Monday, April 16, 2012

Is Your Baseball Coach In It For You? Or For Themselves?

This article comes from a member of's Network of Academies and Teams, The Baseball Zone. Be sure to check out this and many other informative posts from Canada's leading baseball training academy.

Is Your Baseball Coach In It For You? Or For Themselves?

Over the years I have seen and played for a lot of different coaches spanning various sports. Most of us have. And they can be categorized in many different ways – a yeller versus a quiet, thoughtful approach; more technical versus motivational; organized versus “winging it”; and so on. I submit to the readers now a new category – coaches that work for you versus working for themselves.

What I mean by this category is the following – does the coach ramble on and on with no apparent organization to their sermon, or do they come across as having a clear and concise goal for that particular session? The human mind – as powerful as it is – has a very difficult time being consciously aware of more than one new concept at a time. So is the coach focusing their efforts on a singular, EFFECTIVE goal or are they taking every opportunity to just spew information, whether germane to the overall intentions or not, just to show how knowledgeable they are to the masses? Is it truly about you? Or them?

In my opinion, the greatest coach who has ever lived (at least in North American contemporary times) is the college basketball legend John Wooden (did you know his favourite sport was baseball?). Coach Wooden called himself an average game coach but a great practice coach. Why? Well no matter how many championships he won (10 NCAA titles by the way) he maintained the humility and discipline to prepare for every practice. He even kept the practice plans for every single one he ever conducted until the day he died. He never thought he was too good to prepare. He had a clear and concise goal or goals for every practice and every drill, whether they were individual or team based. Certainly after 10 or 5 or even 2 or 1 National Championships he could have easily just cruised a bit and gone on without a plan wowing them every day with his knowledge and what he had accomplished in the past, right? But would that be serving the players or him?

Wooden and other great, genuine coaches are not victims of what some have coined “The Me Disease” – the belief that things happen (good or bad) because of who you are, not because of what you do. With Wooden it was never about who he was. It was about the responsibility he took in his position of leading young men, and developing and maintaining the constant effort and discipline it took to provide them with what he felt they deserved. It was about what he did and he knew how easily that could slip away if he started believing it was about who he was. It was that humility and LACK of self-importance that kept him so great for so long.

So the next time you are deciding on a new coach or deciding whether or not to keep a coach, ask them – and yourself – what they are doing for you when you are not working together. Are they taking time and putting forth great effort to synthesize, prepare and implement a development plan for you? Or not? Are they planning out the next practice or groups of practices for the team or group? Or not? Are they of the mind that it is an honour for them to be working for you? Or the other way around? Is success about what they do? Or who they are? Simply put – Are they in it for you? Or are they in it for themselves?

Good luck in searching for a coach you deserve. I hope this helps.

Mike McCarthy, Co-Founder - The Baseball Zone

1 comment:

  1. Hey Mike,
    Great post, I think every parent should have to read this before choosing a caoch or decideing if a coach is a good coach. Thanks for your blog.

    Brian Niswender
    Co Founder