If there’s anybody whose advice about baseball could be trusted, it’s former LSU Coach Skip Bertman’s.
The legend gave the St. John Eagles a pep talk before their game last Thursday against Covenant Christian.
With Bertman’s overall winning record of 870 wins, 330 losses and three ties for a statistic of .724, which goes up to .754 in NCAA tournament play, still the highest in college baseball, and five College World Series championship for the Tigers, it’s safe to say the man knows how to motivate a team.
The eight-minute talk prior to last Thursday game seems to have helped – the Eagles smashed the Covenant Christian Lions by an impressive 8-0 margin.
“You’re very, very good,” Bertman told the very attentive group of players. “…From what I’ve heard, if you can just do what you’re capable of doing, you can beat this team.”
“You’re already winners,” is how he opened his talk. “Think of yourself as winners. You’ve already won.”
“Nothing is going to happen today, like one at-bat, one pitch or one fielding play that can change that,” Bertman said. “…What I’m saying to you is all you can do is all you can do – you can’t do any more than that.”
“That’s all the coaches are asking, that’s all the parents are asking and that’s all the teachers at school are asking of you,” he continued.
“…The one thing the coaches are asking…is they want to see hard baseball being played, they want to see intelligent football being played,” Bertman said.
He not only provided the Eagles with philosophical wisdom, but practical baseball tips as well.
“If you’ve got a teammate that strikes out, make sure you go up and put a hand on his shoulder and make sure you let him know you’re here for him,” Bertman said. “Tell him, ‘You’ll get him (the pitcher) next time. We love you. That’s what you’ve got to do.”
“Today, we’re going to hit and I don’t just mean hit the ball, we’re going to play hard, we’re going to play intelligently and most of all, we’re going to play together,” he continued. “We’re one – the players, the coaches and all those people in the stands who are rooting for you.”
“…We’re asking you to do one and a half hours of straight focus,” Bertman continued. “You’re not going to lose your focus, you’re never going to turn your head away…It’s not easy but those teams that do it are the teams that win.”
The legend closed with a pair of inspirational comments.
“Star in your own movie today,” Bertman said. “Strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out, block the ball, get the base hit, because your dream is coming true today.”