Players come and go. They move from travel team to travel team chasing promises from coaches.

Every time we take on a player from another team, I ask them why. I ask them why they are leaving, what they see in us that they didn’t get in the past. I ask them what they are looking for and what their expectations are moving forward.

We have a bunch of flaws and we aren’t perfect. I make sure that people know that coming in. We have kids leave and I know they are looking for something more. I am okay with that because I know that we can’t be everything to everyone. However, this seems to conflict with one of our core values. LOYALTY. So I get this question all the time.

Why is loyalty one of your core values?

So, here goes the answer.

Loyalty is sticking with something through the good and the bad. Our 12U team won a national championship last year. Fun fact, the year before, they only won half their games. Even more fun fact, only 5 of the kids from that 2017 Team returned for the 2018 season. Those 5 kids made a choice, even though they were all promised better things with other teams, to come back and build upon their success from the year prior. They actively recruited amazing kids to join them and didn’t settle just to have enough to play. They were patient.

Let’s connect that back to playing college for a second. If I am a coach of a college team, I shouldn’t be afraid that if we lose games during your freshmen year, you’ll leave and go to another school. I need to know that you are all in. Not for a year or based on wins and losses, but that you are ALL in for the big picture.

Loyalty is being able to receive critical feedback from people that care about you without getting defensive. If I give you a list of things to work on as a player in order for you to meet your goals, I care. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t give you that feedback.

Back to the connection to college ball, if you can’t be coached or given critical feedback without getting defensive, you are in trouble. If your instinct when you get negative feedback is to jump ship, don’t expect to play in college.

Loyalty is playing whatever role in the organization is meant for you in the big picture, as opposed to what you “want”. We had an AMAZING shortstop come into the organization last year. Like – All American Level kind of good. Guess what, she is a second baseman now – and a damn good one I might add. Most of the balls that were put in play for that team were headed for the right side and we had a good shortstop already. So, we needed a killer middle infielder on the right side. I NEVER got a message from the player, Mom, or Dad asking about why, she just did it. Any college coach that asks me for a middle infielder, I will refer them to her. Because she is crazy loyal to the team – not her own priorities.

College ball connection alert! Unless you are shockingly good, lucky, and did a boatload of research, you are not going to walk into your primary position. You need to either beat out the athlete in front of you or be pretty impressive at more than one position.

Be loyal to the sport. Be loyal to the mission of the organization you play on. Be loyal to your team. In that order.