Mansfield (MA) High School
Hometown: Mansfield, Massachusetts
Education: Bridgewater State University
Email: chris.hall [at] mansfieldschools.com
The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career.
Since I was a little kid, it was always my dream to become a teacher. I took a couple classes in high school that revolved around assisting students with special needs in their daily routines. I immediately fell in love with the field of Special Education and wanted to pursue this as my career. I always had a love baseball and knew coaching and teaching worked hand in hand. At the age of 15, I began working at a local baseball facility assisting with summer camps. I thoroughly enjoyed working with younger athletes and helping them develop in the sport they love. I knew at that time, teaching and coaching was the best option for my future career and never turned back. It’s a great feeling as a teacher and coach to see the gains that your students and athletes make on a daily basis. To this day, I still work part time at the baseball facility I started working at 12 years ago.
Outside of mentors, talk about one or more ways you’ve learned some aspect of coaching.
Teaching and coaching are so similar in a variety of ways. I take quite a bit of what I learn in the classroom and preach the same message to the athletes I work with. Communication is the area of coaching I have learned the most about over the years. The impact proactive positive communication has on individual players and teams is crucial. The more players know about their roles and how they can help the team, the more of an asset they are. Defining explicit roles for each player and communicating that role gives every player a sense of pride that will help them become important members of your program. When it comes to teaching, communication with parents, teachers, students and administration is crucial to a students success.
Best career or work advice you ever received?
One of the biggest role models in my life was my grandfather. At 7:05 PM every weeknight during the baseball season, you knew he was going to be parked on his chair, eyes glued to the TV watching the Red Sox game. He was a devout baseball fan. When I would come to visit after a tough loss, he would always look at me and say “Chris, you can’t win them all.” Then he would follow that up with “Did you learn something?” I always took this quote for granted and would just say “ya, I did”. He recently passed away and that quote means more to me now than it ever did. As a coach you can NEVER take anything for granted. You have to improve every single day and learn from your experiences and failures. If you become complacent, that’s when things start to go down hill. Looking back at it now, I wish I engaged in more conversation about what I learned from the losses and how to improve for the next time instead of just saying “ya papa, I learned something” and ending the conversation there. Learning from your failures and making adjustments is the number one piece of advice I have ever received.
What is one thing you didn’t know about what coaches do before you got into coaching?
The one thing I didn’t know before I began coaching is how much of an impact you can make on someone’s life. Players thrive off of what you bring to the table as a coach. I heard a great quote from a local baseball coach that I have worked with over the years and he said “I don’t judge my accolades as a baseball coach on wins and losses, but more importantly, on the weddings I attend for my former athletes”. This quote means so much to me as it truly puts in perspective how important of a role coaches can make on a person any given day. There is nothing more rewarding as a coach than the relationships you build with your players in the present and in the future. Be the best person and coach you can be. If you do that, everything else will work itself out.
Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level. Living or dead. Who is it?
This is a very interesting question that I think about all the time. If I had to pick one person to go on a dream lunch date with, it would have to be Tim Wakefield. I know this sounds crazy that I would want to go on a lunch date with a knuckleball pitcher, but it goes beyond just baseball with him. Wakefield was drafted as a second basemen by the Pittsburg Pirates. He was told by many coaches that he would never make it as a position player. Instead of letting his career come to an end, Wakefield began to develop a Knuckleball and became a successful MLB pitcher because of it.
Wakefield was quoted saying “I just wanted to be able to say I tried everything I could to make it”, and he did. Wakefield is a true success story that not many people know about. Outside of baseball, he is an extremely humble person. He was nominated 8 times by the Boston Red Sox as the Roberto Clemente award winner, which is given to one player in the MLB annually who exhibits outstanding skills on the field and in the community. He received the award in 2010. Wakefield spends countless hours in the community and now works as a local broadcaster for the Boston Red Sox.
Due to his incredible work ethic, selfless attitude, and community involvement, I hope to use his career as basis for my future as a coach. Tim Wakefield has been my favorite baseball player since I was a kid and his perseverance has driven me to be who I am today.