Coaching Baseball Is An Art
I love reading material from coaches I disagree with, love it. Even when I think that what they're saying is totally ridiculous. I have been coaching baseball for many years, and still some of the things I gravitate toward the most are things I'm not aligned with.
First of all, it's entertaining and I like to be entertained. It's also, very often, annoying and irritating which spurs me and the rest of Baseball Brains into action to get more good stuff out there to overwhelm the bad. We like to think this is a positive effect.
The real reason why I study bad coaching however, is because I sometimes like to use it.
Why Would Anyone Coaching Baseball Use Bad Advice?
That might sound crazy, and you wouldn't be the first to tell me I sound crazy, but hear me out.
Most coaching, good or bad, comes from somewhere. I have to assume that "somewhere" was originally intended to make a player better. I can't imagine that old school guys were throwing around vocabulary and blind instruction to make guys worse, and I don't think they're doing it now.
Why does it matter?
Because the truth is that different kids respond to different cues. Different personalities, different voices, different faces...you never really know what will truly resound with a kid and what will bounce off. That is, until you try.
I'm not saying you should throw 5 cues out to a kid in hopes one will stick, that would be more confusing than sticking with one bad teach. I am saying though, that sometimes your traditional methodology or approach will not work very well with a certain kid. It's these times when more than one perspective may be what you need.
It's A Means To An End. If It Makes Them Better Then It's Worth Considering
There is another distinction to be made here, to make sure you don't think I'm advocating teaching players the wrong way to do something. I'm not, I'm simply saying that you can borrow vocabulary, or cues, that cause the player to do the right thing. Even if those words are words you hate.
It doesn't much matter after all, what the coach feels or thinks about a cue. It matters only how it impacts each individual player.
So do I say things to players that I disagree with? Sometimes yes.
It's not often, but now and then a kid will come along that makes me realize why people say some of the things they do.
Cues are just words you can use to get the player to do the right thing.
The difference is that a bad coach actually wants the players to DO what they're saying and will adjust things accordingly.
But just because that coach is clueless, doesn't mean that it's bad for us good coaches to understand his point of view. Every kid is different, and if you coach long enough you'll encounter plenty of them that won't respond to you the way you want them to.
In these cases it's great to have a suitcase full of approaches that you can dig through to find something that will help them.
Isn't The Wrong Way Going To Ruin Them Long Term?
The best argument against this article is that too many coaches dig through that suitcase as a "shortcut". Instead of having the kid be on the right path which will take a long time, they "trick" them into doing it better right now with a bad cue.
Let me agree with the concern, and tell you why this article is smarter than that. I'll say again that as a good coach we know what we want the kid to DO. This article is about what we SAY. If the kid develops a bad mechanic or approach from the advice, we have failed. Our goal is to get him to adopt the correct mechanic or approach based on our words.
A coach's ego doesn't help kids get better. Nobody really cares what the coach thinks or feels if he can't make kids better at baseball. That's our job.
So feel free to check out people you disagree with, it'll make your own philosophies that much stronger and give you some more coaching tools for the field.
Also you should follow us on Twitter for stuff to teach kids that's actually good!