Buck Rodgers

Bouncing Back: How to Recover When Life Knocks You Down has some great information. Here is a short piece from my discusssion with Major League Baseball catcher, manager, and coach, Buck Rodgers.

 Thoughts from Buck Rodgers

Buck had a very successful career in Major League baseball. We were talking about change and adjustment, and I asked him how he helped his players learn to adjust.  I wanted to understand his approach to coaching.  Buck offered this advice:

            “I think it was just a matter of, you sit and talk to people and show them the way you think it should be done and say, ‘What do you think about that? Does that make sense?’

“And I’ll always say—whenever I wanted an answer, I’d say, ‘I don’t want you to say yes or no to this.  This is what I think it’s going to take for you to be successful. I don’t want you to give me an answer right now. I want you to go home and think about it, and then you come in tomorrow morning and talk—but I don’t want a reaction, I want a thought process to go through this, and see if you think you’ve got a better way to be successful, this way or that way. And then tomorrow, you come in and tell me your answer, and then we’ll go from there.’ ”

            Buck’s simple process is really quite powerful.  Too many times people try to change other people. They talk louder and longer, over and over again, hoping to wear the person down and by using the power of their will to influence and change another person.  Personally, I find this style extremely obnoxious and totally ineffective.  At best, you usually get someone to passively agree and then not comply with you later on down the line. At worst, you get a strong person who argues, resists, and fights back.  What a tedious, useless waste of energy in this battle of egos!

Buck is an intelligent man who understands people.  He knows that people have to want to change if something is really going to happen. Motivating a person to change is more of an art form than simply bullying someone into behaving differently. Transformation of character comes from the inside out, not from some external, coercive force. If you force someone to change, you will pay for it later.  They will resent you, becoming openly hostile or passive-aggressive. You will certainly not generate loyalty and respect from that approach.

Buck is also skillful here because he does not ask for a response in the moment. Most people tend to react to external situations from an emotional perspective.  A knee-jerk emotional reaction is usually not the most enlightened response. Buck helps to keep the situation more low-key by creating a space where his players can go home and think it over.  He gives them the opportunity to consider his proposal and asks for their input—a sign of respect.

If you are coaching players or raising children, you first need to open the mind before change can happen. If you learn how to approach someone and facilitate a process that opens the mind to other possibilities, then you have made a great start in the change process.  Everything starts in the mind. If you can engage the intellect and create an interest in the realm of possibilities, then you have the skill to be a successful change agent. A coach or parent is a teacher, and a great teacher helps others to open their minds and experience new levels of success.

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