Saturday, March 15, 2008


Attitude is everything! We have all heard this phrase on more than one occasion in our lifetime. Early on in life I heard it from my parents and my teachers. When I entered the business world many years ago I heard the phrase or some form of it at virtually every sales or motivational seminar that I attended (and there were many). I heard it so often that I became numb to the phrase and ignored the message.

As I have matured, I have come to realize the power of that message that we have heard time and again. Not only is our attitude something that will have a tremendous impact on the life that we live, it is one of the few things in life that we have full and complete control over. We have the ability to wake up every morning and decide what kind of attitude we will carry with us on any particular day. Good, bad or indifferent, the choice is all our own. It has been said that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

As coaches, I feel that it is our duty and responsibility to teach strong character traits. Having a positive attitude toward things in life is one of the things that when instilled in a young person will make a lasting difference in their lives. Not only in their athletic performance, but more importantly down the road as life gets a little more difficult for them. As always, we must teach and lead by example. There are endless opportunities on the fields and courts of play for us to take situations that do not turn out as we would have liked and then “turn lemons into lemonade”. In other words, show your athletes that sometimes, situations are only as bad as they want to make them. Their attitude is their choice.

I have a few “favorite sayings” and one of them is “positive things happen to positive people”. I believe that if this one simple message can be instilled in all of those you coach, your success as a coach and mentor will be off the charts.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Are you a good coach or a great coach?

Think about it for a second. I believe that all of us think that we are good coaches or at least we ASPIRE to be good coaches. We make sure that we are organized, we prepare for our practices, and we make sure that we do our best to pass our knowledge of the game on to our players. We teach the fundamentals of our sport from both the physical and the mental side of the game with the hopes that at the end of the season our player’s will be a much more developed and well-rounded athlete. More importantly, as their coach, we do our best to leave our athletes with the desire to continue playing for years to come. We help fuel their passion for the game. And hey…If our record shows more wins than losses, well, that’s pretty good too. If we can achieve these things, then we can go to sleep at night knowing that "Hey, I am a pretty good coach".

But how many of us are GREAT coaches? How many of us ASPIRE to be great coaches? How many of us truly know what it means to be a great coach? I guess that before we can define what being a "great coach" is, we need to define what just "being great" is. All we need do to find the definition of greatness is to turn to the greatest coach of all time….Jesus Christ. For in the Bible, Jesus tells us what the definition of greatness is. In the book of Mark, Jesus says to his Apostles "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all". What does that mean? Well, the message that I get from that passage is that in order to be great, you must put your own needs and wants aside and do everything that you can to assist others in achieving their needs and wants. Not always the easiest thing to do is it?

Now, how do we take the definition of "being great" and apply it to being a "great coach? I believe that first and foremost as a coach you must realize that it is not about you and it is not only about teaching your athletes how to be a better baseball player, or basketball player or gymnast or whatever. Realize that the majority of the athletes you coach will never make it to the High School fields of play. If you are a High School coach, realize that most of your athletes will never play that sport again after High School. The length of the athletic careers of the ones you coach will for the most part be very short lived in the grand scheme of their lives. So wouldn’t it make sense to spend a little more time teaching your athletes life lessons as you are "teaching the game".

To be great, it means that we are to put the needs and wants of others before our own. So, does that mean that because we have a player on our baseball team that wants to be a pitcher that we let him pitch, regardless of whether or not he can throw the ball over the plate? Put one athlete’s wants ahead of what is best for the team? Of course not! However, what we can do is take that athlete and help him achieve his goal of being a pitcher by working with him. Spend some extra time with him providing him with the tools and instruction that he needs to reach his goal. Tell him how hard that he will need to work to achieve his goal. Teach him important life lessons such as perseverance and work ethic. In other words, don’t hold him back because what HE wants isn’t really what YOU want. Realize that as a coach, God has given you the incredible opportunity to help shape the lives of many others. With that opportunity also comes tremendous responsibility. That responsibility, in my opinion is to not just be a good coach, but a great coach. Seek to serve your athletes not for your own personal gain, but for theirs.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Coaches.......What does the word respect mean? One of the first things you ought to communicate to your team is the importance of respect. In seasons past one of the first things I tell all my parents is that I am a little old school and I expect all my players to say Yes Sir, No Sir, Yes Ma'am, and No Ma'am and I would like their help in this at home as well. I get overwhelming support in this area. I then do not back down on this issue.

In baseball there are many ways to teach respect, here are just a few areas that we should teach respect in:

Coaches, example above
Umpires: Do not ever let your players say anything towards an official. Remember they are going to act what you model....WOW.....that's not easy.
Other Team mates: Do not allow your players to down grade another player or make fun of them, teach them to use positive words. It is perfectly OK for players to get on to one another and keep each other in line as long as it is not degrading.
Opposing team: You should not allow your team to make fun of, laugh at, or talk trash to the opposing team. They should show respect and win and loose with dignity.
Equipment: Players should be taught how to treat their equipment, i.e. helmets should never be thrown and everything should be put in its place every time.

With all the examples above, it will start with YOU the coach. If you model and train them by example and then teach them about respect you will be amazed at the outcome. Remember respect can not be forced but must be earned.

This makes a great "bucket talk". You can even go into how even with the 10 commandments in the Bible start with the first three talking about God's place in our lives and places God as our ultimate authority and then later it talks about how children are to honor their father and mother. It doesn't say, they have to like everything they are ask to do or not do, but it does command us to honor our father and mother.

As you begin to teach your players about respect and honor, their hearts will open up to hear about a Creator God who loves them and wants a relationship with them. Feel free to comment or email me at anytime. Thanks for what you do in the hearts and lives of your athletes.