“The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life” by Mike Matheny and Jerry Jenkins
Baseball, coaching, youth sports, Cardinals
February 3, 2015
4 of 5 stars (very good)
Mike Matheny has enjoyed success in his baseball career, both as a player and as the current manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. He holds many views about the game that would be considered “old-school” and has applied those thoughts to both baseball and life when he has coached youth baseball. These beliefs and what he does with his young players has been communicated in a letter he gives all parents titled the “Matheny Manifesto.” It has become an Internet sensation, but more importantly, it has become a code by which other coaches and parents of youth sports participants would be well to follow.
The book has many pieces of advice that nearly everyone involved in youth sports has heard, such as let the kids make mistakes without being overly critical and that the coach is always right, even if he or she is not. There are some topics that might be surprising, especially in today’s specialized youth sports culture. Matheny advises parents to let a kid try all the sports he or she wants to play instead of determining early which one would be “the one.” He also speaks out against the culture of rewarding every participant for being present. On that topic, he simply says that this kind of reinforcement does not prepare the child for the inevitable failure that he or she will face in real life.
Matheny also talks about his faith in one chapter, but does not preach nor expect anyone else to also wear his or her faith on the sleeve. Instead, he simply explains how his Christian faith has helped shape his values and I thought this was one of the better written chapters in the book. His account of his playing and managing career in the major leagues was also very good and it tied in nicely with the points he was trying to make regarding youth sports.
This book is one that should be read by anyone involved in youth sports, no matter the role. While some readers may not follow every bit of advice not wish to read about Matheny’s faith, the book as a whole is a good reminder that these athletes are still kids, and these games should be about them and not the adults.
I wish to thank NetGalley for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Did I skim?
Pace of the book:
Very good – the breakdown of each chapter into smaller sections on a certain topic makes reading the book easier. If the reader just wants to read certain parts for reference or review, this format makes that easier as well.
Book Format Read: