… because I might change my mind.

NaBloPoMo 2009 Day 8 — Thoughts from a coaches meeting

Last spring I helped coach a little league baseball team. It was a group of 10-, 11- and 12-year-old kids. I enjoyed it so much that I am helping again this season. You might be thinking, “It’s early November; why are you talking about baseball now? The World Series just ended. Didn’t the off-season just start?” I could understand your confusion. But alas, tonight I went to a meeting of the coaches in our league in preparation for next spring. The meeting was called by a couple of parents who serve on the park’s board. One of the topics raised by the board members was the level of instruction on fundamentals that the players receive. The message was that some parents had raised some concerns that the instruction varied depending on which team their sons happened to be drafted on. In an effort to “help” the coaches, the park is going to pay to send all of us to a coaches’ clinic to give us some ideas to help us. I think I heard the phrases “another tool for the tool box” and “sharpen our saws” about 8 times throughout the meeting.

I love watching people attempt to deliver subtle messages and then soft sell the real point because they’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. The real point was that the park thinks that some coaches are not giving their all, and the kids and parents can tell. While the park realizes that we’re not paid for any of our time, it’s only right that if you volunteer to coach, perhaps you should actually coach.
I see nothing wrong with delivering that message. Personally, I don’t get it when I look around at how other coaches are doing things (or not doing things). Why bother? I understand that it can be difficult when your team may not win a lot of games, but there’s more to coaching than just winning games. And even if this year’s team may not win a lot, the players you have who will come back next year can learn a lot if you take the time. There also are lessons that can be taught beyond the game itself. Hard work. The value of practice. Being a part of a team. The lessons learned through failure. Perseverance. Endurance. The list goes on and on.
The other interesting thing about providing the coaches’ clinic is that there are a lot places to find instructional assistance. The first one is Google! You can google baseball practice or baseball instruction and find hundreds of sites with ideas. But you have to want to find the information first. It doesn’t take much effort.
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