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Prince George Youth Baseball Association seeking continuation of success



Before the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out its 2020 season, the Prince George Youth Baseball Association was developing a reputation as one of the most successful programs in Western Canada. When play resumes, the PGYBA will take a swing at building on its momentum.

But, assuming there is a 2021 season, it’s likely to be one of adjustments and challenges.

“I’m hoping that by the time May rolls around, which is when our season starts, they’ll have enough vaccine that they’ll allow us to play games within our own community, which would allow house teams to take part,” said PGYBA president Carmen Martin.

“And then my hopes would be to at least allow our all-star kids – even if they’re practicing together and there aren’t normal tournaments per se – to get into a cohort bubble with somebody closer. So like Kamloops is the next closest place to us for baseball. To get them down there, even for a couple weekends here and there to play some games (would be important). I feel that if we can’t get some of these kids some games this year we’re going to lose some who will choose to play elsewhere – they’re going to move for the summer or find a different place to play. Or we’re just going to lose the numbers.”

Prince George is a city of about 75,000 people, located in north central British Columbia, six hours by car from Kamloops.

In geographically-isolated Prince George, the popularity of youth baseball tends to rise and fall with the fortunes of the Toronto Blue Jays. When the Jays are hot, so is baseball in the city known as B.C.’s Northern Capital.

In the handful of years prior to 2016, registration in the PGYBA sat between 350 and 400 players. From 2016 onward, numbers ballooned to a high of around 600 and settled out at 522 for the 2019 season.

In the all-star ranks, teams from Prince George produced a gratifying string of success stories during that four-year span. In 2016 the 18U Knights hosted and won the BC Minor Baseball Association midget double-A provincial championship tournament. The 18U Knights repeated as champs the following year and also claimed gold at the Baseball BC provincials before they capped their season with a silver medal at Western Canadians.

In 2018, the 15U Knights battled to a silver-medal finish at their BC Minor Baseball championship. Then, in a sparkling 2019 season, the 18U Knights, 15U Knights and 13U Knights all came home with gold from their provincial tournaments.

For an association on a roll, Martin said losing the 2020 season to the pandemic was “terrible.” Prior to the March 2020 lockdown, the PGYBA had been running its annual indoor training program at the Northern Sport Centre fieldhouse on the University of Northern British Columbia’s Prince George campus. Higher-level players (18U, 15U, 13U, 11U all-stars) benefited from about 10 weeks of practice before COVID-19 brought everything to a halt.

“We were not able to get back on the indoor fields, just based on the rules,” Martin said. “We could have probably gotten back on the (outdoor) fields earlier than we hoped (but) the unfortunate part is, without PGYBA running a league, nobody maintains those fields. Besides mowing of the outfields, the City doesn’t really maintain the infields. That falls to the league and it was kind of hard to get volunteers when there was COVID.”

As spring turned into summer, players from the 18U Knights were really the only ones able to throw the ball around. Thanks to some behind-the-scenes organizational efforts, they got onto the Prince George Senior Men’s Baseball League field for some limited sessions.

“They were able to get out a little bit but, overall, PGYBA, we didn’t do anything last year,” Martin said. “We just thought, ‘We’re going to take the year off, figure things out, regroup, and hopefully be ready to go this year.’”

In preparation for this season, the PGYBA has already opened registration. One positive development is the fact several families who paid their fees for the lost 2020 campaign told the league to keep the money and use it for 2021. Martin appreciates the show of faith. In return, the PGYBA is giving some of those families a bit of a financial break.

“Depending on what age group your child is in, your registration amount is different,” Martin said. “We told people if they left their money with us, even if their child moved up a division and it cost more money to register them this year, we would keep the payment from last year and we wouldn’t worry about it.”

Overall, Martin is staying positive and taking a day-by-day approach to the resumption of baseball. All-star players – under the guidance of former minor pro Craig Langille and ex-National-level baseball and softball player Craig Horswell – have started their indoor training at the Northern Sport Centre. As well, the PGYBA is offering Sunday indoor sessions for house-level players who want to get back in the game. These on-field opportunities are being carried out in adherence to COVID-19 health and safety protocols and, in Martin’s view, are good first steps.

“I’m happy that we’re doing winter ball – I’m like, ‘OK, that’s a win we can offer this right now,’” said Martin, who is also the northern representative on the BC Minor Baseball board of directors. “That will take us through to March and then I’m going to be like, ‘OK, now what’s April-May going to look like? What can we next offer?’ In one breath, things are changing slowly, it feels like, and then in the next minute in terms of sports and stuff, things can change so drastically so it’s kind of hard to make a long-term plan.”

Jason Peters is a freelance writer and editor based in Prince George, British Columbia. Visit his website at

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jim Swanson

    February 25, 2021 at 10:09 pm

    Great story, JP

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BC Minor Baseball

10 Ways You’re Causing Your Child Sport-Induced Stress



Participating in a sport is supposed to be fun. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association estimates that 9 percent of all children use sports to help manage stress. For those children, sports can be fun, but for many children, sports can be extremely stressful.

Children taking part in competitive sports often feel stressed, but the cause of that stress may be surprising to some parents. Often, it isn’t the coaches or your children’s teammates that are causing the stress; it could be you — and you may not even know you’re doing it! Are you guilty of any of these stress-inducing behaviors? Avoid stressing your child out during sports activities by remembering these stressful behaviors parents engage in during games, practices or even around the house.

1. Talking About Your Own Great Sports Accomplishments

Sharing your own sports accomplishments may be inspiring to your child, but if you keep bringing them up, it could become stressful. Many children experience sport-induced stress from hearing stories about how great their parents were at a sport because they feel they have to accomplish the same things their parents did.

2. Comparing Your Child to Other Team Members/Children

Children have their own unique talents and abilities when it comes to a certain sport. Comparing them to other children or other teammates could produce feelings of anxiety and stress, especially when they are unable to perform the same skills or at the same level as the other child.

3. Turning into a Bleacher Coach

You may think coaching from the sidelines is offering your child extra support or help, but it really is just confusing them. Children will feel extreme levels of stress with “bleacher” coaching from parents because they do not know to whom to listen for advice. Should they do what the coach is telling them, or should they listen to their parent?


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4. Making Sports the Center of Your (and Your Child’s) World

Yes, there are a lot of things that can come from engaging in sports. Scholarships, wonderful opportunities to travel and even jobs, but there is no reason it should become the center of your world or your child’s. What if they want to try a different sport or they get injured? Sports may not always be there, and if it’s all you talk about, your child will feel obligated to stay in sports long after they no longer want to play.

5. Arguing with the Coach Over Sports Decisions

If all parents had their way, their children would play in every game the entire time. But that decision rests with the coaches, not the parents — and for good reason. Don’t spend the time arguing with the coaching staff about how often your child is playing. It is embarrassing and stressful for your child!

6. Living Vicariously Through Your Child

It’s natural to want what is best for your child, but when it comes to sports, you have to follow your child’s lead and let them pick the sports they want to take part in. Introduce your children to a sport you played when you were younger, but don’t force them to play just because you loved it and want to relive the good old days.

7. Making Every Game Seem Like Life or Death

No parent likes to see their child lose, and you don’t want to encourage a child to have a “who cares?” attitude, but it is important to make sure winning isn’t everything. When winning is everything, a child will feel tremendous pressure to impress all the time.

8. Forcing Extra Practice Sessions

Children need practice to succeed at sports, but scheduling several extra practice sessions a week can be overwhelming to youngsters and stressful/harmful on the body. Feel free to encourage your children to practice, but don’t force them to practice for hours in addition to their regular practice sessions.


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9. Overbooking Your Child’s Schedule

It is tempting to want to sign up a child for every sport they show a remote interest in, but many sports seasons overlap. The overlapping season leads to an overbooked schedule for your child, which leaves them tired, cranky and experiencing sports-induced stress. Pick one or two sports to focus on. It will be enough to keep you and your child busy.

10. Missing Important Family Events for Minor Sports Events

Scheduling conflicts between your child’s sports team and family events are inevitable. If the family event is important to you or other family members, skipping it could cause your child to feel an overwhelming amount of stress or guilt. After all, you’d be missing something important because of their interest in a sport.


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BC Minor Baseball

Communicate Instantly and Get Real-Time Game Updates with TeamSnap Live!



We’re thrilled today to take the wraps off an exciting new feature that will change the way you interact with TeamSnap. TeamSnap Live! not only gives you the opportunity to instantly send updates and messages to your team through the Locker Room, this in-app feature also allows coaches, parents and fans to share the live game experience.

TeamSnap Live! brings the whole team together by making it easier for coaches, managers, parents and fans to keep up with the action, on the sidelines or miles from the game.

Some of you may have tried TeamSnap Live! through our testing period this fall, but it’s now available to all TeamSnap users. This new feature brings score updates, sideline banter, play-by-plays, instant communication and more to your mobile device.

It lets you experience the real-time action of the game no matter where you are:

  • Missing the travel soccer tournament because someone had to stay home.
  • In a meeting but wishing you were at your daughter’s hockey game.
  • Out of town but want to know how your grandson is doing in his basketball game.
  • Awaiting trial at sea in the ship’s brig but wondering how the baseball game went.

ios-feedTo begin using TeamSnap Live!, simply follow these steps:

  1. Important! Make sure you have the latest version of TeamSnap on your phone (that’s 3.0.3 on Apple and 3.0.4 on Android) and that in your phone’s settings, notifications are enabled for TeamSnap. The Live Update feature will not work without notifications. (If you’re not sure how to manage updates on your phone, check out these handy instructions forApple and Android. Not sure how to enable notifications? Here are instructions for Apple and Android.)
  2. Sign in to your team’s dashboard and click on the “Live!” menu item.
  3. Start chatting and entering scores!

We know you’ll find TeamSnap Live! as fun as we do, and as always, we’d love to hear your feedback or suggestions We’re also looking for stories of how customers are using TeamSnap Live! If you have a story to share with us, we just might have some free service for you!


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BC Minor Baseball

Coaching With a Purpose: Mixing Mental Lessons With Physical Ones



In just the last two decades, coaches are finally realizing the tremendous impact they can have on their win/loss record and the respect of their athletes by coaching the mental game.

There are still plenty of old-school coaches out there who ignore the reasons why such brilliant coaches as Phil Jackson, Bill Walsh and Tommy Lasorda were so successful. These coaches—and every other wildly successful coach—understand human psychology and how to get the most out of their human athletes.

The problem with old-school coaches is that in the back of their minds, they know they have an unlimited source of athletes ready to take the place the place of any athlete that just doesn’t fit with “my way of doing things.” The old-school coach may even have some success at some point and think, “That’s what I should repeat for more success.” And then the coach gets a whole new set of players who don’t respond to his rigid methods.

Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.
—Phil Jackson, Basketball’s “Zen Master”

What I recommend to coaches is to have a simple structure or framework for mental lessons that can easily be taught and referenced when working on physical skills and in competition. Make up your own or feel free to use mine:

Mental Toughness is: focused, confident, determined and resilient, especially under pressure.

Start your season by introducing your mental game structure just like you do for your physical training. Have a mental game meeting and just talk about Mental Toughness to get buy in and a basic understanding. Then, in a practice when you see mental weakness, you can highlight it and give the player a thought or technique to work on it. Because you introduced your mental training at the beginning of the season, touching back on that philosophy throughout the season will come as no surprise.

For example, a coach watches a player in practice get too angry after making a mistake. The coach could say:

“Mary, what if you got that angry/frustrated in the beginning of the game after making a mistake? Would you be able to play your best for the rest of the game? Which of the mental principles we talked about do you need to practice right now?”

If Mary can’t remember, simply remind her and give her a mental technique just like you would a physical technique. This is what practice is for: catching our mistakes and working to improve our skills, physical and mental.

I’ve observed that if individuals who prevail in a highly competitive environment have any one thing in common besides success, it is failure—and their ability to overcome it.
—Bill Walsh, West Coast Offense coaching legend

Old-school coaches give short shrift to the mental game and therefore set themselves up to all sorts of problems with their players that only show up in competition because they have not been practiced in advance.

The quote from Bill Walsh above is such common sense that it needs no explanation, yet old-school coaches just figure athletes need to do this on their own, and if they don’t, well there’s another person waiting to take their place.

These coaches are throwing away amazing talent every season.

Managing is like holding a dove in your hand. Squeeze too hard and you kill it, not hard enough and it flies away.
—Tommy Lasorda, “Baseball’s Goodwill Ambassador”

If you, as a coach, are not incorporating some kind of mental game training and lessons in your program you are simply handicapping yourself—there’s no way around it. Your competition knows the value of teaching players how to shape their mind and master their emotions to be in alignment with winning. In the past generations, there were no sports psychologists or mental game experts and so coaches who figured all of this out on their own, like Vince Lombardi, had a huge edge over everyone else. Today, it’s a necessity.


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