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Jan. 11, 2022

Building Relationships Creates Engagement

Building Relationships Creates Engagement

#23. Developing lifelong relationships with players is one of the most rewarding aspects of coaching. So it was really cool for me to interview Chris Hoffman, Head Baseball Coach & Special Education Teacher at Lakes Community High School (Lake Villa, IL), and a former player of mine. Following an All-American collegiate career, Hoffman went home and was named head baseball coach of his alma mater at just 25 years old.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The benefits of HS baseball players embracing a S & C program
  • What makes coaching HS sports so special
  • The power of positivity
  • And the relationship between skills taught in sports and in life

Resources from this episode:

 

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Transcript

Luke:

This is episode 23 of The "I" in Win podcast

Chris:

whether that's your players, whether it's parents and just kind of understanding that everybody's their own person, you got to treat everybody as their own person. Sometimes, you know, that's hard to do and hard to realize, especially at a young age when you've had no experience as being a head coach before.

Luke:

Developing lifelong relationships with players. One of the coolest aspects of coaching. So it was awesome for me to get to interview. Chris Hoffman head baseball coach and special education teacher at Lakes Community High School and a former player of mine. Following all American collegiate career Hoffman went home and became a head baseball coach at lakes at just 25 years old. In this episode, we discuss the benefits of high school baseball players, embracing a strength and conditioning program, what makes high school sports so special, the power of positivity, and the relationship between skills taught in sports and in life. If you enjoy this episode, please consider telling a friend or sharing on social media and tag me @LukeMertens. And with that here's chris hoffman Hello everyone. And welcome to another episode of The "I" in Win podcast today. I'm proud to welcome on a former player of mine. Now. Head baseball, coach assistant football coach, and special ed teacher at Lakes Community High School Mr. Chris Hoffman thanks for being on.

Chris:

Thanks for having me coach.

Luke:

I know you're a real humble guy, but you had quite the collegiate career as a baseball player. So let's first talk about the Seminoles baseball accolades, where you played and some of the honors that you received throughout your.

Chris:

So after graduating from lakes, I attended college lake county and played baseball there for two years while I was at college lake county. I was named first team, all American and conference player of the year there. After my sophomore year, I attended Missouri Southern state university down in Joplin, Missouri. Um, and then followed that up. Uh, pretty good junior year and it was named all American there too, and semifinalist for the player of the year for division two baseball. So I had a really successful playing career, both at college lake county and Missouri Southern.

Luke:

So let's talk about that Juco route and that's, that's the route that a lot of people are starting to gravitate towards even just as a student, it really worked out well for you, obviously. What are your thoughts on an athlete who may be he or she did not get the college they wanted to go to or thought they could play at a higher level or whatever the case may be. Is that something that you would recommend athletes look at as the Juco route? A good one to take for us?

Chris:

I would definitely recommend the Juco route. You know, looking back, people ask me, what'd you think about your career path in terms of playing career? And I wouldn't change it for the world actually. I mean, I felt like. Um, in those first two years of college, physically and mentally. And, just in terms of the weight room, I, you know, I know you always make fun of me for being a skinny dude and, uh, the football team, but I felt like I put on, you know, 20, 25 pounds in those first two years of college, and then being able to go and get another opportunity to four-year school. And I would recommend it to anybody that's willing to put in the hard work And develop as an athlete that might not be ready when they're graduating as a senior from here.

Luke:

And just to clarify, did not make fun of you. That's called motivation Hoff. I was, I was motivating you to get keeping that weight room, but yeah, absolutely. So let's talk about all these kids now. And I'm not just talking about at lakes, I'm talking about athletes anywhere and they have high aspirations and in particular baseball players, because that's the path that you took. What's the one piece of advice you'd give to high school baseball players who want to play collegiate Lee that they could be doing right now to enhance their opportunities.

Chris:

Yeah, I think like many sports, not just baseball. I don't know if high school athletes understand the commitment it takes to play a collegiate sport. It is 24 7, 365 days a year in terms of just improvement as a player. And I think in terms of advice, I would give high school baseball player specifically is getting in the weight room. I don't know why. Baseball has the stigma of players not lying to lift. Um, it just has been a sport that hasn't typically lifted, but when you go to college, you're going to be in the weight room four days a week, trying to get better and improving yourself physically in the weight room does that. So if you can get a headstart and start getting better in the weight room, I would encourage all high school athletes, especially baseball players to do so.

Luke:

So when you were at Missouri Southern, where your teammates. Kind of faced with culture shock of all sudden your coaches, like yeah. We're, we're lifting four days a week. Was there some resistance? We're like, what the heck is going on?

Chris:

Yeah, I would say So I know, I was probably in the minority of, of athletes that came in from their junior college that had lifted. I mean, I was lifting with you for two years there at college lake county. But there's just a lot of kids that kind of were resistant to the fact that the weight room plays a huge role in trying to be the best athlete you can be. And it it's, it's a full commitment as a college athlete.

Luke:

So since we're going down this rabbit hole, I have to ask your philosophy about pitchers because that's the one thing I hear a lot about. I read about, I see it on message boards, and there's definitely this philosophy that pitchers should not be lifting that it's going to impact them. So how did your coach at Missouri Southern and also what are your own beliefs and that idea of pitchers and.

Chris:

So I think pictures should lift. I don't think it should be any different. The only thing I, you know, that may be different as terms of just mobility aspect of being an overhead thrower, making sure that you do have full range of mobility when you are a bunch in and doing some mobility and stretching to make sure that you're still keeping that mobility. But other than that, I don't think it's any different. I think you look at all these professional athletes and successful college athletes. They're big dudes. You go to a baseball. And you're like, man, they're physically imposing they're dudes that are clearly putting the time in the weight room to get better. So I don't, I don't find it any different than a position player would be.

Luke:

Well, a few episodes ago. I had Dr. Tim baggers on who's a professor of education at Florida state university. And we talked about one of the flaws of coaches is that they tend by default to go back to the way they were coached. Right. So they approached the game the way they were coached. And I bring that up because I think that's part of the stigma with weightlifting. So. 35 years ago, weightlifting was about looking like Arnold Schwartzenegger and I don't think parents understand that weightlifting has completely changed in today's world. And you kind of touched upon it a little bit. So talk a little bit about how your coaches at Missouri Southern approached training you, like you said, to become a better athlete and it's not about.

Chris:

Yeah, I know a lot of people have different philosophies on what you should be doing in the weight room specifically, but at the end of the day, it's about. you know, building strength and speed. And that's what we did. We did a ton of speed work, but also, you know, the core lifts, squat bench, clean, all those, all those same lifts, um, no different from any other athlete I would, I would say,

Luke:

So aside from weightlifting, which clearly has impacted you when you were a student. How else did your experience of playing baseball in college shape your coaching philosophy and style?

Chris:

So I've always been somebody that has loved studying the game, whether it's football or whether it was baseball. You know, I fell in love with trying to be the best athlete that I could be. And part of that is studying swing mechanics or the way you're throwing or the X's and O's of a route, all those different things. And So I felt like. Being able to learn from different coaches. you know, I had some great coaches at CLC and Missouri Southern, and I took some of their different philosophies from defense and offense. Lovely. And it's kind of, it's shaped me and just determining, you know, my coaching philosophy overall.

Luke:

So you got to school and like most kids growing up, I'm sure you had MLB aspirations why'd you decide to not try to pursue that. through the years of playing in the minor leagues and just kind of see what happens as opposed to entering the profession of education and becoming a teacher and coach. What why'd you make that decision.

Chris:

I felt like as a player, I gave everything that I had to my four years in point in college and tried to be the best player that. I could be. And it just didn't work out for me at that point. But I knew, probably early on at CLC when I started coaching football for you. Uh, actually, that, you know, coaching And teaching was kind of my calling. I had a lot of great teachers and coaches at the high school level, that header awesome impact on me. And I just decided that that was kind of the way I wanted to go. I wanted to have that impact on the student athletes like you guys did for me. And, I was just ready to go that route and get into.

Luke:

And I think you kind of already touched upon it, but I want to talk about anyway, like what was it that really drew you into education and being a teacher and a coach?

Chris:

yeah, those relationships I was able to build from my high school coaches. I felt like. That's set me apart just in terms of pointing the sport, I felt like it was never just about, you know, football or is just about baseball and winning games. You guys were able to show a special interest in athletes, which created every, you know, even more buy-in to the sport specifically. And, you know, I wanted to get that connection with student athletes and start building that. And that's, you know, that's what drew me to education and coaching.

Luke:

So let's move into your profession now, and we're not going to talk about COVID. So COVID aside, what we're, you know, I know you're a guy that pride yourself on preparation. What were you not prepared for either as a classroom teacher or as a high school coach or both now that you're into the.

Chris:

I would say managing people and especially as a head coach, you know, I was hired at 25 years old. I really didn't have any clue about what being a head coach was actually about, you know, These last few years, I've had to deal with just the. different aspects of managing people, whether it's, you know, your own coaches, whether that's your players, whether it's parents and just kind of understanding that everybody's their own person, you got to treat everybody as their own person. Sometimes, you know, that's hard to do and hard to realize, especially at a young age when you've had no experience as being a head coach before.

Luke:

So then you, you, you know, kind of trial by baptism, right? Trial by fire. You, you figure this out. Although, it's been a very short span that you've been a head coach and a teacher. How have you evolved now that the cat's out of the bag and you understand that it really is about that leadership piece of people.

Chris:

I think it's about being upfront with people. and being honest, you know, I think one thing I've realized. I need to tell my athletes why we're doing things. I think that's one thing you talked a little bit about evolving as a coach, you know, from 10 years ago in the weight room, but now like athletes want to know why we're doing things. And I think as an athlete myself, I wanted to know why we were doing things. And so trying to explain to athletes and parents, especially why we're doing things is so instrumental in getting buy in and creating buy-in building those relationships in order to be successful.

Luke:

And does it bother you that athletes want to know why? Because there's definitely some coaches that are very bothered by that.

Chris:

Yeah, I don't, I don't, it doesn't bother me at all. I was an athlete. I wanted to know why. Uh, I was just a curious person. I wanted to know why this was going to set me up to be successful. So I encourage my athletes all the time. I especially, you know, the athletes that. are a little bit timid in terms of, you know, buying into why we're teaching certain things. I encourage them to ask, like, if they're timid about trying something. Ask me, why it's my job as a head coach. It's my job to have my coaches to have a reason for why we're doing things. If we don't have a reason for why we're doing things, we probably aren't doing it right. And So it's so important for them to be curious, ask me questions. I'm all for it.

Luke:

So let's work backwards to the weight room. You have decided to make the weight room, a pillar of your baseball program, which I, I don't know. I'm assuming that puts you a little bit in the minority for a lot of other baseball programs across this country. Why have you decided to make the weight room a pillar of your baseball?

Chris:

I think more than the physical development, that the way you're in provides it provides the reinforcement that effort wins in life. You put effort into anything. Whether you're talented or not, you are giving yourself the best chance to be successful. And so one thing we're emphasizing all the time is that every day we're in the weight room, you're giving yourself an opportunity to become the best player that you can be. And that I believe that transfers over into school. It will transfer over into when these guys go get jobs, they understand the value of hard work and how that plays a role in their success.

Luke:

How receptive have the players and the coaches and the parents been to this weight room environment? You're trying to establish.

Chris:

Yeah, it's been a process for sure about getting guys to buy in. I know my senior class this year has been great about attending the weight room and understand the value of that. But my younger guys, not so much. And that's just a process that as a head coach, I've accepted that I need to talk about. I need to make sure that you understand that getting up in the morning and sacrificing your time. There's a purpose behind it. There's a reason why, because when we come into the spring, we have to understand that we gave ourselves the best opportunity to be successful. And if you're not putting in the work, you're not doing things that need to be done. Then you can't be mad about, you know, not having the results that you want or not having the success you want. And that directly carries over into work family life. If you're not putting in the effort to be successful. You can't expect the results that you want to get. That's just not how life works. So you need to put in the work, you need to be understand that work needs to be done to be successful.

Luke:

What do you do? And I know you're still learning this process yourself. What do you do? What's going to be your approach. If you have a parent or a player that just isn't buying into this, what do you think you're going to do or what happened?

Chris:

Yeah, we, at the end of our last season, you know, we had our first, my, really my first full season as head coach, we had individual player meetings and I think we just, we just evaluated every single kid and let them know what kind of, where they stand. But the weight room is a big part of that conversation. Now, where is the weight room? Where, how do you value the weight room? And for kids that weren't in the, in the weight room too much. Um, in the off season, we talked about why it is so important. At my team meeting in the beginning of the year, I talk about why we are lifting twice a week in the morning, during the season, whether it's a game day or not, we're lifting. And I explained the importance of it about, you know, building strength, the injury prevention piece, there's multiple layers of it. And just being upfront, honest with my players and the parents, especially at why there's value in this is important.

Luke:

Yeah, absolutely. It's very clear from listening to your answers. And just from me knowing you on a personal level, you're very intentional with fostering relationships with your players. I know that that's really important to you. Why is that so important to you?

Chris:

cause I think that part of the reason why I've been successful is just the relationship and the honesty that my coaches, um, I've had with me in the past, I think has a coach. It is, it has to be about more than just baseball. It has to be about being successful and being upfront and honest. And I think players respond to that. They want to have a personal connection with their coaches and if they don't, they're not going to get the buy-in. I'm not going to get guys to come in the weight room. At six 15 in the morning, if I'm not showing a personal connection at the end of the day, it is about making that personal connection with my students.

Luke:

Right. And I think that. One thing that gets misinterpreted in the coaching profession profession is this idea of having players like you and I think some coaches missed the boat on that because let's talk about your example, getting up and voluntarily coming to the weight room in the morning before school it's dark and cold out. If they don't like you, why would they want to be around you? Right. Like why would they want to spend their time to go into the weight room and just be around you as a human being? And I think that some coaches mistakenly think that having players like you is a sign of weakness or you're trying to be their buddy. Can you speak a little bit about that piece?

Chris:

Yeah, building those relationships creates the engagement that you need. If you're not building the relationships, you're not going to create engagement, whether it's coaching, whether it's teaching, you need the engagement from your, from your students and your athletes. And just being real with them creates that engagement and gets them to do things that they might not do for other teachers or other coaches, because you've been real with them. You show that you care about them.

Luke:

So let's talk about some strategies that you do implement or that you're hoping to implement someday that are going to intentionally build those relationships that we keep talking about with your players.

Chris:

This is definitely one area that I've tried to improve in over the last three years. And just going through, obviously we talk about the COVID thing, but it just puts more stress on building those relationships, trying to create zoom meetings with the kids, getting to know the kids when I didn't have the opportunity to do so. And so, it's something that I'm going to definitely emphasize moving forward. I know a couple of weeks ago we had a team bowling outing. We had about 30, 35 kids show up to that, which is awesome. And it wasn't anything about baseball. It was just baseball players. hanging out, having some pizza. Bowling and getting to know each other. And I think doing activities like that is what creates the relationship piece with your, with your athletes and getting them to buy into lakes, baseball, or whatever program you're running, um, to be the best that you can be.

Luke:

So basically the idea of talk about things other than baseball, hang out and do things other than baseball. That's kind of really all it takes, right. To build those relationships.

Chris:

Yeah. I think.

Luke:

sorry. Go ahead.

Chris:

No just showing any interests other than the sport that you're you're coaching is awesome way to make those relationships and connections with your, with your athletes.

Luke:

I know one thing that I always struggle with as a head coach, and it wasn't because I didn't want it. It just was difficult from a time management piece. There's only 24 hours in a day was establishing those relationships with lower levels. So you're a head coach and you have so many players on your team on top of that, you have your classroom responsibilities, which is really your main job. How do you. Foster those relationships with say the freshmen baseball players who you don't even get to coach or engage on a daily basis.

Chris:

Yeah. You know, one thing I learned when I was coaching over at grant, they did a ton of program practices. And so getting all coaches in the program in front of all kids at once. And so one thing that we did, especially last year, All 60 kids that we had in the program are all starting and doing the same exact thing. So we have a throwing warmup that we do. And so all of our guys are running through that with me and the other coaches. And then we're doing individual, um, you know, position breakdown, whether it's infield catchers, outfield, we're doing that as a program. So all of our guys are getting in front of all the coaches in the program. It's so and so impactful. I've loved it. I think it's something I'm going to continue to do. I guess because I'm going to see every single athlete on an everyday basis. And so it's not like they're coming up to sophomore varsity, and they'd never seen me for two years. They know what I'm about. Then over teaching, know what we're doing. And so, um, program practices is something that we've done. That's been really, really successful, engaging every single athlete that we have in the program.

Luke:

And this just popped to my head. Listen, to explain that program practice, does that allow for an opportunity to put a senior in a leadership role as well and say, Hey. You senior to warm up with this freshmen and just talk to him and get to know his name and then kind of even build that relationship between seniors and freshmen and build that idea of we're on a program together. Do you do something like that?

Chris:

Yeah. So everybody's intermingled. There is no freshmen over here. Sophomore JV is over here. Varsity is over here. Everybody's intermingled based on position. So I'll throw there's a going over one way and feel there's a going over a different direction, you know, and sometimes we'll just tell the kids, like you need to play catch with somebody new that? you've never played catch with. And that's just an easy, easy way for somebody to get to know somebody else that they might not have known. So you might have a varsity kid playing catch with a JV kid or JV. Catch with the freshmen. Just getting everybody to know each other and play with each other because at the end of the day, we are one program representing one program.

Luke:

I know you don't really have the evidence, the track record behind you in terms of years of service, to really answer this question. So this is probably more of a philosophical answer. How do you think this intentionality of building relationships with your players creating this idea of we are one program and it is more than just basically. What's going to be the impact on the outcomes, the results.

Chris:

Yeah. So I've, you know, I felt like I've taken quite a bit from a lot of successful head coaches that I've had the opportunity to either play for or coach for, and. At the end of the day, I've always preached the fact that all we can do is control what we control and that's putting in daily effort and having a good attitude while we're doing it. And at the end of the day, we can live with whatever results. we get. If we know that we put in every ounce of effort that we had. To be the best that we can be. I can't be mad at my players if we lose, if I know they'll be prepared every single day to do it, there's nothing I can do about that. And there's nothing that they can do about that. If they put in the work to be successful and it happens. That's great. If not, you know, we're disappointed, but at the end of the day, you can't be mad at yourself because you gave yourself every opportunity to be successful.

Luke:

Before we hit record, we talked about positive mindset and you and I both agreed that it's getting tougher and tougher is something that we both want to have on a daily basis, but you just, it just keeps getting stacked and stacked and stacked all the reasons to not be positive. So what is your approach? You wake up in the morning, is it a workout? Is it say a prayer? Is it think about what you're thankful for in life? Like how do you try to approach each day to have a positive mindset? And then hopefully that trickles into the mindset of the kids that you coach and the kids that you teach.

Chris:

So my, one of my assistants, Jeff Baird, who I know, you know too, um, we both, we both coach for Christo. And just ever since, you know, Christo's passing,

Luke:

And let's pause there for a minute. What coach Hoffman's referring to is a friend of ours and his name is crystal Garza who had, it was a sudden passing this summer and it was really difficult on all of them. Who knew him because he was, we'll just say one of the best people you've ever met in your life. And one of the most fun people to be around who just made you feel better about yourself as, as a human being. And it was a tragic situation that coach Hoff and myself, and all those who love Christo had to deal with. So go ahead.

Chris:

Yeah. So, you know, ever since his passing, it just, it kinda just made me realize that we're not getting time back at all. Time is just infinite. It's going to go. So it's important that, you know, whether I'm waking up at five o'clock, they make sure that weight room is open or, you know, preparing for my lesson for the day in a class or. Doing what I'm doing on a daily basis. It's just as important to realize that, life is so, so, so precious and that, um, it's kinda made me realize that I'm just taking, taking each day one at a day at a time and trying to live in as best as I can.

Luke:

Right. It's that get to verse, want to mindset, right? If you realize that you get to do these things, rather than you have to do those things, it's completely different experience. Once you train your mind to think that.

Chris:

Yeah. You know, and in reality, what I get to do on a daily basis, to be able to impact students and athletes, you know, it's awesome. I love it. And my job isn't hard and relatively in the scheme of things and just understanding that. Not taking it for granted every day is what I try to do in order to have a positive mindset.

Luke:

Absolutely. We talked a little bit about, you know, your love of the weight room. I know that's something that you personally tried to strive to keep yourself fit and healthy and make good lifestyle choices. Why would you say as a coach and as a teacher, it's important to worry about your own mental and physical.

Chris:

I know, you know, the one positive of this whole pandemic, I think is that mental health is being more emphasized. And, you know, it's something that our students and kids are, are struggling with on a daily basis. And I think that, you know, the weight room for me as a high school student, and carrying over as an athlete, just provide an outlet for me, you know, every single day. The opportunity to go work out. I know have the opportunity to kind of clear my head and start the day off on a strong note. And I would encourage every single athlete in something that I think I need to do a better job too, of just talking with my athletes is that this is an awesome way to stay healthy and fit. And it's so important in this day and age of COVID and mental health and just, you know, being your best.

Luke:

Yeah, absolutely. I know that, uh, one of my goals it's beyond just creating a bigger, faster, stronger athlete. I'm trying to create a lifetime impact on this individual to recognize that we need to take care of ourselves, right? I mean, you need to take care of ourselves. Mentally need to take care of yourself physically, and it will impact the outcomes of your life. It really will, and it will create, just a happier and healthier life. There's something to be said about that. And I think we're really seeing that in the past two years, the importance of all of that. So, as a coach, I would argue, and guys who coach me know that I have maybe awkwardly confronted them about this. Like we need to be at our best if we want our players to be at their best. So it's a constant struggle, right? And I think it's important that players see. Fighting the same fight that they're fighting, which is it's really hard to be at your best each and every day. But I think if we're authentic and genuine as, as coaches and they see us at least attempting to do that, and there's gonna be days that we achieve that and there's going to be some days that we fail. I think you're going to have a better team for that. So just, just my 2 cents there. I know I'm interviewing you, but I said, interject that.

Chris:

I would agree with you. I think anytime that you can get in front of your athletes and show them that you're doing the same thing, they are, it just creates a lot more engagement in that. respect piece from, from your student athletes.

Luke:

Absolutely. And it's even going beyond this as a parent. And I know you're not there yet, but one day you will be like, I try to be reading a book. At home. I want my kids to see me reading a book, as opposed to sitting and staring at my phone or just watching Netflix, not only me wrong. I do look at my phone to watch Netflix. I'm not going to lie, but I try to intentionally read. And then I would say 10 out of 10 times, one of my kids will say, Hey dad, what are you reading? And it just creates a conversation. And we have a conversation about the book, or at least.

Chris:

Yeah.

Luke:

You know, they could see me reading and hopefully that infiltrates because kids are sponges. They may not say it to you at that moment, but they are absorbing everything that they see the adults around them in the world around them do. So you could impact your own kids at home. It could impact the athletes and students that you're in charge of each and every day at school good sound decisions yourself as a leader, for sure.

Chris:

Yeah, to your point. I mean, we, we talk about, you know, the value of positivity and demonstrating what we want our athletes to be as coaches. We needed to be that visual demonstration of positivity and hard work and all those things that we are asking them to do. We need to show that to them too. And it just creates that much more buy-in from them.

Luke:

So let's talk about some vulnerability. I need you to be vulnerable right now and identify some areas that you know, that you need to grow as a coach. What are some areas that you are currently studying to improve upon? As a leader of people. And again, we're not talking about curriculum, we're not talking about schematics. We're talking about as a leader of people, areas that, that you're studying and trying to learn more about and improve.

Chris:

So I think you, you would agree with me here, but one thing I'm trying to improve on is just getting kids to understand the value of team and the struggle with that as if when kids aren't playing or they're not getting the results they want, how can you be happy for your team or your family or anything being successful? As like anything else. I think it's important for coaches to talk about that. I think you have to view yourself as almost like a person of two halves. Like you have your individual part of you and you want to be successful. You want to be the best player that you could be. You want to be a starter. You want to have significant minutes in a game. But at the end of the day, the value of team and at the end of the day, being happy for your teammates. And their success is something that is hard, especially in this, in this world of positivity. We're so focused on just the individual self and the value of team and helping that team, no matter what you're doing, whether it's, you know, carrying equipment, whether it's, you know, hitting lead off or doing whatever, cheering on your teammates, just the value of that. And continuing to find ways to encourage that from my players.

Luke:

Right. Yeah. The idea of everybody brings value, right? And, and your value may be different. You not, everyone could be in the cleanup spot, driving in the runs. Not everyone could be the ACE pitcher, Moe and Don Eliam like that. That's just the reality of it. Right. But it doesn't mean you're not important. It doesn't mean you don't impact the outcome of the game. It doesn't mean that you don't bring value to this program. And that is definitely one of the struggles of being a coach in today's world, because all these kids see are the blessed scholarship offer. Right. They see parents posting, Jimmy had four home runs today. And it impacts people's self-worth because it feels like everything around you or everyone around you has a better, or is doing better as imposter syndrome. You have to really, as a coach, work on that with your athletes and make them realize that he or she brings a ton of value and they are important. you have to be intentional about it at the end of.

Chris:

Yeah. I think one struggle in the same topic is just, kids these days are, you know, they're playing travel and they never learned really the value of. not playing, like sitting on the bench and watching their teammates play. And you might not be the best player at that time. Right. But you do bring that value and understanding and having those conversations that. You don't need to be playing to bring value to your team, cheering on them on providing insight in the game. Helpful tips, anything you can do, but it's really been a struggle for me, just trying to get athletes to understand that just because you're not playing doesn't mean you're not valued. And around here,

Luke:

Yeah, there's no doubt you bring up a good point of the value of sitting on the bench. And unfortunately, especially the star athlete, he or she doesn't experience that until they're well into their career. Everyone's going to experience it. At some point, you're not going to be the best player. And the earlier those kids could be exposed to that. I would argue the better. There's a ton of value in being told no. Or being cut or not being the star on the team. I think there's absolutely a ton of value in that every division one athlete I've ever coached when he went away to school, I always was getting a text or a call within the first week and he wanted to be. And he wanted to bail because it was the first time they're 18 or 19 years old. And it was the first time in their life. They ever experienced not being the star ever. And I would always tell that person when they reached out to me, I know it's hard, but now, you know what those other 45 teammates of yours felt like while you were getting all those accolades and you were getting all those newspaper articles now, you know, and I think it's such a great lesson. So that's an awesome point that. All right, let's go to resources. I know you read, you listen to podcasts. What are some books? And even if it's just one, I don't care. What are some books or some podcasts, or even some Twitter follows you've gave me some good ones that you would recommend to our listeners that want to evolve as a.

Chris:

I love to read, as you said, um one thing as I try to just select one book to read an off season, just to kind of implement something or take some value of something and how I could spend it. But, you know, one book. We talked about the value of being happy for your teammates is help to help her is, is a book title. And it talks about the word mudita and mudita is kind of just having, joy or happiness for someone else and their success, which super hard to do if you're not the person having the success. And so I got it from Patrick Murphy, who is the head softball coach at Alabama. And he shows this video or here, he had this video made of a. time where he pinch it for his All American and the All-American that got pinched hit for was on the, you know, the top steps. Train the person on that just puts it for them and they end up winning the game based on that hit that the person, um, the player had. And so it just kinda, it was kind of eye opening to me to see this in a college setting at the highest level of college softball. So many of you have a pension for, and that person is screaming at the top of their lungs, enjoy and happiness for another teammate, even though that just taken out of the game, not sure how many people would do that. And so, trying to, you know, create ways to define happiness and joy for others is just something I continuously to strive for. And that's one book that, know, it was really that I thought has been really helpful.

Luke:

All right. That's a great recommendation. I'm not familiar with it. So I appreciate you sharing that. And I'll, definitely link it in the show notes for our listeners to check it out. What about that video? Is that a, is that on YouTube? Is that something that I'll be able to share a link to it?

Chris:

I could probably get that to you also I'd have to find it, but it's up there for sure.

Luke:

Okay. Perfect. So we'll definitely link that book in the show notes, and we will find that YouTube video and link that as well. Cause that sounds like something worthwhile for our listeners check out. Well, Hoff, I really appreciate you being on with us. I want you to know that as your former coach, you make me really proud, buddy. It's a, it's a really proud moment to just sit here and talk to you and listen to you. Articulate your philosophies to watch the way you carry yourself as a coach and a teacher. Honestly, it's better than any victory I've ever had as a coach. So I'm really proud of you, man. You're doing great things and keep impacting the world. One, a one student, one athlete at a time. You're you're a good.

Chris:

I appreciate it. You know, I don't know, you know, I don't tell you enough. And my other coaches too, like, you know, I couldn't be. And the position that I am right now. I mean, it's crazy. It's been already 10 years since I graduated and you, be in my head coach for football, but you've been an Awesome. role model for me and mentor and kind of just been that support model for me. So I appreciate it and everything you've done for me.

Luke:

Awesome. Thanks, buddy. It means a lot. I appreciate it. And to all of our listeners out there, you could get in contact with coach Hoffman via Twitter. You want to share your hands?

Chris:

Yeah, it's at LCHS underscore Hoff.

Luke:

And then you also, uh, can shoot them an email, which I'll put in the show notes as well. If you'd like to connect with him and discuss a little bit of more about his philosophies or learn a little bit of more about, you know, the weight room and the impact it could have on baseball players. So in closing, thanks to all of our listeners for tuning in and to coach Hoffman and best of luck again, and thanks for being on.

Chris Hoffman Profile Photo

Chris Hoffman

Teacher/Head Baseball Coach

I am in my 3rd year as a Special Education Teacher and Head Baseball Coach at Lakes Community High School. I was previously a Physical Education Teacher and Football Coach at Round Lake High School in addition to being an Assistant Baseball Coach at Grant Community High School.