Legends On Deck

My First Little League Coaching Experience


This past winter I was given the opportunity to coach my eight year old sons little league baseball team.  Initially, I really didn’t think I would be able to, especially with my college classes taking up most of my free time, but I ventured forward and can honestly say it was the most nerve-racking and also exciting time I have had on the diamond in a very long time.

This move to coach all started when my son surprised me with his sudden love for the game. Last spring was his first full season in a live-pitch league, and even though he did not record a hit all spring, he studied the game and started to understand what it was all about.  He became a student of baseball when most kids were just trying to get on base.

Fall ball arrived quicker than I expected and even though school was taking up most of my schedule, along with work, teaching at church and family time, some how I was given a practice and game schedule that did not interfere with my other priorities. So after receiving my roster, I had to find another coach that shared in my love for the game and also passion to teach these 12 young men the principles and fundamentals of baseball.  Even though in the back of my mind, I didn’t think it would be easy.

I reached out to a good friend of mine, Billy McGuire and he agreed to come down and help out, but I needed one other person, someone that I could lean on along with Billy to make the right choices for our new group. Thankfully, I was able to get in touch with John Ortiz.

During the spring league, John’s son Johnny played on the team with my son Christopher and we discussed then what it would be like to coach our own team; I just never thought it would be this soon. Having two men with many years of experience and great knowledge of the game, was a huge find for me, especially with it being my first ever coaching opportunity.  But a dream come true.

After a few weeks of practice and getting to know our players, we had our first game. I have to honestly say that I was more nervous than anyone; I couldn’t eat that whole day and my nerves were giving me the shakes.  All I could think about was the game, and how would we do.

Well, we pretty much did everything wrong that could happen in a game of baseball, wild pitches, wild throws, fielding errors, striking out, and losing big 15-0. I did feel a bit embarrassed, like I let down my team, the parents and my coaches. I made some questionable calls that I even was not sure about, but at the end of the game, my first one as a coach, I was able to look at it as a stepping stone.  It was a game that you can only get better from and little did I know it would happen so fast.

The very next game we won and then won again and again. The competition was not nearly what we faced in game one, but with each win their confidence grew and they believed that they we getting better.

The season was pretty much a developmental season, to get the boys ready for a full season of competitive spring baseball.  But each game took on a life of it’s own and some we were in and some we were not.  But after each game, I discussed with the boys, the love for the game and that if they took just a little bit of what we taught them, at the end, they would be a totally different club. Well I didn’t realize how much my words would inspire them to do what others didn’t think they could.

Towards the end of the season, the league announced that all the teams would compete in a tournament with the top two teams from pool A & B meeting for the championship. But before we could even get ready for that, we had one last game against the Orange squad, the one team that gave us a very good whipping at the start of the season.  But we were not the same team that faced off with them in game one, our boys became seasoned veterans in a very short amount of time.

We battled with the orange team for most of the game, and even had a few good at bats and run scoring opportunities, but in the end, their experience was just too much for us and we lost 12-3.  But a much better score than the 15-0 drubbing we took, and also a much better overall game. We showed heart, we showed character and we showed gut.  We walked away knowing that we would live for another day with the tournament just around the corner.

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David Conde
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