Development vs. winning

At what level do you think its ok to transition from a mentality of development vs. a mentality of winning? Little league? Varsity? College? Minors? Majors? As coaches, there always a balance that must be struck between developing players and putting together a win. What do you think? [/i]

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]At what level do you think its ok to transition from a mentality of development vs. a mentality of winning? Little league? Varsity? College? Minors? Majors? As coaches, there always a balance that must be struck between developing players and putting together a win. What do you think? [/i][/quote]I would say that until you hit college baseball, the focus (especially for small high schools) should be development of the players, which ultimately results in winning more games in the long run.

College baseball is a lot different. Here if you are on varsity, it mostly is about winning games, with the exception of a few players who swing, and JV where we work on developing the players more so that we may move up to varsity.

I think that winning is over stated at all levels. If the emphasis was making good fundamental plays on every play winning will take care of itself.

The one thing I think is missed is that too many people focus on results rather than the process and how plays are being executed. Too often a kid will field a ball on the side and make a play and all the parents cheer what a great play. Then later in the game the player makes the same play but this time misses and parents and coaches yell get in front of it. If more parents and coaches would worry about the process and making sure plays are executed fundamentally everytime then winning would take care of it self.

The other thing to keep in mind is you can do everything right and if the opposing guy on the mound has his A game or your pitcher doesn’t have it, you are probably going to lose. But if you are fundamentally sound you have a chance to win just about every game. Worry more about the process and less about results you will get good results and winning will take care of itself.

so until we get to say college if your not playing to win, why? play the game just have practices. Development and winning run hand in hand. you cant have one without the other. i say we dont keep score till college then, no stats, no radar guns. you have to play to win and it is important to win. Not the most important but important.My son started a game at the ripken experience last year he was jacked up , nervous, tears in his eyes started alittle wild but calmed down pitched 4 innings of no hit ball and we WON!!! 17-0. it builds character it teaches you, you can do things you didnt think you could do.19 yrs old is to late to build character. It was brutal on me too,to see my son that nervous, but i’am not going to shield my son from life.sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, you deal with it either way and go on and try to get better. That builds confidence if you win, yea Iam sure the losing team lost some confidence. We didnt win the tourney we eventualy lost.we learned we could play with solid teams from allover the country. overall a positive learning experience.I also believe in the process , or believing in the program ideas. but the whole idea of going through the process or believing in the system is to eventually win. Most of the greatest players in all sports have a natural desire to win, they dislike losing and play hard all the time. I believe it was instilled in most of them very young not to accept losing, and if you do work harder and try to get better, positive things will happen . [/wmp]

I don’t understand why it has to be either/or.

But…lets look at just instilling the thought that winning does matter.

At what age do you teach your child that lying is wrong, that stealing is wrong, that cheating is wrong, that setting the neighbor’s cat on fire is wrong. From the time they’re old enough to understand the spoken language? Why, couldn’t we just skip all the drama, because when they reach 14 they’ll just get it.

Just like you can instill the fact that losing is OK, because when they get old enough the switch will flip and they’ll just get it. If you instill in a child that losing is OK through their formative years sports wise (5/6-13/14) how can you expect them to place an emphasis on winning thereafter.

Show me someone who doesn’t mind losing, and I’ll show you a loser.

Isn’t it weird in our world today, people want to forget that there has to be winners and losers in life…like life is kindergarden rules. (If one gets it all get it)
No winning is what you play the game to do, we aren’t the Japanese Society and they like that “hope for a tie” stuff…not so much Americans :lol:
Cracks me up when people get all embaressed and want to mute a young kids fun in celebration and on tv that night they watch riots because some sports team of adults won a championship…
I think even t-ball teams should be taught to win…it’s the same formula for being successful in life…work hard, be honest and true to whatever it is you are doing and it pays off with success over time…why wouldn’t we want kids to know that and have it reinforced as many times as possible…
Development never stops either.

I couldn’t agree that there should be winners and losers at all levels. Teaching kids the rewards of winning and the lessons of losing are very important at all ages. We are generally creating a complete generation of young people who think they can do no wrong because they haven’t tasted defeat or experienced adversity.

The problem with emphasizing winning is that then people start to take shortcuts and as long as they are winning it is ok and I don’t think that is conducive to long term success. I have seen it time and again in my 20+ yrs of coaching youth sports at all levels. I have seen kids excel in little league and fail or become very average at the high school level. Often times it is because the kids were never taught fundamentals and they developed in size and strength ahead of their peers so they were better and that was ok because they were winning. The problem with that is in high school the smaller kids generally catch up and they generally have better fundamentals and pass the others up.

“Did I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions to ask. The correct question is: Did I make my best effort? That’s what matters. The rest of it just gets in the way.”

Would you want someone who believes that to coach your son?

[quote=“RJ35”]“Did I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions to ask. The correct question is: Did I make my best effort? That’s what matters. The rest of it just gets in the way.”

Would you want someone who believes that to coach your son?[/quote]

RJ, don’t ever ask parents if they want their child to win at any cost. They may say they don’t, but the truth is, they know there has to be a winner and a loser, and given the choice which to be, they’ll choose winner no mater what they say. :wink:

IMHO, the correct approach isn’t necessarily one philosophy or the other, but managing to not go overboard in any direction. IOW, winning is great, but not at the expense of all else. The same can be said for giving a max effort. That’s fine, but giving a max effort when the cause is completely lost or so favorable as to not be overcome can be foolish.

When one gets down to it, the real goal isn’t perfection in execution and winning at all costs. Its aiming for the best result with the maximum coordinated effort from the team. Too many people forget that baseball isn’t an individual game, but rather a game made up of individual performances coordinated toward one end.

“Did I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions to ask. The correct question is: Did I make my best effort? That’s what matters. The rest of it just gets in the way.”

Would you want someone who believes that to coach your son?

O.K., Let me rephrase my question. (This is not directed at you Scorekeeper. But at parents and coaches in general.)

“Would you have wanted your son to play for John Wooden?”

The “Did I win” quote is Coach Wooden’s not mine. Funny but he rarely talked to his players about “winning”. He talked about doing the little things really well and working on them over and over and he talked about giving maxium effort.

And clearly most parents wouldn’t want their kids to play for whoever came up with this quote:

“eliminate the fear, it’s fun. Stay with the process, eliminate the reward, it’s fun. If you want to have fun playing baseball, play it for the right reasons: your growth, your development, your performances.”

No way could a guy with this philosophy win anything. :lol:

I agree with that. I don’t make the kid walk home if the team loses or he doesn’t play well. I always stress that you will lose, strike out, not play well. If you’ve tried your best accept it, shake the other guys hand, but losing should never be ok.

You have to take that in context. Kids lives where vastly different then than they are now. No XBOX, no computer, three channels on the tv, I got my ass whipped for look at the parents wrong. Sports were, to some degree, an escape. That’s hardly the case now days.

Let me pose this question. If you’re a 10/11/12 year old kid what is your incentive to better yourself at sports. Winning isn’t really important, so why work to better my self thus helping the team. And I’ll get just as much playing time as the strongest kid…so where’s the controller?

RJ35 that was in a different era. pre everybody is equal lets not make anyone feel bad era. I believe it was a time where winning was expected not looked down on. I dont think wooden had to engrain it in them it was already excepted that they knew winning was important. here is a wooden quote “Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.” yea building Quality individuals was important to him but winning was a major goal of his

“eliminate the fear, it’s fun. Stay with the process, eliminate the reward, it’s fun. If you want to have fun playing baseball, play it for the right reasons: your growth, your development, your performances.”

That’s Augie Garrido. He is still coaching today’s kids. He’s won a few games. :lol:

The point is kids should put forth their best effort to see how good they can be at something. In this case it happens to be baseball. What transfers over to the real world is a work ethic. It’s a way to demonstrate to kids that if you want to be good at something you’ll have to put your “10,000 hours in”. Does winning a lot of games make a kid better? If he’s not practicing on his own or learning to enjoy the process of trying to get better at something, I don’t care how many games his team wins. He is not reaching his potential and not really winning or learning anything.

Really I would think that depends on how developed the pitcher is.
When a pitcher has developed well, he has a greater chance of winning.
Should a pitcher have an attitude of winning?
A pitcher should never have a losing mentality.
Develop and win.

You’ve got a point. Teach your kid it’s only fun and games, winning doesn’t matter. I hope every parent reading this thinks the same way. Good luck to you and yours and on behalf of my son, thanks. 8)

I see we are talking past each other. But if someone told me my sons could play for a coach like Augie Garrido (5 NCAA Championships at two schools, Cal State Fullerton and Texas in 4 different decades and still coaching) Or John Wooden (10 NCAA championships, and i believe in the 60’s and 70’s there were distractions on college campuses a little bigger than video games) I’ll take Wooden and Garrido over someone like you. Just a difference of opinion. That’s what makes the world go 'round.

You’re spot on there, we have a difference of opinion given the subject.

In my line of work I hire a lot of young “men” in the 17-21 yr old age group. I sit around the supper table shaking my head and uttering the phrase “Oh…my…gawd…” almost nightly. I have strong feelings given the subject. And yes it’s not just baseball, or sports, but it’s part of the

I see phrases in the sports section from coaches at the HS/collage level like “these kids need to understand what it takes to compete at this level” or like Creane at IU last year “I want 5 guys on the floor who don’t want to lose”. That makes me feel pretty good about where my son’s at mentality.

So, you raise your kid the way you see fit, and I’ll do the same with mine. Good luck.

Some of these debates get into interpretations of words. But I think you ask most kids they will tell you they want to win. And when they lose they will be upset. For a lot of kids/people wanting to win is the easy part. Winning is fun. And I am all for keeping score. That’s one of the important ways to measure progress. It’s a big part of what makes a game fun. The competition. But like Bobby Knight says: “Everybody wants to win, but few people have the will to prepare to win.” For someone to be successful, in general, they need a work ethic. I’ve seen and heard of athletes with tremendous talent able to almost single handedly carry teams and win many games. But they had horrible work ethics, no interest in preparation. And I’ve seen and heard of coaches letting these kids get away with not working as hard as other kids but hey “they’re winning”. But they are doing that player a real disservice because he will never reach his full potential. At some point they will run into a player that’s just as big and strong and fast as they are but that player has learned a work ethic. Learned the importance of doing the little things well. Developed the ability to focus on each pitch. The focus to stick with their routine when things are spinning out of control. When John Wooden retired he said he didn’t miss the games. He missed the practices. He missed the preparation. Here’s a Wooden quote sure to enrage some. “I believe we were more successful in some years when we didn’t win a championship than is some years when we did.” Someone in this debate said a pitcher needs a “winning attitude”. Well, like I said pretty much everyone likes to win. It’s more fun than the alternative but what was Greg Maddux’s response when asked by reporters about cy young awards and winning games. "a daily newspaperman, asks: “Do you think about the Cy Young, Greg, or 20 wins?”

Maddux, sighing, runs his fingers through his hair, saying, “I don’t think about awards or wins. Maybe after the season I will. Right now I just think about pitching. Thinking about awards and wins won’t help me make good pitches.”


You’re always trying to learn how to better relax out there and not to get caught up in the outcome of the game. To focus better and make better pitches.”

So if he doesn’t get caught up in the outcome does that mean he doesn’t have a “winning attitude”? Read the whole article if you want. Well worth it for coaches and pitchers.

If you want to talk to kids about winning talk about winning each pitch. That helps develop focus and mental toughness. Talk to them about talking pride in their total effort. Someone posted a TCU video recently. Worth watching if you haven’t.

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. The great Satchel Paige once said, " You have to believe in yourself. When you believe, you do." No one could have put it more succinctly.

I read this differently.

You manage teams differently to win compared to development. As a player, you always play to win!

The kids that put the time in outside of practice are the ones that get the most playing time. They get the most playing time because they are typically the best players. You play your best players when your managing to win. The bad part is it creates a snowball affect. The best players play the most which allows them to develop faster and seperate themselves greater from the “other” players. The awards of playing well motivate the good player even more.

The kid that only picks up a ball during practice stalls out pretty quickly. They are only picking up a few innings if any during games. Playing in what might be considered a “lesser” position. Live at bats are limited as well and they will usually be lower in the line up. As this kid grows up, he will see less and less playing time and either learn to work harder or drop out completely. That happens around here by Majors LL. Our LL is very competitive and the coaches coach to win. By Majors, and a lot of Minor teams, these players only see the league minimum playing time of 2 innings and 1 AB.

I have mixed feelings about manageing LL to win. The league champion continues to play tournament ball post season and it is a great experience. If you don’t manage to win than you don’t have a chance for your players to experience this level of play.

Lets face it, winning is very rewarding. If you don’t manage to win you will win very few games. If you think it needs to change than you will need to change the LL rules so everyone is playing by the same guidelines. Something like 50% playing and plate time for all players over the entire season.