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Bettering Others and the World You Live In

I Am A Winner

I am a winner

“I am a winner, he’s a loser” are the words I heard from the opposing team’s dugout this weekend. 

In taking my stroll from the third base dugout to position myself in the first base coach’s box, I heard the opposing coach in a heated conversation on his phone.  Up until that point, I had heard him conversing with his assistant coach in the dugout.  The conversation was regarding another team they were responsible for in their program that was playing at the same time.  They were tracking that team’s progress on a live game feed.

I’m not quite certain who he was talking to, but he wasn’t pleased with that team’s coach and his “game management skills.”  In a quick assessment, it was clear that the coach who declared himself a “winner,” and designated the other a “loser” thought highly of himself.  It was safe to say he lacked humility, and his behavior affirmed that assessment.

As I heard him having his tantrum, I couldn’t help but laugh on the inside.  His team that we were playing was comprised of kids from the states of Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama.  Do not get me wrong, they were good, and they beat us fair and square.  But, he had assembled talent in order to be a “winner.” 

After the game, I started to reflect on this moment.  It reminded me that there are two strategies to building a winning team.


Before we dive into the first strategy, let’s take a quick timeout for me to develop some street cred on this topic.  I have coached youth sports for my entire adult life, nearly 24 years.  Baseball, basketball, football, and wrestling and everything in between.  My assessment of myself isn’t quite as high as this guy’s of himself, but I know the coaching game, I am extremely familiar with these two strategies of building winning teams. 

Assembling Talent

This coach’s strategy was to assemble talent.  A perfectly fine one to deploy in order to win now.  This is not an uncommon practice in the world of travel baseball.  In fact, some of the elite teams will even fly players in from out of state to play in a weekend tournament.  It’s a crazy world!

In the leadership world, this strategy would be comparable to recruiting other organization’s super stars to build our teams.  Experienced, proven people who can step into our organizational lineups and contribute day one.  They are sure bets. 

Using this strategy can help us get to “winner” status sooner.  It can also be a risk to sustainable success. 

Developing Talent

Sure…I am assuming that based on the geographic location of this guy’s players that he chose to assemble talent.  In fairness to him, he is probably a great coach who develops the players well when he has them.  I would just have to imagine that his time to do so is limited.   

In my world, I tend to lean towards the strategy of developing talent.  I have never really been much for recruiting kids or picking up players that have been developed by other coaches.  The process of developing young players is something I believe in strongly.  We might not always be able to immediately compete with the teams that field the other strategy, but I will hedge my bets on the long-term development of our players. 

In leadership, this strategy plays the long game.  Potential is a key criterion in team selection process.  This strategy chooses where someone could be, over where they are. 

It’s kind of like making pottery.  We pick raw pieces of clay that can be shaped and molded into a final masterpiece versus going into the store and buying the final product.  It’s procedural in The Molding of a Leader.

Using this strategy gets us to “winner” status.  It just takes longer to get there. 


So…which strategy wins?  Honestly…it depends.  It depends on the leader, the coach, the team, or the organization.  The decision heavily depends on seasons, circumstances, and sometimes even the crisis at hand.  The best strategy is one that likely deploys a combination of both. 

My preference is to develop talent and play the long game.  But, in some cases I have had little choice to assemble talent out of necessity.  Both have worked, both have failed me. 

Here is the real question at stake.  What is winning?  For that coach, his winning was the trophy this weekend, now.  From the team they fielded, his winning may be that more of his kids go on to play college baseball or get drafted.  That is a highly likely outcome. 

For me, it’s developing our players into solid young men that play as many sports as possible.   Ones that grow into good sons, fathers, and Community Leaders.  It’s all relative to each of our objectives. 

I’ll leave you with this…as long as we stay focused on the players and people, we win every day.  In that case, be a “winner,” not a “loser.”

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