Thursday, May 8, 2014


You’re on my radar. You’re being watched. Oh, and for the record, you’re a coach, not a prophet.

Coaching is a fascinating and important job. What you do to inspire kids will carry them further in their baseball career and if you do it correctly, they will learn life lessons from you as well. You probably didn’t even know that, did you?  You’re a builder of confidence. You're a teacher of good baseball habit and skill and you need to remember to make the experience about the kids, not yourself.  Somewhere along the way, you’ve forgotten about that and I know that because you’ve managed to sit kids way longer than they should be sitting and you’ve managed to ignore questions and concerns from parents.  You are a coach. You have the most important job on the field…you’re supposed to be a leader. You're not supposed to ignore.

Sure, you need to be competitive. Every team needs to be, but winning a championship and acting like an asshole does not bring kids back to the game the following year.  Winning AND losing will teach your young team much more believe it or not. Your young players need to know that they are the greatest player on the field as an individual, but they play better together… as a team.  That is what it’s all about. It's about molding kids, not walking passed them and killing their confidence.

It’s about Character, Courage and Loyalty. You know, the motto of what Little League is.  That doesn’t just go for the kids, it goes for you too.  Wake up.  It’s not about you putting the championship trophy on your own living room mantle. It’s about the experience you give the kids.  Sadly, when you forget that, you get grumpy and you shout to “Throw Strikes” and “Hit the ball.” Really? Thanks for those obvious statements.  An 11 year old, a 14 year old... even a 9 year old knows that already and they're trying, but why don’t you teach them how?  Why don’t you break down their mechanics in a way that’s nurturing and educational?  Why don’t you show them how to hit the ball off a tee, making sure their head is down and their eyes are on the ball rather than grabbing them by the shoulders and shoving them into position?   That doesn’t do anything but annoy parents and make a kid anxious.  Wake up! Again, you took the job, now do it CORRECTLY.

And another thing;  Don’t lose patience.  If you do, you clearly aren’t the right coach for the job.  Don’t act like “it’s so hard.” We know it’s hard. That’s why plenty DIDN’T volunteer, but at the same time, if you can’t handle it, ask for help or don’t do it.  Don’t try to be a hero. Try and be a solid coach.  No one feels bad for you, because again, it’s not about you, it’s about mentoring the kids and getting them to play like a team, win OR lose.  Don’t be Daddy baseball. We get it, your kid can play. So can 11 others on your team.  Spread the talent around and sit your own once in a while.  If a kid can’t play a position, teach them how. That’s your job remember?

And while I’m on the subject, I’m tired of hearing from you about how a kid “can’t” play a position.  Why not?  Isn’t that what practice is for?  Stop playing your “Core 4” in the infield and teach your team how to play each position. It's easy to coach with talent. Now try coaching without talent and make them believe.

Trust me, no one’s gonna die if a grounder rolls under their legs once in a's baseball, that happens once in a while.  The next time, teach them how to NOT let that happen. Oh, and instead of having your players run 5 laps alone, get your fat ass out there and you run with them.  Instead of telling a third baseman to get on the edge of the grass for a hot shot, show them where to stand.  Yup, coaching is the toughest job in the world… if you do it right.  

Now before you get your back up about me, know that I’m a parent, and I'm also a coach for several years. I speak to you with knowledge, not just bluster.  Learn from me, because you may think you have it all figured out, but you don’t because if you did, you’d have a stack of "Thank you" notes on your mantle like I do. Yup, that’s right, I’d rather hold onto those letters of Thanks after a season than have a championship any day of the week. Why? because those notes ARE our championship.  The goal is to teach and provide stability, confidence and the will and desire to want to come back to baseball for as long as they believe in themselves.  Hey, if your goal is to get our future baseball players to go play lacrosse… you’re doing a helluva job.  Now try it my way… teach them!  Make them believe! Give them goals on the field and make sure they achieve them!  In the end, you will win and so will the kids, whether that trophy is on the mantle or not.

So yeah, you’re on my radar. You’re being watched. Oh and for the record, you’re a coach, not a prophet.

Character, Courage & Loyalty, for the kids… for you… write that down.

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