Why '23' Should be the Most Important Number to You

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by: Paul Reddick

This is reality:

• 6.4 million little leaguers are playing baseball right now.

• 1,000 players are in the major leagues.

• The odds of your son ever making a living playing baseball are minuscule.

• This is why “23” should be the most important number for you.

Why “23?”

Here’s why:

At the age of 23 (or around there), your son will take his first steps into the real world.

He’ll go beyond college, beyond school, and beyond support systems built around his success into a world where he has to plan his own future, actively working as an advocate for himself, seeking out a career and relying on everything he’s learned to set and achieve goals.

At the age of 23, he’ll begin truly experiencing independent life.

And at age 23, his baseball skills may be totally useless.

The odds of his skills and all the time spent building them being useless are very high.

I’ve met way too many 23-year-olds unprepared for life outside of baseball, and it’s all because of the way we raise our baseball players.

The only thing many of our 23-year-old star players know is baseball.

This usually dawns on them around age 20. They realize that they’re not going to drafted and they try to stuff 20 years of preparation into the last 2 years of college.

Now, baseball can produce many positive qualities, if we focus on them.

Baseball is a great tool to teach values, sportsmanship, hard work, dedication, discipline, team work and fair play, but only if we let it.

When the focus is just on winning, succeeding or being in that tiny percentage of players who will play professionally.

One of the biggest problems I help players with when they are done with baseball is social development.

I talk to 23-year-old men who don’t know how to make friends. It’s because baseball players get handed their friends every March, “Hey, here's 15 new friends for you.” Every year they get few new friends along with the ones they were handed last year.

They never learn to go out and make friends on their own. They go into the real world, and they're around a diverse range of people that don't all share love of baseball, don't have a common goal and now they need to work and get along with them.

Your job as a dad is to change this.

This funnel represents all of the time you have to help your son navigate the world.

The funnel is very wide when your kids are younger.

At age 7, there’s a lot of room. At age 20, there’s much less room to fill.

Everything that goes into that funnel has to produce a great man by age 23.

What I’d like to challenge you to ask as you read this book is this: What needs to go into this funnel now that's going to produce a great man, who can thrive in the world at 23?

Baseball might go into the funnel, but you're really looking for the tools and the values that baseball produces in that funnel, right?

Beyond baseball, all of these things need to go into the 23 Funnel:

• Responsibility
• Academics
• Social development
• Friendships outside of baseball
• Trust
• Some tough lessons
• Faith
• Family time
• Other sports
• Love
• How to respect coaches and teammates
• How to respect women

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This is an excerpt from Reddick’s book “The 5-6-7 Dad”. To receive a free copy of the book, go to 567DAD.com.