecting on 3 Years of Elbow Up

    It's been just over three years since I published the very first Elbow Up newsletter email. In that time there have been more than 300,000 website visitors, 59,000 emails sent, and nearly 180,000 podcast downloads.
    While I feel like I've become more polished in my delivery of the message, the message largely hasn't changed. And actually, I'm ready to double down on a few things (definitely controversial).
    Three Years in Review
    Looking back at the opens, downloads, comments, questions, and responses, I thought it would be good to revisit the top four topics I've written about over the last three years.
    These topics generated the most buzz, the most feedback, and frankly the most interest from all of you.
    ⚾ My Oldest Son Turns 18 Today: What I Would Have Done Differently
    ⚾ Coaches are Ruining Young Arms
    ⚾ Over-coaching Ruins the Fun Youth Experience
    ⚾ Weekend Tournaments are Ruining Youth Baseball Development
    Need Your Help
    If you like my content, please help me by doing the following:
    Ensure you're subscribed to the newsletter.Ensure you open the newsletter.It may help to go to your inbox and make sure my email is not in the promotions tab.If it is, move it over to the primary tab.Even better, once you've done this, hit reply and just send me a one-word response. This helps your email provider know I'm not spam.Subscribe to the podcast in your favorite podcast player.Leave a rating in your podcast player (and a comment if it's Apple Podcasts).Send me feedback, and let me know how I can better help you!As always, thank you for listening and supporting Elbow Up Youth Baseball!
    If you enjoyed today's episode, please rate the podcast and leave a comment. I would appreciate it more than you know.

    And be sure to check out my weekly newsletter and website over at Elbow Up Youth Baseball! I'd love to have you join the community. It's free and there's no spam!

    • 32 min
    Arm Care, Arm Health, and more with China McCarney from Jaeger Sports

    Arm Care, Arm Health, and more with China McCarney from Jaeger Sports

    🚨 You don’t want to miss this one! In addition to loads of useful information, Jaeger Sports has given me 5 sets of J-Bands along with their Throwing Manual to give away to my listeners! 🚨

    Parents and Coaches,

    Today’s message is partially in response to my recent episodes Coaches are Ruining Youth Arms and Protecting Young Arms in Youth Baseball.

    I’m excited this week to bring you China McCarney from Jaeger Sports.

    Jaeger Sports is considered by many to be the industry leader in Arm Health, Arm Conditioning, and Mental Training for baseball players.

    And if you look around, you’ll see their flagship J-Bands at parks and fields all across the country.

    Here’s a quick breakdown of the interview, although you’ll miss out if you don’t listen to every single second of this one (plus, you want to know how to win a set of J-Bands and their throwing manual):

    0:56 - Introduction

    3:35 - Interview starts with China McCarney from Jaeger Sports

    4:42 - What is Jaeger Sports?

    6:15 - How early should we start thinking about arm health and arm conditioning?

    8:42 - What is arm care?

    9:48 - Warm up to throw, don’t throw to warm up!

    11:20 - Explaining the WHY!

    12:45 - What is a throwing program?

    15:04 - Watch out for gimmicks and advertisements promising quick and unrealistic returns!

    15:45 - Should you be worried if your child throws slower than his peers at a young age? (IMPORTANT!!)

    21:00 - Does Jaeger Sports have a youth specific throwing program?

    23:00 - How important is time off? And a discussion on year ‘round baseball.

    26:00 - The mental aspect of taking time off.

    28:45 - Jim Vatcher, Jaeger Sports CEO and former Major League outfielder, and how he approaches his teenage son’s baseball experience.

    30:00 - Kids should have fun now so they’ll still want to be around later to develop.

    30:50 - China actually founded the Athletes Against Anxiety and Depression Foundation in 2017 after his own experience with being a competitive athlete.

    32:32 - How important is wearing sleeves and staying warm in cooler weather?

    34:10 - Pitch counts, pitch counts, pitch counts! What does Jaeger Sports think about pitch counts?

    37:17 - How can you get a J-Band or the Jaeger Sports throwing manual? Also, more information about free resources for parents, coaches, and players at Jaeger Sports!

    41:21 - Closing thoughts from China McCarney:

    Take action!

    Introduce arm care and arm health to your son and your team.

    Keep the game fun!

    Be a human being.

    Remind your kid of the WHY.

    I really hope you enjoyed this interview. Leave a comment below, a rating in iTunes, and share with a friend or fellow parent and coaIf you enjoyed today's episode, please rate the podcast and leave a comment. I would appreciate it more than you know.

    And be sure to check out my weekly newsletter and website over at Elbow Up Youth Baseball! I'd love to have you join the community. It's free and there's no spam!

    • 47 min
    When Daddy Becomes Youth Baseball GM

    When Daddy Becomes Youth Baseball GM

    Hello parents and coaches!

    It’s been a few weeks, but I’m back and ready with some great stuff.

    I shared a Facebook post a couple weeks ago teasing this topic. I had more comments than usual, so I knew it would be 🔥.

    This week I’m going to gain or lose subscribers (probably some of both) - and that’s okay. I’m not here to make friends (although it is a perk), rather to share my experience and positively impact kids and families through youth baseball.

    (Listen above or through your favorite podcast app, or continue reading below.)

    Everyone is Thinking About Next Season

    As the current season winds down, coaches and parents get to work figuring out what next year will look like. It happens earlier and earlier every year.

    Everyone has an angle.

    Many coaches are looking to “upgrade” their team.

    Some parents just want to win more.

    Some parents aren’t happy with their son’s playing time or position, so they’re looking to see which area teams will have openings.

    Here’s the thing…None of those things are bad on the surface.

    I mean I’m not here to say you shouldn’t want to be better, win more games, and do what’s best for your kid(s).

    But what about the cost? What about the collateral damage? What about the big, long term picture?

    And is it even worth it?

    Here’s a screenshot of the Facebook post I came across.

    Now let’s unpack all of that and talk about what nobody wants to hear.

    The Reality

    I know some guys who have played and coached at really high levels.

    Off the top of my head, we had an 11 year big league vet on the show, my brother was a first round draft pick, and then just the other day a kid who played on our 9U team 9 years ago was taken in almost the same spot in the draft (I’ll talk about him and that season more below).

    All those guys got (or will get) big money relative to what most of us will ever make - especially playing a sport.

    But here’s the thing - that’s not realistic for 99% of us. It’s just not.

    It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our best and help our kids succeed, but it means we shouldn’t treat youth baseball like we’re playing for a World Series and our career is on the line.

    In fact, what’s on the line is much much more important - the future of our kids.

    The Root of the Madness

    There are two main reasons daddy’s become youth baseball General Managers and parents jockey to find the ‘best team’ for their kid.

    For those that may not know, a General Manager in Major League Baseball is the person responsible for building the best team possible, making trades, drafting and cutting players, and ultimately is held accountable for an organization’s success or failure.

    Now, if you find this part offensive, send me an email. But I’ve been both of these, so I can say it. And if it hurts, it’s probably true.

    For coaches, they just want to win. Period. I don’t know how else to say it.

    Sure, most coaches I come across are good people. They care for the kids. They want them to be as successful as possible. But the desire to win and be the best rises above all else. This is true even for most that would say it’s not.

    For parents, we can’t stand for our children to fail, be uncomfortable, or faceIf you enjoyed today's episode, please rate the podcast and leave a comment. I would appreciate it more than you know.

    And be sure to check out my weekly newsletter and website over at Elbow Up Youth Baseball! I'd love to have you join the community. It's free and there's no spam!

    • 37 min
    Over-Coaching Ruins the Fun Youth Experience

    Over-Coaching Ruins the Fun Youth Experience

    Parents and Coaches,

    This week I recorded a version of a written article I wrote back in 2019. Not only is it still relevant, it’s something I personally still struggle with and see every single week on every single team.

    Please take the time to read below or listen above, and I’d ask that you share this either on social media or with 2 or 3 other parents or coaches today!

    Thank you for being a part of the Elbow Up community, and if you don’t get these in your inbox each week, what are you waiting for? 😉

    Eight year old Tommy steps into the on deck circle and takes a couple of swings, halfway distracted by the young child crying in the stands through the fence.

    One of his coaches (who is also his dad) looks over at him.

    “You’re dropping your hands. Come on, swing like you will in the game.”

    Tommy tries to refocus but before he’s able to swing, the previous batter is out and he’s up to bat. He trots out to the batter’s box, excited for the opportunity to hit!

    “Back up in the box! Look at your feet! Now get that elbow up!”

    Swing and miss.

    “You’re pulling your head out. Keep your head down”

    Foul ball.

    “You’re stepping out. You have to step to the pitcher or you’re never going to hit it!”

    Swing and miss. Strike three.

    Tommy trots back to the dugout only to be met by his coach (and dad) who repeats everything he said over the past three pitches.

    Tommy’s disheartened. Not because he struck out. Because he just received 7 different instructions during a live at bat, he struck out in front of everyone, and worst of all he feels like he’ll never be able to do everything his dad told him all at once.

    It’s a vicious cycle that will only get worse.

    Over-coaching is one of the worst things you can do as a parent or coach. It’s something I’ve fought myself for years.

    It really becomes debilitating to the player and amplifies any failure they may experience on the field.

    At this age, if they don’t have it, or know it, before they get into the batter’s box, they’re not going to.

    Keep in mind, there are certainly times to teach during a live game. Situational learning happens in a game because it’s very difficult to replicate in practice, especially at a young age.

    Working on who covers second, who the cut man is, where to throw the ball in a certain situation. Those are all things I may mention to a player between batters or innings in a positive way so they get feedback as soon as it happens.

    Hitting and pitching mechanics aren’t that easy to learn during the middle of a game. These are things that should be practiced over and over before the game, so that when they get in the game it’s a learned movement or skill that comes natural.

    I’m actively looking for sponsors for the weekly podcast. I’ll be picky and only partner with those I feel will serve my audience well. If you or someone you know would be a good fit, reply to this email and let me know!

    How to Avoid the Over-Coaching Trap

    First, just stop. And relax. Let the kids enjoy the game. Remember my number one goal? If they aren’t enjoying the game, they’ll lose interest and never get any better.

    Secondly, focus on one small thing at a time (but not during the game!) and practice it over and over and over. I’ve oftenIf you enjoyed today's episode, please rate the podcast and leave a comment. I would appreciate it more than you know.

    And be sure to check out my weekly newsletter and website over at Elbow Up Youth Baseball! I'd love to have you join the community. It's free and there's no spam!

    • 19 min
    Dealing with Umpires in Youth Baseball

    Dealing with Umpires in Youth Baseball

    Parents and Coaches,

    This week I’m talking about umpires.

    Before I jump into it, if you haven’t already subscribed, do so now so you don’t miss any future episodes. It’s free, and I’ll send you an email when I post an article or new episode!

    Umpires are just as much a part of baseball as are hitters and pitchers, but in almost every game I coach I see other parents and coaches interacting with umpires in ways that not only won’t help them get any future calls but also sets a bad example for their kids and players.

    In this week’s episode, I talk about what makes a good umpire, my own experience with umpires (I’ve shown myself a time or two), how to interact with umpires, and how to talk to your kids and players about how to handle bad (or questionable) calls.

    Enjoy the episode, and leave a comment with your feedback, questions, or your own experiences.

    Thanks for listening - see you next time!

    Kevin

    P.S. Would you take a few seconds and share this with a friend? Use the button below or just forward the email!

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.getelbowup.comIf you enjoyed today's episode, please rate the podcast and leave a comment. I would appreciate it more than you know.

    And be sure to check out my weekly newsletter and website over at Elbow Up Youth Baseball! I'd love to have you join the community. It's free and there's no spam!

    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
108 Ratings

108 Ratings

acesmith81 ,

Thank you!

This podcast covers a lot of great information that all parents and coaches of youth baseball care about and need to hear. Thank you!

Derek#26 ,

Thank you

I’ve listened to these Podcasts over the last year and it has really changed my perspective as a parent and coach. Thank you! Very excited that you’re starting back the podcast

Portergolf17 ,

Lacrosse coach gives this 5 stars!

The perspective that comes from this podcast should not just be limited to youth baseball. These ideas and general perspective can be applied to all youth sports. Great content!

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