Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I coach Little League for 1 reason. It's to make these kids know, no matter how talented they are, they can do anything if they put their minds to it.  I want the kids to experience winning, there is no question about it, after all, it's a team sport and if you win and lose as a team, you know you're in it together. But it's the individual in Little League that needs to learn about confidence, and pushing one's self to the next level.  I've made kids that thought they were catchers, better players with just a few tweaks and practice.  I've made kids into pitchers because they were never given the shot before. Why? Well, no coach wanted them there because they were afraid the team would lose. I'm not kidding. They're 12 years old. They're playing recreational Little League, but, because the coach didn't want to take the time to teach, they chose to just not put them in because they "didn't want to lose." That's a quote from a coach I know. And it's pathetic. There is nothing better than walking down the street in my town, and one of my former players yells out, "Hey Coach!"  I know my job when that happens. I feel good about what was accomplished.

This year we had a losing season, but the group of kids I managed were the happiest bunch in the world. I mean, put it in perspective, something other coaches won't do... the are 12 years old... they're just kids.  It's about having fun, not winning the whole thing every single time they're out there.  What I put in place will take them not only through their baseball career, but through life... and I take that very seriously.

I once heard a coach in my own dugout tell me that I put his son in the lineup between "2 outs". He said this out loud. I cringed.  Later in the game, his son came up to the plate and struck out with a man on third.

"Your son struck out with that automatic out on third. You can't predict baseball," I said afterward.

The lesson is clear.  Baseball is like life... you fight to succeed, but you fall more times than not.  In the end though, life, or baseball goes on.

What's this all about? Coaching kids and how to mold them. It's not about having a 12-0 season, but to know they can do it, if they try their best. Win or lose, the effort, the confidence, the determination, the goal needs to be there.

This is Rhode Island Little League coach Dave Belisle talking to his kids after they lost to the Jackie Robinson West team of Chicago. It's truly inspirational and refreshing:

Inspiration. Pass it on.

Well done, Coach Belisle. I hope all the coaches in my area learn from you!

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