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Inside Pitch Magazine, Winter 2013

Intentional Walk: The Grass is Always Greener...

By Keith Madison

Grass"If I could only get the coaching job at _________, I would be happy." "Playing at ______________ would be a dream come true." Baseball coaches and players, alike, sometimes get so caught up on where they want to be that they forget where they are now! We all need to be reminded to do the best we can with what we have to work with at the present, then where we "want to be" will have a better chance of coming to fruition.

As a former coach at the Division l level, one of the most frequently asked questions coaches ask me is, "How can I get a job in college baseball?" Or, "How can I move from the NAIA level or the D-ll level to the D-l ranks?" From a players standpoint, I've been often asked, "I want to play college baseball, how can I get noticed by college coaches?" Or, "My dream is to play professional baseball. What can I do to receive more recognition from professional scouts?"

Players and coaches should be goal oriented. We should pursue excellence at every level of our lives.  Unfortunately, many times, we forget to appreciate where we are in the here and now. We cheat our teammates by giving them less that our best because our focus is on the future instead of the present. We sometimes rob ourselves of the joy of coaching our current team because we are in pursuit of a better job at a more prestigious level. This is not only a problem with baseball players and coaches but with people in all walks of life. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. Just ask Rick Pitino who left what he now calls "Camelot" (Kentucky) to go to the NBA, only to come back to college basketball at Louisville where he has once again found success and contentment. Or, ask Steve Spurrier, who left a wildly successful job at Florida to coach in the NFL, only to come back to the SEC and coach at South Carolina.

Personally, I coached 26 years in the SEC and two years at the high school level. I loved all 28 years of coaching and probably would not change a thing if I could start my coaching career all over again. But, I must say, the most fun that I had were in my first two years of coaching at the high school level. At that level, the players are more easily influenced and they have an energy and zeal for playing that many college players have lost. The skill level obviously isn't as developed at the high school level; but as a coach, you can make a bigger difference in both skills and character at the younger age.

A great missionary, Paul, had this figured out 2,000 years ago.  In a letter that he wrote to the church at Philippi he said this: "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:12-13)

God is more interested in how you do your job as opposed to what you do or where you do it.

Inside Pitch Magazine is published six times per year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt association founded in 1945. Copyright American Baseball Coaches Association. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without prior written permission. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, it is impossible to make such a guarantee. The opinions expressed herein are those of the writers.
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