On a past blog I was asked from a parent discussed how he looks for “professional” experience when picking out a hitting coach.
I want to touch briefly on that today and how “professional” experience is good but also want to describe to you what I look for in coaches and also what type of coach I STRIVE to be.
I believe I know why he (and many others) look for professional experience as a coach. He wants someone who has played at a very high level who can relate his playing experience to his son.
Experience is a great teacher.
There are a lot of in-game tactics you learn as you get to a higher level of baseball. Also, the higher level you play, the more the mental side of the game becomes important.
Baseball, at a very high level, is much like a chess match. The players are all SO good that in order to beat the other person, you have to be able to be a few pitches ahead of him.
Having the experience to be able to relate those types of items is critical.
You can learn so much about baseball just by being around GREAT baseball people.
In college and pro baseball, there are obviously a lot of high level baseball people who can pass on their knowledge.
That is why having a high level of experience is great…because that person has been around a lot of really good baseball people who have taught him the game at a much deeper level.
However, don’t mistake experience with being able to develop you or your son.
I think one of the biggest misconceptions people have when they go to former college and pro players for lessons is that “they could do it, so they must be able to teach it.”
Just because someone can throw 95 or hit a ball 500 feet doesn’t mean he has any idea HOW he does it…let alone relate those skills to a youth or high school age kid.
Most guys at a high level don’t have to think about how they do things and they definitely don’t need to understand why their swing or pitching mechanics work like they do. They just go out there and do it at a very high level.
Typically, when these guys teach what they did, they will either repeat what other coaches have told them OR they will tell the players what their mental cues were.
For example, you hear a lot of professional players talk about how they only think about their hands to hit. Hands are what they spend 95% of the time talking about. The reason they worked on and thought about their hands so much and could get away with it is because the rest of their swing already worked naturally.
However, if you tell a kid to just hit with his hands, he is usually going to swing with his hands first, leaving out his entire lower half of the body. That will create a LOT of problems for the player down the road.
When you are looking for a coach, results are what you are looking for.
In my opinion, it is much more important to find a coach who has taken many kids from the point your son is at to the point your son strives to achieve.
If you want to be a D1 or professional player, make sure your coach has developed youth and high school players who have gone on to those levels.
To a good coach, coaching baseball is much like playing baseball is to a good player.
A good coach is ALWAYS looking to improve how he does things. He’s always studying his craft. He is always open to new ideas and training methods that can help his players.
Just like a good player knows he can always become better, a good coach knows there is always more to learn.
Also remember, there is much more to coaching than just knowledge.
A good coach should also have a great personality and be able to relate to whoever he is working with.
If a player isn’t understanding something a coach is saying, a good coach will figure out how to reword what he is saying so the player understands. As a coach, the ability to relate what you’re talking about with each individual player is CRUCIAL.
The last thing a good coach does is inspires each one of his players to become a great man!
Baseball is great. However, what each person does with his life and how he treats and is thought of by others is what really matters.
A great coach develops a player’s character just as much as he develops his skill set.
I know for myself, if a player leaves my program without developing his character and becoming a better person, I have failed that player.
What do you think?
What kind of coach do you want? Does the coach you or your son go to match this description?
Please comment in the section below. I will be responding to all of your comments.
Finally, do me a favor and share this article with everyone you know. I know this article, along with the other articles on the site, can benefit other players and parents just like you.