The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career.
Growing up, I was always very passionate about playing the game of baseball. I knew that I wanted to remain involved in the game as long as I possibly could, but it was not until I was in college that I realized my passion for coaching the game. In addition to serving as a student manager for the University of Minnesota baseball team, I spent my college summers coaching both Senior Little League and high school American Legion baseball teams. These were my first opportunities to lead a team, design practices and workouts, and get in the trenches with players to help them improve and succeed. I do not remember what the win/loss records were for those teams, and I am guessing they probably were not overly impressive. However, I do know that I experienced groups of young men progress significantly both as athletes and as young men over the course of a summer season. Driving home from summer games and reflecting upon the progress that individual players and teams were making gave me a sense of fulfillment, purpose and drive that has provided the constant fuel for my coaching career.
Outside of mentors, talk about one way you’ve learned some aspect of coaching.
One of the aspects of baseball that I appreciate the most, and believe makes it so unique, is that you truly can never know enough about the game. Once you think you “know it all”, the game of baseball never fails to provide you with humbling reminders that you in fact do not have all of the answers. It is my belief that some of the greatest coaches are also some of the greatest students of the game. I have done my best to absorb as much information as possible regarding the game of baseball in a variety of ways, such as reading books, reaching out to other coaches, attending coaching conventions, etc. However, for me, I feel as though I developed into a much more complete, well-rounded and impactful coach after spending time as a high school teacher. Teaching in a classroom and coaching on a field have many parallels. Having the opportunity to experience first hand the variety of ways in which students best learn and are motivated had a drastic impact on not only my ability to design and execute an effective practice or workout, but more importantly, my ability to develop strong relationships with my players to assist them in achieving their full athletic, academic and personal potential.
Name one new thing you want to accomplish this year.
I have had the privilege and honor of serving as an assistant coach at Edgewood College under head coach Al Brisack from 2011-2013, and now again for the 2018 season. One of the many influential things that I have heard Coach Brisack often tell our student-athletes is to “Be comfortable being uncomfortable”. Having observed a noticeable generational shift in the mental makeup of student-athletes, it is my goal to become a valuable resource for players to improve their mental approach to help them navigate the difficult “emotional roller coaster” nature of the game. If I can help even just one young man develop strategies to work through failure, and to improve their resiliency, I will go to bed at night feeling good about the impact I am having on student-athletes.
Best career or work advice you ever received.
“The grass isn’t always greener”. After making a few different stops in my coaching career, this advice makes more sense than ever to me. As a young coach, I was often looking to climb the coaching ranks as rapidly as I could, looking for the next job at a “better” program. As I have gained more experience at a variety of levels and with a variety of programs, I have reached a point in my career where I believe the grass is the greenest exactly where I am in the current moment. So long as I am blessed with the opportunity to teach the game of baseball and develop relationships with players and coaches, that is the place I am meant to be.
Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level. Living or dead. Who is it?
Clyde Metcalf – Sarasota (Florida) High School head baseball coach. I had the great fortune of coaching in the opposite dugout of Coach Metcalf’s teams when I served as the head baseball coach at North Port (Florida) High School. Outside of his impressive and never-ending list of accomplishments, he is one of the greatest teachers of the game of baseball that I have had the great fortune of being around. It’s amazing how much I absorbed from Coach Metcalf in a five minute pre-game chat. I can only imagine how much I would pick up from an extended lunch meeting.