Coach uses fun to motivate youngsters

Published 12:38 am Sunday, June 3, 2012

Coaches Travis Luter, left, Jeff Rogers, middle, and Mike Luter, right, put their hands in the middle with the team during the game.

By Titus Mohler

Correspondent

Coach Travis Luter of the Mustang team the Windsor Longhorns is focused on seeing boys development into gentlemen and has a unique way of making the process fun.

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“Our philosophy is that we are molding tomorrow’s leaders,” Luter said. “We teach little gentlemen first, and we’re doing it through baseball.”

Though the Longhorns fell 9-5 against the second-seeded Holland Cardinals in the League End of Season Tournament on Thursday night, their year is not over.

The tournament is double elimination, and the boys have a very special reason to make it to the end.

“I told the boys if they just make it to the championship game — they don’t have to win it, if they just make it — then I told them I’d cut my hair into a mohawk and dye it orange. So they’re playing hard just to see that.”

At the beginning of the year, Luter told his players he would be satisfied if they finished the season at .500. They ended up exceeding his expectations with a record of 6-5-2, giving them a seventh seed in the tournament.

“When we get close and we got a chance, I start trying and thinking of something to incentivize them,” he said.

“That shows you the kind of guy he is,” fellow coach and brother Mike Luter said. “Very jovial, very kind-hearted, very easy-going.”

Coach Jeff Rogers agreed that motivating the kids is key to their development.

“It’s getting them to play up to their potential,” Rogers said.

Travis Luter recalled a previous time he used a fun motivational tool and what came about as a result.

“A couple years ago, I told them I’d shave my head bald, so, needless to say, that happened,” he said.

Because of Thurday’s loss, the Longhorns face a long road to the championship, but one of the boys still reminded Coach Luter about his promise.

“We hold these guys to a high standard, and they’re going to hold me to it,” he said. “They don’t forget it.”

After each game and practice the boys are always given five important instructions: “Do good in school, listen to your parents, stay out of trouble, get good grades, and be a good sport.”

The fun manner in which Travis Luter and his coaches get their message across is a key ingredient in helping it stick.

“In 10 years, they’ll never remember what the score of this game was, but I guarantee they’ll remember the things they learned with us,” Mike Luter said.