Winning Programs

Good programs do not just happen. 

UCLA Dogpile  

                         Omaha, Nebraska June 25, 2013                            


Winning programs are molded and cared for like a well manicured infield. We’ll start at the bottom, the foundation, and work up to success.               




LOYALTY:   Successful programs are most times led by coaches who surround themselves with outstanding people.  A leader of a program can have all of the greatest ideas ever imagined, but if there is no loyalty among his or her staff/peers, those ideas are nothing but one’s opinion.


ORGANIZATION:   Being highly organized when leading a program can only be a plus.

Always having a plan and a back-up plan are helpful not only for your players, but for your coaches, as well. Rain may not be in the forecast but neither is a broken water line that floods your infield. What will your practice entail then?


COMMUNICATION:  The next part of the program foundation is to communicate well. I know some great baseball players who struggle in the coaching profession. Being able to perform a skill is different than coaching someone to perform that same skill.

Coach to Coach communication is a must, as well. Assistants who are on top of things are generally well informed and that allows them to help run things smoothly.


KNOWLEDGE:   Great coaches are great teachers. They learn from experiences and more importantly, they learn from mistakes. Knowledge isn’t restricted to x’s and o’s on the field. A vast knowledge base allows coaches to teach from many different angles and at different levels. Not all players learn in the same manner. Some can listen to a session on fielding ground balls, then get on the field and perform that skill flawlessly. Others may need video and still others need a walk-through to understand your expectations. Read More…..


STRUCTURE:   Structure provides direction. If a group of players are all going in different directions, one can probably find a flaw in the structure of the program. Lack of structure leads to chaos and eventually an implosion will occur. We all have boundaries and what those boundaries are isn’t as important as where those boundaries lead players and how consistent those boundaries are assessed and maintained.


CONSISTENCY:   How often we follow through with our promises and plans to assistant coaches and players often determines how we are seen through their eyes and can affect the level of loyalty and respect they have for the program. Consistency in a program can solidify success. But if practice starts at 4:05 and Jimmy is late and there are no consequences for Jimmy’s tardiness, then Billy can be late too, right? So the message is NOT that practice starts at 4:05, but rather practice starts whenever it’s convenient for you to show up. That is not a trademark of success.


SUPERIOR WORK ETHIC:   Coaching is a lot of work. When you multiply teaching with problem solving you have Coaching. And it never seems there are enough hours in a day to do what needs to be done. Even so, many times we get more done than we really know or realize. It can be even more demanding off the field than on. Reviewing film-going back through the book-stats-travel plans-studying-researching-etc. It is a demanding profession and not one to be looked upon lightly. It is a profession that demands we work to the best of our ability for those around us.


EXPECTATIONS:   Once the foundation of a program is solid, expectations are bound to rise. Coaches, players, parents all feel good about how things are done and how things are going. Physical and mental investments have been made and a ‘Pay Day’ is expected in the form of winning! Successful programs expect to win. Not just games. They expect to win Championships! Success breeds success. The same holds true for losing.


SUPPORT:   Program support is a result from all of the attributes I’ve listed above. When coaches, parents, players, teachers, administrators, community, etc. see a program functioning in the best interest of the team there’s usually an abundance of backing by all. Of course there will always be the parents who think the best team consists of their child and 8 others, or the parents who think their camp/instruction payments will buy their child a spot on the roster. But they are in the minority. Successful programs provide leadership, guidance and positive results for a team. Not just one player.


TRADITION:   When all of the pieces of the puzzle come together. Players who grew up paying attention to players in your program are now the players others are paying attention to. These players support what you do and have high expectations because of the previous efforts of the coaches and players who came before them. They have watched these coaches and players work diligently and now it’s their turn. Tradition is a huge part of a successful program. And although from the outside it looks like some teams just reload players season to season, there is actually a group of people ‘behind the scenes’ working feverishly each and every moment of each and every day to insure the success of that program continues. They are the Coaches.