Some dads simply don’t know what to do with their daughters. They love them, of course, but they feel awkward and are unsure how to communicate. This leads to an unfortunate distance that can have a detrimental effect on their entire relationship.
It’s sad, because the simple fact is that girls need their dads in their lives. When you become a father of daughters, yes, you’re going to have to learn about what shoes go with what dress and how to braid hair. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on things like baseball.
Teaching your daughters how to play baseball is a wonderful activity that helps strengthen the bond of your relationship and provides your child with critical life skills. Here are six reasons dads need to go out and have a catch with their daughters.
It teaches critical motor skills
It may seem odd to think about, but parents need to help teach their children how to move, run, catch, and throw. When a child is just beginning, they tend to stand there and reach out with their arms to catch a ball. Their center of balance is all off, and they don’t have any idea how to evade an incoming projectile.
Children don’t know that catching a ball begins with proper footwork. They have to get their balance under control and put their bodies in a position where they can pluck the ball out of the air. We think of catching a ball as simple, but the truth is it’s a very complex process that is almost as involved as learning how to ride a bike.
Playing catch is a great way for children to learn how to get control over their own bodies. It teaches them the twists and turns that allow them to become agile and light on their feet. As parents, we need to prepare our children for any situation, and dodging or catching a hurled projectile is certainly an important skill to have.
It gets them outside
Everybody always complains that kids these days spend too much time looking at screens. Yes, it’s true. So do something about it!
Playing baseball is a wonderful way to get outside in the fresh air and feel the sun on your face.
Playing catch is one of those activities that doesn’t sound like as much work as going for a run. However, once you get started, you’ll see your kids start to warm up and pretty soon they’ll be sprinting all around the yard.
It inspires you to give useful information
One of the most important things about developing a strong relationship with your children, or with anyone for that matter, is to just be comfortable together. When you’re focusing on teaching baseball, you are in your comfort zone. It gives you something to concentrate on, and allows you to impart useful information.
As a parent, it’s easy to feel insecure over whether you are providing your children with the knowledge they need to eventually find success and happiness. Those stresses sometimes leave you tongue tied, and you find you don’t say anything.
Going outside to toss a ball around allows you to see areas where your child needs guidance. You can tell them where to put their feet, or demonstrate the proper technique to make a throw. Instead of sitting around thinking about something useful to tell your children, you’ll be presented with dozens of visual and audio cues in areas where your children need some advice.
It is valuable together time
Sometimes it’s important for all of us to just get out of our own way and enjoy our time together. Playing baseball will put you in a good mood and allow you to focus on your daughter. Your daughter will appreciate that you are making a point to focus on her.
Together time is important, and it creates a safe place where your daughter might feel encouraged to share important things that are happening in her life.
Don’t be fooled. Although children do not have to worry about the stresses of a job or a mortgage, they have things going on that can cause them enormous stress. It’s important to have an avenue where your child has the opportunity to seek guidance if a concern develops.
Sometimes a casual comment that is dropped while you’re out having a catch, can provide you with an enormous insight as to what’s going on in the life of your daughter.
Pay attention, be present, and reflect on what she said in a quiet moment later on.
Don’t be afraid to ask a follow up question, or to discuss the moment with your wife. This is your avenue for getting into your child’s life and becoming an asset to her.
Learning to throw is not so different from learning to punch
It’s an unfortunate reality of our world that individuals need to know a little self-defense. Before you sign your daughter up for boxing or karate, take her out in the back yard and teach her to throw. She’ll have a much better understanding of balance, foot position, and body mechanics when she goes into a self-defense class.
Athleticism is important for a healthy, active life. Sometimes daughters need to be given permission to become physical.
It’s important that you let them know it’s acceptable to throw a ball as hard as they can. You might even want to encourage them to scream at the top of their lungs.
Stress builds up inside all of us, and these physical activities provide the kind of release that allows a person to retain control over her emotions.
It will be good for you too
Many men get to a point in their lives where baseball becomes a thing of the past. Before I picked up a glove to play with my daughters, I hadn’t played baseball in probably twenty-five years.
It’s amazing the memories that come flooding back when you wriggle your fingers into a glove, and you get a whiff of that distinctive combination of leather and grass.
If you’re lucky, you might get a flash of a memory of yourself back when you were eight, or ten, or thirteen. Maybe you’ll remember standing in a field with a baseball cap, squinting against the sun and surrounded by your dearest childhood friends. These are memories that have laid dormant for decades, and you’ll be grateful for them.
Remembering your own childhood is yet another way to connect with your daughter and get the most out of all your time together.
Baseball for life
It’s a wonderful thing to have a child and go out in the backyard and play. These are moments that she will remember forever, and that will bring you great personal satisfaction. Get a mush ball, tennis ball, or some other soft ball to begin with. Don’t start this with 90 mile per hour fastballs.
One thing I’d like to emphasize is that you need to begin with underhand tosses only. Your child is likely too short for you to be throwing overhand, and you might inadvertently ruin baseball forever if your first throw results in a bloody nose. Underhand guys! Seriously!
If you don’t have a glove, that’s yet another chance for a bonding moment. Take her to the sporting good store, try on a couple pairs, maybe get some ice cream, and then rush back home before the sun sets. Twenty, thirty, or even fifty years from now, I guarantee you’ll remember that day.
This post was previously published on A Parent Is Born and is republished here with permission from the author.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: Walter Rhein