Thursday, July 18, 2013

My baseball life part 2...building the family

I stepped out into the field for the first time and asked my collection of parents who wanted to step up and help me be a assistant coach. The first man who did, and I did not know it at the time, would be the guy that would eventually help me build and conceive the idea about a baseball family. Not just a team that plays ball together but a collection of kids and parents that would go out and experience baseball together. At this point all of our kids were in tball and it seems like a great way to spend the next three or four years playing ball with people we got along with and gelling the kids together as teammates.

I'm not gonna lie I drafted his son that year because I recognized his last name, and though at best I would get some free pizza out of the deal. Life is crazy, and what I ended up getting was something so much better. But the main idea from the first week or so was hey let's build our own program within the league for the parents we want to play with and the kids who have phenomenal talent.

When people ask me how I keep my team motivated and coming back year after year well I think it is this family concept that we grew a lil more each and every year. The first week of the first season the first domino fell and we had the idea. Over the next calendar year we brought that idea to fruition. and now several years down the road I see the benefits of that paying off every game my teams play.

The first year was a struggle I am not going to lie. Learning to play other teams and not show them up and working within the confines of a league which had six tball teams that year. Six tball teams coached by six very different personalities and games at this park and that park and getting everyone where they needed to be twice a week. It was an eye opening experience. I have worked for sports teams and know how hard logistics can be sometimes, but I was never the guy making the decisions of where we need to be and what time and all that. However, with that being said I think I really latched on to the idea of me being a coach. I think my biggest short coming in year one was not realizing the importance of snacks. Again we are talking about kids 4-6 yrs old so snack is a big deal and it was something I struggled to get a handle on in year one.

Since we are several years removed from these events they all kinda get distorted in your mind. I think the few things that stand out to me about year one was my son batting for the first time. Seeing my team on the field for the first time, and the first out my kids recorded at first base. And of course the attitude I got from my now ex wife that whole season.

In fact at the final game of that season I had to have a board member remove her from the field. It was super hot that day and she was in a mood and she said something that you cannot say about or around little kids. Yes I had my wife removed from a baseball game and that would kind of set the tone for the coach I would become. I really wasn't that coach yet. Year one for me was more about learning how to navigate the idea of running a team for the a season.

Year one I think I might have yelled a lil bit but nothing compared to how I coach now. I don't like to use the word yell cause I am not yelling at any one kid. I am motivating my team and you would have to come watch me coach and really listen to the things that come out of my mouth to understand. The trick here is to get 4-6 year olds to focus on baseball for an extended period of time. I would start to work on that in year two.

Year one was a lot of work and it exposed a lot of the things I needed to work on as a coach to feel more successful. Again at this age we are not keeping score and its all about participation but I let way too much stuff fall through the cracks and yes part of that was due to problems in my personal life. I think at this point my marriage was already over, and a lot of the tension from her was me using baseball as a distraction from dealing with her. To be perfectly honest I felt stuck and I am already resigned myself to the fact that I had an unhappy marriage but a great kid and through baseball we were getting to spend lots of quality time together.
After year one I sat down in my office of my old house and though about the season that was and what season 2 would bring and how I would go about growing my baseball family moving forward. I also had my son play fall ball in a different league that I did not coach in. I would go to those games and practices and watch those coaches and just learn to be the kind of coach I wanted to be.

Everything would change in year two.

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