WYC 006 Youth Baseball – Ken Stuursma from Kings Baseball

Ken Stuursma picWhat does it take to be a winning youth coach? Listen in as Coach Ken Stuursma shares coaching stories and discusses his journey to becoming a successful youth coach.

Ken is married and has 3 children- 2 girls and a boy. He played baseball throughout his childhood and through the college level. He is the founder of Kings Baseball in Northeast Ohio, a youth baseball organization that focuses on growing strong men, not just athletes.

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Coaching/Leadership Quote

▪   ‘Other than Dad, the best thing you can be called is Coach’

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Coaching your own Kid

▪   It’s a joy to coach your own kid – but the challenge is the perception of others who might question your kid’s playing time. You should have discussions with your son/daughter up front about the fact they are going to have to be better than anyone else to earn a position.

My ‘Cringe’ Moment

▪   Early on – it was more about me and my success instead of being focused on the kids

Coaching AH-HA Moment

▪   A conversation with an old-time cowboy, Lou Skeridan – who taught him that kids come to him with their hearts wide open, and you have 2 choices:

  1. You can build into it and make their heart bigger, or
  2. You can crush that and make their hearts smaller

Inspiring Story

▪   Watching his son Jake and some of the other boys on his son’s 17 year-old team develop into leaders and men

Teaching Children

▪   ‘Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’ – Sam Rutigliano 

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Inspiring Story part 2

▪   Craig shared a story where he witnessed Coach Stuursma show grace to a kid on the opposing team and it really impacted Craig’s outlook on coaching

Coaching Resources

▪   Best resource is: Other coaches! Don’t be shy about sharing ideas with other coaches

Discipline/ Teambuilding

▪   The kids have to first know you are doing it for the right reasons.


▪   They tell their kids that every practice and game – they have to come to practice for somebody else – selfish attitudes are garbage and selfish behavior is the first and most important item to eliminate

▪   When an individual gets disciplined – they will have the primary offender do 10 push-ups, then when he finishes – the entire team has to do 20

Reward, Recognition, and Teambuilding

▪   Celebrating every accomplishment, whether big or large, is paramount


▪   You have to define what your wins are. Ultimately winning is having the kids fall in love with the sport. But especially once you put on a school team uniform – yes you should be playing to win.

 The One that Got Away

▪   When Ken was playing college baseball they lost a game to their arch rival in the bottom of the 9th when the coach put in a hard-throwing freshman

Coaching/Leadership Motivation

▪   Book: ‘Raising a Modern Day Knight’ by Robert Lewis – story of bringing a boy into manhood

Kings Baseball

▪  Developed to show boys that if God has given you a gift of athletic ability – there are responsibilities that go with that

▪  4 cornerstone principles (from Raising a Modern Day Knight):

  1. Accept responsibility
  2. Lead courageously
  3. Reject passivity
  4. Expect a greater reward

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Parting Advice

▪  Don’t take the wins/losses too seriously, but take very seriously the impact you are having on these kids

Interview Links

▪   HUDL

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