New Bedford Baseball Coach Teaches Life Lessons Within the Game
Hall of Fame baseball manager Tommy Lasorda famously said, "There are three types of players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happened."
Let me share with you one of the life's lessons I learned from leaning on the wobbly fence in the South End of New Bedford, watching our grandchildren play South End Youth Athletic Association baseball. There's much more to coaching than just showing how to swing a bat, how to steal third and how to secure a pop fly properly.
Good coaches not only instruct, they also create the grounding for future standards.
First, the basics.
"I have a new team this year. I was given two players with experience, and the rest I chose from the draft, meaning a lot of them either never played much ball before, or very little," Coach Dennis said.
"One key I realize is if the kids are not enjoying it, they become disconnected and unhappy," he said. "One of the parts in the greatest game ever invented is to have an element of fun and competition."
While it's important to have structure and discipline with the players, what about all the yelling that goes on during a game?
"Yeah, I hear it too." he said. "I was yelled at often as a youth, and I hated it. As a coach, you won't be hearing me yelling at the top of my lungs. I think my team will respect me more if they look up at me, rather than being terrified by me."
That philosophy goes beyond the baseball diamond, and also applies to the radio talk show industry as well.
Like our favorite school teachers who inspired us, coaching is shown to have a powerful, positive impact on our children's self-confidence, and a level of instruction that hopefully will help get them to first base in their lives.
Our son-in-law Manny DeBrito, an equal in great city coaches, reminded me once that the Japanese Little League succeeds worldwide because Japan places its country's top coaches at the youth level, not at the pro level.
What a dynamic, hard-ball concept: to place the highest level of baseball coaching at the lowest levels.