The area Spring high school sports season in the area is winding down. There were many accomplishments by teams and individuals at Topsail High School. I would like congratulate the Topsail Men Lacrosse and the Topsail Lady Pirate Softball teams. Topsail Men Lacrosse won 3A conference championship and advanced to the final four of the NCHSAA 3A State playoffs. The team finished East Regional runner-up. The Topsail Lady Pirate Softball team won the Mid-eastern 3A/4A Conference Championship and advanced to the final 8 of the 3A NCHSAA State Playoffs. Congrats to both teams on outstanding seasons.
I sometimes reflect back on my years of youth coaching and things I could have done different. When you are coaching youth baseball you are not aware that the habits and fundamentals the kids develop will stay with them for many years and in some cases high school. I know this is true because when you ask a high school player why they are doing certain things the incorrect way the players will say that they were taught that way by former coaches.
I have much respect for youth coaches especially since I was one for such a long time. The fact is high school baseball would suffer greatly with out them.
I will share a story about a little league coach in Wilmington that I was fortunate enough to coach with in the Supper Optimist Babe Ruth league back in the nineties. Legendary youth coach David Scott who passed away in 2000 coached little league baseball for over 45 years in Wilmington.
I remember riding by the Blair-Noble baseball fields on market street and seeing him throwing batting practice to his team. Amazing if you consider the fact that coach Scott was 82 years old at the time.
Coach Scott was a teacher of the game of baseball. I coached against him most of the time but was fortunate enough to assist him with the all star team one year. I learned a lot from coach Scott.
The other coaches in the league would always be scratching their heads after the player draft each year trying to understand some of his player selections. I f you stopped by the park to watch his teams first practice the team looked like the Bad News Bears. By the end of the season, coach Scotts team would finish at the top of the league standings. I guess he could see things in the kids that us other coaches could not see.
The year I assisted him with the all star team one of the kids was having a hard time putting the bat on the ball. Coach calmly walked over to the kid and told him “son you can not hit what you can not see”. The kid looked up at coach Scott and said “ I can see the ball coach” Coach Scott responded “ step over here tiger” Coach walked over to the equipment bag and pulled out a notebook with a three inch binder. The note book was full of magazine pictures and baseball cards of major league players hitting a baseball. In each one the hitter’s eyes were watching the ball hit the bat.
Whether or not this 10 year old kid comprehended the illustration really didn’t matter. Coach Scott was doing what he did best, teaching the game of baseball.
I thought of coach Scott when I was reflecting on what I could have done better when I was coaching youth baseball. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying for youth coaches today not to coach to win, but maybe they should put a little less emphasis on winning and more on teaching the game of baseball to the kids.
That’s what coach did. He had it figured out. Coach Scott was a teacher and a winner.