Prison Softball: The H-6 Nationals

 

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Last year (before I came to this unit) The H6 Nationals were so dysfunctional that many guys quit. This year many guys were not even going to play.

As soon as I moved to H-6, a few guys asked me if I wanted to coach the team. I didn’t have to think twice. Of course I want to.

I then started the scouting process. I approached a few of the good players to see if they wanted to play. To my surprise, they said, “No.”

I asked, “Why not?”

They said, “Too much negativity and drama.”

I assured them that this year will be different. They asked if certain people will be on the team. When I said yes, they said that is why they don’t want to play.

I knew I had my work cut out for me. Since I couldn’t tell them what to expect, I’d have to show them…lead by example.

I drew up a “Philosophy & Expectation” sheet. This is what it said:

 

COMMIT TO A CHAMPIONSHIP
Practice rain or shine. Always give your absolute best.

KEEP IT POSITIVE
The key to a championship is a positive attitude.
Always remain positive, especially in the face of adversity.

OPEN TYROUTS
The best player will earn their position.
Attitude and commitment will play a huge role.

 

I sent it to Suzie and she did an awesome job of typing it up and adding some cool softball graphics. She sent it to me and I made copies.

Then I passed them out to all the guys…one at a time. This gave me an opportunity to talk to everyone one on one. I basically told them that if guys don’t abide by the guidelines, they won’t play and I’ll take them off the roster.

After the first week I had to take 3 guys off the roster. These were the same 3 guys who caused all the drama last year. Some guys just can’t keep it positive, other guys have a false sense of entitlement. Meaning, one guy wanted to play infield. The problem was, he couldn’t outplay any of the other infielders.

When I encouraged him to challenge for an outfield position, he got mad and negative. He told me, “I’ve been playing for over 20 years…I’ve won several championships, I’m the best infielder on this team!”

I told him to stay positive, keep trying, and he’ll get some playing time when someone misses a game due to a visit, or work, or whatever.

Nope! He wasn’t having it. He kept on being a negative distraction. Just like he was last year when he was the starting 2nd baseman. This guy is just hard to get along with. So most the guys were happy when I took him off the team.

It actually set a good example for everyone else to see. It showed everyone that I’m serious, and that I will cut a feller from the team if they don’t comply with the rules.

It also attracted those good players who initially said they didn’t want to play due to all the drama and negativity.

Right now the roster is full….15 players and 1 assistant coach. Only 10 guys play in a game. So 5 guys will be benched come game time. Only the best players who have earned their position will play.

We have an awesome group of guys who can really play. Everyone is positive and they all get along. I’m super excited! I expect our bench to be positive and supportive. Some guys won’t like being on the bench. If they become a negative distraction, I’ll cut ‘em!

We are undefeated in the pre-season, winning our last three games: 19 – 0 and 27 – 0 and 17 – 0.

It’s win a CHAMPIONSHIP or bust!!!

Our first official game is Saturday May 30th.

Wish us luck….I’ll keep ya posted.

 

abc

Steven Jennings

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