Jack Perconte has played major league baseball, taught kids for 19 years and dealt with parent/kid relationships for those years (including raising his own kids). He joins us today to talk about his latest book, Raising an Athlete: How to Instill Confidence, Build Skills and Inspire a Love of Sport.
Shelagh: Please tell everyone a bit about yourself, Jack.
Jack: I played major league baseball before becoming a full time baseball and softball instructor. Through my sports academy, I was around youth sports day in and day out for 19 years. I have helped numerous athletes further their skills and I like to believe that I was teaching life skills at the same time. I have written two books: Raising an Athlete: How to Instill Confidence, Build Skills and Inspire a Love of Sport and The Making of a Hitter: A Proven and Practical Step-by-Step Baseball Guide
Shelagh: When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?
Jack: Always had the desire to write a book but never had the time until selling my sports academy. I love writing about sports issues with the objective to help youth have great sporting experiences. I began writing 3 years ago and haven’t stopped since.
Shelagh: When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?
Jack: Most people agree that sports should be about kids having fun. Unfortunately, too often that is not the case. The best way to help kids is through the education of adults. By advising parents through my writing, I believe it will help kids and parents to enjoy sports. Additionally, playing athletics provide parents with numerous opportunities to teach life lessons to their kids, so I try to help them look for and teach those life lessons.
4. Briefly tell us about your latest book. In Raising an Athlete, I combine my playing, coaching and parenting experiences into an informative, fun-filled guide. I give parents and coaches concrete ways to deal with all the issues they and their kids will encounter in youth sports.
Shelagh: What’s the hook for the book?
Jack: Most parents are ill-prepared for the challenges of youth sports – issues like bad coaches, unmotivated sons and daughters, kids not having fun, kids who lack confidence, parents “pushing” kids too hard, athletic burnout, and on and on – I help them find solutions for these issues and ways to keep sports “in perspective.”
Shelagh: How do you develop characters and setting?
Jack: Characters are based on athletes that I played with or against, coaches that I have played under or worked with and parents that I have dealt with in my many years around youth sports. Additionally, many stories were based on incidents that I or my kids encountered in our playing careers. The sites are the athletic playing fields of America, so to speak.
Shelagh: These issues have always been around, why does it seem like the negative athletic situations are getting more prominent?
Jack: First of all, more kids are playing sports than ever, due largely in part to the growth of female athletes over the last 20 years. Secondly, fewer scholarships are available and the pressure to get them is enormous. Of course, these economic times have even added to that pressure to obtain an athletic scholarship. Finally, the enormous growth of travel teams over the last few years have brought more intensity and pressure to youth sports, too. Put all these situations together, along with the information age we are in, and it feels like these negative sports stories are overwhelming.
Shelagh: Why write this book?
Jack: I felt that through my unique experiences that I could offer a practical expertise that people will relate to and learn from. Unless parents become better prepared for these challenges, many youth will continue to have disappointing athletic experiences that negatively affect their lives.
Shelagh: Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.
Jack: One reviewer (Bruce Wasser) wrote on Amazon.com the following –
“Raising an Athlete,” a book that every parent and coach should read, re-read and read again. Suffused with a love of athletics and a respect for the importance of the lessons to be gained from involvement in sports, Perconte’s writing gently, wisely and persuasively presents a framework though which adults can maximize their child’s growth — as an athlete and as a person — through athletics.”
Shelagh: What are your current projects?
Jack: I am writing an E-book about my major league playing days that will be filled with humorous, real life stories in order to give readers a glimpse of the major league baseball life. Also, I am producing a comprehensive “how to play baseball on-line class. I continue to write for a number of blogs on parenting and baseball.
Shelagh: Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
Shelagh: Thank you for joining us today, Jack.
Jack: Thanks, I appreciate your interest and questions.