My son’s Little League team won the AA championship today. We played a team that challenged us all season, and we came out on top 10-7. What made this special wasn’t just winning the trophy, even though it was a great thrill. It was watching him grow the way he did over the course of the season.
He didn’t play last spring because he lost interest in baseball. He started again last fall in Winterball, but he didn’t have a good experience and didn’t progress very much as a player. We were blessed this spring season to have a wonderful group of coaches. They believed in him, and they pushed him to improve his skills. As the season went on, he grew tremendously as a player.
Before this season, he struggled batting against kids’ pitching. This season, he became a hitting machine, driving in 20 runs. He once brought in six runs in one game, and five runs in another. He also showed great hustle in base running. In this game, he turned a tiny hit down the first base line into a double. He later stole home to score, beating the tag at the plate. He also improved defensively. After spending the season in the outfield, he finally earned his chance to play second base in our final regular season game on Thursday, and did a great job covering it. More importantly, my son developed a greater sense of self-confidence and dedication that is helping him in all areas of life.
This is what great coaching can do. Great coaches can take ordinary players and make them extraordinary. Great coaches can inspire players to do more than what they believe is possible. Great coaches doesn’t just produce better athletes, they produce better people. And becoming better than you thought you could be is the best prize of all.