Coaching Style – Two
As promised, this letter will discuss a soft spoken word and a pat on the back by a coach and how that can be helpful for kids. As stated in my previous post, coaching styles need to be adjusted each year for the group of players that you have because each team has a different dynamic. Some respond well to an intense coach and others to an always positive coach. Again, NEITHER OF THESE ARE ALWAYS RIGHT.
Baseball is inherently a game filled with failure…what other sport can you go three out of ten and be considered an all-star? As coaches, we can either help players dig themselves out of holes or not, which can lead to more mistakes. Players know when they have done something wrong because they get instant feedback in baseball…a bad throw, not catching the ball, striking out etc. are all seen immediately after they happen. As coaches, it is important that we help each player understand that this is just a game. Can we help them and explain what they should have done next time? Sure. Do we always have to raise our voice and get furious at them? No. There is a time and a place for both.
One way to think about it is, when the player gets back to the dugout, sit down with them and talk about what to do differently next time they are put in that spot. Most kids respond well to this school of thought but as stated in my previous post, where is the line where we are doing more damage than good? We need to make sure that there is a balance between the two, but understand that it is just a game that we are playing. Very few get paid to play this game…we need to keep that in mind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of players, and teams for that matter, who have not played well for a coach due to them being intense all the time which led them to be too nervous to fail. Baseball is a game of failure, it is supposed to happen! Fortunately, I have never been a part of a team or a coaching staff where this has been the case but it is certainly something that we need to keep an eye out for. Being always positive can also be dangerous where players play too laid back and do not strive to get better because they are never pushed to do so. In short, watch your coaching style, change with your team, use both methods.
Director of Operations
Illinois Baseball Academy