I had the great pleasure to talk with Steve Nicollerat. I loved our conversation and I think you will too. When you look at Steve’s impressive 35-year baseball coaching resume, you might be quick to label him a “baseball guy.” But coach Nicollerat offers sports parents and other coaches a perspective that extend beyond his vast baseball knowledge.
There are some great, dedicated people leading youth sports organizations and teams. Steve Nicollerat is one of them. He sees the bigger picture and recognizes that athletics offer a fantastic opportunity to develop kids into great adults.
Steve is the Founder and Coach of CoachBaseballRight.com, a great resource for baseball coaches and baseball parents. The site has more than 250 videos that will help you coach baseball right. The membership area of the site is organized extremely well so that it’s easy to follow the progression of videos and practice plans in each area.
The philosophy at CoachBaseballRight.com is, “To equip coaches and parents with the right tools to engage and help kids develop athletically and personally through the game of baseball.”
MORE ABOUT STEVE NICOLLERAT
Steve has been coaching baseball for more than 35 years at St. Louis University High School. He’s one of only six coaches chosen to be a nationally accredited Mike Epstein Hitting Coach. Steve’s system of teaching baseball emphasizes fundamentals and positive development, both athletically and personally.
“Sports are important, and everybody wants to win and you shouldn’t apologize for winning, but winning is not the most important part of coaching and what people should be after…you see sports give us the opportunity to use challenges and obstacles to help us all grow into better people…we just have to be smart enough to learn from the lessons the game provides.”
– Steve Nicollerat
Steve has raised and coached four children and now has beautiful grandchildren running all around. With all of these experiences, Steve thinks that he has been blessed to be able to grow and learn as an exceptional father, a caring and loving grandfather, a teacher, and as a coach.
KEY POINTS FROM OUR CONVERSATION
Steve hits upon some awesome points during our conversation. Here are a few of the quotes and highlights:
- Parents should have a vision and a plan that’s best for their kid.
Too often sports parents allow a club or team to dictate what path their child takes. Parents need to be involved and have some self awareness about what’s in their kid’s best interest.
“Today parents tend to let other people tell them what’s best for their own kid.”
- In a perfect world kids would play multiple sports. They’d also be involved in music, theater and other activities.
It’s OK if your child is only interested in one sport. Just make sure they have an off season.
“Even if they’re only playing one sport, you have to always leave it to where they want more. If we give the kids what they tell us they want… which is a lot… then I’m afraid at times there won’t be any more left for them to want to go after.”
- Just because kids want certain things, doesn’t mean that it’s OK for them to have it.
When kids think that they need to spend all of their time working to get better at a sport, it stops being fun.
- Games used to be special events.
Kids are playing so many games today that the games just become something they do. One thing we’re missing today is practice so that the kids can learn.
“What good is playing 60 games if you’re making the same mistakes 60 times?”
COMMON COACHING MISTAKES
Some of the most common mistakes a coach can make are:
- Lacking communication with parents and players.
Thinking everyone knows what you think. Little communication from a coach about everything from playing time to practice attendance will set up a season for failure. Parents have to know what to expect.
- Thinking they know it all because they played the game.
Not being open minded to new techniques or drills or how to run a practice. Coaches need to go beyond their comfort zone to constantly stretch themselves to get better & provide a better experience for the kids.
This is an awesome resource for baseball coaches and involved baseball parents. There are 250+ videos that teach from the most basic skills to the advanced. The cool thing is that they’re progressive so you won’t get lost or overwhelmed. Each video builds upon the previous video.
Steve is a great communicator. He explains how and why to do each drill and describes details in a way that kids can understand and remember. One example of this comes from an infielder’s drill about circling and approaching a grounder. Steve wants the kids to work on having their glove fingers down with the glove open. He calls it “taking a picture of the ball.”
He tells the kids to imagine that there’s a camera in the pocket of the glove and they need to open their glove and hold it down and out in front of them so they can “take a picture” of the ball.
PLANS FOR PARENTS
CoachBaseballRight.com is an awesome resource if you’re a baseball dad or mom who enjoys fueling your child’s passion for baseball by working on some drills at home. CBR.com gives you a plan to follow. Instead of winging it and going on YouTube to search for random baseball drills, you can have a template to follow. It helps you make the most of the limited time you have to work with your kid. These programs will take you by the hand and guide you on what to do to help your child improve.
PLANS FOR COACHES:
As cool as CoachBaseballRight.com is for parents, let’s face it… Steve Nicollerat is a coach. The tools this site offers to baseball coaches is unlike anything I’ve seen. Fantastic videos that break down how to coach things like rundowns, bunt defenses, cut-offs and relays. Steve breaks down and communicates drills masterfully.
There’s nothing worse than getting to practice and just winging it because you ran out of time to create a practice plan. When you’re a member of CBR.com you can download full baseball practice plans. Save yourself time and aggravation.
If you’re a baseball coach and you take pride in constantly growing and evolving, you need to add CoachBaseballRight.com to your tool kit.
In addition to all of the drills and coaching instruction, you can find some great blogs and videos on bigger picture things too. Topics like “Why Do We Coach?” and “What Does Commitment Mean To A Parent?”
During our conversation, Steve shared a powerful story about the lesson he learned in a game while coaching his son. “What he needed was a dad and all he got was a selfish egotistical person that didn’t have any empathy.”
Like I said, it was a great conversation. I enjoyed it and I think you will too.
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