Q. Coaching: Adversity
A. What movies inspire you? Take a second to think of a movie that makes you want to accomplish something great. I've been asking my baseball students this question for 6 years now and with no exceptions all of the movies have had one thing in common. Adversity.
Rudy, Braveheart, Remember the Titans, Patriot, Coach Carter, Miracle, The Pursuit of Happiness, and Grid Iron Gang. All of these movies get me emotional. All of these movies make me want to do better. All of these movies are stories of overcoming adversity.
They don't make movies about the Dream Team that was as loaded with talent as any other sports team in the history of competition. Nobody would watch it. Nobody would be inspired.
Here's why I bring this up. My observation of "club" sports in the little time I have been around it is that there is very little "stick with it" or "get through it" or "perseverance through the tough times." If things aren't going the way you like it, pull your kid out of there and go play for someone else.
What a crappy movie! What if Rudy got declined the first time and said screw it, I'm going somewhere else. What if William Wallace ran for the hills and fled the country to find sanctuary somewhere else? What if Will Smiths character in the Pursuit of Happiness gave up and started selling crack?!?!
Let's teach our kids better. When my kid is on a team where he is the best kid and everyone else is struggling, I hope I can teach my son a few things about being a leader, about making the other kids better, about controlling what he can control, and about how to deal with adversity.
"Son, things are going to go bad out there. I want you to be the guy that keeps the team going. you be the kid that pats the guy on the back and tells him to stick with it. You be the guy that hustles out the ground ball when you're down 10. You know why son? Because that is the right way to play the game. The score should not determine how hard we try. We play as hard as we can if we are up ten runs or down ten runs. Remember, when things are going bad, this is your opportunity to stand out, to be a leader, to make a great movie."
I got chills the other day when Rocky, my player with a prosthetic leg got a big hit with two outs to score a run. It has been a while since a 14 year old gave me chills by hitting a bleeding fly ball into the outfield.
Brian Berger, Past ABC Holiday Baseball Camp Director, Owner Youth Baseball Edge