One of my most fulfilling coaching roles in life is being “Coach Jeff” to my son AJ’s Little League Team. These kids teach me so much about teamwork and becoming the best coach I can be. The lessons I teach in Little League are ones that I can take off the field into my everyday life and career. Best of all, when I’m coaching Little League, I am learning?and growing as a coach, a dad, and a leader.?The kids themselves teach me so much about being humble, coaching with integrity and the importance of communication.
This past weekend will go in my memory book as one of the best. It was Opening Day of Little League season. ?For the 3rd straight year, I also emceed the Ceremony/Parade and got lots of volunteers to help set up the event. ?Dignitaries from the City and County along with Representative from the San Diego Padres were all in attendance. ?Then, my team played on one of three opening games at noon right afterwards. ?AJ had quite a game and our team won. ?SUCH a great way to start the season. ?My emotions are still running wild from the amazing experience I had! Here are just a few things I get to experience during Little League Season:
Volunteerism- The spirit of volunteerism is one of the most rewarding parts of being involved with Little League. Parents, friends and community members graciously come together to create an experience for their kids that is truly life changing. I cannot even begin to express how much joy I receive from volunteering at Little League. I know it’s not about me, but ultimately, I do benefit from all the positive emotions I feel from being a part of the team. This leads to my next little league highlight, teamwork!
Teamwork-?Teamwork is an integral part of Little League. Watching the kids?learn?how to work together is a priceless experience. It makes me a better leader to see the kids motivate each other and offer encouragement. Teamwork happens both on and off the field. Parents also need to learn teamwork by allowing the coaches to do their jobs and by wanting what’s best for all the kids on the team, not just their own.
Punctuality– Being punctual is not just about getting yourself there on time, it’s also about showing?respect for everyone else on the team. Of course, things come up that make us late, this happens to all of us. But the kids learn an overall sense of why it’s important to be where you say you’ll be at the time you’re asked to be there. The kids are encouraged to let their coaches know if they will have to miss or be late to a practice or game. They are taught that not only does their presence matter, but so does their absence because it does affect the whole team. Line ups need to be changed, substitutions are made, etc.
Communication-?Open communication is key for any type of team to succeed. The importance of communication is especially evident in Little League. The kids have to communicate with each other during the entire game to know who’s got who covered, who’s running where and who’s up next. This is a great exercise for them because they learn the importance of being strong and effective communicators. They see the consequences when they fail to communicate and they are able to learn from their mistakes. They also deepen their friendships through communication, and these friendships can often last a lifetime.
Baseball is like life.?Last but not least, I want to use the baseball analogy and compare it to life. There are so many ?lessons to be learned including how to deal with failure and learn from it to become a better baseball player and person, how to?handle adversity because Little League teams can sometimes experience taunting from other teams and criticism from parents. Games can get just as stressful?but the kids are reminded to have fun, support each other and do their best.
I feel truly blessed to be Coach Jeff for my son’s Little League team. Baseball brings people together like no other sport. I have never experienced so much camaraderie in my life! I can’t wait for the rest of the season. As you can see I’m extremely passionate about Little League. Stay tuned, I’m sure I’ll be doing more posts on my experience as a Little League coach as the season progresses.