Learning the Ropes
“I’ll do it” are three words I do not regret saying. I was offered the chance to be a coach for my school’s select baseball team. This was an opportunity to do something that I enjoy, and also teach a group of talented kids teamwork, sportsmanship, and focus.
On a cold January evening, I met my team, and I knew the season would be interesting—we had exactly enough players to form a team. The practice went on and I determined the positions each player wanted to play. With nine players, I knew that everybody would play in an unfamiliar position.
When outdoor practice commenced, some of the players needed help learning their new positions. In an attempt to avoid repeating drills, I developed essentials of the positions. The outfield training consisted of random tosses with a warning of “Hey, catch!” in an effort to instill alertness. Infield training involved the players mirroring my movements to keep them light on their feet. The unpredictability required the players to remain attentive and focused, while learning them the fundamentals.
As the season progressed, I found that there was another problem. No matter how hard I tried, the kids couldn’t hit. Instead of going into specifics, I simply told each kid to keep their eyes on the ball. And it worked—the kids who once struck out now crushed the ball into the outfield.
Regardless of the aspect of the game, my intent was to coach in a manner that the players would respond to, and more importantly, enjoy. I was someone who the players could relate to, and I live my life like I coach my team. Most people don’t realize this, but I am dedicated and work through challenges to achieve success. Through my coaching, my team learned teamwork, sportsmanship, and focus—while also having a winning season.