After 25 years around amateur athletics, more recently as Founder & CEO of GameChanger, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and observe some of the nation’s best coaches in action. The most successful baseball and softball coaches shift their team’s attention away from results-based metrics like batting average, runs batted in, earned run average, and strikeouts.

Instead, they focus players, and parents, on three controllable and measurable activities that simplify the game:

  • First-Pitch Strikes

  • Hard-Hit Ball Percentages

  • Quality At-Bats

Concentrating on first-pitch strikes instead of strikeouts; promote the importance of hard-hit ball percentages over batting averages, and measuring quality at-bats instead of RBIs are more accurate ways of gauging player improvement. By setting metrics-driven goals for controllable processes rather than results, these coaches eliminate the over-thinking and fear of failure that often cripples young athletes. And then, as a byproduct of this approach, they get the best performance out of every player and win games.

We’ve analyzed data from more than 7 million games scored on GameChanger, pulling insights and tips that will help you redefine success for your team.

The best managers and coaches care about the person inside the player — knowing that lessons in teamwork, leadership and perseverance will last long after this season is over. This must be at the foundation of every coach’s mission rather than the win-at-all-cost approach we see too often at the youth and high school levels.

Let me be clear, I’m not recommending that we ignore wins and losses. I believe competition is an integral part of the game at every level. Instead, I encourage coaches to redefine success for their players, focusing them on process over results. Those that do know that the scoreboard will take care of itself.


Ted Sullivan CEO and Founder, GameChanger: Mr. Sullivan is a lifelong baseball player and lover of the game. He pitched at Duke University and in the Cleveland Indians’ minor league system. Mr. Sullivan co-founded GameChanger to enhance the amateur sports experience for coaches and team communities. He also co-founded Headfirst Camps, and coached Little League in New York City.