Hamline University Baseball
Hometown: Bay City, Michigan
Alma Mater: Muskegon CC and Saginaw Valley State University
Email: weston.germain at gmail.com
Official bio at Hamline
The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career?
I have known I wanted to be a coach since early on in high school. It wasn’t really a specific moment as much as it was just a consistent feeling; I had always enjoyed working with younger players and sharing what had been shared with me. Ultimately, I decided to get my degree in secondary education, and I envisioned myself teaching and coaching at the high school level until I retired. However, after coaching various levels of high school baseball, my college coach, Cap Pohlman, encouraged me to make the jump to the college game. Once that seed was planted, the thought that I could be a college coach was intimidating, but also incredibly exciting. I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity with Mike Cupples at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan, and then a summer position with Chris O’Neill in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. That summer solidified that coaching would be the only career for me.
Outside of mentors, talk about one way you’ve learned some aspect of coaching.
At a very foundational level, I think that earning my degree in education has been invaluable in shaping how I work with athletes. That being said, the thing that helps me continue to grow the most is reading, especially in regards to coaching the mental game and working to build mental skills with players. People like Ken Ravizza, Brian Cain, and Joshua Medcalf have had a huge influence on me, and the list continues to grow. Whether the topic is pitching, leadership, or the mental game I don’t think there is a better way to gather information, or gain cheap experience, than reading. An added bonus to the knowledge I gain is that I find it is much easier to ask players to invest in themselves on a daily basis if I know that I am doing the same.
If you could go back to your rookie coach self and give one piece of advice, what would it be?
“Have some perspective.” My first coaching job was as a head freshman coach at my alma mater, Bay City Western, under MHSBCA Hall of Fame coach Tim McDonald. The program is traditionally one of the best in the state. As a young coach with a one-track mind, I figured that only three or four players on that freshman team had a chance to play varsity baseball—it was not a gifted class. I focused most of my attention on those few players, trying to get them ready for their eventual varsity career. It turns out I was right, and only a few of those players made it onto the varsity team, but every member of that team is now young man. They’re about to be husbands, fathers, uncles, and career employees; and I know that I could have done more to prepare them for life off the field if I’d had a shift in perspective. I think the earlier we understand that we’re in the business of building up young men, the better off we are.
What is your favorite memory from a coaching conference or clinic?
At the 2017 ABCA Clinic in Anaheim I went to a breakout session with Alan Jaeger. He spoke about the importance having the right mindset, explained how impactful breathing exercises can be, then lead a 15-minute meditation session. My eyes were opened to the impact those exercises could have for my players, and started brainstorming ways to implement them. After the talk, I planned to introduce myself and thank him for the presentation, but there was a crowd and I wanted to get over to the “Rookie Coaches Meeting,” so I let it go. After the rookie session, he walked into the room and was chatting with Jeremy Sheetinger. I hemmed and hawed for a while, more than a little intimidated about approaching two big-guns, but finally decided I was just going to pop my head in and thank him for his presentation. He shook my hand, and said he was glad that I enjoyed it. He then spent 10-15 minutes with me talking about coaching the mental game, and giving me tips for implementing breathing exercises with my players. Although for him it was probably a simple chat he’s had a thousand times, I will always be grateful for that conversation.
Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level. Who is it?
Joe Maddon. I admire the way he carries himself, builds relationships with his players, implements the mental game, and embraces change. It would be amazing to talk shop with him for a couple hours.