Get a genuine, behind-the-scenes look at the Australian baseball scene through a Q&A with Shayne ‘Wato’ Watson.
Known across the community, Watson shares his experiences of juggling roles at Baseball Queensland, Brisbane Bandits, and Baseball Australia. He delves into player development, coaching strategies, and how he maintains a balance for his team amidst a packed schedule.
can you share some insights into your busy schedule over the past year, balancing roles at Baseball Queensland, Brisbane Bandits and Baseball Australia?
“It has been a massive 12 months being involved in National Programs competing at U18 & U23 World Cups, MLB pathway programs and highlighting 2023 was the World Baseball Classic. Having good people within Baseball QLD, coaches, support staff, players and parents’ aids in the ease of overseeing BQ Performance Pathway programs.
Connection is critical and within our programs, I have a great connection with all coaches and support staff. Throughout 2023, BQ had over 200 players and 40 coaches involved at some capacity within the Performance Pathway Framework.
Programs are being delivered year round and being innovative with how we track progress and implement development strategies is essential when fostering a holistic approach to long term athlete development.”
congratulations on your new role as Manager for the Brisbane Bandits! How will your experience with the Bandits in the ABL Semi Finals influence your approach to the upcoming Team Australia vs. Hanwha Eagles game in Melbourne?
“Thank you. It was a new experience for me, and the time was right to embrace the challenges and rewards of the ABL.
Involvement at a new level has provided an opportunity to connect with players differently and I plan to continue these connections with Team AUS players and staff working under David Nilsson.
I am looking forward to this series. Anytime Team AUS comes together is a great thing, especially playing in front of a home crowd.”
With baseball constantly evolving, how do you stay ahead of the game in terms of training techniques and player development?
“Over the last decade, player development has evolved at an exceptional rate. Particularly how we track player progress and performance. Largely due to the access of technology and ease of communication domestically and internationally. Researching, a thirst for continuous personal development and seeking knowledge has empowered me to be innovative along with mentoring BQ coaches.
My involvement with AIS Gen32 Coach Program has been a springboard to my professional coaching development. I plan to share and encourage other BQ coaches to expand on their knowledge and seek modernised development strategies.”
Can you share any strategies or tips for aspiring coaches?
- Consider yourself as a performer and take the time to develop yourself. As we expect on going development from our players, we need to have a similar mindset as coaches as well.
- Establish your values and philosophies and stay true to them. Clarity surrounding your values and philosophies will aid in decision making. Especially at critical times.
- Have a thirst for knowledge and want to know as much as you can. However, be comfortable with not knowing everything.
- Be a great role model and keep in mind that we are developing people not just the player.
- Be patient with player and coach development. Development is like cooking popcorn. It is cooked in the same environment at the same temperature, but they will pop at different times during the process.
With the demanding schedule ahead, how do you ensure both the physical and mental well-being of your players, coaching staff and yourself?
“We have a few platforms to assist in monitoring player and coach well being and education. I am looking to evolve on this throughout 2024 – 25 with the engagement of external athlete/ coach wellbeing and education partners.
With regards to myself, I have found it a tricky balance. However, I have aimed to be consistent with maintaining physical health and coincidently I have found that regular exercise aids in my mental well-being as well.”