Humility in Coaching: The Need for a Resurgence
My favorite manager from pro ball once confided to me that throughout the course of a 162-game season, “a ‘good manager’ will ‘help’ his team win 10 games. A ‘bad manager’ will ‘help’ his team to lose 10 games. And the rest is up to the players.” Of these 10 wins or losses, most of the ‘help’ the manager provides comes from in-game strategy, or the coach pulling the correct strings at the correct moment (i.e. should we bunt, hit and run, steal a base, should we run the starting pitcher back out for the 8th inning to face the middle of the lineup a 4th time, should we pinch hit a bum-legged Kirk Gibson against the league’s best closer?).
Coaches are often given too much credit when the team is winning, and often criticized too harshly when the team is playing poorly.
What is the job of a coach?
It is our duty to provide our PLAYERS with the resources THEY need in order to do THEIR job effectively, and to place THEM in situations and circumstances where THEY will have the greatest likelihood to be successful, so that THEY may get the most out of THEIR talent. Simply put, coaches are resource brokers. We connect players to strategies, techniques, fundamentals, mechanics, and words strung together in sequences that we dub motivational speeches that persuade PLAYERS to motivate THEMSELVES. A ‘good coach’ will have several methods of delivering (brokering) these resources to their players, while a ‘lesser coach’ may have fewer.
With that said, how can I take credit for something great my player does on the field? An easy answer: I can’t. When one of my players has success on the field, give the credit (praise, commendation) to the player. When one of my players shows up unprepared (or under prepared) either physically, mentally, or ill-prepared for a given situation that arises during a game, I’ll take the credit (blame, responsibility) for that.
Ryan Speier is a professional pitching instructor in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He played professionally for 12 seasons, was a member of the 2007 National League Champion, Colorado Rockies, and has coached at the NCAA Division-I level. Ryan is a dad, husband, and follower of Jesus Christ. Find Ryan on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/SpeierBaseball/