Clemson coach says he has to do better at communicating with his players
There are a lot of things one can point to when looking back at Clemson’s first losing season in baseball since 1957.
There was no consistency on the mound from the starters or the bullpen. The Tigers struggled at the plate. They struggled to pick up runs in key situations and, more than anything, they were consistently inconsistent as a team.
But when talking with the media Monday morning from the players’ facility in Clemson, head coach Monte Lee pointed the finger at himself.
The Tigers’ skipper said he learned a lot about his coaching style this past season after speaking with each individual players during his annual exit interviews last month. Lee learned a lot about what he can do better as a head coach when it comes to his relationship with his players.
“I probably took too much of a step back this year, quite honestly,” he said.
Clemson, which finished the season 25-27 and 16-20 in the ACC, got off to a rocky 5-8 start and Lee felt like he was putting too much pressure on his players to perform. He felt at the time maybe he just needed to take a step back and let his players figure things out for themselves. He admitted he was wrong in that regard.
“But ultimately talking to some of the guys at the end of the year, one of the things that stood out is that they need me to push them, constantly throughout the season,” he said. “And that is not in a negative way. I am not a negative oriented-type coach or a critical-type coach. But I think sometimes I can be fairly intense and energetic and there are certain players that feed well off of that and there are some guys that do not.
“I have to make sure as a head coach that I tailor make the way that I coach to each individual player. That is part of my job as head coach. Just communicating with guys one-on-one more throughout the season about how they are doing and how they are responding to what we are doing as coaches.”
Lee said he needs to do a better job feeling things out in the locker room and getting a better sense of what the culture is like in the clubhouse.
“Those are things that I took from the end of the year. I have to make sure that I am doing a good job of not sitting back and instead evaluating what is going on in talking with the team and addressing each individual throughout the course of the year,” he said. “How can I help them individually? The relationship part is a big part of what I need to do a better job of as the head coach from the beginning of the fall. It does not happen in the season. It has to start in the fall.
“So, just more one-on-one time with each player in the office, just asking them how they are doing and how I can help them more. So, we can develop that bond and that relationship early on in the process, so when we get to the spring, we are on the same page and there is that comfort level from player to coach. That is one of the things I have to do a better job of as a leader.”
Lee also pointed out the Tigers need more leadership from the older players, too. Especially, when it comes to the expectations of the program, how they practice as a team, how they wear their uniform and how they behave in the dugout.
“Just the expectations from me to the players to the leaders in the program,” he said. “Then the leaders police the dugout and the locker room. We just have to make sure the leadership is the way we need it to be for us to be successful.”
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