By: Everett Hancock
As youth director for Dirtbags, I’m proud to see how far we have come since 2016 when we first began an official Dirtbags youth program! It has been a rewarding experience to see our program grow over the last several years. I attribute the majority of that success to the coaches that we have had running our teams on a day to day basis, and the players and families that are a part of our teams!
In my opinion that is the biggest key to the success of our program. We have coaches that do a terrific job with their respective teams each day. We have coaches who are organized, run solid practices, put an emphasis not just on winning but also on the development of their players, and who ensure that they and their teams represent the Dirtbags organization in the proper way.
Our teams are full of high quality, fantastic kids! I when I say high quality, I don’t just mean talent level. Sure, we are blessed to have a youth program full of very talented baseball players. But more importantly, we are lucky to have teams full of players with high levels of character, integrity, discipline, and respect for the game, their teammates, parents, friends, and teachers. I hope that all our youth players have an opportunity, if they so choose, to play baseball at the next level one day. However, the qualities listed above will be what stick with these boys long after baseball is over for them.
Our teams are also fortunate to have quality parents/families raising these boys every day. We have a lot of very good what I like to call “baseball parents”. These parents understand the game of baseball, know how to handle themselves at games, allow the coaches to do their jobs, and they don’t try to coach their kids from the stands. They allow their kids to experience failure and learn how to overcome adversity. And finally, these parents support the TEAM and the ORGANIZATION, and not just THEIR kid!
We are blessed to have such quality coaches, players, and families involved in our youth program. They are the key ingredients who have helped make us who we are today, and who will continue to mold and shape our program for years to come.
Another huge key to the success of our youth program is how we choose to interact with our teams as an organization. Our goal is to make every player, regardless of age, feel like they are just as much a Dirtbag as our older guys/teams at the showcase level. We want all our players to aspire to be the next great Dirtbag, and to hopefully one day be able to add their name to our list of college scholarships and perhaps MLB Draft picks.
We don’t attempt to micro-manage our teams. We provide a lot of freedom to our coaches to run their respective teams how they best see fit. Our goal isn’t to control the day to day operations of our teams, rather we want to walk alongside our coaches, players, and families in an effort to be a constant resource to help these players develop as they continue to get older.
Lastly, a lot of people ask us what we look for in a youth team. Well, the answer is simple. First, and this goes directly back to what I discussed earlier, we want quality people (coaches, players, and families). Second, I want to know the goals of the team. What is attractive to me is a team that values a big picture, long term vision. Yes, we want our teams to be competitive right now and we can certainly assist with that. But ultimately, and most importantly, we want our players to develop and be prepared for “down the road” as well.
We aspire to have people/teams in our youth program that:
- Believe in the Dirtbags organization and what we can do with and for their kid/players
- Trust our program/organization and the process that we go through with their kid/players
- Value what our program/organization can do for their kid/players not just in the present, but long term
Interested in joining our youth program and/or have other questions:
Facebook: Everett Hancock (Dirtbags Youth)
Phone: (336) 430-6985