A college coach made a statement that troubled me for years. “LAX and Soccer is not killing baseball and softball, poor coaching is!”
As I discussed creating passion for the game of baseball and the college coach’s comment with a psychiatrist, she stated we are designed to, “like things we are good at.” Interesting, we establish whether we are good at something based upon how others perceive us.
The realization an athlete determines whether they are good at something based upon how others perceive them is critical to revitalizing the Passion in this sport! Specifically the job of the coach, the parents, and yes, the player is to find the map, the directions, and truly understand what it takes to get better.
If we constructively assess our approach to coaching this game (a player should learn to be his own coach) I understand what the college coach meant by saying poor coaching is killing baseball and softball. I also believe most would agree, we fail at this [e.g., coaches, parents, and player].
Coaches ask yourself, are you yelling meaningless statements, “Will you please throw strikes,” “Wait longer,” or “Let it get in on you,” at our players in a “do as I say, not as I do” approach. If they don’t get it, we yell louder or make them run.
Parents, whether we understand what the coach was ranting about or not, do you rehash all the mistakes inning by inning? Critiquing every move our athlete makes during the game. “Keep your hands back,” “Finish,” “Bend your back on that pitch,” “Don’t be afraid to swing”… and continuing this litany of the failures from the moment he gets into the car throughout the ride home
I don’t know about you, but I am not feeling good yet.
It’s the player’s fault also. He gets a new computer game or layout and he will ask a ton of questions. Questions to help him understand the objective of the game, what techniques work the best, and ensure he has a complete understanding of his opponent. Yet when it comes to baseball, they seem to go through the motions, emulating what others are doing, in an effort to make it through practice or a game without getting yelled at.
“Simulate what is asked and maybe I won’t get yelled at.” No wonder we have robots that are not passionate about the game.
Coaches need to truly understand all aspects of the game. Coach the game as a teacher conveying knowledge versus doing it my way because you played it. Ensure it makes sense to the athlete you are coaching and work with them, recognizing they will make mistakes before they can get better.
Parents need to make the ride home educational, creating desire to learn from mistakes with the focus on getting better. Motivate your son into wanting to get better by asking questions versus giving opinions, opinions he is likely to interpret as reprimands.
Players need to eliminate words like “My-Bad,” and “you pick an explicative” when they fail. Quit transferring blame and get better. View every mistake as an opportunity to improve. If you don’t understand what it takes to get better start asking questions. Keep asking until you find the right answer.
Most Valuable Player believes knowledge, and the desire for it, will make you a better athlete. As the psychiatrist stated, we are creatures that “like things we are good at!” Seek what it takes and become good at it.
Become passionate about it.
Until next Blog,