Naturally, the best time to perform a total evaluation is at the end of the season. Every coach should plan on doing it, examining the good and the bad. I keep a card file on my desk and make notations during the season on items that we need to change. Often, things go wrong during the season that are too difficult to correct while the season is in progress. I find that if I don’t keep notes, I’m too apt to forget those concerns when the season ends. I’d rather not leave it to chance.
I also think that the head coach should lay out his evaluation first and then bring in the assistant coaches for input. The staff should always be involved. The more trust you give the assistant coaches, the greater their contribution is likely to be.
A young coach who is coming off a difficult year may want to go to a respected coach in the area and seek his opinion on troubling issues. An outside perspective or two can be beneficial. No one has all the answers, especially a coach who is just starting out.
Doing Too Much
In 1985 my team had just lost in the second round of the CIF Southern California high school baseball playoffs. I was in my 11th year of coaching, had been to the playoffs in 9 of those years, but had not advanced past the second round. I was depressed, but I began searching for answers about what I was doing wrong and how I could get my program to that next level and a championship. I went to the California State Junior College Championship game and watched Cerritos Junior College win the title. I saw a coach named Joe Hicks there. He had won a number of junior college state championships. I had met him before, so I went over to say hello. Well, the conversation was baseball, and in the middle of the conversation I told Joe how my teams couldn’t get past the second round of the playoffs. I said, "Joe, we work on every little thing, we scout our opponents, we try to cover every minute detail. I’m getting really frustrated and I’m out of answers." Joe looked at me and said, "Maybe that’s part of the problem. Maybe you’re trying to do too much. You’ve won all of your league games doing certain things, and then you change for the playoffs. Why?" He went on to elaborate on his practices when he was at Long Beach City College. He talked about how they would prepare for a playoff game by working on the same things that they did all year while trying to cut down on the length of practice to keep their players fresh. The longer they went in the playoffs, the more he tried to keep the practices short and crisp so that his players were always fresh and enthusiastic.
This is an excerpt from Coaching Baseball Successfully.