Posts Tagged ‘Bill Shover’

Bill Shover’s Routine

Bill Shover, my Little League baseball coach, had a practice plan that was regimented and the same every time.  As I look back now, I can see it was deliberate practice.  We warmed up, threw balls back and forth, played “situation” (a mock game of baseball) which helped us be more prepared, had batting practice and then we ran.

That routine was the basis for learning the fundamentals and becoming very good at what we did.  Dean Smith, the North Carolina basketball coach, and John Wooden, the UCLA basketball coach were both legendary for their commitment to practice.

Coaching Leader Quality 19 – Creates Great Teams of Assistant Coaches

Great coaching leaders not only build great teams of performers, they build a great team of assistant coaches.  In many cases the assistants go on to become great coaches in their own right.

A cohesive team of assistant coaches allows great coaching leaders to leverage their process and build deeper and stronger organizations.

Bill Shover modeled this impeccably.  Each year, even though he might be working with new assistant coaches, volunteer fathers and friends, the players enjoyed consistent styles and approaches due to Bill’s excellent leadership.

Of course not every assistant coach scenario worked perfectly.  On one warm afternoon bill invited Jerry Colangelo, the coach of the Phoenix Suns, to come throw batting practice.  Having a local sports hero pitching to us was a thrill, especially at age twelve.

  Jerry appeared to be a talented hurler, except for one small problem.  As each left handed hitter came up he proceeded to hit him with a pitch.  By the time I came up to bat, as a leftie, I was shaking in terror expecting to be hit.  Sure enough, six pitches later, a fast ball struck me squarely on the elbow and sent me to the dirt writhing in pain.  As it turned out, it was worth the pain because Bill and I have enjoyed retelling the story to this day!

  • Posted by Pete Walsh
  • Monday, December 27th, 2010
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Coaching Leader Quality 13 – Healthy Amount of Ego and Humility

Great coaching leaders have already got their ego needs met from other places; they have a healthy amount of ego.  To say it another way, they want to succeed but at the same time, they are not caught up in their own gratification.  They have reached a point in their careers where they are motivated by something bitter than themselves.

  Bill Shover was one of the more high profile, widely known and respected business leaders in our Arizona community, yet when he walked on the field and became our coach he was down to earth, approachable and humble; he gave us room to be ourselves and be open to coaching.  I know he possessed a strong desire for us to succeed and felt a personal vested interest, but his even keeled, comfortable style set a great tone in the dugout.

  • Posted by Pete Walsh
  • Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
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Who Is Your Bill Shover?

Bill Shover is a coach and central character in my story and made an indelible mark on my life.  In fact, he is still an important influence.  The truth is, when I was a 12-year old and met Bill, I was not in a great personal situation.  My father had serious personal challenges and was pretty much out of the picture.  I did not have a lot of reason to be confident in who I was, although from an early age I was mesmerized by sports and spent hours in the front yard shooting hoops and imagining that I was making the final shot to win the NBA championship.

 Bill Shover took me under his wing in the Kachina Little League in 1974.  I got a sense pretty quickly that Bill had a process for what he was doing, a great spirit about what he was up to and a real compassion for the underachiever.  I really felt like I was fortunate to be picked on his team. 

Bill was encouraging and compassionate from the very beginning.  His coaching approach was about working on the fundamentals and understanding the game.  This approach instilled a certain amount of confidence because we kept repeating the fundamentals. 

As Bill and I met recently, (30 years after being coached by him in little league), he recounted this story.  He said, “When I started working with you, you were really not a very good hitter, but if you remember, we kept working and working on the fundamentals and eventually you began to get the bat on the ball and get them into the outfield for some very nice base hits.  You really became a good hitter!”

He also shared that he was coaching his older son in American Legion ball at the time and that he was arm-twisted into taking a team in the minor leagues. Here I thought I had been so blessed to be picked by Bill Shover, but the truth of the matter was he got a minor league team with the bottom of the barrel players (the early version of the Bad News Bears).  Luckily his son TA was a good ballplayer and Bill knew how to make ballplayers out of young boys who were a little lacking in the talent department.

That was an important step in my life.  Through his patience, encouragement, support and process of practicing the fundamentals, I did in fact become a decent hitter.

A really great thing about Bill and his process was that he knew how to have fun.  This is something I have carried through into my life and my executive coaching.  When we have fun, or lightness as I like to call it, we tend to be better learners and are free to bring out our natural energy and talent.

Early on, Bill made it very clear that he was about playing players who worked hard.  This was an expression of one of his values, a critical piece of coaching. I knew if I showed up at practice, worked hard and applied myself, Bill was going to give me my fair share of playing time and perhaps start me, even though I probably was not at the top of the talent list.  Bill rewarded hard work and determination.

All of this led to a greater sense of self worth from my perspective.  It felt good to have a champion like Bill rooting for me in my corner.  He would cheer any time we did something right.  He would also make sure to point out if we missed the mark.  This is another hallmark of a great coach.  They are attentive to details, both the positive details and the details for areas with room for improvement.

I was fortunate enough to have Bill draft me in a second and third season.  By now he knew my commitment to improvement and I knew his system.  I was a loyal fan, and he was a devoted coach helping me improve my baseball skills and personal confidence. 

When Bill and I had lunch recently, he said to me, “I had 334 kids and not one of them tried harder than you.”  Imagine how great that felt and here he is in his 70s, I am in my 40s and he is still coaching me and contributing in a very positive way.  What a special relationship.