The Matheny Manifesto

Came across this post from three years ago and wanted to share again. Over the last few years I’ve told countless people about The Matheny Manifesto – the version Mike Matheny wrote to the parents of his little league team.

You could say I’m a disciple! If you know me and have a kid or grandkid playing sports, or coach youth athletics, you’ve heard my speech.

I was so happy to see Mike come out with his book “The Matheny Manifesto” last year. It’s his take on success in sports and life. I’m not surprised it made the New York Times bestseller list. My husband recently saw Mike speak, and was truly inspired (not an easy thing to do – inspire my husband). He was so inspired, that he surprised me with an autographed copy of the book.

I’m craving some inspiration in my life right now, and with Cardinals Spring Training right around the corner, now is the perfect time to pick up this book and crack open the cover!

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Post from 2013:
Have you read The Matheny Manifesto? This hit a nerve for me, in a good way. I had to share!

If you are a parent or grandparent of a child who plays youth sports, a current or future coach for baseball or any other sport, stop what you’re doing and read it! You owe it to your kids.

I’m not saying that you are a bad parent, grandparent or coach, but I would venture to guess that you’ve witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly on and off the baseball diamond and other sports venues across America. I know I have over the years, and have no problem admitting that from time to time I was that parent Mike describes. You know the one. “Hey coach, when’s junior going to bat in the clean up position?” Or, ” He’s got  a great arm and is so accurate in the backyard. He’s got what it takes to pitch. How about giving him a shot during next weekend’s tournament?” I’m sorry, did you get promoted to assistant coach? I must have missed that memo.

Let’s face it. We’re all guilty at one time or another. Some just verbalize their feelings more than others. We want the best for our kids, especially those of us who are frustrated athletes and see potential in our kids. We want it so badly for them. Sometimes we do need to be an advocate for our children, because unfortunately some coaches are nothing more than parents who have volunteered because they have their own agendas. (If you know one of these guys, ask them if they’ve read The Matheny Manifesto and have a copy to share with them in case they haven’t!) But what often happens is our good intentions roadblock our kids from having what could have been a great experience. And suddenly, out of nowhere, they aren’t having any fun. Hmmm…could it be because it’s suddenly become all about us?

It’s so easy for us to lose perspective. Remember the good ‘ole days?  If we played organized sports, we respected our coaches. We learned how to work hard, respect authority and had fun doing it. We learned to win and lose with dignity and class. Remember? Our coaches had the opportunity to work with us during “teachable moments” without our parents or grandparents stepping in on our behalf. We learned to speak up for ourselves.

What happened to those days? Winning and losing is part of life. And neither is a good experience for our kids if they aren’t having fun doing it, and building character along the way.

As you cheer on and support your kids and grandkids during this upcoming baseball and other seasons, take yourself out of the equation. As Mike says, “…be a silent source of encouragement.” Because at the end of the day, the youth sports experience is ALL about the kids.

The Matheny Manifesto. Mike’s philosophy is “about respect, ownership, self motivation and no-nonsense sportsmanship, that all go into the definition of CHARACTER displayed on a playing field.” Sounds like a great approach that could go far beyond the playing field in developing future leaders, huh? 

Take a few minutes, read it and share your thoughts and experiences here. Or better yet, share them on Mike’s website.