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Inside Pitch Magazine, January/February 2023

Last Inning: The Complete Coach

by Adam Revelette

Cover of The Complete Coach book“The Complete Coach” is a guide which helps coaches organize their programs by helping them develop well-rounded, successful teams and individuals on and off the field. The book is intended to transcend sports in many of its teachings in an attempt to help us all focus on what really matters—developing quality human beings. 

“I have been coaching for a relatively short amount of time,” notes Ryan Wiggs, the book’s author. “My first job came in 2010 in a small school district in central Illinois, where I was the junior high head coach and the high school assistant coach. After moving back to my hometown of Belleville, I became the JV coach for three seasons before taking over as the head coach in 2015.

“I have only been a head coach for seven seasons, one of which was lost to COVID. Why would I write a book to guide other head coaches?” 

Like many young coaches, Wiggs scoured the internet for resources on how to run an effective program. He was met with endless articles, books and videos about the latest, greatest, cutting-edge coaching techniques, a rabbit hole at every turn. 

“There is a drill for everything in baseball,” Wiggs adds. “And drills are great. But there is a real need for good coaching strategies that can improve play on the field.”

The Complete Coach tackles that issue, addressing the time-consuming aspects of planning, practice and playing through the lens of a current high school coach. It also touches on some concepts that can help programs develop off the field and out of season as well, with the focus being on developing high-character people. The book is broken into three parts. The first, “Your Culture,” examines ways to develop and maintain consistent behaviors and suggests ways to self-reflect and evaluate. Next, “Meaningful Practice,” looks into some ways that coaches can create organized, optimized practice plans that work within time and space constraints. And lastly, “Competitions” lists several ways that coaches can inject the spirit of competition into otherwise mundane daily tasks.

All three parts offer suggestions on how to smoothly run your team and set them up for success in addition to ideas for player development and positive character building. Within those sections are chapters that include thoughts on community involvement, relationships with parents, fundraising, getting feedback from the team, and more. Also included in the book are pre- and post-season questionnaires for players and parents that can help to set goals and monitor progress. 

An easy read at approximately 50 pages, The Complete Coach keeps the players as the focus throughout with the objective to promote programs and coaching staffs that do the same. 

“The hope is that you find one or two ideas that you can use right away that really hit home with you and for your program,” adds Wiggs. 

If you are just starting out as a coach, choose a few driving forces for your program and really implement them. If you attempt to take on too much, too fast, you will find that you implement a whole bunch of ideas, but in a half-hearted way. Have a specific vision and stick to it. Trust yourself and believe in yourself as a leader. At the end of the day, when making any decision involving your team or program, do what is in the best interest of the players. Always put the players at the center of everything. I would love to connect with anyone to discuss the ideas presented in this book. I don’t pretend that this is a “be-all, end-all” book. I believe perfection is a journey and I would love to share thoughts and ideas. You can reach me any time at [email protected].

Ryan Wiggs has been the head baseball coach at Belleville East High School in Illinois, his alma mater, since the Fall of 2015.

Inside Pitch Magazine is published six times per year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt association founded in 1945. Copyright American Baseball Coaches Association. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without prior written permission. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, it is impossible to make such a guarantee. The opinions expressed herein are those of the writers.
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