Protect Your Kids...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

High School Coaching and BALL

So I was asked to help out a local high school pitching staff at the beginning of the school year by the Boy's AD and head baseball coach. I really like this guy's spirit and style of coaching.  Firm but gentle in how he corrects the kids.  Plus, he's really well-respected and liked by the kids outside of baseball, too (always a good sign).

Anyway, he simply wanted me to spend a month or so with him and step in and help the younger pitchers (freshmen) get a good handle on what would be expected of them...and maybe teach them a few tricks of the trade on the bump.  Nothing spectacular, just helping out a good guy who was short staffed and in a tough situation.  But he had a problem - the school had essentially no returning varsity pitchers from last year's team, and THAT team didn't exactly set the world on fire.

So after about a month, I was asked to help out all the pitchers and act as the team's pitching coach.  After I negotiated my $100,000 signing bonus (riiiiiight) and got my wife's permission to go back into coaching, I accepted with the condition that the coach allow me to implement BALL with the pitchers.  My quandry: would high schoolers respond to the same lessons taught to 7 and 8 year olds?  Good news - it turns out that they eat it up, as long as you treat them like adults and modify the questions to reflect a deeper understanding of the underlying messages.

In other words, kids like to learn as long as they see the point.  Maybe there's a message there somewhere...

Soon, some of the non-pitchers were asking me to do the lessons.  So the program expanded.  Now, all the ballplayers are using the system, and we started adding new units to the mix (like physiology, differences in chemical makeup of medications used to treat injury, danger of Performance Enhancing Drugs, etc.).  It's been pretty nice to see the light bulb go on in some (not all) of the kids' heads.

And to cap it off, last night the coach asked me if I wouldn't mind reviewing and signing a coaching morals/ethics contract (all the coaches sign them for this particular program - more on this later).


I knew I had a good feeling about this guy...

Make each day your masterpiece!


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