I called time out and walked out to the mound. Kid had walked the first 3 batters. My first question to him was “Why are you struggling to throw strikes so bad? You dominated this summer and have numerous colleges interested in you,” which means they saw how good he was too. His answer,“My high school coach has told me he doesn’t want me to pitch the way you told me.”
Never-mind that I have coached at a higher level. Never-mind that I have scouted or played for a pro team. Never-mind that I have multiple pro and D1 pitchers that I work with. Never-mind that 4-6 guys on that varsity team is guys that I work with that he hasn’t changed. Never-mind that dozens before this year have gone thru that coaches program and was their top players and went on to play college baseball and eventually graduate college. No credit given outside of his program what so ever.
This is a very common thought process among select baseball programs now days. One reason is there are more travel ball programs than ever before. Many ex-pros and college players see an opportunity at $60-$100 an hour doing something they love to do as a great way to feed their family. I mean, many of them made pennies on the dollar in the minor leagues eating ramen noodles. Why not be able to make money at something that they did professionally and were trained by some of the best of the best go do at that level? I mean, we are all taught that a Baylor, Harvard or Rice education is better than a community college education. I am sure those teachers are on a better pay scale at the better schools too. So why does a high school coach that didn’t play pro ball or didn’t even play in college get to override our training?
I myself can be guilty sometimes of it too. But then I remember how many kids have came thru my door and their dad is standing beside them throwing in his 2 cents which often is where those kids get a lot of their training from. Which in turn that means that the high school head coach more often than not has a higher training level than the parent and more often than not has more kids on the team that dont play select baseball year round.
More often than not we as trainers tell these kids to ignore their high school coach. Could you imagine a superior of a first responder telling someone after a training session to ignore their captain if he says different? Someone gets hurt or worse killed. Baseball is not that big. Yes, I just said that and it goes for all sports!
We are here to develop good young men. We are not here to develop stubborn, hardheaded kids. That goes for all coaches, little league, select, high school and college. To find a common ground as coaches should be what we do so that these kids can grow from that. We must understand how to work with each other better.
It starts with knowing what season it is. If a high school coach doesn’t want their kids trained in spring than that select coach needs to respect that. But at the same time he needs to prep him in fall or winter to be ready for spring. I have coaches that allow their high school players to come to me in spring if they struggle. But its rare. I have high school coaches that also recommend our program in summer and fall. I also have coaches that I would like to tell them they need to find another job because they aren’t good at the one they are doing. I am sure they have select coaches, maybe even me, that they think the same about.
Ultimately, we have to remember we are mentors as coaches in any sport. We spend more time with the kids than most of their parents do. The impact we make on their lives sometimes can be more or less productive than their parents. Remember why you started coaching. Most of us started to make a difference. If you are doing it for a check than I am sure all of us other coaches can agree that you are one of the ones that need to find another job.
Coach James Bills, President of WeR Athletics and Texas Pitching Coaches Association, is a former high school and college coach. Coach Bills has been a professional scout for 8 years as well as has trained 100’s of college and professional athletes. He is also the owner of The University of Baseball located in Bertram, Texas and a managing partner with Silverstone Sports Management out of LA. Podcast: In Your Face Sports
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