What’s Up? Communication Skills in These Modern Times.

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By Mark Helsel,
US Elite Baseball National Director

Many college kids struggle with choosing a major. I was no different. I wasn’t good at math, I had no interest in science. In fact, I had no particular interests in any fields. Choosing a major for me became a process of elimination. In the end, I earned a degree from Mercer University in 1985 in Interpersonal Communication Skills. My degree has served me well. Almost every facet of our lives is affected by our ability, or inability, to communicate with others.

It’s no secret that our younger generation faces a big challenge when it comes to mastering the art of communicating with others. In short, they have more methods to communicate than previous generations. You name it, Facebook, Twitter, Texting, Snapchat, Instagram, Skype, you get the point. Who needs to talk to anyone (verbally) when there are so many other ways to communicate? Of course, we all know the answer is “everyone”. And therein lies the problem, especially for our younger generation. They still need to learn how to talk to people.

I’ve chosen to make my profession baseball, and my mission to impact the lives of our players long after their playing days are over. I am particularly interested in helping our players become more effective communicators. Yes, it is a monumental task. But, it is worth it. I keep it simple, and start slowly.

One of the first opportunities to communicate effectively is when we meet someone for the first time. We’ve all heard the saying, “you get one chance to make a first impression”. It’s very true. At US Elite Baseball we  spend a lot of time talking to our players about that first interaction with another person. As crazy as it sounds, we actually practice it with our players. The keys to making a great first impression are speaking with confidence (clearly, loudly and using your name), using  a firm handshake, looking the person in the eyes, and finally, using their name. Using Sir, Mr., Mrs., or Coach is a must. Communicating is also about showing respect. Sounds simple right? Maybe so, but if you pay close attention to how effective many teens are at this skill, you will find that many are not polished.

Want to make a difference in your player’s life today? Teach him the skill of making a great first impression. It will last him a lot longer than the skill of hitting a curve ball.


Mark and Dotty at Olive Garden 2Mark Helsel is the National Director of US Elite Baseball. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He has been married to his wife, Dotty, since 1993 and together they have three children, Christian, Lexi and Zack. Mr. Helsel is a published author, a professional public speaker and has been a successful entrepreneur since 1991.