USA Softball News Candrea on Coaching:...

Candrea on Coaching: Has coaching changed?

Aug. 01, 2016, 1:43 p.m. (ET)

I have been blessed to go to work every day for the past 40 years and do something that I have a great passion for and never have considered it a job. Yes, that may seem impossible but truly I tell people I have never worked a day in my life.  It has been an honor and privilege to be called “coach” by all the young men and women that I have had the chance to be a small part of their lives forever.  In fact, I feel like I have had a gifted life and still feel honored to call coaching my profession.

Just like everything in our lifetime, change is inevitable.  People always ask me if coaching has changed and my answer has always been “yes”.  What has caused those changes?  First of all, the game is still the same – bases are 60 ft., we use a bat and ball, and we play it because it is fun and we like to compete. The changes are based upon the change in raising a kid in the 60’s and 70’s compared to today.  As a coach, what motivated my players when I took my present job at The University of Arizona in 1985 was quite different than my team in 2016.  Probably no different than what motivated me as a kid in the 60’s vs my own kids in the 80’s.  I grew up in the black and white TV era, no cell phones, no technology, no computers and no social media.  So obviously, the kids of today have many more choices and distractions to deal with.  My life was simple!

Today’s athlete has not changed!  What has changed is the environment that they have been brought up and live in today.  I do know that today’s athlete is still very moldable and enjoy a process that makes them better players and people.  The same standards we lived by in 1985 are the same standards we hold our players to today.  The difference being today’s athlete has many more distractions that can get in the way.  More games on television, social media giving instant updates and opinions have made today’s athlete and their performances much more public. Major changes in coaching today can stem from how we discipline players, teach competition, develop teamwork and the use of technology.  A major part of my early athletic and coaching career was structure and discipline.  Today’s athlete must be handled differently and this has changed the type of environment acceptable to players and parents. These are the things that have changed the way we coach today.  In my opinion, good coaches change with the demands of bringing the best out of their players. Coaches today have much more that they have to prepare their players for besides the game itself. 

I am constantly finding myself thinking about the most effective way to reach my player, which has always been the case but today the buttons we press I find quite different.  No one likes change but in life I have found that change is inevitable and we either deal with it in a positive way or use it as an excuse.  We all know in coaching ……. excuses are not an option!

Until next time,

Coach Candrea