ACS: J.D. Uebler, Culver Academies

J. D. Uebler
Culver Academies – Culver, Indiana
Hometown:  Chillicothe, Illinois
Education: Indiana University 
Email: john.uebler [at]

The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career.

I didn’t experience one moment. For me, I observed my mother, who taught for 34 years, interact with her students and their families. Those formative moments of observing my mom positioned me to want to teach. When I realized the value of the relationships that can be developed and nurtured through teaching and coaching, I knew it was the right move for me.

Outside of mentors, talk about one or more ways you’ve learned some aspect of coaching.

I think many coaches probably have this moment: The moment where I realized as a young coach that I actually didn’t have it all figured out and that fact was ok. I remember early in my career being in a conversation about the mental game in baseball, and the conversation moved directly into how to coach the mental game. I had never thought about trying to coach the mental part of the game, so that curiosity led me asking another coach to read his copy of Heads up Baseball. Reading that book then empowered me to have conversations with more coaches. From there, I started to think about what this approach could be like for my JV players at the time. Finally, implementation was about tinkering, and I’ve been tinkering with how best to coach the mental game ever since. My learning as an assistant coach has taken on that pattern: reading/listening/watching, talking with coaches around me, and planning for what, when, and how to put in front of players. I’m lucky to be in an era of media where there is such accessible and strong content available.

Best career or work advice you ever received.

Not sure if it’s the best, but I come back to it all the time: “Aim small, miss small.”

What is one thing you didn’t know (or fully understand) about what coaches do before you got into coaching?

I didn’t fully understand the care and precision coaches take with their communication with individual players and teams. The learning and planning that goes in to team philosophy around hitting, defense, pitching, base running, to name a few, is intense. When that work is all completed before the season, the practice planning is equal in its demand for intentionality where each individual drill, partner drill, team drill links a desired outcome on the field. Finally, the way that coaches address their teams before/after games and before/after practices is so important in the way program culture, goals, and philosophy are reinforced.

Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level. Living or dead. Who is it?

Augie Garrido – at my first coaching clinic (ABCA, Nashville, 2005), Coach Garrido, with a small entourage, stepped onto the elevator on our way down to the main floor. For thirty seconds, it was just this small group and me. He saw my badge that indicated it was my first time at an ABCA clinic, and he said, “You’ll be just fine, young man. Learning is a coach’s best tool.” With that small connection where he went out of his way to encourage a young coach along with his legendary coaching successes, I couldn’t go wrong with that lunch date.

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