Shayne Watson will travel to Colombia this week to assist the U23’s team in the 2018 World Cup.
Baseball Queensland’s Junior Elite Pathway’s Manager, Shayne Watson has a career like no other; being the only coach to have participated in the Modern ABL from the first season as a player and coach, Watson is now using his deep baseball pedigree and on field knowledge to run the Junior Elite Pathway’s program.
Off field Watson is a reserved, mild mannered, unassuming achiever but once he steps over the painted white line, his passion for baseball is contagious. On field, Watson is a clear and precise communicator, he spreads positivity through his constructive feedback and he has perfected the art of engaging and connecting with every player he coaches.
Shayne spoke to Liv about his career both on the baseball field player and coach, as well as how he approaches coaching and developing athletes.
Shayne, where did your baseball journey begin?
I started playing organised t-ball when I was 5 years old with Ipswich Musketeers. However, in saying this, it is hard to say when I ‘actually’ started playing as I was practically born into the sport; I’m a third generation Diamond Sport (Baseball/ Softball) member. My grandmother played softball and my father played baseball.
How did you transition into coaching?
I had always enjoyed coaching even though I was still playing through my Junior and Senior Club, College and Claxton Shield/ ABL career. I commenced working full time at Baseball QLD in 2006 as a Development Officer, which had me delivering baseball to potential new baseballers and assisting in a range of junior programs. I had my first taste at State Level coaching in 2007 where I was on the U16 coaching staff. However, this ambition took a back seat in 2008 when there was talk of a new ABL. I started concentrating on just playing again until I got the ‘tap on the shoulder’ leading up to the 2011/12 ABL season. We had some good young talent coming through in particular Mitch Nilsson and Ryan Battaglia, which resulted in limited spots for me in certain roles on the Bandits roster. The Manager at the time, Kevin Jordan, explained the situation and asked if I wanted to jump on the coaching staff that year. That season is when I started to take my coaching career seriously. I have been on the Bandits staff every year since the inaugural 2011/12 season.
What are your main philosophies when you’re coaching?
Going into my eighth year as a Brisbane Bandits coach, I want to say my philosophies have evolved over time, just like the league has and the athletes that compete in it. I have had and still have quality people around me that I can lean on for guidance, assistance and support. If I was to summarise my approach to coaching it would have to be; ‘Offer an environment where each individual can move forward with their development and reach their goals, along with providing quality examples of behaviour’.
If you could sum up your coaching style, how would you describe it?
I take each person for what and who they are. My coaching style is dependent on the level and age along with my role on a coaching staff or as the Junior Elite Pathway Manager. With the multiple caps I wear I have a responsibility to develop both athletes and coaches within Baseball QLD and the Baseball Australia pathway. Overall I would say, I am approachable and try to relate to each individual to ensure they get the best out of their ability. I like structure that provides clear direction on what we are striving to achieve.
Along with Watson, Queensland outfielders, Aaron Whitefield and Jack Barrie will be playing in the World Cup this month in Colombia. Team Australia will take on Korea, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and the Czech Republic in Group B.The top three teams will progress to the Super Round.Australia’s opening Group B game is against Venezuela on October 19.
To follow the team’s journey, head to their Facebook page for regular updates.