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  • Coaching Baseball

    I thought I'd start a thread and put up some of my "stuff" here. Naturally, any and all good coaches take stuff that they hear at clinics/camps and turn that into "their stuff." I've coached for a long time and so, I have done the same. I have been asked to speak at coaching clinics and so have a series of handouts for participants. Some of these items I will include here will be from those speeches. I know that many will disagree with some of this and that is fine. BTW, I know that I have posted some of this stuff in the past but thought that I'd do so again for those that are new to the site.

    How to Establish a Successful Program

    1. Everyone gives lip service saying that they hate to lose. We model what we preach!
    2. Coaches – Must have same work habits, desire, philosophy, knowledge (or effort to learn). Get coaches you love to be around.
    3. Discipline – Be tough. If you don’t have discipline you will never achieve next level of competition. (State)(Good Cop/Bad Cop!)
    4. Sports Complex – Must come from work of coaches, players, parents, administration, and community. Everyone has something invested in it.
    5. Players – Demand that the players act right – in the classroom, in the hallways – on the field and how they talk/treat their parents.
    6. Schedule – 1/3 hard or better than you, 1/3 equal to you, & 1/3 you will beat. (1/3 you will beat will give you a chance to get other kids varsity experience.
    7. Equipment – always bust your butt to make sure your players have the best equipment around.
    8. Success breeds success. Success at the varsity level means success at lower levels and therefore, kids accustomed to winning.
    9. Sacrifice – show kids willing to stay late – won’t ask them anything you won’t do.
    10. Honesty – demand it – give it. . Don’t lie to your players!
    11. Clinic – Get the community involved in getting their kids there. Have the players be the instructors. They will learn how to play because they are forced to think!
    12. Team selection – Coach puts players into positions and not just where they played in little league. Cut borderline players. Keep inspirational players. Always have a spot for a bullpen catcher.
    13. Field – get it ready to play in rain etc. Every player must sacrifice for game.
    14. Guts – be a decision maker and go down per your principles. Don’t back off.
    15. Play lower level kids to give them a look. Also, at end of the year, bring up lower level kids to help for the run at state. This gives the varsity players more time to get repetitions.
    16. College contacts – get them interested in your players.
    17. Get Help – Community – shop teachers – administration – don’t be afraid to ask.
    18. Media – get your players in the newspaper – pictures, get TV station to come over. Get on Nomination Board for All Area Team.
    19. Create a program for the players – Must maintain interest of Grade school kids!!!
    20. Shirts – Get them out in public. Give shakers and bakers shirts to wear.
    21. Give your seniors something special.
    22. Banquet/picnic – Make it highlight for Seniors but be sure to include all. Recognize special people and get the media there.
    23. Parents – compliment those parents that met criteria you set for parents.
    24. Player talks – peanuts, pizza, etc. sit down and talk to them for a few minutes away from competition.
    25. Praise/abuse – this is for players and coaches. For players never let abusive situations exist. For coaches, buy them things and praise them. A head coach will be upset with assistant coaches at times. It goes both ways. Always remember you and your assistant coaches are in this for the kids and it is not an ego trip.
    Last edited by Cannonball; 10-26-2012, 07:56 AM.
    Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

    I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

  • #2
    I know I got a part of this next handout from others but to be honest, I just don't remember where. Naturally, I've changed it to fit my needs:

    What I know about Successful Coaches:

    • Admit that they don’t know everything and are always asking other successful coaches how they do things.
    • Have the courage to say, “I was wrong.”
    • Are not afraid of winning! Yes, some coaches are secretly afraid of winning because winning changes people’s perceptions and raises the bar of expectations.
    • Are never “too busy” to … (You fill in the blank. Successful coaches know that they are a community commodity and own up to that responsibility.)
    • Attack problems and never pretends they don’t see problems. (This means you might have to kick the “star of the team” off of the team!)
    • Know that the commitment for success involves their whole being as well as requiring a substantial commitment from their family.
    • Know that once they have achieved a level of success, they have to change their expectations and shoot for higher goals.
    • Listen to their staff but also know that they have to read body language and behaviors in order to assess staff recommendations.
    • Respect their competition and makes sure that, “every stone has been turned over” prior to any competition.
    • Know that the belief in the phrase, “That’s all that has worked in the past and that’s all that will ever work” is a recipe for disaster. In other words, successful coaches keep updated on their sport with regards to changes in rules, drills, philosophies…
    Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

    I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

    Comment


    • #3
      Some Thoughts for Parents

      1. A program is the ideas of the Head Coach. Certainly, this baseball program is! I have nurtures it and fed it through effort, love and heartache. My assistants have given the same devotion! I am proud to have Coach Bugger, Coach Drake, Coach Bay and Coach Deatherage on my staff!
      2. Naturally, you want to protect your child and agonize over turning your child over to a coaching staff. You must now do so. Let that coach now coach your child and evaluate what you have taught them through their new struggles, heartaches and achievements. You may be surprised and will be proud of the men that they have become.
      3. We have an overriding purpose larger than winning or losing in our program. It is the total package of what we help produce in your sons. Our program will be an extension of the classroom of life. Teaching baseball is not our sole objective. Winning is a by-product of what we teach, coach, and believe in.
      4. Our program grows and matures each day and each year. Our goals change as well. They increase in demands for success and commitment. While some of your sons have given a lot, we are going to ask for more!
      5. What I expect form my assistants:
      a. Passion
      b. Duty
      c. Loyalty
      d. Shoulder a portion of the burden. However, I will deal with any parent problems at any level.
      6. Some of our player expectations:
      a. Love for the game as well as themselves.
      b. Have a passion for achieving our team goals.
      c. Have a desire to compete at the very highest level against the best teams.
      7. We know what we know but we know what we know. Some people know what they know but they don’t really know what they know. We know what we know but we know what we know. You know!
      8. Your child may have unique talents. However, those talents will fit into our philosophy of both individual and team development.
      9. We will expect for you go give to our program in late suppers, dirty uniforms etc. Eventually, we will expect for your sons to give back to the program and the great game of baseball.
      10. Bud Wilkerson, former coach of the Oklahoma Sooners required his players to, “Play against the game,” We talk to the players about this! The game of baseball is complete with every formula for defeat. It is in the count, it is in the strategies of the game and it is in the fabric of human nature. We expect your son to overcome all of this. EXCELLENCE IS EXPECTED!
      11. You don’t work long hard hours unless you love what you are doing. We love what we are doing and we will work long hard hours.
      12. Our greatest strength is our opponent’s greatest weakness! WORK ETHIC!
      a. REPETITION IS NO FUN BUT IT’S THE REASON WE HAVE WON.
      b. TAKE ONE DAY OFF AND YOU KNOW IT. TAKE TWO DAYS OFF AND YOUR OPPONENT KNOWS IT. TAKE THREE DAYS OFF AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT.
      c. IT’S NOT WHAT YOU TEACH, IT’S WHAT YOU EMPHASIZE. Emphasis will be placed on dedication, hard work and commitment.
      13. You are what you think you are! Your son will be expected to be a CHAMPION!
      14. Coaching strategies often come under fire from parents and fans. Keep negative comments to yourself. Questioning the coach will not change who the coach is but it could hurt your son’s loyalty to the coach and program. Disloyalty will not be tolerated. We know how to win and will do what we think is right. We/I do not believe in all of the “unwritten rules of the game.” I coach with intensity and guts. Sometimes this will work and sometimes it will backfire on us. However, I have the moxie to make those choices and will, career wise, live with them.
      15. On a good team one or two players do the dirty jobs. On a great team everyone does the dirty jobs! We will not tolerate having a “Star!”
      16. Invariably coaching comes down to the pain of discipline, regret and loss. I/we as a coaching staff have to live with this. We will always question why we fail to achieve. Ironically, we will seldom be exposed to the praise of achievement. Again, this is human nature. We accept this. Personally, I can tell you of every play that lost every game I have coached in my years of coaching. I can give player names, situations and each team we lost to. I can also tell you the winning percentage of each team that I have coached against my teams.
      17. If it comes down to you, your son or the program, that decision was made long ago.
      18. A good player can take coaching but a great player takes that coaching to a higher level. Today’s players can’t seem to differentiate between criticism and coaching. Your son should start worrying if we stop coaching/criticizing them.
      19. In the movie Hoosiers, the coach says, "I love you guys!" In fact, some of your sons and the coaching staff have very special relationships. Please don’t be jealous of this.
      20. Reputation is what people think about you. Really, in this context, I/we have no control over our reputations. I do, in fact, know what my reputation is. Character is what you are. Character is what you are when no one is around. We, as a staff, have a lot of character and attempt to pass that on to your son everyday.
      21. What are the best traits you have witnessed in coaching? As parents, we ask you to evaluate us and to ask yourself if we aren’t the type of people that you want your sons around. Now that is the total package not just some isolated case or incident. If I had a son, I would want him around us!
      22. Take the good from our program. We are proud of it! We are proud to be Knights! We are proud to represent our school and community. We are proud of our parents! We hope you share that same pride! Win or lose, support us with class!

      Edited to add:
      I wanted to mention that much of this handout was inspired by Coach Don Meyer's Basketball Handout.
      Last edited by Cannonball; 10-26-2012, 08:21 AM.
      Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

      I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

      Comment


      • #4
        Cannonball,

        Are you applying for a new job? If so, we'll hire you! All of the stuff you wrote applies here in southern California, except the part about getting the field ready to play in rain. Since it rains here so infrequently, the boys simply aren't used to playing in such rare conditions!

        Seriously though, it's a really good list. A lot of the young coaches out there are probably wondering why someone would put together a list of essentially non-baseball related items. I think it is really important that a coach, even for a little league team, have a philosophy for running the team and communicate it to the parents at the beginning of the season. I think it runs smoother if this is done. Some of the parents won't read what you write, but at least you can point it out to them after the fact. Some of my fellow coaches even get the parents to sign the form, just to acknowledge they read it. I don't go that far, but I understand the motivation.

        In addition to helping the parents understand what you're trying to do, I think it's really good for every coach to think about what they stand for and how they intend to run the program. For example, will you stress more or less equal playing time for a recreation team, or will you play your "stars" the majority of the game and play the weaker players the bare minimum? Will players get to play multiple positions, or is it a single position? Will some players be in the outfield only? I think it's really good to think this through and put it on paper and distribute to the parents before starting the season. This position stuff isn't applicable to Cannonball (he's running a high school program), but for youth leagues I think it's really useful.

        Thanks Cannonball. Great input as usual. Keep it up please!

        -JJA
        The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than the outcome of any game they will ever play

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cannonball View Post
          2. Coaches – Must have same work habits, desire, philosophy, knowledge (or effort to learn). Get coaches you love to be around.
          Got a kick out of that one.....considering that from the first practice of rec. ball, to the last game of our TB team before I started coaching at the HS, my younger brother who I grew up with playing ball with, was my assistant coach for every single one of them. Two seasons ago my oldest son was my AC at the HS.

          Even though we always had additional coaches for our teams, I consider myself so very lucky to have my two main ACs as two guys I definitely loved having out there with me.

          Haven't made it through all of the other "stuff", but #2 definitely hit home and put a little smile on my face.....good way to start the morning.
          In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

          Comment


          • #6
            1. Everyone gives lip service saying that they hate to lose. We model what we preach!

            Hi Cannonball,
            Enjoyed your list. Can you expand on no. 1, especially the sentence I underlined, with regard to coaching HS baseball?
            Thanks.
            Last edited by skipper5; 10-26-2012, 09:02 AM.
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            Comment


            • #7
              It's a good list. While my son's high school coach turned a losing program into a winner he lacks some of the personal qualities listed. Schedules aren't as flexible as you desire. My son's high school team has eighteen games provided by the league with four open games. The coach chose difficult opponents. The maintainance union doesn't allow the team to touch the field. They prepare the field and rake the infield afterwards.

              Comment


              • #8
                Say you're coaching at the school with the smallest enrollment in the conference.
                I've got a local HS in mind. I was recently on the short list to coach there. I pulled my name for financial reasons.
                Their sophomore catcher throws 2.4's. Our town's HS senior catcher throws 2.1's.
                The ace of their staff would be no. 4 or 5 on our town's HS team.
                Should "hate to lose" be a top-of-the-list coaching precept in that program?
                How does a coach reconcile "hate to lose" with Process-Oriented Coaching?

                I suspect that "hate to lose" correlates with highly successful programs--with access to good talent-- rather than being a cause of their success.
                Last edited by skipper5; 10-26-2012, 10:23 AM.
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                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by skipper5 View Post
                  1. Everyone gives lip service saying that they hate to lose. We model what we preach!

                  Hi Cannonball,
                  Enjoyed your list. Can you expand on no. 1, especially the sentence I underlined, with regard to coaching HS baseball?
                  Thanks.
                  Sure, but let me address the whole statement. Every coach you knows says that they hate to lose. So, what are they doing to prove it? How are they setting themselves apart from all of the others? When I took over at my present school, they didn't have an organized weight program and didn't do plyometrics. So, we started morning workouts. We talk about working long hours and what the coaching staff would do to make this school stand out. The we got to work. We started at 6:00 in the morning every day Monday through Friday on our workouts. I was also a basketball coach and so, the players knew how worn out I was but I showed up whether it was 5 players or 20 players every day for them. As it turned out, the numbers were more than likely 30 each morning. We told them that I would never take roll and would never demand that they do any of the workouts. Instead, I told them that I would be doing so and I know what it takes to win. I tried to model dedication, work ethic, commitment to a common cause and I tried to be the best role model I could be even though I told them that I didn't want to be their role model. I modeled through things like discipline. For example, one time we had a player do something in the context of "team" that needed to be punished. However, the next day we were to play our conference rival. So, I told them the expectations for behavior. I told them that this act could not go unpunished and then I told them that I would serve the punishment and so run for the next 45 minutes without stopping. I have had several knee surgeries and had recently had one and so, the players asked me not to do it but rather punish the team. I told them that our team goal was to win conference and so, since I was a member of this team, I could do the punishment and we'd work together to be a better team. That is what happened. That player and I to this day are very close. He understood how his actions could have hurt the team and he understood that I took the punishment for him. We had a tremendous year that year. Skip, I think you can model winning and what distinguishes winning programs from losing programs. That is what I tried to do.

                  Well, Skip, I'm rambling. I hope I answered your question.
                  Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

                  I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by skipper5 View Post
                    Say you're coaching at the school with the smallest enrollment in the conference.
                    I've got a local HS in mind. I was recently on the short list to coach there. Pulled my name for financial reasons.
                    Their sophomore catcher throws 2.4's. Our town's HS senior catcher throws 2.1's.
                    The ace of their staff would be no. 4 or 5 on our town's HS team.
                    Should "hate to lose" be a top-of-the-list coaching precept in that program?
                    How does a coach reconcile "hate to lose" with Process-Oriented Coaching?
                    Skip, I guess it is a matter of perspective. My mentor was Top Pile. I was fortunate to be his assistant during all of his state championship teams. He taught me so much but one of those things is that you don't back down no matter what. When I took over this program, they had a pretty easy schedule. However we would never contend in regional or sectional play with that schedule. So, I called a friend of mine, Pat Hake who runs one of the top tournaments in this state and is invitational only. He was suspicious of whether we could compete with the best teams in the state. Skip, we won that tournament several times playing school twice our size. I changed our schedule to the point that we played an area conference that is twice our school's size in home and away games. So, my school is 1,182. That conferece has teams up to 2,500. We had a winning record agaisnt all but one of those schools. Skip, the difference I think a lot of times is a mind set. If your catcher is 2.4 then what do you do to have him improve or replaced? If you know your weakness, you have to plan to fix them.

                    Skip, my point with "hate to lose" is that it is most often lip service. Instead, I'd suggest that any coach get busy with winning.
                    Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

                    I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      JJA, thanks for the laugh about applying for a new job. No and I won't coach again. I always knew that my strength as a coach was getting the players to follow me and believe in me. A part of that was that I always practiced with them. When it came to pitching, throwing, hitting, ... I could hang with any of them and, to be honest, BP off of me was the highlight of the day for most of them. I recently did a search of some old articles and I found where Coach Pile stated to a northern newspaper before the state championship game in 2008 that I threw 1,120 pitches to the players the night before and that they have seen anything that they might see in the title game. JJA, I can't do that anymore. I loved throwing BP while filming it and so, I'd have a perspective of straight on as they swung the bat and then have the video as well. I'd walk over and say things to the camera to remind me to look for stuff. It was the best of both worlds. JJA, I will say this, I miss it a lot. I miss the kids. I had such great kids playing for me. Any success I ever had was because of them and not anything that I did.
                      Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

                      I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As a father of a HS freshman playing Fall ball, and also knowing a head baseball coach at a different HS, I've gotten a chance to see exactly how much time and effort these coaches put into their teams, despite not being compensated financially very much. I never realized that in addition to running practices and games the coaches spent so much time as fund-raisers, field maintenance engineers, and negotiators with administration. I have a lot of respect for anyone who loves the game and wants to lead young men enough to put in the time necessary to do this job. In just the short time of fall ball I've already seen how my son respects and looks up to the head varsity coach. (I'll try not to get too jealous.) I think he's lucky to be a part of a program that not only wins, but seems to abide by many of CB's points. Thanks for sharing CB.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Here is some more.

                          What I am Expected to Know



                          What I am expected to do/know:

                          1. Know all of the kids at every level and on every select and rec. team.
                          2. Know all of the kids I have ever coached and their main achievements including stats etc.
                          3. Teach pride, dedication, desire, and do so while often being backstabbed at every turn.
                          4. Modify behaviors! No, Jon Jon, you can’t hit away because you are the greatest hitter this school ever had. Bunt the ball in this sacrifice situation.
                          5. Recognize the “signs of the times and how they are changing.” Well, this week are we rotational or linear? Do we know the difference? Do we care? Are we dropping and driving to pitch or are we standing tall to fall?
                          6. Document everything. Physical, Code of Conduct. Record any injury. Know what hour each player is in which classroom and when I can get them to therapy.
                          7. Fight the war on drugs and alcohol. Know that “cool” is in and that in order to be successful I must motivate my players to understand that anyone can pop a top on a can of beer but few can hit the fastball.
                          8. Raise player’s self esteem while wondering if they care themselves about their self-esteem.
                          9. Maintain a “safe environment” Safety first. If I fail here, I’m gone instantly!
                          10. Promote sportsmanship in an era where sportsmanship defies the norm.
                          11. Continue my education ! This means I have to know the latest trends in weight lifting, plyometrics, speed and agility drills, etc. Then, I have to do the same for the game itself.
                          12. Know every higher level coach in my area. Know every college coach in my area. Get all of them to know and recognize us. MAKE SURE MY PROGRAM IS RESPECTED BY ALL OF THEM.
                          13. Know that my presence will place students in awe so I must be a role model. The problem is, I haven’t walked on water and, at times, I am not even a good person. However, one word, one action and one decision can devastate any and every kid I coach.
                          14. Know all of the web-sites and glean as much as I can off of them.
                          15. Decide who is potentially dangerous to our success. That might mean cutting a senior that I have had a great relationship with.
                          16. Decide how to handle medical emergencies. I have to know when a child is hurt and when they are not. I have to decide when the pain I’ve inflicted through drills, running etc. are enough and that it is time to back off some. I have to know every new therapy, every taping scheme for injuries and every kids phone number in case I have to call the parents in an emergency.
                          17. Make sure all of my students can pass their classes to remain eligible.
                          18. Make sure all parents are aware of anything lacking in their child’s academic endeavors. Are they meeting CORE Class requirements and what is their score on the ACT?
                          19. Know who is dating whom and who has had a bad day. Do I need to give that extra pat on the back?
                          20. Make sure that I closely monitor anything remotely close to prayer !!!

                          What I know:

                          1. I can’t do it all.
                          2. Know that sometimes I feel like the greatest failure I know.
                          3. Know that there will come a day when my kids hurt and I will be hurt!
                          4. Know that when our season ends, I will go through deep depression because I’ve gotten so close to these kids and another group of seniors have graduated.
                          5. I KNOW THAT I AM A MEMBER OF THE GREATEST PROFESSION IN THE WORLD! I DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!! I WOULDN’T CHANGE WITH ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD!!!
                          Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

                          I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cannonball View Post
                            JJA, thanks for the laugh about applying for a new job. No and I won't coach again. I always knew that my strength as a coach was getting the players to follow me and believe in me. A part of that was that I always practiced with them. When it came to pitching, throwing, hitting, ... I could hang with any of them and, to be honest, BP off of me was the highlight of the day for most of them. I recently did a search of some old articles and I found where Coach Pile stated to a northern newspaper before the state championship game in 2008 that I threw 1,120 pitches to the players the night before and that they have seen anything that they might see in the title game. JJA, I can't do that anymore. I loved throwing BP while filming it and so, I'd have a perspective of straight on as they swung the bat and then have the video as well. I'd walk over and say things to the camera to remind me to look for stuff. It was the best of both worlds. JJA, I will say this, I miss it a lot. I miss the kids. I had such great kids playing for me. Any success I ever had was because of them and not anything that I did.
                            Never say never. You're still way too young to hang up the cleats. You can learn to coach without having to hit BP or pitch to the kids. That's what young guys are for. When you got Larussa coaching in the big leagues when he was 67, Lasorda at 69, Leyland still going strong at 67, you're a young guy by comparison. You only go through life once. Do what you love.

                            -JJA
                            The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than the outcome of any game they will ever play

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Great info. And this is actually 101 level.....Some of these other threads are definitely post graduate.

                              Comment

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