“My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging”
Per a report from The Associated Press, Jose Offerman, manager of the Licey Tigers, was banned for life from the Dominican Winter Baseball League today after striking an umpre with his fist. This incident was the second one in which Offerman has “attacked” someone on the baseball field. He has been an all-star player in MLB so he has plenty of experience between the lines. TCC supports the President of the Dominican League, Leonardo Matos Berrido, for taking this action because as a coach your actions set an example for all who participate and also for those who sit in the stands. A new approach to coaching must be adopted where we recognize the responsibility of leading a team and commit to be coaches of character as well as wins. We salute The Domincan League and hope that professional baseball will follow suite in their realms of discipline.
One of the greatest attributes that has been equated with being a great coach is that he is honest. In Mark McQwire we have seen a before and after scenario. We saw him before he was a coach when as a player he was a witness before the Congress in a hearing on the use of steroids in baseball. We now see him as a rookie coach in MLB starting his career and maybe having some regret in how he played baseball. How is it that we deceive ourselves into believing that people cannot see what we are really like. What images do we portray to people? Is it pictures of a person who is honest and upright or of one who has made changes in secret (juicing) and expectations of no one knowing. The proof is in “the puddin” sort of speaking. Pictures do not lie even if we do. Remember, today as a coach you will go out on the field of competition with a crowd of people watching to see how honest you will walk and talk today.
Now that the professional baseball season is officially over I have to say something about this beloved game: what’s the deal with spitting? I recorded this a few weeks ago so here’s my take on it…
One of my favorite baseball players of all time is former Baltimore Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson. I loved him on defense. He wasn’t fast, but had lightning reflexes which made him perfect as a third baseman because his first step and reaction time was explosive when the ball was hit. His diving stops are legendary.
Track runners know the terms “fast twitch” and “slow twitch”. Some runners are born with a built in extra gear that they can hold in reserve until the final lap before kicking in the after burners. Other runners don’t have that gear. They’re slow twitch and their strategy has to be to wear the other runners down by keeping on a constant high pressure throughout the race so they can be far enough ahead of the fast twitch guys to win. That’s playing to your strength.
Somewhere growing up the slow twitch runners had to find that out and more than likely it was a coach who watched them closely and didn’t harp on their faults, but taught them to make the best of the gifts and talent they had.
As a coach you’ll have some fast twitch athletes and some slow twitch athletes and the challenge for you is to recognize the difference and get the most from all of them. Brooks Robinson was probably a slow twitch athlete and wouldn’t have been a great shortstop, but at third base he became a Hall of Famer. Maybe you have a slow twitch athlete who you’ve been trying to coach like a fast twitch athlete.
I was talking to a sports related orthopedic surgeon the other day and he told me that he has to do an awful lot of work with young pitchers, high school age, who’ve torn their rotator cuffs or developed chronic pain in their pitching arms.
He told me that the problem is that the loose, whipping motion that makes a great young pitcher, is also the one thing that makes them more susceptible to arm damage at a young age. That whipping, almost double jointed motion comes as a result of exceptionally loose joints. That means a lack of stability and quicker wear and tear.
Unfortunately there are a lot of coaches who either don’t know or don’t care to listen to that kind of wisdom. They’re always looking for the next great star, and riding him till he drops, but that star can burn out before he ever gets a chance to shine if we don’t handle him with care.