Good Things That Keep Us From The Best Things

I apologize that it has been a few days since I have written a blog posting, but I tried to make a commitment to spend as much time with my family as possible during our home stand...Man, did I mess that up. Hard to believe that we were home for 10 games, as it absolutely flew by. I had great plans to invest as much time as I could into my wife and kids, only to be disappointed by lack of prioritizing.

This reminds me of a quote from one of my minor league managers who said, "Good things can become bad things, when they keep you from the best things." What a true statement. I spent the past week and half raising funds for various charities in town and trying to help people out, (which are good things) but messed up my opportunity to hang out with the most important people in my life.

How does this relate to baseball and coaching? I think that we all want to be successful, and we can all get distracted by things that seem to be very important. Without a plan in place to put first things first, and keep first things first, we are set up for failure. There are many coaches out there who believe that the more time they spend with their sport, the better they are going to be. This simply is not true. Some of the greatest coaches in history, made their assistants go home early, and spend time with their families. Some current managers are not allowing their coaches and players to show up until late in the day, so they can spend time with their kids. These coaches understand the idea of balance, and people with proper balance are more impactful at home and at work.

So, the question that I am asking you, and myself, is this; "What are some of the good things in our lives that are keeping us from the best things?" Then, what kind of plan can we put in place that can fix it?

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  • Success Preventing Development

    I played collegiately in the ACC at a top 5 team in the country and have now been coaching for the past 4-5 years at ages from 10U up to 18U and have noticed something that happens all too often. Looking back on my playing career, I wish I would have had a coach that focused on development instead of immediate success and winning by all means at young ages. Kids focus on results (often because their coaches and/or parents do as well), so when they are having good results they think that they are doing everything right, though it may not be the case. For example, a kid taking batting practice may hit every pitch over the left-field wall, but every ball they hit is rolled over having a bunch of topspin and is always pulled. Their teammates and even the parents all watch in awe and tell them how good they are. As a coach, its easy to get excited about the potential of having a powerful home-run hitter, but it's important to focus on the mechanics rather than results. Once BP pitching turns into live pitching in a game, the opponent won't just be feeding straight fastballs right down the middle every pitch. But of course since they are hitting a bunch of home-runs in practice they think there is nothing that they need to change or work on. Then even worse, if they play against a mediocre pitcher and get a couple hits, maybe even hit a home-run, but they are all pulled down the left-field they really think there is nothing to change. Later in the season once the competition comes up to par they start struggling and seeing only off-speed pitches, and they struggle badly. But in practice they keep hitting the ball hard and hitting home-runs, making it even harder to convince them that their approach needs to change. It's so important to always remember to focus on development and the end goal (hopefully to play at a higher level, may it be high-school, college, or even professionally). Don't worry about being the best BP hitter at 13 years old, focus on your goal for where you want to get in the end. No one remembers the home-run you hit in a tournament at 13 years old...but everyone will for sure remember the base-hit you got to win the State Championship or to start a rally in the World Series. I've made an effort to not look at any stats throughout a season, as they can be very misleading and don't mean anything in the big picture. My goal as a coach of youth baseball players is to develop them as players and people, as well as teach them the right way to play baseball and to have a respect for the game.
  • Family first!!!

    Please reread the article. I feel bad for you! Mike is first a husband and father AMEN!!!
  • Mike coach

    Sorry you did not understand subject of article, Mike Matheny's family is FIRST!
  • Great advice

    Thanks for the important reminder that God and family always trump everything else. Very proud to have you leading our Cardinals!
  • Good blog

    That blog about time and ones realanships can teach us all things can work out and it's good if they work out but they can be better with more hard work . We put hard work into our work or school we can work that hard on ourself and our family we can be stronger and better people. Reading your blog I can tell how u earn your respect from your team . I am sorry I don't know u for real as a friend and mentor in person . Good luck to u and cards but also good luck to u the person .