WYC 159 – Youth Baseball – Adam Walker – A Championship Culture

Adam Walker is the coach of a U14 boys fastball(baseball) team in Ontario Canada. His note to WYC:

‘I have been coaching for years in hockey and fastball, I have had good results but not great. I also had decent relationships with my athletes but again not great. Last winter I found your podcast and after listening to a lot of episodes especially those around creating a winning culture I made some changes to the way I coach. In the past I was never overly negative but I didn’t focus on being positive. I spent time talking to my athletes but I didn’t make it a point to really know them.

After making these changes last season not only did I see a huge change in the passion these young athletes have for the game, we were also closer as a team, I developed great relationships with my athletes, and in the end we won our provincial championship and then went on to win a National Championship.

These young athletes had such a passion for the game and it resulted in them working harder every time we were at the diamonds. In the end their skills and self confidence grew and the result was a National Championship and memories these kids will never forget.’

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Show Notes – WYC 159 – Adam Walker

Cringe Moments

  • Putting way too much emphasis on winning championships at the youth level. ‘It was more what I wanted not what the kids wanted.’

Long Term Athlete Development

  • How do you prepare athletes long-term to succeed? Failure is part of the process – have them fail early, but make sure it is in a safe environment.

Changing culture

  • Post-game talks – Coach doesn’t need to rehash all the things they did wrong. Have the players share with each other what they did well.
  • ‘Your athletes can either show up to every game afraid to make a mistake or excited to play the game. Both options are up to the coaches.” Put pressure on the other team by making them make a perfect play, then live with the results.
  • You have to be both: Positive & Demanding.
  • They had a plan:
    • Year 1 – Develop _____ skills
    • Year 2 – Enhance _____ skills
    • Year 3 – Put these together and compete to win championships

Game goals

  • Process based. Not ‘go 3 for 3’, but rather ‘hit 2 balls hard’

Best Stolen/Borrowed Idea

  • 3 team game – 1 in infield, 1 in outfield, 1 hitting. They do it every practice.

Favorite books/quote:

Parting Advice

  • Focus on the long-term. Not the individual game wins.

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