There is a very accurate and interesting phrase I heard a couple years back by a color commentator while watching a ball game on TV... “A team takes on the personality of its manager”. I’ve really been watching to see if this is true with managers I’ve had, and seen anywhere. I have realized this is about the truest and most accurate quote when it comes to coaches and understanding how some amazingly talented teams are unable to produce.
The Tampa Bay Rays had a manager last year that led a young team to the World Series. The manager had a young and easy attitude and is known as a ‘players manager’, that means he relates to the guys as people and ball players and is able to coach and run the team while still being in good terms with the players. A player’s manager is rare.
Over the past couple of years I’ve played on teams with several different kinds of coaches, I won’t name names or teams. but I have seen a lot of different breeds of managers.
-> I’ve had a coach that ruined our season because of his over coaching and obvious negative and nervous outbursts in the dugout. Lack of trust in his players led to the coach being the cancer of the team.
-> I’ve had a coach who was so mono toned and old fashioned that every team in the league knew when we were about to bunt and do any strategic move it was useless.
-> I have only talked about the couple bad apples I've encountered, but I have also had some coaches who knew how to make things work.
-> There is a coach I wish could have played for recently that is obviously a great coach, knows his baseball and seems to be quite the players manager, unfortunately I wasn’t able to play for this coach, yet.
-> The most player oriented manager I've ever had created one of the greatest and most together team environments I’ve ever played in. We did something incredible with that team, coincidence? probably not.
There are coaches who know a lot and don't know how to pass on the info, there are coaches who don't know as much but are able to make up for their shortfalls in other ways. No matter what kind of coach I have, I am the type of player who will do whatever my coach or manager asks of me, because that's what was instilled in me over my first 2 years of Junior College/boot camp. I take something from all the men I've played under and been taught or not taught by. I am trying to take all the aspects I see as positives so that I can be a complete player, and coach or manager someday. If I don't ever coach, it will be useful to teach my son or daughter someday. But first off I get to work on my leadership qualities this winter while doing pitching clinics.