Before the word coach was used in the context of sports, it was reserved strictly for transportation. There was a horse, a coachman and a coach. The coachman controlled the horse, and the coach was where the passengers rested and waited. A coach transported you to where you were supposed to be. Today in sports, coaches fail to get players to their destination because of the fear of accountability, among other things.
Good coaches must be able to hit pitches just like their players, and for their players and parents. In baseball, a pitch is a thrown ball. In everyday life, a pitch is an attempt to win approval of someone.
Most people are more familiar with FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) than SAQ’s (Should Ask Questions). SAQ’s deal with the why. This type of question goes deep quickly. Like a pitcher’s desire to get ahead of the count with a fastball right done the middle of the plate, coaches should be forced to hit fastballs as they relate to their responsibility to move players in the right direction.
“Coach, why should anybody follow you?”
The change up can be a deadly pitch that follows a good fastball. It comes at you linearly like a fastball, but its change of pace makes arrogant hitters go to their knees with their powerful, yet out of control swings.
“Coach, what percentage of players have you successfully led to their full potential as a player?”
The Latin word for passion means suffering. If I had a dollar for every coach who said he was “passionate” about coaching, I’d be a millionaire.
“Coach, what are you suffering from or suffered from that positions you to be a trusted coach?”
Sliders look like fastballs until they take a late and sharp side-to-side break. For coaches, the ability to hit sliders is based on their ability to initiate uncomfortable conversations that players and parents don’t want to have. Oftentimes, the problem between coaches, players and parents is the players and parents.
Taking a pitch
Silence can not be misquoted, but coaches have an obligation to respond to questions in an authentic way.
“Fake it until you make it” is a mantra I lived by as a coach for the first 10 years of my 21-year career. I didn’t know how to coach and I was hard pressed to find good coaching mentors. I knew what I wanted to become as a great coach, but I didn’t know how to get there so I faked it because I lacked humility. Today, I’m among the top professional swing coaches in America. I learned what I needed to do (50 percent from my players and 30 percent from my parents). The remaining 20 percent was acquired from books and other coaches. “Fake it until you make it” is an approach to take, but it’s a bad one. You’ll never get hits with it.
Arrogance, intolerance, complaining and blaming is what coaches do to strikeout. These four negative traits often rear themselves out of ignorance and shame. The good news is that the solution is humility, which I define as not thinking less than yourself, but thinking more of others.
Coaches getting base hits is about being convicted. Coaches, you don’t know everything and you probably weren’t the best player. Oftentimes, saying you don’t have an answer, even when you have the correct one, empowers your players to connect with you. It starts with the conviction. There is no connection without conviction.
Making and delivering upon promises and guarantees as a coach is hitting a home run.
- I promise I’ll have an agenda for every hitting session.
- I guarantee that if you train with me for at least 10, one-hour sessions, your batting average will increase by 10 points.
- I promise to meet with your parents and coaches once, every other week, to advocate on your behalf so that you can develop and maintain peace of mind that leads to development of hitting habits and skills.
- I guarantee I’ll have you evaluated by your dream college coach within the first 12-months of our training relationship.
Talent is what you do well. A habit is what you do well repeatedly with thought. A skill is what you do well repeatedly without thought while under stress. There are a lot of talented coaches who experience success because of their charisma. They’ve made it to first base with a base hit because they connect with their players. But possessing charisma and connectivity without good habits will get you picked off every time.
Travel baseball and private hitting coaches steal money from their players and clients when they don’t know what they’re talking about. Knowing what you’re talking about requires studying and being equipped. Coaches get caught stealing when parents and/or players are empowered to ask those “should ask questions.” These type of questions are deep and fast, and focus on the “why” before the “what.” Coaches can’t know everything, but there are several things we should know.
Coaches want to help their players and parents win. Coaches win when they can hit fastballs, change ups and curveballs to get lots of base hits and home runs.
Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.
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C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, C.J. has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.