25 answers

T-ball: Quit or Finish It Out?

We signed our 4 year old son up for t-ball this year. We asked him ahead of time if he wanted to play and he said "Yes!"

He seems to get bored when he is not part of the action. After standing in the outfield for a while with nothing going on he will just leave the field and come and sit on the bleachers. I have tried to make him understand that he has to play the outfield too but it seems that we have a designated hitter our my hands. At his last game he would not cooperate at all, when I went out to stand with him in the field he did the "wet noodle" and just laid in the grass.

My husband and I are at odds as to how to handle. Should we pull him out and try again another time or make him finish it out? I do not want to force him to do something he does not want to do but I also want him to know that he should finish what he starts. However, is he too young for that type of lesson?

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He is engaging so it isn't like he isn't participating at all. I think that is part of my dilemma, he does seem to enjoy it. I have read some really good responses and I will take them all into account.

One person mentioned that I shouldn't be out there, and maybe they are right but there are actually several parents that are out there to help guide the kids. Our coach doesn't have an assistant so everyone just pitches in.

The coach is a super nice guy but not very authorative. He doesn't really address my son leaving the field. He tries to make sure everyone gets to participate but when I talked to him about my son he did not seem to be concerned. He is very laid back and he basically said "he's just being a kid". Which is true...

I think we will try practicing more at home and see if that helps...

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Most of the frustration has been between my husband and I. It bothers my husband more as far as what others think. I tend to be more of a "kids will be kids type". I was just concerned about feeling like I was "forcing" him to do something he really did not want to do. My husband is more of the sports oriented one in the family and he has a hard time thinking on a 4 year old level (even though he can act like one himslef at times). ;o)

Anyhow, things have gotten much better and much more entertaining. My son is having fun (most of the time), he gets a little discouraged because he wants to catch the ball every time, just like all of them do. I love watching the whole team chase the ball regardless of where it is going! He even thanked me last night for letting him play t-ball. Thanks to everyone for all of the advice. I am taking lots of pictures!

Featured Answers

Yep--that pretty much describes most kids in their first year of tball, I remember when my son (and his team) was 4, they'd be in the outfield swatting bugs, sitting in the grass, digging in the dirt behind the backstop--LOL I think it's adorable. They're too young to be expected to pay total attention to the whole game at that age and he's doing good if he's running to first base after a hit and retrieving the ball if he's in the field. If he likes it, let him keep going. I'd let the manager and the coach deal with him while he's playing. Just sit on the bleachers and watch.
My son is now 7 and is chomping for his first baseball practice tomorrow night. You'll be amazed at the difference between this year and next year!

2 moms found this helpful

He is only 4 and he isn't going to have any earth shattering epiphanies about not being a quitter. Go ahead and let him quit. I don't blame him, T-ball is exceedingly boring!

2 moms found this helpful

I would say finish. How much longer does he have? My sister would get into something, my parents would buy all the gear, and then she would quit. It was a bad lesson and a bad habit to get into.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Hi C.,
Well I would make him finish it out. If it's just a matter of being bored that's not a good reason to pull him out. Yes he's young and it's hard to make them do something they just don't want to do when you wanted him to have fun doing it to begin with but sometimes we all have to just play a "field" position. It's a team game. It's just part of the game. I suggest having the coach tell him that he shouldn't walk off the field. And I don't think you should be out there either. If all he does is lay down then let him finish laying down. I think that if he's old enough to manipulate with this behavior then he's old enough to learn the lesson. And I wouldn't give it much attention or time talking about it to him, pretty sure that's would only add to the problem. Plan on feeling uncomfortable about it ahead of time and just move through one of the many times watching your baby struggle for a life lesson.
Best Regards,
C.

3 moms found this helpful

Its a life lesson...Make him finish it out...OMGosh..the year my daughter wanted to play t-ball ..YIKES was worse on me than it was on her...I was asst coach..but the only one that was there every game. Not one of the kids wanted to be there..the parents were awful..(why isn't my kid pitching this game?...your kid stood there last game...yada yada) pitching my patootie...wet noodles and two parents running around the outfield..LMAO! My daughter standing on the pitchers mound spitting every 3 sec because thats what pitchers do...WOW! Finish it out...its going to be painful..but its going to be one of those memories that you will never forget. GET LOTS OF PICTURES!

2 moms found this helpful

He is only 4 and he isn't going to have any earth shattering epiphanies about not being a quitter. Go ahead and let him quit. I don't blame him, T-ball is exceedingly boring!

2 moms found this helpful

Yep--that pretty much describes most kids in their first year of tball, I remember when my son (and his team) was 4, they'd be in the outfield swatting bugs, sitting in the grass, digging in the dirt behind the backstop--LOL I think it's adorable. They're too young to be expected to pay total attention to the whole game at that age and he's doing good if he's running to first base after a hit and retrieving the ball if he's in the field. If he likes it, let him keep going. I'd let the manager and the coach deal with him while he's playing. Just sit on the bleachers and watch.
My son is now 7 and is chomping for his first baseball practice tomorrow night. You'll be amazed at the difference between this year and next year!

2 moms found this helpful

Don't be too discouraged, he's pretty young! But I would say have him stick it out for many reasons. 1) teach him that you don't let your team down 2) finish what you start 3) quitting isn't an option 4) he'll think twice before asking or agreeing to be in sport
Again he is just a little guy and I've watched t-ball through baseball for many years and he's being VERY typical! Make him participate as much as you can without it becoming a nightmare for all of you. This is very much a learning experience for him and you and your husband. My son HATED baseball the first year, but I wouldn't let him quit. The next year he asked again and I told him, if you sign up you WILL stick it out. He was 7. Now he's almost 16, has played every year and loves it. He's now starting firstbaseman, and this year starting pitcher! You just never know unless you make them try! Good luck and try to just have fun with the whole thing

1 mom found this helpful

This is exactly the debate in our house over the years. These are my thoughts.....I get the lesson about sticking with something and not quitting. You can't just quit things that you don't like or get too tough. However, when they are that little, I don't think they have the capacity to understand the concept. Plus, if you make him stay with it and he ends up LOATHING baseball, he'll never want to try it again. He may also not want to try anything new for fear he'll be stuck with it for months. Plus, if he's standing in the outfield, not paying attention, he might get hurt. Granted, I'm not sure there's anyone on the team who could actually hit the ball to the outfield, but he could get hit by another player running after the ball. Baseball/t-ball requires kids with more of an attention span. My oldest is a sports nut, so he was always engaged. My 9 year old, definitely does not have the sports gene, so baseball (which requires a lot of down time) is not his sport. I'm ok with kids of this age playing sports if it's all for fun and learning the absolute basics. However, if the kid is really not interested and wants to sit on the bench, I say let him. 4 is really young. Now, if he is playing a sport at age 6 or 7 and doesn't want to finish, I'd make him finish. At that age, they have a much better understanding of what it means to finish what you start and not letting the team down, etc. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

That kind of behavior is typical of a 4-year old. He probably only has a few minutes of attention span so standing out there in the field must be pretty boring! I teach gymnastics to 4-year olds and they can't stand in line for 4 seconds! I think I'd be bored standing out in the outfield. I don't blame him for being bored at all.

I think this is not the right place for him to learn the "finish what you started" lesson. Right now all he'll learn is to hate T-ball. I'd remove him from the team and try again when he's older.

The "finish what you started" lesson at his age is better taught when it comes to short projects like coloring a picture, etc. He'll never grasp the big concept of finishing out a season. Maybe a game, but not the entire season.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Make him finish. You wouldn't want to send the message to him that is' OK to quit when he gets bored with something.
My husband is a soccer coach at the YMCA and every year the same kids start and quit when they're "bored" with it. It's a pretty big hassle for the parents of the other children as well...and the kids know they can do it every year.

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