It’s time to celebrate!! This week Coaching Made Easier hit #1 in its category.Thanks to all of you who helped make that possible.It was exciting for me to see my book ahead of Cal Ripkin Jr’s coaching book.Tell your coaching friends to check it out and thanks again for your support.
One of the fantastic side benefits of your days as a coach is the relationships that are established in two ways.First and most important is your impact on the lives of your players.Like it or not, you ARE a role model for these young men – they look up to you and watch your every move.I used to have parents that would come to me on the sly and ask if I could “encourage” little Johnny to do this or that.It seems that he would listen to me more so than his mom or dad.They also pay close attention to your “discussions” with umpires.Be aware of the little eyes that are watching you (see my December 2008 post).
In addition to the relationships that are established with your players you will also find that great friends are made with the parents of your players.My wife and I still socialize with several couples that we met at the ball field over the years.
These relationships became evident recently when I had an opportunity to do a book signing at a local Barnes & Nobles.The place was packed with parents and former players lined up to have me sign a copy of their book.One dad told me that his son had cancelled a rather important date to be at my signing.Others drove home for the weekend from their colleges.It was extremely gratifying to see them and reminisce about the good ole days of the “Birds”.
Be aware of the impact you are having on young lives and be cognizant of the fact that you are possibly making some life-long friends with their parents.Treasure the experience – it goes by quickly.
As fall baseball season is upon us, you should use this time to bone up on your coaching skills.Try things in the fall that you can refine and pull out in the spring.Most leagues view fall ball as instructional time and you, as a coach, should view it in the same light.
One of my favorite coaches is John Wooden, head coach of the UCLA basketball team from 1964 – 1975.During that time he fielded one strong team after another and won an unprecedented 10 NCAA titles in his 12 years.He conducted every practice the same whether he was preparing for the NCAA championship game or a warm-up game with a lesser opponent.He hammered his teams on basics.One of my favorite stories about him is what he put his players through on their very first practice each year.He would spend an entire practice on teaching his players (most were blue chip recruits) on the proper way to lace up their sneakers, put their shoes on, and tie them.This was so juvenile but it illustrates how he focused on the details of the game.
At all of your practices, and especially in the fall, teach and re-teach the fundamentals:bunting, sliding, base running, and, yes, even lacing your cleats properly.If it was good enough for a 10-time NCAA basketball champion, it’s good enough for us.