A Coach’s Journey: John Kidwell

A Coach’s Journey: John Kidwell

In keeping with the tradition that Be the Best is a convention created for coaches by coaches, we’ve asked for inspirations and stories from your contemporaries. Click here to share something about your coaching journey. Don’t worry about making it sound good — you coach the kids, we ‘ll work the words.

John Kidwell
Head Softball Coach
Archbishop Ryan High School
Philadelphia

As a coach, we all take chances. We move our slumping clean-up hitter to seventh and she knocks it out of the park. We switch our short stop to second and she turns an incredible double play. We trust a player to steal home and we win the game. We take chances that make our players shine, propel us to victories and make us, as coaches, look good.

Or, we take a chance in the semifinals, by starting a freshman pitcher over the sophomore who beat the same team during the regular season. And, we lose the game, remembering it as one of our all-time coaching disasters.

2014 PCL Champions

But, coaching has incredible highs. Like winning the Catholic League Championship in 2014 for the first time since 1995, in the same season that we lost a long-time, beloved coach. What a tremendous feeling it was to win that title, not just for the team, but for the coach we lost. And, the pride of knowing that winning four out of five league championships has just as much to do with chemistry and ego-checking than talent.

Growing up I had two younger sisters who played softball. I spent a lot of time watching them play and figuring out the game. By the time I got to college, I knew for sure I wanted to be a coach.

I landed the head junior varsity coaching position at Archbishop Ryan in 1992. In 1997, I was promoted to varsity as an assistant coach and in 2014 was named softball’s head coach after Andy Hafele passed away.

Patches worn during the 2014 season in remembrance of Andy Hafele

Andy and I coached together for 22 years. He was not only my mentor, but a huge influence on the coach I’ve become. He taught me how to run a program and how to establish a winning culture. Andy’s presence on the field is felt to this day and I can’t help but feel he is a big reason for our recent success.

I think about Andy when I consider the impact I have on my players and work hard on building the same respect and trust that he did. Our players are only with us for four years, but the physical and emotional transformations we witness from freshman to senior year is absolutely awesome. By the time they graduate from Archbishop Ryan and head off to college, they are ready for the world. It gives me great joy to know that I, through the game of softball, was able to help shape these players into the incredible young women they’ve become.

Andy Hafele Memorial Softball Field, Archbishop Ryan High School, Philadelphia, PA

Why do coaches coach?

Why do coaches coach?

Coaches coach for many different reasons. Some want to give back. To the game, to the community, to the people who helped them along the way. Others are motivated by the thrill of competition, the emotion of the game and the camaraderie of the team. And some want to propel their players to the next level, watch them succeed and have a positive impact on their lives.

But the bottom line is, coaches coach because it’s fun.

And that’s why Be the Best adds FUN to the line-up.

Ask anyone who’s ever been to the convention. It’s not about listening to lectures from top college and professional coaches. It’s not about one-sided dialogues and technical presentations. What makes Be the Best so great is the natural interaction, the candid discussions and the back-and-forth sharing of skills, ideas and stories.

You may find yourself exchanging emails with one of the most celebrated coaches in college softball, drinking a beer with an MLB coach or chatting over coffee with a professional player. Be the Best speakers remember when they, too, were making their way in the baseball and softball worlds and genuinely want to do what they can to enhance your personal journey.

Don’t miss the ball on this one. We promise that Be the Best is more than instructive. More than informative. It’s down-right fun!

Registration is open NOW!

Baseball Coaches’ Convention
Thursday, January 10 – Saturday, January 12
Make your hotel reservations NOW!

Softball Coaches’ Convention
Thursday, January 17 – Saturday, January 19
Make your hotel reservations NOW! 

A Coach’s Journey: Phil Forbes III

A Coach’s Journey: Phil Forbes III

In keeping with the tradition that Be the Best is a convention created for coaches by coaches, we’ve asked for inspirations and stories from your contemporaries. Click here to share something about your coaching journey. Don’t worry about making it sound good — you coach the kids, we‘ll work the words.

Phil Forbes III
Head Baseball Coach
Menchville High School
Newport News, Virginia

USA TODAY’s Coach of the Year, 2009
In 2009, all nine starters went on to play college baseball.

Ever since I was a high school athlete I knew I wanted to become a coach. Luckily, my teachers and coaches saw something in that teenage kid and put me on the right path. I went to college to become a teacher so my dream could come true. I had so much respect for my coaches back then that their seal of approval was all I needed. In particular, I was inspired by my baseball coach, John Jones. He was tough, but he cared. I wanted to be a John Jones.

But, I wanted to be more than a baseball coach. I wanted to coach it all. And, so I did.

Over the course of 43 years, I have coached baseball, basketball, football, wrestling, track, volleyball and tennis at the high school and / or club level, winning championships at the district, regional and state levels.

As a baseball coach, my teams have won states, regions, districts and the national championship as NUMBER ONE in the country. Menchville High School breeds both great players and coaches. I have had some amazing assistant coaches who are extremely dedicated and together we have created a culture that reflects the game of life, not just the game of baseball.

We are so proud of the many collegiate ball players and MLB draftees that Menchville has turned out. But, we are equally as proud of those who applied the lessons they learned on the field to their chosen professions, making them huge successes in the working world.

Whatever sport I coach, I believe in the same basic philosophy. If you are disciplined on and off the field, adopt a great work ethic, be a family, be true to your parents and be a good student you will be successful, not just in your sport, but beyond.

As a coach, I try always to be fair and honest. I respect the game and want to bring out the best in each and every kid. I want to know I’ve been heard and know I’ve made an impact when a player comes back later and says, “Coach, you were right. If only I had listened.”

Today, I’m living the dream. A coach’s dream, a husband’s dream, a father’s dream and a grandfather’s dream. I’m the head baseball coach of Menchville High School. My high school sweetheart and wife, Lynn, is my biggest supporter. We critique every game together, giving me an invaluable spectator’s perspective. My son, Philip IV, is our hitting coach. And, my grandson, Philip V, plays on the team and has committed to James Madison University.

What could be better than that?

Why Coaches’ Conventions are Worth the Investment

Why Coaches’ Conventions are Worth the Investment

Even if you’re the winningest coach your organization has ever seen, the best sign caller east of the Mississippi or know how to motivate players better than anyone else around – you, too, can  become a better coach. And Be the Best Coaches’ Convention is a great place to start.

The best coaches out there know there’s always more to learn. They love to talk about the game with other coaches, study different strategies, share stories and try out new practice drills and coaching methods.

Conventions bring together those with common interests yet diverse backgrounds to serve as a breeding ground for creating better coaches. Speakers from all levels talk about their experiences, share their expertise and demonstrate their techniques. And when the clinics and talks are over, they mix and mingle with the crowds, fostering an environment that energizes coaches, players and sports enthusiasts.

Be the Best is a unique coaching convention in that it was created BY coaches, FOR coaches. Now in its 46th year, it has perfected the formula with the right blend of instruction, conversation, hands-on learning and just plain fun.

Join us at Be the Best Coaches’ Convention in Cherry Hill this January.  Not only will you go back to your team a better coach, but you’ll make new friends and connections and have a whole lot of fun doing it!

Baseball Coaches’ Convention
Thursday, January 10 – Saturday, January 12
Make your hotel reservations NOW!

Softball Coaches’ Convention
Thursday, January 17 – Saturday, January 19
Make your hotel reservations NOW! 

Why Continue Your Coaching Education?

Why Continue Your Coaching Education?

players throwing ice on coach

Pop quiz. What was the title of Hall of Fame Major League Manager, Earl Weaver’s autobiography?
The answer: “It’s What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts.”

That bit of wisdom was good enough to guide the World Series Championship manager of the Baltimore Orioles, and it’s motivation for you to continue your own coaching education.

Whichever combination of training, from district, state, or region clinics; Little League University; or other live and online options, that you may choose, pursuing continuing education is crucial to your enjoyment and effectiveness as a coach.

Continuing education keeps the coaching experience fresh for you.

Baseball and softball are endlessly fascinating sports. The deeper and more nuanced your knowledge of the games, the more they fascinate. If you have the slightest twinge of burnout or a sense that your coaching has become a paint-by-numbers exercise, a coaching course or clinic will quickly remind you of what you love about the sport and why you started coaching in the first place.

Education can re-shape your view of your role as a coach.

The wide variety of courses and clinics available cover some combination of fundamental skills, game strategy and tactics, and sports psychology. The best ones not only impart that knowledge to you, but also teach you exactly how to pass that knowledge along to players.

Once you learn how to share knowledge, not just possess it, you can have major impact on your Little Leaguers®, both as players and as people. Empowered as an educator yourself, you gain the intrinsic reward of helping children. And, once those kids see you as a proven provider of baseball or softball information that helps them improve, they are that much more likely to listen to you about life lessons (which are even more rewarding to share than sports lessons).

You gain confidence.

Even if you take just a few tidbits from your continuing education, you now know that you know more than you did before. The fact that you went out of your way to improve will make you more decisive in practices and games and in building your team culture. That sense of confidence can exude leadership that goes a long way with players, their parents, fellow coaches, and even umpires.

You improve.

That may seem obvious as a reason to pursue continuing education. But let’s face it, plenty of people are satisfied with whatever level they have achieved and many others feel they cannot (or need not!) improve.

Nothing will invigorate your coaching like re-investing time and energy into being the best you can possibly be, and then seeing actual, measurable improvement in your coaching, in player performance, and in how you help players develop as people.

You demonstrate to players and their parents your commitment to improving.

That can’t help but rub off on your players. When they know you have worked to improve, they are more likely to work to improve. Parents who see you having that effect on their kids will become friends and allies for life, and more of your community will gain from the idea that “It’s What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts.”

LAST CHANCE FOR BEST VALUE TICKET!

LAST CHANCE FOR BEST VALUE TICKET!

$129 REGISTRATION!


Get more bang for your buck! 

 

As baseball season comes to an end, so does the $129 registration fee!

On NOVEMBER 1st, Be the Best ticket prices go up to $139.

So, take advantage of the low price and purchase your tickets online TODAY!!

Be the Best is the most unique and the longest-running coaches’ convention in the country. Be a part of it!

$99 Fan Appreciation Ticket:
SOLD OUT!

$119 Mid-Season Ticket:
SOLD OUT!

$129  Play-off Ticket:
ALMOST SOLD OUT!!!!

$139 Post-Season Ticket:
November 1 through January 9, 2019 (for baseball)

$139 Post-Season Ticket:
November 1 through January 17, 2019 (for softball)

$159 Game Day Ticket:
ALL tickets bought at the door. No discounts.

2019 Be the Best Coaches’ Convention

Be the Best Baseball Coaches’ Convention 
Thursday, January 10 – Saturday, January 12

Be the Best Softball Coaches’ Convention
Thursday, January 17 – Saturday, January 19

Crowne Plaza Cherry Hill
2349 W. Marlton Pike, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002