The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career.
This is a fairly easy question for me because of my family. My father, Mark Romick, has been a high school coach all of my life. He’s been the varsity boys basketball coach for 25+ years now, so I basically grew up in the gym with him. I enjoyed the relationships he had with players and seeing how he helped people develop so that’s where it all started.
Outside of mentors, talk about one or more ways you’ve learned some aspect of coaching.
I try to get take-aways from everywhere. I find myself taking stuff from conversations with my wife about her work and how she handles relationships with other sales people. I’ve taken notes at church that I think apply to the team and try to use them as well. I think it’s all about people and relationships when you boil it down to trying to get the most out of people so I try to take in as many avenues as possible that may allow me to serve the players better.
If you could go back to your rookie coach self and give one piece of advice, what would it be?
If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a rookie coach I think the first thing I would say is that it’s okay to not know things. I think this is the toughest anxiety for young coaches and typically the answer for people is to mask not knowing by either making stuff up or just overly harping on the things you know. Either way isn’t helping some players. Just be honest with yourself and enjoy not knowing. It’s actually a fun place to be to learn new things and keep things fresh. Now I’m ten years down the road and trying to learn new techniques and add things to my toolbox all the time. I’m actually open with players that I’m not going to have all their answers and they won’t either but we’ll work together to get them better.
Name one new thing you want to accomplish this year.
One goal to accomplish this year would be to continue to integrate our use of technology in the Division 3 model and not allow it to cut into what has made our program really successful, but use it to enhance the program. I’m not sure there will be a definitive answer to this question at the end of the season regardless of how it works out but I think we will attempt to be really honest with ourselves to determine how we move forward. We began the fall adding both hitting and pitching Rapsodos and also Blast Motion sensors. Our whole goal was not to immediately start to fix and change things but to just observe and collect as much data as we could while still conducting our fall the way we thought would best serve our program.
Best career or work advice you ever received.
I think it’s very easy to get wide-eyed with all the new information as a coach and begin to either think you’ve found an answer as soon as data lines up with your intuitions or also just throw all the data collected at a player and feel like you’re “coaching” them up. Both are mostly ineffective unless you get lucky.
What is one thing you didn’t know (or fully understand) about what coaches do before you got into coaching?
This is where it goes back to understanding the human beings that we coach and also understanding yourself as a coach and exercising restraint and patience. The data can seriously shrink the feedback loop with some players and create small changes much quicker but for some it becomes overwhelming and too much information bogs them down and stunts growth.
Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level. Living or dead. Who is it?
Mike Leach. No question. I love history. I love a good story. I don’t want to sit at lunch and just talk baseball, that could get boring.