The Ole Ball Game

I need to know how to manage players egos

by Robert Ryan
(Sacramento, CA )

We Have All Been Here!

We Have All Been Here!

Bob asked: I manage players who are 52+ years of age.

I know that ball players need a certain amount of "swagger" but I need to know how to manage their egos.

It is hard for me to make a player who is 63 years old and pitching, that he can no longer toss a ball 80 MPH (i.e. you can't teach an old dog new tricks). Beleive me these players are competitive and still love the game, and can still play, but they seem to forget that with age they don't possess the same amount of skill as when they were younger.

Not only has age slowed them down but some do have some medical issues now.

I just want these guys to relax, have fun, and just enjoy being a kid again each Sunday, from mid March to the end of August.

My other conccern is the players still push themselves (for the team), and I try to emphasize they could possibly injure themselves. We might be older now, but the desire to win, and be competitive, has not left any of us.

Rick answered: Bob, thank you for your question.

I would like to tip my hat to you and your players, as well as all those everywhere who continue to play the game as long as is physically possible to do so.

Once we caught that "baseball fever," there was no cure except more baseball. While there is always some physical risk as we get older, the positive endorphins created can do so much for our self esteem.

While your pitcher, at 63 will not duplicate his youthful physical abilities, he is attempting to get out players of like age at 52 plus. Their hitting skills have diminished as well. No matter what velocity a pitcher is throwing at, they gets outs by throwing strikes and changing speeds. It is the same game, played at a slower pace. It isn't velocity he should be seeking, he should draw on that wealth of knowledge he has stored in his experiences, on how to get hitter's out. A bigger mental challenge at this point in time, less physical.

Your players, as well as yourself are out there every Sunday from Mid-March to the end of August because it brings it all back, the spirit of competition, team unity, physical and mental challenges, elation and disappointment; coping once again with both, between those magical foul lines and emotional dimensions of the greatest game ever invented.

Playing the game provides us all with a confidence that we can still work through what life, or the game has to throw at us.

There is a serenity on a baseball field, or inside a baseball stadium, that isn't always available in other venues. Sometimes hard to describe to those who haven't experienced it; but it is there.

Much more than just a game, baseball quietly prepares and educates us for life, providing experiences and memories that last a lifetime.

Your guys will push their limits more than they probably should; if they are still playing they don't know any other way.

Sounds like you have a great group to work with. Good luck with your season.

Yours in baseball,


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