Coachin' 'em Up -- Don't Horse 'em and Don't Force 'em

Game two in the NFL is upon us already, not to mention the Maryland deer bow season. As quickly as the everything seems to be moving, I think I’ll head to the garage and grab my snow shovel, by the time I get there and get outside; there’ll be something waiting for me. 
I haven’t checked the weather report, but I’ve got a hunch it’s going to be a fair weekend weather-wise. Therefore, I’ll have to figure out, what I will do tomorrow. As of now there are two options, take Badger (my Cesky Foucek dog) fishing on the Potomac (he doesn’t fish, but sure enjoys chasing the fish away for me) or take Badger out to a  local farm and let him hunt. Now he doesn’t know it, but I’d be surprised if we bumped into any upland or forest birds that would make the hair stand up on the back of his neck. 
I’d be so grateful if he pointed a covey of quail, locked up on a lone grouse or woodcock. Of course the season isn’t in and I couldn’t shoot anything, but he needs to get on with his hunting training after all that is what he was bred to do. Which, now that I think of it, makes me the coach. And unfortunately, this is not a kind happenstance for Badger, because he instinctively knows more about what we are trying to do than his coach.
But, as his coach, even though I may not be an expert, when it comes to training a bird dog, I shall always keep two things in mind. First, to make sure it’s what he wants to do, and, having been bred for hunting since the 13th century, I feel pretty confident; it’s what he wants to do. When he sees me put my boots on, he is almost uncontrollable, because he knows we’re heading into the timber. Second, I don’t ever want the sport to not be fun. If he’s had enough, it’s time to pack it up.
When we project our aspirations and dreams onto someone else, we rob that person of their life and their ability to choose for themselves the pursuits that interest them. And also, when we force anyone, who is learning something for the first time, to continue on task after they have lost interest or are exhausted, a negative experience will be what is gained.
There will be a lot of us doing some coaching this fall, so let’s all keep a couple things in mind, when our “rookies” struggle, let’s cut them some slack, and leave the fire and brimstone for the Baptist preachers. Yo, Badger “Tally Ho the fox”!


  1. Great blog entry Riggo! I agree.. My "rookies" are my kids and at times I've been guilty for trying to lay my dreams for them at their feet. They're kids and they are the masters of their own domain. And that's how it should be. Thanks for the reminder #44.

    Go Skins!


  2. John, I teach Martial Arts and that is some timely and valuable advice. Thank you.

  3. Great advice...
    I remember those plays...Riggins right, Riggins left, Riggins up the middle...

  4. That's a great picture of you, how old is it?

  5. JUST LOVE THIS!!!!!!!! You are one tough act to beat. RIGGO FOREVER!!!!! BLESSINGS!

  6. You never fail to surprise me Riggo. I've been butting heads with a Fire and Brimstone Field Hockey Coach all week. My new mantra "Coach em up, Don't Horse em and Don't Force em"!

  7. Memories of your days on the field are overwhelming to me. Sounds like you have a complete life. Thanks for all of the memories.

  8. There's the Riggo I fell in love with! :-)

  9. My Hero!! I was born and still live in a train town, Brunswick to be exact. Growing up my Dad left me ride the train and blow the diesel whistle, then I got to experience #44 headin' down the field to yet another diesel whistle. I love my life and my memories, thanks John! Enjoy it all my friend. xoxo