Aaron Flood’s philosophy as a baseball coach is very democratic.
He takes the opinions of his fellow coaches into the mix when he makes a decision.
He says he’s not a “my way or the highway” kind of guy.
Flood is following in the footsteps of his father, Ed Flood, a man who has a long resumé of coaching provincial baseball teams in this province for over 25 years.
Aaron is the head coach for the Newfoundland and Labrador U17 male baseball team that will compete in two showcase baseball tournaments this summer — the Toronto-12 and the Baseball Canada Cup. He served as the head coach of the provincial U18 male team last summer with his dad and Sean Gulliver of St. John’s on board as assistant coaches.
His dad is working with him again this summer, as an assistant coach helping him choose an 18-member roster that has a handful of players from Corner Brook in the mix for one of the open spots.
“What better person to have at my right hand than the guy who kind of put that passion into me at a young age,” Aaron said earlier this week after returning from a Baseball Canada coaching clinic in Jupiter, Fla. “I was running around as a batboy at Jubilee when I was old enough to walk.”
Aaron played for the Corner Brook Barons with his dad penciling in the starting lineup. He also watched his dad coach several provincial teams with his uncle, Tony Flood, over the years and that played a key role in inspiring him to embrace the coaching aspect of the game when he got older.
He spent a lot of time with his dad and Sean Gulliver getting to know the keys to being a good coach so he believes feeding off that wealth of experience and knowledge has helped groom him for the future.
“It opened up my eyes that I could draw on this experience,” he said.
Baseball is a bond that ties father and son closer together. Aaron always asked his dad to evaluate his performance after a game when he was playing and he still pulls over on the side of the road to call his father for input on something he was dealing with as a coach from time to time because he values the knowledge his father as gained over the years.
“I’ve always picked his brain,” he said, with a chuckle.
Ed believes it’s a cool experience to share the baseball diamond with his son in a coaching capacity. He doesn’t know of any other father-son coaching duo before them so he thinks it’s neat to be afforded a chance to do so.
It wasn’t something that they saw coming though.
Ed applied for the head coaching job with the provincial U16 female team last summer, but association president Kevin Legge asked him if he would be willing to take on the assistant coaching role with the U18 male team that his son was the head coach.
“I just thought I may never get a chance to do it again and not very often will a dad and a son coach together,” Ed said of the easy decision to join forces.
Ed has been impressed with the way his son has moved up the coaching ranks. He sees his son as a great teacher, which is something that is bolstered by the fact Aaron is a teacher by profession and has been teaching people from the ages of 14-25 for some years in various capacities.
He finds it pretty cool that his son is the head coach, but he believes the 31-year-old is quite capable of bringing the best out of his athletes so he’s looking forward to coaching with his son once again know he put a lot of time into being the coach he is today.
He recalls a funny incident during a training session in Gander last year that put it all in perspective for him.
Ed walked into the gym and asked Aaron what he wanted him to do to get things moving.
“He said ‘you go over in the corner and do as I tell you’, which I thought was hilarious because it was a really cool statement,” he said.
They have had lots of fun together. They study the game and feed off one another.
Baseball is something that has been a big part of their life and it’s been made stronger because they have a common goal they share and both are very intense and passionate about what they do.
Ed is proud of the commitment his son puts into his desire to groom young athletes into not only good baseball players, but doing his part to show them how to be a good person on and off the field of play.
“As a dad, it’s really cool to see him flourish as a coach,” he said.