Developing Your Greatest Resource - You the Coach
Bobby Simpson, President of the premier training company Higher Ground, has a motto: Getting Better Every Day. This should be the goal of every coach.
However, it takes more than a motto to become an excellent coach. It takes commitment, dedication, effort and a willingness to admit - at least to yourself - there is more that you can learn about coaching, motivating and teaching.
Once you make the commitment, the question is - where do I start? Perhaps the best source of information is other coaches. Watch and talk to other coaches. See how they run practice, what they teach, how they treat their players, how they manage a game, etc. Most coaches are more than willing to help other coaches, even if their teams compete against each other. Dont be afraid to ask questions. Successful coaches take pride in the opportunity to help younger, less experienced coaches develop. Someone once said, Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. There is no greater compliment you can pay a coach than to ask for some ideas on how you can become a better coach.
A more formal way to get information is by attending a coaching clinic. There are many coaching clinics put on each year all over the country from small informal ones run by a baseball organization to large (attendees several hundred) formal clinics run by professional organizations and college baseball programs. Most of the clinics run 1 ½ to 2 days and offer a wide range of topics for participants. Almost all provide workbooks and handouts to attendees and offer an opportunity to talk one on one with speakers. Clinic speakers include college coaches, outstanding summer team coaches, pitching instructors, motivational experts, strength and conditioning experts, etc. If a clinic is not offered within driving distance, it can be expensive. Although air travel, room and board can add up fast, the value of attending a quality clinic cannot be overstated. Not only do you hear from several outstanding speakers, but you can talk to many other coaches and share experiences. Very seldom will you return from a clinic without half a dozen new things to work on with your team. An easy way to find a coaching clinic is an Internet search. Using the Google search engine, a query of Baseball Clinics produces almost two million hits.
The American Sport Education Program (ASEP) also offers a series of excellent classes, starting with the basic Coaching Principles class and continuing up through a series of Master Level classes. For information on these programs contact:
ASEP, P O Box 5076, Champaign, IL 61825-5076 www.asep.com 800-747-5698
There are also hundreds, perhaps thousands, of excellent books, magazines, audio and video tapes available on all aspects of coaching. Most provide excellent instruction on one or more aspects of baseball or coaching. Recent new mediums for coaching information are DVDs, CD ROMS and the Internet. DVDs and CDs can be played on your computer and/or your TV. They offer much the same material as audio and video tapes, in high quality and some offer an interactive format.
Two of the better magazines available are:
Coach and Athletic Director, PO Box 54490, Boulder, CO 80322-4490
Olympic Coach, One Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs, CO 80909-5760 719-578-4575
The Internet is an endless source of information. If you enter the search term Baseball Coaches Training, you will get over two million world wide web sites which match the criteria. While not all of those sites will have information to help you develop as a coach, many will. The Internet is a resource which every coach should utilize. The resource is free (aside from the fee for Internet access) and has unlimited potential. In addition to coaching tips, there are schedules for clinics and classes, tournament information and schedules, lists of books and videos available on baseball, and a variety of supplemental topics like team speed, nutrition and weight training.
Two good Internet sites are:
Books and Videos http://championshipproductions.com/
Instruction and Drills http://eteamz.active.com/baseball/instruction/tips/
There are many opportunities available to help you develop and improve as a coach. The number one action you must take is to adopt Bobby Simpsons motto as your goal and start Getting Better Every Day.