Wednesday, December 13, 2017

After thinking about the events in Alabama last night, a couple of things struck me...

1) Maybe the parties will finally stop throwing untenable, unappealing, and downright offensive candidates at us. I guess its a by-product of the nastiness of the political process, that decent, upstanding people no longer want to subject themselves and their families to the hit pieces and constant scrutiny, but good lord, that was the best we could do?

2) While I'm pleased that an alleged child predator is not in Congress, over 600,000 people still voted for him. This illustrates the blindness of so many voters. Basically, they'll vote for whoever has a "R" or "D" next to their name. How about actually looking at the candiate, finding out who they are and what they believe in, and voting for the BEST person for the job? Oh wait, sorry, i forgot pragmatism has no place in politics.

3) Doug Jones is in an interesting situation. He is a Democrat Senator in arguably the most Republican State in the country. If he votes along Democrat party lines the next 2 years, he'll for sure be voted out in the 2020 elections by the overwhelmingly Republican voters...and if he strays to the Republican side, he'll face the wrath of his own party which would probably abandon him in any future elections. My guess is that he'll have 2 years and we'll have a new senator from Alabama.

4) Full disclosure, I am lifelong Republican, and thats something I am proud of. However, I've never voted for anyone simply because they are also Republican. Just like I did when I was hiring emplyees, I looked for the best person for the job. I've voted for people that didnt share all my views, but I thought would represent me and my community well. I believe that this frame of thought is starting to permeate as people get tired of career politicians whose only purpose is to keep their jobs, and have failed to do their jobs.

5) As an American, I am proud that the good people of Alabama rose up and said no to someone who they viewed as an embarrassment to them and what they hold dear. Now I hope that Jones actually does some good and the Democrats don't abandon the very people that carried him to this victory (People of color, women, millennial's). Democrats have done a poor job of supporting these groups once they enter office (hence the Trump victory).

6) And finally, can government actually get back to the business of Governing?? Can we actually accomplish something that will benefit us a nation? Or are the next several months solely going to be about the 2018 midterms? Again, it will be nice to see people doing their jobs, instead of keeping their jobs.

Rant over...enjoy the rest of your day.

Monday, October 9, 2017

More time to I'll write

I have been working from home for awhile, helping a friends firm with some things and trying to get my own recruiting business off the ground (more on that later), and when you work from home, and there is no here but the dogs...and all they do is sleep, your mind tends to wander, and you start thinking about things. So...since I have a few moments before the girls get home, I figured id write a little of it down.

1st thought - Don't let Twitter get the best of you. With the news today that a ESPN journalist/reporter was suspended due to a tweet. I began to wonder how many people have been fired/suspended and/or how many reputations have been damaged by an irresponsible or poorly thought out tweet. Before Twitter, people would express their opinion, but it was to their family, their social group, the exposure was limited and if you pissed someone off or said something inappropriate, it had a limited reach. NOW...your message goes world wide in a matter of seconds, and no matter how fast you delete the tweet, it has already been shared, screen shot and now you are left scrambling to apologize and hope that you are forgiven. Which, in these a unlikely possibility. I tell this to student athletes all the very, very, VERY careful what you put out there. I don't how hoe "private" your settings are, your message will be found.

2nd Thought - Seeing the fire devastation in Northern California has brought back some difficult memories for me and a lot of other people who had to work the fires we had here in San Diego back in 2003 and 2007. I hope and pray that everyone got out safe and that they will be able to rebuild their lives. I know many people in our back country areas never did rebuild and I hope we are able to help these people get back on their feet soon.

3rd Thought - I am deeply respectful of our flag and out anthem, as I see it as more than just a garment and a song. They are a symbol of a nation that has given millions a freedom that they couldn't have had in other places. I am also keenly aware of the social and racial injustices that many people face on a daily basis. I also believe that individuals have the right to protest as long as it in a peaceful manner. The NFL protests have become a lightning rod for the "protest" movement and I wonder if the original message has been lost. When the protests first started, it was aimed at racial issues between minorities and police, but now it seems that individuals are protesting the right to be able to protest. The other issue now presenting itself is "management's" attempt to rein in the protests by telling their employees...if you protest, you wont work here. I spent 30 years working for an employer that had strict policies on certain type of protests or statements. The County of San Diego stated very clearly that we could not strike, we could not promote a election candidate publicly, and if we did...we would be subject to suspensions or termination. And because we liked our job and wanted to work there, we adhered to those policies. While I applaud and support those willing to protest for what they believe in, there can be a cost. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for the NFL players, they are in the public view and every move they make is on camera and for public consumption. They should not be surprised when their protest is met with "protesting". As much as I encourage standing (or in this case, kneeling) for a cause, there shouldn't be a backlash for those who disagree with the manner on how they are protesting. There is no right answer, and if people can somehow agree that varying and difference of opinions are what made this country...then we'll actually be able to solve some of these issues.

4th thought - I've lost track of seeing posts on Facebook stating basically..."if you don't agree with me, please unfriend me". I guess I was mistaken, but I thought public debate on issues was a good thing. No one wants a homogenous society, where we all think alike. I like arguing (rationally of course) my thoughts and viewpoints with someone who has a different view on the same issue. I firmly believe that is what makes us learn and grow...and why they have things like debates. But when you shout the other person down, tell them your opinion is worthless, "unfriend" them simply because they don't share the same opinion. You've become exactly what you've been fighting against...intolerant, closed minded etc. Allow yourselves to see other points of view, you may learn something...and become a better person for it.

5th and last thought - Music soothes the soul. Not a new revelation, but with all heartbreaking news, the natural disasters, the man-made tragedies, the chill that has become the norm on your Facebook and Twitter feeds, you need to find an escape. I went to the Imagine Dragons concert last week, and found myself lost in their message for a good 2 hours. The daily stress was gone, I didn't think about politics, work, or any other negative, I was just able to sing, sway and escape. It was a pretty cool feeling. I cant stress enough how important it is to find 30 minutes a day to lose yourself in a couple of songs. Trust'll feel a heck of a lot better after.

I think that's enough for 1 day. Oh...I mentioned earlier that I'm starting own business. Am announcement on that is coming soon.

If you made it this far, thank you. I hope I made you think a little, as that it what all writers hope for.

We'll talk soon


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why I do what I do

Its been a long time since I've been able to post and there have been some major changes in my life. I retired from my government job, started coaching high school, became a work from home parent, became a car-pool mom etc. So I decided to sit down again and update this blog.

I thought I'd take a minute to write about my passion and what impact its had on my life. For those who know me...and those who have recently met me, my passion is to coach. I love it. I love seeing kids I coached years ago at the store and they yell "Coach Mike". There is something about helping a child learn a skill, develop confidence, become part of something bigger than themselves. I'll never forget the moment when my high school team made the final out to win the Division 3 championship last year...I was so proud of the team, so proud of each and every girl who assumed a role, bought into a new culture, and battled and battled through each and every inning. There were kids who hardly played, but they brought leadership, and energy, and confidence. Its a season that will live in memory forever.

I've coached teams that barely won a game during a season, but I can still remember the faces of the kids when they got their first hit, or made their first catch. Those moments are priceless and I've been honored and blessed that so many parents have entrusted their kids to me. Its a trust that I don't take lightly. Each and every kid that I have coached becomes "mine" during that season, my kid, my daughter, my responsibility. Its not an easy task, and there aren't many that choose to take on that task. But its something that I, and select few, choose to do. We don't do this for a paycheck (trust me on this one), we don't do this for the accolades, we do this because we believe in what we do, we believe we have something to offer, and in my case, I want to pay back the incredible coaches I had growing up, and this is the best way I know how.

Another reason I love to coach, is that I get to spend precious time with my kids. They grow up so fast, and time just moves along, that those moments that we can share on the field is something you cannot give back. I've quit a job because they didn't want to give me the time to coach my kids. You don't get those moments back...and being able to share the successes, and ease the pain of disappointment. Those are moments and memories that will stay with you forever.

Unfortunately, there is a downside. There are times when you have to make tough decisions. And frankly, there are times where you simply blow it. You make a mistake that causes you to lose sleep, and you worry will you lose friendships. Sadly, this has and will be the case. The world of travel ball, and the pressures that come along with the ultra-competiveness of youth sports has ruined what would otherwise be great friendships. I have come to realize that this is a sad by-product of the world we have created. As I've become a coach at higher levels (high school, travel), the pressures increase. And unfortunately, not everyone understands that. You like to think that you are "Friends"...not "softball friends", but it happens. It saddens me, but you realize that you did your best, and you move on. Not every decision will be popular, and while I strive to make good decisions, I make mistakes. Every good coach does, but just like in other aspects in life, you learn from them and hope to not make similar mistakes in the future.

Luckily, the highs of coaching have far out-weighed the lows. I have made some amazing friends, and lost a few others. If you have a coach that has made an impact, send them a note, tell them. Every coach I know would much rather hear something like that that receive a gift...and when it comes time to leave a coach, be respectful, don't blast them on Facebook, don't bad mouth them. Remember that they tried their best, and they give up their time to hopefully help your child become a better player and person.

I'll try to keep this blog fresh and update it more often. If you found something interesting here...let me know. I appreciate any comments.

Take care of yourselves and your family and friends...

Until Next time


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Notes on a scoresheet

Over the past several weeks, I've had the opportunity to watch a LOT of softball/soccer games, both games in which my daughters played and games where I just sat and watched kids I knew play. I wanted to take an objective look at how various coaches manage the game and their players. As I embark on my first season of coaching high school ball...I want to have a good cross-section of experiences. Just as I have taken something from every manager I've had in my 30 plus years as a manager in the business world, I try to take a nugget or 2 from every coach I've worked with, coached against...or simply watched.

This missive will be primarily about coaches that coach girls softball/soccer, since those are the 2 sports which I am involved in and I know that coaching boys is dramatically different than coaching girls, so if coaching boys sports is your world, this essay may not pertain to you, but I think a lot of the impressions are transferable, so you may get something out of it.

As I've watched games...I've made notes on my scoresheet or in my notepad. I keep these notes as references for situations that I may be involved with. The first thing I have noticed recently is the amazing dedication so many coaches have towards their sports and their players. My daughters have been blessed with some amazing coaches...and like any enterprise, some ones that forgot why they were there, but overall...the amount of time and resources given by men and women who dedicate themselves to the betterment of your kids is pretty remarkable. Yes, a lot of these coaches get paid, I'm getting paid a stipend for coaching high school, but the amount is almost trivial compared to the time on the field, time away from family. If you have a good coach, paid or not...feel blessed, because they do more than you'll ever know for your kids.

A second thing I've noticed more recently is the proliferation of..for lack of a better term..drop-offs. I see so many kids dropped off for practice or games, with their parents leaving them for a couple of hours while they run to other activities. I am just as guilty on this one as any...with 3 kids, and just 2 parents, there are days where it is just impossible to do and get everywhere we need to be. I am SO GRATEFUL for the village we have created that take my girls to games, bring them home, feed them if necessary, watch them...and make sure they are safe. I guess this is a by-product of the society we live in where we can no longer just let our kids run to the we have to have them in an organized structure with parental supervision. I wish my girls could just jump on their bikes, go to the park, and just hang with their buddies like we did when we were kids...but we cant, and I'm very blessed to have a group of parents that I trust implicitly with the safety of my girls.

A third thing I've noticed is the specialization at such a young age. Kids today are being asked to pick a sport as early as age 10. Because of either the financial commitment, the time commitments, the proliferation of club/travel just don't go from sport to sport anymore. When I was young, it was baseball in the spring, swimming in the summer, football in the fall, and basketball in the fall. Now kids go year-round in one sport...and I've heard some coaches at the club level tell the parents/kids that they wont be on a particular team if they intend to play other sports. Sorry..that's just crazy. No kid is getting a scholarship at age 11. Yes, skill development is important at an early age...but I've yet to see a kid get denied a scholarship because they played 2 (or 3) sports at a young age. Heck..I'm seeing ads for under 6 Club soccer!!! 5 year old's...playing travel ball!! Maybe I'm in the minority, but that just seems crazy to me. Now, I'm heavily invested in the club/travel world...and it has its positives. But someone will have to explain to me the positives of traveling 2 hours to play a game when all the kid wants to do is go to the playground.

Lastly, and I cant stress this enough. I am constantly in awe of all the moms, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, grandparents that continually get out of their chair, get their shoes dirty and help teach/coach not only their own, but other peoples kids. Coaching is a noble profession. Like teaching, completely undervalued financially,. but the rewards can never be measured by a paycheck. I know not every parent is cut out to coach for various reasons, but it bothered me when we couldn't find enough t-ball coaches at Bonita Valley this year. When Sarah was born, I counted the days until she was old enough to play t-ball so I could coach her. And I know there are hundreds upon hundreds of parents out there who give up their time, energy, financial resources to make your kids lives better..and I hope you take a moment to thank those coaches. For they are a huge part of your child's life. And they deserve to hear a Thank You once in a while.

My schedule will be a little crazy for the next couple of months, so I don't know how much time I'll be able to devote to writing...but rest assured, I'll be making my notes, watching my peers and writing observations on my scoresheets.

Thanks for reading..and I'll be chatting with all of you soon.


Friday, January 16, 2015


Well...those of you who follow me on Facebook know the past few months have been definitely interesting. Retiring from one job, starting a new career at SDSU, coaching at Olympian, trying to get my daughters to all of their activities...etc. Its been a crazy couple of months and I haven't had much of a chance to sit down and write. Its kind of quiet at work today so I thought I'd take a moment to share a conversation I had recently with a College coach.

I asked the coach what does he look for when he scouts a player for a scholarship. Besides the obvious factor (grades) he looks for a "25% er". I asked what that meant. He said that almost all the kids he looks at have the 75%. Basic skills, good attitude, good teammate, hard worker...what he looks for is that kid who gives that extra 25%. Goes over and beyond what the other kids are doing...fights for every second of playing time, hates coming out of games, practices harder, practices longer, is a team leader, simply put..wants it more.

Another thing he mentioned that with the proliferation of club/travel teams, he sees too many kids that don't have to compete for a spot/playing time. They just move from team to team...looking to be given a spot. By the time they're at the age where he is looking at them..they've forgotten how to compete for playing time. And the one thing he tries to remind parents/kids is that when they get to the age where he's looking at them...they are now competing against hundreds of other kids for that 1 spot on his they better be ready for that!!

An item I found interesting that he spoke about was how he was always disappointed when parents spoke to him about their kids (he coaches at the club level also) and the kid wasn't there. Whether the conversation was a positive one or a negative one, when the child wasn't part of the conversation, he always wonders why?? (Caveat...he was speaking about kids at 13 and above...he agreed that bringing a 7 year old into a conversation wasn't what he was referring to). Were the parents afraid of the child hearing the truth? What was going to happen if he has to have a tough conversation with the child later on and the parents aren't there to shield them?? I asked him why he thinks this happens...he said too many parents want to shield their kids from the truth, and the truth is that not all kids have the skills, mindset, passion to play a particular sport at the college level. And too many parents are simply pushing kids toward a scholarship that they may never materialize.

He said he didn't mean that to be a negative, but to remember that sports is just one piece of the life puzzle. He reminded me that at his school (BTW its not SDSU), less than 5% of the student body are on athletic scholarship, and the other 95% are doing just fine.

I guess the moral of this conversation is if you want to be a "25%'er" in sports...keep working hard, keep pushing yourself to be better, keep competing. But if you find a passion that isn't sports a "25%'er" in that pursuit. Like I've told the kids I've coached over and over again...I'll take a dozen talented kids who give me that 25% more effort over that "all-star" who doesn't.

Thanks for taking the time to read greatest hope that there is one nugget here that you read and say "that makes sense". And if there isn't..well, thanks for reading anyway.

Have a happy new year and I'll be back to this blog soon



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pro Coach versus "Daddy" Coach

Again, I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read this blog. Its an outlet for me to put down thoughts and ideas that I get from watching my girls (and the teams I'm involved with). Its by no means a comprehensive look, but a snapshot into my world of trying to be a good coach and and a good mentor to all the kids that cross my path.

I watched several games this last weekend and I talked to a lot of people and a couple of themes kept coming up. One of those themes was the concept of playing for a paid coach (one with no personal ties to the team) versus playing for "daddy" coaches...someone whose child or other relative is a member of the team. There are pros and cons for each, and I'd like to take a minute to chat a little about this.

First off, there is a common perception that playing for a paid coach is the best way to go. Yes, this does have some advantages, no worrying about stuck behind someones daughter/son, no "daddy ball", etc, But one thing I've noticed as I've watched multiple teams is that coaches with no personal ties to a team have less of a personal interest in that team. For some, its become a business. Coaching has become a money-making enterprise and they arent invested in the success of each individual child. They are looking for team success...trophies, medals etc that they can show so they can recruit new girls, or add more teams...i.e. more money in the pocket. Again...this is a generalization. There are LOTS and I mean LOTS of great coaches out there who dont have a child on the team. But realize that there is a financial component to this, and coaches are always looking for the next best thing.

DISCLAIMER: I'm a "Daddy Coach"...and I'm damn proud of that!! I love being on the field with my girls, I enjoy watching them succeed in something they love, and being a part of that success. So, this next section has a very personal bias. But, I would venture to guess that an overwhelming majority of coaches (paid or not) began as "Daddy" coaches. Somewhere along the line they wanted to coach their child and that began their coaching career. Some parents stop when their kids get older or stop playing...others continue on. One thing that I see as different between the paid coach and the "daddy" coach is the investment in the "TEAM" concept. When I coach a team, I want my child to be successful. And the best way for that to happen is for the team to be successful. That means I coach every kid to be successful. And you know...what I view as successful is not always what another parent views...and thats ok. Reasonable people disagree on things, especially when children are involved. I'm not going to be the best coach for every child, I understand that. But every time I'm asked to coach/assist with a team, I no longer have 1 or 2 daughters on that team. I now have 12..and I try to treat each one the way I want my daughter treated. As a should expect nothing less.

Unfortunately, there are some "daddy" coaches that are there for the sole purpose of promoting their daughter. If you're child is a shortstop, and the coaches child is a shortstop, ask lots of questions about how that is going to look. Are they going to rotate?? Ask hard questions, you're paying to have your child play, you should know what the coaches mind-set is. You'd ask a mechaninc what the mind-set is before you hand over a check to fix your car...why not with a coach who you are handling over your most precious asset? Ask around...ask players/parents who play or played on the team what their impression was. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!

I watched a game this past weekend where a team lost in the last inning...and this "paid" coach was just furious. He kept the girls on the field for 30 minutes after the game, lecturing, gesturing. I saw a lot of slumped shoulders from a bunch of 13 year olds. All I could think, these kids are not having much fun out there. Too many coaches lose sight of whats the real reason for them getting into coaching in the first place. Teaching, mentoring young athletes into better people. It should never be about the coach, it should be about the team. want to play for a coach that has produced winning teams and quality student athletes, but you ahould also look for a coach that understands why he's there. And it shouldnt matter whether that coach is paid or a "daddy".

Being a coach is not easy, trying to please 12-13 kids AND thier parents is extremely difficult. If I'm successful 90% of the time, i'm doing a pretty good job. As I mentioned in an earlier post...know who your coach is!!! Research their background, ask their philosophies on teaching, are they a "yeller", or are they more laid back. What does your child want in a coach? Do they want to pushed hard, do they want someone who gets in their face, do they NEED someone to push them. There are lots of motivational techniques out there. You should know what motivates your child and find a coach who utilizes that motivation.

It is my sincere hope that reading this blog has given you some insight into the world of youth sports as I see it. Your views may be very different...and thats great!! I love discussing opposing points of views. If you like this blog..please share it among your friends. Post a comment or send me a note if there something you'd like me to write about or you would like more info. I am no expert...far from it. But I like to write and this is a topic I find extremely interesting.

I hope this message finds you well.

Thanks again for reading

Coach Mike

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Things I've learned (version 2)

First off, I want to thank everyone who took the time to read my first version and I've received a very positive response. So much so that I'll try to do a monthly version on this topic for those of you that find this interesting. Again, I am by no means an expert on all things travel, but I think I have learned enough that I can offer some perspective on the world of travel/club sports. Its then up to you and your family to decide whats best.

1) Don't join or play travel simply because your friends are there. If you make the decision to take your child to travel club ball, do it because they are ready and they have a goal in mind. Don't do just because everyone else is. I know kids want to play with their friends...but that is what rec ball is for. If you are commiting the financial and time resources to travel should be to get your child the best training the money can buy. Another issue with playing with friends as it makes very difficult to leave when that moment comes. Also, ask yourself a question. Is playing with these "friends" going to get my child to their goal? The focus should be on the team and the coaching, not who he/she is playing with. They'll just make new friends...which is a good thing.

2) Playing time is crucial but learning the game is also crucial The biggest reason I've heard from parents that leave one team for another is playing time. I completely agree that if you are paying fees to a travel team, then you obviously want to see your child on the field. But another key component to getting the skills and knowledge to reach high school or college goals is learning the game...and sometimes that happens by sitting..and watching. My oldest daughter joined travel probably a year too soon...she had the physical skills, but she needed to "learn" the game. She sat a lot her first year...and I mean A LOT!!. But she learned the game, she learned what was required of her at this level, and when it was time to look for another team, she was ready both physically and mentally.

3) Playing time is crucial I know, I know...I just said that. But there's another side to this. When you are on a travel team...the only way to get better is to play. The only way you find things that you need to work on is to play...and fail. Of course, there are times when you need to sit a game, or rotate out. But if you find yourself on a team that has 7 or 8 kids sitting out at any given're probably on the wrong team. For softball/baseball...if the roster has over 14 kids, there are probably 2 reasons for that. There is a financial reason or the coach just wont tell a child that they arent at the level they need to be at. Now, I'm not advocating leaving a team just beacuse there are more than 14 players...every situation is different, but if there is 16 kids on the roster, and your child is sitting, you should have a frank discussion with the coach. Ask tough questions, why is she sitting, what does she have to do to get more playing time, what are your long term goals for her. Be prepared for difficult answers. You may not hear what you want to hear, but as a coach, I'd rather be honest with a family than to string a child along. I truly believe you should expect that from any coach you entrust your child to.

4) Be realistic This isnt the first time I've mentioned this and it wont be the last. Travel ball is widespread...there are so many teams out there, that pretty much anyone who tries out can probably make a team. That however, does not mean your child is ready for travel ball. When you go to a tryout, assess your child against the other players...not just in ability, but in size and maturity. Are they physically ready for 4-5 hour practices? Can they mentally handle the pressure and stress that goes with playing at this level? There is nothing wrong with playing rec ball another year if your child isnt quite ready. This is primarily for 12 and under as I know there are few options for 14U rec ball. I've seen several kids who went "travel" at 11 or 12 years old and simply werent mentally ready ..and they are no longer playing. Kids can play year round in rec ball travel isnt the only option. Make sure its right for your and only you can make that decision.

5) What is the goal? Again, I'm bringing up the GOAL. What is your childs goal...not YOUR goal, but your CHILDS goal? Is it to play in high school?? College? I bet if you asked every 8-14 age child do you want to play "a sport" in college...they'd say YES. So, really discuss the goal as the kids get older. Is going to college the goal or is playing in college the goal. If playing in college is the goal, simply joining a travel team won't get you to that goal. Yes, coaches look for skill, but they also look for Grades (the most important thing!!!), community service, teamwork, outside activities. Coaches are looking for complete packages, so create a plan to build a "package". That may mean missing a practice or event to do some community service...or study for that crucial test. I would like to think most coaches would understand that...if they dont?? Well...I think you know by now how I feel about that. One more thing on this...does your coach ask to see your kids grades?? If not...they should be!! Without good grades...theres not much point in playing any sport.

Again, this may or may not apply to you and your family. Each family dynamic is different and you know your child better than anyone. Make the decisions based on whats best for your child. As I continue on in my coaching life, I'll try bring up issues and stories that I think may be of interest. If you find this interesting (or not), shoot me a note and let me know, I appreciate any and all feedback.

Thank you again for reading this...

I hope this note finds you and your family well.

Coach Mike