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Coaches: Are Your Player’s Mirroring Your Negative Behaviors?

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The kid that pouts in right field. The hitter who argues with the umpire. The player who makes excuses after a mistake…

That’s a reflection of you, the coach. You, or someone along the way taught him that. It’s a reflection of your actions, reactions, and responses to situations over the course of time.

Oh yea. That time you argued with the umpire for the championship game of the Silver Platinum Elite 1000 tournament. Yup, your players saw that. And they will take that as an appropriate response when they see another bad umpire along the way.

When you shake your head and look to the sky after one of your player’s makes an error. Yup, they all saw that too. So from then on, when one of their teammates makes an error, they see that as the appropriate response to the situation.

When you bring little energy and seem to have little interest in being there. Guess who will feel the same way? Yup, you guessed it, the entire team can feel that lack of energy and will respond in a similar way.

Everything you do as a coach, teacher, or leader is seen. But not only is it seen, it’s reflected in a frighteningly similar way. Your players look up to you and trust that what you’re doing will lead them down the right path.

Yes, this is a steep responsibility, and one that is taken for granted. The imprint you leave on your player’s lives is much more than you realize.

I saw a coach a few weeks ago who insisted on grilling the umpire for 7 straight innings on balls and strikes. After the second inning I took particular notice to how the player’s reacted after balls and strikes were called.

The responses were extremely poor and negative. Almost as if they had surrendered to the umpire and were no longer willing to compete.

Yes, I must admit this umpire was not very good. But he was also the same umpire calling balls and strikes for the other team, and I noticed a strikingly different response from this team. When a bad call was made, the coach and hitter would look at each other and smile. The coach shrugged his shoulders almost as if to say to the player, “who cares, have some fun.”

None of the players on this team ever complained at a bad call the entire game. Most of them smiled, got back in the batters box, and continued to compete to the best of their ability.

Can you guess which team won the game?

Yup, the “smilers”.

The “smilers” notched 7 hits, walked 4 times, and scored 5 runs to win the game 5-0.

I bet you’re wondering the stat line for the other team, which I will call the “whiners”. I wish I was exaggerating this stat line to make the story sound cooler, but I’m not:

1 hit, 0 walks, 0 runs, 15 strikeouts. In 7 innings of baseball. They quit. They had an excuse. The umpire was not very good.

But their coach was the one who initiated this response from the very first inning of the game! His players only responded in a way that they saw appropriate from their leader!

This holds true as a parent as well. Your kids reactions on the field is a direct correlation of you!

It’s funny, every year when I start coaching a new team, I can tell almost immediately the dad of each player on my team. It takes me one game.

And it’s not because the player looks like the dad, it’s how the player reacts in comparison to the dad!

The dad who’s screaming in the stands when the shortstop makes an error is probably the dad of the player who’s over at second base shaking his head at the shortstop.

Take notice of this next time you’re at a game.

So what’s the moral of the story?

Respond and react to situations the way you want your players to react to such situations.

EVERYTHING you do as a coach, parent, or leader is not only observed, but is also imitated by those who look up to you as a role model. As a person with this responsibility, it’s important to understand this! Your value goes beyond teaching a certain craft such as baseball.

You’re imprinting their lives!

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About Brian Hamm

My name is Brian Hamm and I am all about "Baseball Development". Through my journey as a high school and college player, I always felt that a competitive advantage eluded me. I constantly researched and discovered new resources, ideas, and theories that have shaped how I coach today. It’s my goal to work relentlessly in order to give my players, clients, and coaches the biggest competitive advantage that will allow them to reach their full potential. My mission is to spread my knowledge to baseball players around the world and help change the developmental process forever.

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