As the thrill and anticipation of district tournament action supercharges the first weeks of summer vacation, many local Boards have discussions and votes taken on the nominees to be tournament managers and coaches.
Roman Jones, Georgia District 5 Administrator, is a former President of Warner Robins (Ga.) American Little League (WRALL), and has been a Little League volunteer for over 15 years. He has overseen these decisions and offers his perspective.
“It’s important to look at every manager and coach candidate and decide if each person is going to be a good representative of your league,” said Mr. Jones, who was League President in 2007 when WRALL won the Little League Baseball® World Series. “A league’s Board of Directors can’t be afraid to say that someone might not be the right person for the job.”
In the monthly Board meetings prior to June, he recommends that the person(s) responsible for each division (Vice President or Division coordinators) make a list of possible tournament coaching candidates. Like players choosing to attend practice and be available for all games, getting the commitment to be considered as a manager or coach nominee, gives the Board a sense of who is interested and to what extent.
“There is no magic formula when it comes to selecting managers and coaches or for predicting a team’s success,” said Mr. Jones, who also saw WRALL’s Little League Softball® program win consecutive World Series championships (2009 and 2010). “A lot of dedicated parents and volunteers are willing to put in the time to support the players, coaches, and the league, but at tournament time everything is amplified. There are certainly no guarantees and everything gets more intense the further you advance.”
With added attention comes more scrutiny. To be an effective manager or coach it is important to be a good communicator with the players and the parents.
Mr. Jones explained that the better the lines of communication, the better the relationship and understanding will be between the league, and its volunteers and parents, as the games are played.
“A lot of balls have to bounce your way to advance to Williamsport or any World Series,” said Mr. Jones. “My message to all team managers is simple …. Make it fun for kids, go win and have a good time with it. Let the players play, the managers manage and the parents cheer.”