Talent is What You Have, Effort is What You Give. My younger brother Eddie and I began with that mantra in 1994. We created a camp all the McCarthy brothers and their friends would have enjoyed going to. Ballplayers from all over the city, from every economic background, learning, competing and pushing each other to get better, little by little, every day. Thousands and thousands of ballplayers kept showing up — hundreds and hundreds went on to play college ball. Many stuck around to become staff coaches.
We open with the national anthem, tuck our shirts in, wear our hats correctly, practice hard and play two games a day. We rake the fields, water the infield dirt, pick up the trash and clean up after ourselves at lunch. We pick new teams every day and get after it surrounded by good coaches who do their best each day to help each player grow and thrive.
My coaches don’t yell at players — our coaches play, or have played, the game, and know how tough it is. A better question after the inning’s over is to quietly ask a player what they might have done better. In my experience, players respond best to mutual respect, clear expectations, meaningful encouragement, patience and technical guidance.
I encourage players to keep track of their gear, say “Yes, Coach.” and choose optimism and hard work. Learn a new position, learn how to shine your shoes, learn to take the extra base and play with a little more self-confidence. Play with kids your own age and learn to be a leader and team captain. Learn thart the team succeeding is the priority.
We believe players get better quickest through volume repetition with an eye on technical proficiency, with a clear expectation to compete and practice with full effort. An example would be a player getting 150 ground balls a day and over 100 swings in batting practice.
I encourage our coaches to work the street before camp and shake players’ and parents’ hands as they arrive. I encourage camp vets to welcome new players to their group and invite them to eat with their friends. Learn how to compete with fire and passion and then give your opponent a real handshake after a hard-fought ballgame. Learn to win and lose with humility and class. Harder than it sounds.
All a good coach does is help parents and guardians raise healthy, productive, self-motivated and others-centered young adults. We are growing Redwoods, not laying sod. It takes time and tremendous effort on all sides. I only ask my players two questions at day’s end: How hard did you work? and How did you treat people?
Home Run Baseball Camp is for ballplayers of any experience level. We’ve had alumni reach the major leagues and others who scratch out a few high school base hits. All are welcome. And remember:Talent is What You Have, Effort is What You Give – John McCarthy, Director – 202.230.2306 (cell)
*Coach Eddie Mac started his own baseball camp, Hamptons Baseball Camp, about 15 years ago. Eddie is an outstanding community leader and coach whose program embodies the same values and energy, technical style and ethos at Home Run Baseball Camp. If you are looking for a great baseball camp on the end of Long Island, Hamptons Baseball Camp is the place to go. To get more information on this camp, visit – http://hamptonsbaseballcamp.com/