Monday, May 25, 2015
I COACH, BECAUSE I LOVE THE GAME
Ever since I can remember baseball has been part of my life. There are pictures of me from the 1980's at two or three years old wearing a goofy Yankees hat hitting in my backyard. As far as I can remember baseball has been 'my thing'. My friends and everyone I know associates me with the game of baseball. Since I started tee-ball as a little kid, there has only been one summer I did not coach or play and that was last summer, 2014. I missed it so much and I am lucky enough to be back in the dugout teaching the game I love!
After coaching for eight years at the American Legion level, my family and I moved to Westfield, Massachusetts from Connecticut to be closer to my job and it took a couple years for me to find an 'in' with a local organization. I'm an assistant coach now for a Babe Ruth team and it's a lot of fun, but competitive. Westfield has the honor of hosting the 14 year-old New England Regional Tournament this summer and the absolute biggest honor in Babe Ruth Baseball, as we are hosting the 14 year-old Babe Ruth World Series in 2016! It's going to be pretty awesome!
As great as coaching young players is, it has its challenges. Whether it's dealing with the players who are still maturing and need to be taught lessons of respect and discipline at times, or parents who are more concerned with their son/daughter than the team, or making the right decisions as a coach making sure you're fair to the players but also teaching them to right way to do things on the field and in life. By the way, our parents are great, but I have had my experiences.
I'm a bit old school in some senses and I expect certain things: Respect the game, your coaches, umpires and your opponents and teammates, shirts are tucked in, hats are on forward, there is no walking on the field, unless you're the pitcher, and I expect the team to have energy and chatter throughout the game. It seems like these kind of things have been more and more overlooked over time and I want to bring it back some. I'm not asking too much, am I?
Now, I have noticed that a lot of kids nowadays are given a pat on the back for everything, whether they do it correctly or not. If they mess up or don't hustle, I will let them know and correct them. Then make them do it again! If they succeed or perform well in a drill or during a game, I praise them equally. The, as I put it, "It's OK little Timmy" thing has got to go at a point. That point, in my opinion is right around the time they make the transition to the big diamond.
The group I'm coaching is a great group. They screw around some and that's just fine, at times. But there are also times to be serious and times to have fun.
I like the phrase, "work hard, play hard." If they bust their butts and put forth the effort in drills, we can have some fun at the end of the practice.
That's how I coach. Do you agree? Disagree? Comment... let me know what you think.
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