Little League Coach’s Moving Speech Will Tell You All About Leadership


There’s so much talk about what determines a great coach or leader. Much of the literature surrounding leadership focuses on the daily business of the craft: habits, strategies, knowledge etc.

Last month, I stumbled on a very moving video on social media. It was the annual Little League World Series. The five-minute video clip gave me goosebumps. Dave Belisle, head coach of the Rhode Island Americans suffered a heartbreaking loss that eliminated them from the tournament. As I observed how Belisle communicate with this group of 10-to-12 year old athletes, I realized the profound impact of leadership at it’s apex.

VIDEO: Watch Little League Coach Give Moving Speech to 10-to-12 Year Old Athletes

Watching this clip will make you feel that this is “soft skills” at it’s best, but as there is anything but “soft” in the effect. Here’s five leadership lessons I’ve gleaned from watching this moving speech.

1) Seek to immediately connect with your audience – Belisle’s first words were “Let me see your eyes guys.”

2) Seek to create belonging by establishing a clear, vivid identity. – Belisle lifted the team’s spirits by reminding them, “We didn’t quit.  That’s us.”

3) Be vulnerable. Notice how the coach talks openly about emotions, especially his own. This creates safety and trust. – Belisle said, “It’s OK to cry because we’re not going to play baseball together anymore.”

4) Focus on what is lasting– When the balls and strikes have quit being called, it is the friendships which will remain. Belisle said, “But we’re going to be friends forever.”

5) Tell the truth. The strength of the relationship is in its honesty and trust. – Belisle said, “I love you guys.  I love you forever and you’ve given me the most precious moment of my athletic and coaching career.”