Image credit: Aiden McIntyre (Photo by Bill Mitchell)
Aiden McIntyre’s career in professional baseball was extremely unlikely. McIntyre went from junior college walk-on to topping out at Double A, something he credits to passion for the game, and self-belief cultivated by his parents.
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“I owe a lot of my career to my parents, because there’s no way that I would’ve been able to play as long as I did without the support of my parents,” said McIntyre. “They allowed me to love the game of baseball wherever I was at. There was never any outside pressure of performance or certain things I needed to do as a player—they allowed me to love the game the way that I love the game, and at the talent level that I was at, at that certain time.”
Now a private pitching instructor and YouTube baseball content creator, McIntyre joined the latest episode in our ‘From Phenom to the Farm’ series on sports parenting to discuss his views on the essential role parents play in fostering a positive relationship with baseball, especially when it comes to the importance of letting their child build their own work ethic.
“Allow the kid to develop how much they want to play,” said McIntyre. “You want it so much for them, that you want to see them practice, you want to see their best—but we can’t make somebody want to practice, or how much they really love it (…) If your kid feels like they need to practice because they’re expected to, that’s a much different balance than if they want to practice and they’re willing to go out and do it themselves.”
As a pitching instructor, the time McIntyre spends with a player is minimal, and parents can be an asset to furthering the positive reinforcement of his instruction, but also a potential hindrance.
“Usually at the end of my lessons, I’ll sometimes talk to the parent on the takeaways and what we worked on, and some things that could maybe help, whether that’s just cues or things that me and the player felt like helped them during their lesson. If the parents can have that cue, that could be beneficial,” said McIntyre. “If I’m seeing somebody once a week, and they can work on something that we take away during that week, then it’s fantastic, that’s great for them (…) make sure that the communication you get with the coach doesn’t become your own idea of what that is, and you start teaching it like what we aren’t trying to do.”
It’s been a theme of this podcast series that a parent’s number one job is to keep things fun, encouraging and to be a positive presence during the highs and lows. In a game built on failure, players will look to their parents to find happiness after the 0-4 or blowout loss games.
“The joy of the game can’t be around being successful,” said McIntyre. “Because if the fun and enjoyable part of baseball is when you’re successful, you won’t last in the game of baseball.”
On the latest episode of ‘From Phenom to the Farm,’ Aiden McIntyre returns to the show to talk sports parenting. He breaks down dos and don’ts in private instruction, why parents should stay out of the way during games or practice and how to handle the car ride home.