Time! My talk on the mound

Time!

As I walk out to the mound they know what I am going to say.  We know how to defend this because we drill it non-stop.  One might say there is no reason to go out to the mound and talk if that is the case.  But my purpose is to calm everyone down and give an encouraging word.

Hey Guys!

By the time I get out to the mound every infielder is there.  Here is what I say:

Alright guys.  No problem here.  They are going to bunt.  Pierre is showing the bunt early, First Baseman, you can’t crash.  Slowly start creeping and watch for the slash.  Third base you are creeping also, move 2 steps into the 5-6 hole and get in that guys face and remind him that you are there.  Second Baseman you will play over a few steps in the hole and be ready to cover 1st base.  Shortstop, you have 2nd.

Now listen, Pitcher, after you throw this fastball, I want you busting your butt over to the 1st base line.  Third baseman will cover the entire left side and the mound.  We don’t want to allow Pierre to push bunt the ball and get a hit.

OK! We got this.  We are going to get an out at 1st base.  Get your feet underneath you and throw a strike to 1st base.  Hey!  Just follow your throw.

We will intentionally walk the next batter once we get the out at 1st.  Then we get a double play and we’re good!

Listen!  We won’t be able to hear anything.  So are we all good on what our assignments are?  Good.

Hey!  Pressure is fun.  Winning is fun!  We’re having fun you hear me!  Let’s go!

What I really just did…

Our entire team knew what we were going to do.  My talk wasn’t about that.  Sure it is always good to go over everyone’s fielding assignments, but it is more important for the players to understand how the manager feels.  Managers have an incredible influence on their players.  They have an ability to give a guy confidence when he has none in himself.  He has the power to show the players that he cares about them as people.  In this situation, the pitcher probably thinks he did something wrong.  Part of my purpose to go out there is to show him that I don’t care about that.  He didn’t do anything wrong.  This will change the way the pitcher feels and refocus him on his assignment instead of concentrating on the fact that he just gave up a hit in the 9th.

As for the other infielders, it is to show them that I have complete confidence in them.  Managers usually go out there so “tight” that you can’t believe it.  It makes things worse.  We can tell when the game is moving too fast for a manager.  We want to see a guy who has a plan.  It is also nice when the manager shows that they are human.  This too is rare.  They think being really serious and intense will somehow influence the players to feel confidence.  It isn’t true.  It will cause players to tense up and realize the pressure.  My goal is the opposite.  I will look in each one of their eyes so that they can see that I am calm and believe in them.

Before I turn around and run back to the dugout, I give a little half-smile and say:

No problem here….we got this!  Let’s do it!

So how did you do?  Tell me what you did.


6 Comments on “Time! My talk on the mound”

  1. Karen says:

    I already suggested getting the safe out, intentionally walking the next batter, and playing for the double play with the last blog on bunting. So I guess I was on the right track.

  2. Steve Stein says:

    I like: “Candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh, maybe you could find out where she’s registered and maybe a place-setting or maybe a silverware pattern. Okay, let’s get two! Go get ’em. ”

    But seriously, this is a great look at the inside game, and great advice for managers. (You looking for the Marlins position or something?🙂

  3. Dan Jensen says:

    I really appreciate your comments, just saw you on the FoxKC pregame & looked you up. I help coach American Legion Junior baseball & have coached baseball/softball-boys, girls, men, women, coed for over 30 years & I have yet to see a player not positively impacted by a show of confidence by the coach/manager in them. I wish more coaches would think this way & express it the kids. Thanks again for what you do.

  4. Matt says:

    Spot on as always sir. Usually when I go out during one of the high school games, I’ll ask if everyone is feeling good and loose, tell them, hey you know what you’re going to do right here so let’s focus and execute and hurry the heck (usually more colorful) up because we need to get out of the inning so I can run to the restroom in the field house really quick. I’ll tell them that or a joke to loosen them up a little in a tight situation, then tell them to clear their head, focus on what they need to do and get out of the inning.


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