Volume 4, No. 8 - November 2009
How Little League Double-Goal Coaching® Helped Win a World Championship
It was more than just talent that helped Houston’s West University Little League win the 2009 Little League Senior League Baseball World Series. One of the keys was the coaching approach of Manager Trey Cornelius, who had never coached a sport before, and Coaches Will McDaniel and Scotty Zornes, all in their mid-20s and former teammates in “West U” Little League.
“I absolutely put Positive Coaching Alliance principles into practice,” Cornelius said. “Different times during the tournaments, I thought back to the Double-Goal Coach workshop I attended. I remember realizing some kids make big strides and some make little strides, and you need to be aware of that and reward each appropriately.
“What I took away from the workshop was to be constructive with criticism. It’s not that long ago that I was an athlete, and it’s common sense that coaches should instill in players the notion that they can be successful and that they are progressing, whether by baby steps or by leaps.”
Significantly, the six teams in West U’s Senior Division this year had no fathers among the coaches, Cornelius said. “The kids didn’t have to worry about dad-as-coach getting on them. At that age, kids can have a pretty defiant mindset toward their parents.”
Cornelius and his coaches already knew some of the players from spending time around West U and through younger siblings. “It also helped that we coaches had all played together and that we were those kids seven, eight, nine years ago.”
But perhaps most importantly, the coaches avoided adding pressure to a pressure-packed situation…even when West U’s 7-0 lead in the fourth inning of the championship game was narrowed to 7-6. West U eventually prevailed 9-7, in part, as Cornelius said, because “when you let a kid know you believe in his ability, it makes him believe in his ability even more.”
You can learn many of the same coaching techniques that helped West U by taking the Little League Double-Goal Coach® Course at www.positivecoach.org/LittleLeague