Little Things

I have the great opportunity to work with a lot of different teams and different coaches. During these practices and games I get to learn a lot of things from a wide variety of players and coaches who run the gamut from very young and inexperienced to very talented and experienced college bound players. One of the things that I have really enjoyed is the opportunity to learn what different coaches value and other things that they seem to take for granted or, maybe, undervalue.

After all these experiences I have come to one very simple conclusion. There are no “little things” in our game! And unfortunately, the list of things that I have found all these different coaches to think of as little things are the things that are keeping their teams from winning. Now, please keep in mind, the things that are “little things” vary greatly from team to team and across the age and talent spectrum.

Here is part of the list:

Throwing. Base running. Cut offs. Relays. Rundowns. Bunting. Bunt coverage. Showing up for practice. Showing up on time. Wearing the uniform correctly. Backing up. Being a positive teammate. Communication. Working on your game on your own. And on and on the list goes.

Yes, I know, some of these things seem shocking because I have yet to hear of any “little thing” that really struck me as unimportant. When I think of the great teams and players that I have seen and coached over the years they are all working hard to do all these things well. And I can think off many examples of really good teams that came up short because of a messed up rundown or relay or bunt coverage. So in my opinion everything is important.

Where does this attitude of “little things” come from? My best guess is that coaches find themselves trying to fit a lot of things into their practice schedules and thus find themselves prioritizing certain things over others. Now I get that idea, if you have limited time you need to work really hard at what you feel are the most important things. If your team can hit great you might be able to overcome some other issues but that doesn’t mean that those other thing are not important, they just might end up a little further down the list of things to get done.

So what is the moral to the story? You can bet that as some point in time the “little things” will cost you a game or a championship or cause the end of your season. The challenge for all of us as coaches is to find the time to work on as many of the things on the list as we possibly can or accept the fact that there will be potential consequences for not doing so. Is it challenging, of course, that’s why you get the big bucks…

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?