How to approach and respond

Take a look at a section on this web site called “rules”. In that section there is a posted topic called “This is a tricky one - it’s not easy.”

During a game for 17U, this came up and the outcome of the umpire’s ruling was challenged by various interpretations of his application of the rules of the game (ORB).

I deliberately injected every argument that I could remember from the people pressing their case. I also remembered a few of the rules that were being quoted - out of context, that had nothing to do with the subject at hand, that just added confusion to the issue.

However, those that did quote chapter, section and verse, stood their ground and were absolutely convinced that they were right. Some fans even got into the act and the game was delayed for an unreasonable amount of time.

Now I’d like you to read the entire section - especially the part were Odin responded and his/her approach, choice of words, temperance of structure, and so forth. Do you read any belligerence? Do you take away from that exchange any name calling? How about one responder over the other by means of “my way or the highway”?

As adult coaches and officials, we have a responsibility that goes well beyond the official score book, the press release in the sports section, or the bragging rights at our favorite watering hole. With every action we are setting an example to the youngsters in our charge. For many of those youngsters, it is our actions that they pick up on and carry with them for a long, long time.

So, if your coaching for the first time, or as a veteran, take stock of Odin’s approach and response. Notice how many times I tried to stretch his/her focus. Also notice how the topic came to a conclusion without the distractions that we see all too often in amateur baseball.

The American Baseball Coaches Association has a code of ethics that is well worth reading, that addresses much of what I’m posting here. In fact, this organization has an alumni base that has some impressive company. Dusty Rhodes of the University of Northern Florida is a 2009 ABCA Hall of Fame Inductee. Not too shabby.

So, take coaching to the heights that you and it deserve. Approach every official and rules discussion with a professional demeanor and set the example for those in our charge. Baseball is more than a game - it’s a field of honor, a life style.

Coach B.