The players are the ones on the ball field day in and day out. They put in the hard work and the grueling hours in pursuit of their success. This is all true, but a common misconception is the coach doesn’t do as much as the players. For Justin Beach, head coach of Brockport Baseball, he has always put in the time and effort with his players to make sure everyone is on the right path to success.
“Like every little kid out there, I grew up dreaming of playing professional baseball. When the day came, though, that I had to hang up my cleats I still wanted to stay in touch with the game any way I could,” Beach said about knowing when he first decided he wanted to get into coaching.
Beach has always been around the game and loved it with a passion. In his mind it was perhaps due to him being a catcher as a kid and developing behind the dish throughout high school. “I have always been a student of the game. You learn so much behind the plate and I always sat near my coaches in the dugout trying to pick their brains about strategies and different situations.”
It’s more than just knowing the game. It’s also about being a mentor and authoritative figure that the players can trust. Managing the different personalities and skill sets of baseball players is a constant chess game, making sure all the pieces fit in the right place at the right time. For players like Eli Carrera, coming to America from Cuba to play baseball can be scary, but Beach took him in and treated him like anyone else.
“He’s like another father figure to me,” Carrera said. “Coach Beach preaches a close family atmosphere with us players and I owe a lot of my success here as a player to Beach being there for me when I needed it most.”
“I’m a very open guy and players sometimes need to just talk to someone. As their coach I think it’s important to know what’s going on in their lives and help anywhere I can,” Beach said about being not just a baseball coach, but a mental and personal coach too. “Sometimes players need a little extra motivation or whatever the case may be, being a coach of their mental aspects is just as important as the X’s and O’s.”
Paul Ludden is a catcher for the Golden Eagles and has learned a lot about developing into a productive commander behind the plate at the college level thanks to Beach. “He caught his whole life and has had success at that and with previous catchers on past teams, so it’s really easy for me to go up and ask him questions knowing he’ll give me a straight answer and some encouragement,” Ludden said about Beach’s leadership and positive reinforcement.
With Beach on the coaching staff, Brockport has made the SUNYAC playoffs 12 times out of 13 seasons, including five bids for the NCAA World Series Tournament. While many people may look at the players for their talent and hard work on and off the field, the success stems from roots embedded in the program by Coach Beach.