The best baseball managers in the major leagues have earned that distinction because they know how to manage a game. They give their teams an excellent chance of winning every night. But, many baseball coaches could do that. What makes a great baseball manager and separates them from the rest is the communication that goes on behind closed doors.
Baseball managers of today versus yesterday
I must admit I have little first-hand knowledge of what goes on in major league clubhouses now. I know that times have changed since the many years ago I played in the big leagues. I know that from friends who have stayed in the professional game and from interviews with baseball managers of today. Times and players have changed, and with that, baseball managers have adapted.
When I played, decisions came from the manager with little or no explanation of why. Things were because managers said they were. Players accepted those decisions, often with hurt feelings, and they moved on with no communication. From a player’s perspective back then, it was never fun being in the dark about what teams plans were for you. And, having no clue why one was not in the lineup and why one was riding the bench for a spell did not help team or player morale.
Today’s players are different for many reasons. The money involved, a sense of entitlement from young ages, and the media play a role in the changing atmosphere from years ago. A better understanding of relationships and the elimination of the my way or highway coaching approach have changed things, too. Considering player feelings in today’s game is necessary. Players feelings have become a priority and manager communication with them vital. Communication keeps players and teams on the same page with all working towards the same goals. A few words of what management is thinking goes a long way towards player and team confidence. As with all relationships, the better the communication, the better everyone responds to tough situations. Along with better communication among all, the top baseball managers do other behind the scenes things that help.
Following are the five habits of highly effective major league baseball managers.
5 Habits of Successful Baseball Managers
- Know their players. Coaches get to know each player’s skills and personalities. They suggest the areas that players need improvement and learn which players to push and which to pamper.
- Put players in positions to succeed. Based on their knowledge of skills and mental makeup, managers put players in spots that they can excel. Often, finding those spots takes time and may change as the season progresses. The best coaches are not afraid to make changes when necessary for the good of teams.
- See and think about the big picture. Players, fans and the media tend to live game by game, happy when winning and sad when losing. Baseball managers look at the season as a whole, knowing the season is long and demanding.
- Display honesty at all times. Baseball managers earn the respect of all with their honesty. Players may not like what they hear, but an honest evaluation of where players stand at the time maintains connections. Once respect for the manager disappears, the season tends to deteriorate soon after.
- Keep the pressure off the players. Managers have ways to keep players relaxed even when things are not going well. Nothing leads to mistakes more than pressure. Baseball managers who accept or deflect the pressure off the team are priceless.
Finally, established players usually have more communication with baseball managers than young ones. #MLBmanagers #baseballcoaching
Jack Perconte has dedicated his post major league baseball career to helping youth. He has taught baseball and softball for the past 27 years and writes of his experiences with over a thousand articles on coaching baseball and youth. Combining his playing, coaching and patenting experiences he continues to help create better baseball and sporting experiences for both athletes and their parents with his writings. Jack is the author of “The Making of a Hitter” and “Raising an Athlete,” with his third book “Creating a Season to Remember” in the works. Jack is a featured writer for Baseball the Magazine. Plug in Jack Perconte at YouTube and find over 80 fun and innovative baseball instructional videos or watch them here.