Taken from Candrea on Coaching, a monthly softball-related newsletter from an Olympic softball coach...On behalf of the Amateur Softball Association, welcome to the August issue of the ACE Coach monthly email from ASA Director of Coaching Education and two-time Olympic Coach Mike Candrea: Candrea on Coaching. As a youth sports coach, you naturally want to prepare your team to win as many games as possible, and as a Responsible Coach, you want to prepare your players to win off the field, too. The Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports program is proud to bring you this series in which Coach Candrea will provide you with coaching tips and resources that you can use for the betterment of your youth softball team.
Professionalism – A Code of Conduct
As I travel back from a very memorable trip to New York where I had the opportunity to experience a weekend with the New York Yankees, I thought I would share with you some observations of arguably the most successful franchise in professional sports. It is hard to imagine the wealth of success (27 World Championships) and a tradition that defines the sport. Walking through the offices and seeing pictures of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, and Mickey Mantle (my idol growing up), and all the great players that have worn the uniform, must be quite the challenge for today’s Yankees to live up to the expectations of fans from every generation possible. The one thing I could feel from everyone that I had a chance to visit with from coaches, players, and front office was the sense of pride and obligation that went with representing the New York Yankee organization.
As I have the opportunity to watch many softball games during the summer, I always like to focus on the programs that ultimately find a way to position themselves for a chance to compete for a National Championship. Believe it or not, many of the teams have the same qualities as the New York Yankees, although at a different level. What are these qualities that separate the good from the great? Yes, the Yankee’s are quite wealthy and are not scared to spend money to get the best players. Although, after my trip, it is obvious that these players must also be a good fit and embrace the code of conduct and professionalism set by the organization. These same expectations can be seen in a few softball organizations today – which are exciting to see.
I had the opportunity to visit with a former Arizona Wildcat and now the hitting coach for the New York Yankees, Kevin Long and really hear about what kind of people these great athletes are. I wanted to know what kind of a teammate they were, work ethic, preparation, discipline etc. A laundry list of what we try to instill in our players and kids. The answers I received were exciting and confirmed the qualities of true professionals. There is a reason why these players are in the major leagues and continue to stay at that level. I imagine your job can be a great motivator when you have that kind of money at stake.
This excerpt was taken from the book “The Checklist Manifesto” written by Atul Gawande and speaks about learned occupations. A tremendous lesson derived from being on a team and striving for success understanding that it does prepare you for success after softball.
“All learned occupations have a definition of professionalism, a code of conduct. It is where they spell out their ideals and duties. The codes are sometimes stated, sometimes understood. But they all have at least three common elements.
First is an expectation of selflessness: that we who accept responsibility for others – whether we are doctors, lawyers, teachers, public authorities, soldiers, parents, or pilots – will place the needs and concerns of those who depend on us above our own.
Second is an expectation of skill: that we will aim for excellence in our knowledge and expertise.
Third is an expectation of trustworthiness: that we will be responsible in our personal behavior toward our charges.
Aviators, however add a fourth expectation, discipline: discipline in following prudent procedures and in functioning with others.”
Sound familiar? These are the necessary qualities that we look for in any good organization, team, player, coach or parent. This is a quick check list for reducing failure and being a functional member of the team. Are we teaching our players to be true professionals – even though we know that they will go Pro in something other than softball?
Until next month!
All things current and DBGS!