So, you want to be a manager?

Published Jan 24, 2014 at 5:10 pm (Updated Jan 24, 2014 at 5:10 pm)

The 18th century definition of a coach is something that takes you from point A to point B when you can’t get there yourself.

Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle prefers that description and believes that coaches evoke a positive response to players’ three most vital questions. One, can I trust them? Two, does he care about me? Three, does he make me better? The same applies to managers in the work force or mentors and teachers in the classroom.

“If you trust a coach, what are you going to give him?” Hurdle asked.

“Everything,” answered his audience during a fundraising event for the Bethel Baseball Association.

“If you don’t trust him, what are you going to give him? You are going to do just enough to get the job done. Right?”

Hurdle then asked, how do you instill trust? “You model the behavior you want to instill in others and walk tall.”

Hurdle added that players want to know that you care about them. “Is it high-fives when things are only going well? Or are you there when they need a hug or encouragement?”

Hurdle dispensed several other tidbits of advice to would-be managers. He noted how his approach has helped the Pirates become a respected opponent rather than the designated ‘homecoming’ game. Today, he says of his team, “We’ll beat you and we’ll beat you fair. We’ll play hard. We’ll play smart and have fun.”

And Hurdle won’t ever concern himself with what other people think. He cited what happened in 2012 as an example. “We collapsed like a house of cards and you all were mad at me,” he said. “I’m not afraid of that. In life, there will be people you can please and people you will never please. So don’t try.”

In life, Hurdle says, you have to remember that ‘you are special’ and that ‘you are significant.’ Each day, he reminds his players of these. Plus, he reminds them that they will be a father or a husband longer in the community than they will be performers on the baseball field.

Those points were driven home to Jerry Obiecunas and Mark Troscinski. Both attended the evening with Clint Hurdle Jan. 15 in the Bethel Park High School auditorium.

Obiecunas played baseball for the Black Hawks. The 28-year-old is now the manager of the American Legion team. Plus, he is a married man.

“What Clint said will help me as a manager,” said Obiecunas. “It will help me keep the guys motivated and hungry.

Regarding life, Obiecunas added, “Through the ups and downs and all the bumps in the road, it’s all about being a man. When you love someone, at the end of the day, it’s about being there for that person and always keeping in mind to remain humble.”

Meanwhile, Troscinski found Hurdle’s words to be influential in all avenues of his life. He is a husband and a father. His one daughter, Rachel, played on several state championship clubs for Peters Township High School. She is a freshman studying engineering at Purdue. Troscinski also is employed as a mechanical engineer.

A huge baseball fan, he moved to Pittsburgh in 1992, and adopted the Pirates.

“Clint Hurdle is a personable, down-to-earth guy and he knows how to get the most out of people.” Troscinski added that he also discerned from Hurdle’s topics and stories ‘how to be a good motivator and a good leader in his own business as well as learn how to improve character.”

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