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So, again, play ‘em where they think they can play, along with where you already know they can play. If they stink, don’t worry, they will know it before you do.
Always remember… Players get better. Help them make it happen!
Tough Tip – Bench your kid in game one and maybe other games too Many amateur coaches have their own son, their “favorite player” on team. If you simply keep your son on bench for first innings of your first game, it will display to all that you are indeed sticking to your guns about playing time, new position opportunities, etc.
Hint – Consider making your son your bench coach to show him that this is not punishment- you certainly can make this a pact between he and you alone. Sit him right next to you in dugout and give him a real duty such as watching and helping position your defenses or maybe giving you a few quick tips on upcoming batters he may know – get creative. Show him you trust and need him! – Build a memory along with a team.
You can even hold out another of your better players too. Refrain from also placing your frontline players in positions they always play in first inning.
Your lesser players will play for you and maybe pay huge dividends come spring! The fact is that you may not be able to make all-stars out of all-stars. They will do most of that by themselves. But you sure can turn lousy player into an average player, average player into a very good player. This even happens in pro ball, just check out Marcus Giles, a former 53rd round draft pick, who is now an all-star second baseman for Atlanta Braves.
Finally, remember that almost every World Series winner has one guy who unexpectedly made a difference. Team guys who were not all-stars or superstars! Remember names Bucky Dent, Craig Counsell, Gene Tenace, Aaron Boone, Mark Lemke, David Eckstein, and Jim Leyritz?
So, take high road, even if and when others do not. It is their loss...and their players are who ultimately pay price with a lack of improvement or leaving game prematurely. It’s not “daddyball”, it’s just smart fall ball!
Take some risks, show some courage, park your ego, then kick some butt on scoreboard! You may end up getting more out of this experience than your players!
*Note: This article is aimed and read by many coaches and players of many age and skill levels. If your fall schedule is a win-at-all-cost league, some of this article is not for you. With that said, enter these leagues knowing that your players may be missing some very important instructional time for long term, possibly even contributing to their premature departure from this greatest of games. After all, when do you allow a player to try a new position or switch hit or break out a new pitch…if not in fall? Exceptions – If you are coaching a group of prospects looking to coming year’s pro draft and/or college ball, your goals are obviously different. Much of above still applies, however you certainly will play these players at their positions of greatest potential.
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Coach John Peter, presently aged 50 something, is a lifelong student of the greatest game on earth. After being asked to find a more suitable occupation at age 26, many seasons after donning his first uni at age 7, he has transcended his skills into the much more important role of coach and especially as an instructor! He prides himself as never having charged any player or coach for a single lesson!