We were lucky enough to have former major league manager Buck Showalter visit with us at IMG Academy last week and spend some time with our coaches. Below are my notes from his talk.

  • “I grew up in a small town on the Panhandle. I’m grateful for it, because I had to interact, face to face, with people every day. And you had to work things out, because you were going to see the same people at Church on Sunday. That face to face interaction doesn’t happen as much anymore, and I think it affects our ability to deal with real issues properly.”
  • As a coach – ask yourself this question – Would you want to play for you? Really think about that question.
  • We don’t spend enough time on actually “playing the game.” Our game you hit the ball, you field the ball, you run the bases. Talked about a HS practice he was at where the team stood in the outfield shagging flies for an hour while one kid hit. Kids were bored.”
  • Really think about how much you allow your kids to play the game. Sometimes we get so mechanical with our practices we get away from the essence of the game.
  • Presentation – Crucial as a head coach. “Every day, when you walk into a room, can you command it? Once you walk out that door, you have a presentation to make.”
  • Good Coach/Good Manager – is coaching your specialty, or are you a manager of people? You want to be both.
  • As long as you are doing something important, people are going to question you about it – players, parents, media, administration. Be prepared for it.
  • “I will never let you be wrong about something if you really care about being right.”
  • Analytics – “I’m a big fan. I’ve been doing it since 1983. No one lives information more than I do.” But can you evaluate the 6th tool? That competitive edge, character, desire, commitment.
  • How do you keep a team bought in when they aren’t winning – “It’s very challenging. Always remain consistent. Make sure they see you are making them better individually.”
  • The players will buy in when you show them you really care about something.
  • How do you manage egos? “The best way is peer pressure. Create an environment where your team can police it. If a player doesn’t care about his teammates, we’ve got a problem.”
  • Leadership – “Leadership is really defining reality for your players every day.”
  • “I got paid over one million dollars in a year to manage a major league baseball team. Are you kidding me? If I can walk into a Target and I can buy anything in the store? I’m good.”
  • On why he feels he’s been so successful? – “Well, thank you for that. My parents, really. They held me accountable. And the town I grew up in, having to interact with different people face to face every day.”

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