Sunday, February 17, 2008
Guest Author #3
I've been associated with the game of baseball since my childhood days playing Little League baseball in the small rural community of Farmington, Utah. It was there that my life-long love of the game was ingrained into my being. My dad coached us boys back then, and we had a pretty good team. I don't remember where we were in the standings, somewhere near the top, I suppose; but we sure had a lot of fun. And the part I remember most, was riding in the back of my friend Ricky's Grandpa's truck over to the ice cream shop for an ice cream cone after the game. Yes, those were the good old days.
More recently, as a father of four, I have spent my time coaching my son's baseball teams in the suburbs of Houston, Texas. When I started coaching, I really didn't have a clue how to effectively work with kids. But I watched what others were doing, read as many books as I could find on the subject, tried various things to improve the skills of my players (some of which worked, and some of which didn't), tried to keep it fun for the kids, and all-in-all I did allright. My oldest son, now 17, is playing ball for Klein High School.
I learned that you shouldn't focus on winning. If you focus on winning, winning becomes almost elusive. Instead, I learned that if you practice hard on the right things, winning is the by-product, the natural consequence of the toil on the practice field. A wise man once said that those things that we persist at doing become easier, not because the nature of the thing has changed, but because our ability to do it has increased. I firmly believe that.
I put this collection of drills, tips and strategies together to help people like me have success coaching mostly younger players. If you consistently implement just a few of these drills, tips and strategies; your team can't help but improve. It's a natural consequence. And following improvement comes winning, again as a natural consequence. Anything else would defy the laws of nature.
Enjoy the book! Any suggestions you have for improving it's content should be sent via email to email@example.com.
A Coaching Reminder
Your main responsibilities as a baseball coach are to teach the
skills and strategies of baseball. Pure and simple. However,
your coaching responsibilities go beyond the playing field, and
into an area where you can really impact a young person's life.
One of the most important lessons you can offer is your value
system, including a strong work ethic and a zero-tolerance for
alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse. Your expectations regarding
these values should be loud and clear from beginning to end.
The use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs counteract nearly all of the
physical benefits of athletic competition. And it seems that
every year, drugs are abused by an ever younger generation of
kids. It's a shame, but it's also a problem with which society
must deal, as well as you and I as part of our communities.
You should state these expectations in your first pre-season
meeting with the players and their parents. You should have clear
rules regarding any penalties for violation of those rules. Let
your players know that if you catch them, you'll report them to
their parents. You may even go so far as to have your players and
their parents sign an disclosure agreement regarding your rules.
Let there be no misunderstanding!
Your players deserve a positive role model who believes in
responsible behavior with it's intrinsic rewards (and who
believes in the intrinsic consequences for irresponsible
behavior). They need a mature, adult role model; rather than a
As a trusted steward with significant influence for good, please
do your part by being the kind of person your players can emulate
and follow (as opposed to someone they can hang with or of whom
they can take advantage).
Your example in your personal practices can also be a very
powerful teaching tool. Together with your player's other role
models, we can make a difference!
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