I always feel like it’s an existential question this time of year as I get ready for a new season. I am so excited.
I’ve coached youth baseball since 1998 and I was so happy cleaning out all my baseball stuff last week — sorting all the balls — organizing the shelves in the garage.
Seems like the more I do it the more fun I have.
So aside from entertaining me, the question is does coaching matter?
Well my fall team did win their playoffs and the league championship so I’d like to thing the answer is yes.
The question is, if you gave the same kids to a different coach how much differently would they have performed?
I think the answer is that it matters. Proving it is hard, as you can’t really take the same kids and hand them to different coaches and see what happens. Even if you took the exact team and handed it off, they would all be a year older and things would be different — their competition would be different so I guess we’ll never know.
Well let’s just say that I like to think it matters. I think having good teachers has helped me and I always remember the good ones and they made all the difference. I loved baseball when I was little and I never had a coach that taught me much of anything. So I guess I feel like I’m sort of righting the wrongs of the past.
I really saw some great changes in kids in the fall. Kids who looked like they weren’t sure then wanted to play to kids who, after a few practices, started looking forward to practice.
So please make your practices fun — if you need ideas that aren’t already on the website or in my book please email me and I’ll help you make them fun. There’s no reason for practice to be boring. As we sit here in January where in a lot of places the weather makes it hard to play outside, start thinking about how to make practice as fun as possible.
I think making practices fun is at the heart of making practice matter. And then inside of the umbrella of fun, we have to add the teaching moments. The opporunty to show players good mechanics and the opportunity to teach them a little about the core decisions to have to made during the game.
My favorite story from the fall was one player who was pulling his head a lot and I encouraged him to try the cement feet drill as I thought that if he wasn’t moving his feet his head wasn’t moving. He started doing cement free right before he stepped into the batters box —and he started CRUSHING THE BALL. Nothing more fun than having success and having some advice you give a player turn into success.
So yeah, coaching matters.