Leadership Lessons from Coach Ray Ricker

Jeff Davis speaking to student athletes at Post University

In the spring of 2017, I had the honor and privilege of speaking to some of the student athletes at Post University in Waterbury, CT. Head Baseball Coach Ray Ricker was kind enough to give me the opportunity to pour into these kids.

I gave it my all and did my best. I didn’t connect with every student athlete in the auditorium, but there were several baseball players who spoke to me after I was done speaking and said my message really connected with them. My philosophy and mindset with each of my speaking engagements is that if I help even one person, it was worth it.

Connecting with Head Baseball Coach Ray Ricker

Before speaking at Post University, I had an in-depth phone conversation with Head Baseball Coach Ray Ricker. He immediately struck me as authentic, real, and genuine, a quality that I highly value in others. I ran some of the things I’d talk about in the speech with him, and he approved:

Coach Ricker values suicide prevention, a topic near and dear to my heart. This allowed for an authentic connection to occur.

“It was a great experience having Jeff speak to our program,” Coach Ricker said. “His message resonated with many players. Thank you for everything!”

Leadership Lessons from Coach Ricker

The purpose of this post is to focus on some of the leadership lessons I learned from Coach Ricker. He’s a great guy, and several of the players told me they like him as their coach.

To be blunt, I did not have great high school and college baseball coaches (to put it respectfully). For the record, I’m not negative about the lack of leadership from my former coaches. My direct intention in sharing this is to help both coaches and players understand what authentic leadership from coaches of sports teams is all about. I jokingly told Coach Ricker that I wish he was my college baseball coach, but I also meant it. Here are the five leadership lessons we can learn from Coach Ricker, as much applicable to the business world as they are to the sports world:

If you want to be seen, you have to be on the field playing. Play for a program that will develop you!

Putting It All Together

Every team is different. Every situation is different. There’s no “one size fits all” approach to coaching and there’s a lot of gray area. With that said, there are five rules of thumb for every coach that will almost always lead to success: authenticity, kindness, giving players a fair chance, exposing your players to outside perspectives, and giving players room to grow.

I appreciate you reading this article. Please share it with someone who would benefit from reading it.

Follow Post University Head Baseball Coach Ray Ricker on twitter. He sends out some great tweets. Jeff Davis is an author and authentic leadership expert.

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