Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Would you like to support BTB?

Bigger Than Ball is a mindset.  The idea to capture all of the Bigger Than Ball moments, as well as highlight coaches who are teaching more than the game, or to even remind coaches of their "Why" came through many years of prayer and conversations from some of the best minds in the coaching industry.

I was told by an SEC Head Coach during a one on one breakfast: "I love the concept of Bigger Than Ball.  I'm going on 13 straight months with no rest.  I need to be reminded right about now.  We pour into these kids every day, but there is not an organization out there that is pouring into us."

That's when I felt God spoke to me:
1.)  Support/Highlight those that know their "why" and are making an impact
2.)  Give a platform for coaches to connect and give back
3.)  Capture their stories and impact millions of fans and the next generation of coaches

This is what we are doing.  We are less than one year old.  It has been a struggle to find out exactly where God wanted this to go, but I believe we are in the right direction:

1.)  It is our desire to connect with as many coaches and athletic directors across the nation to create this opportunity to come together in times of need and create change:  There is power in numbers.  Imagine the impact we can have with one e-mail request or tweet that can ask the coaching industry (all sports) to rally around one cause.  We are soliciting one liaison per state to help us spread our message and build our network  (You can join today at our website:

2.)  We have our first clinic set up for Feb. 17 in Tupelo, MS.  We seek to have many more.  This structure will build the framework as each speaker will speak on topics bigger than the game.  We will capture this on video and share to the world.  We also will do one on one video interviews to capture coaches and their stories/testimonials. We have one booked for January 15th that we are very excited about!  (More details to come)

3.)  With our network of coaches, we are creating the opportunity to build a sporting goods drive in which we will collect and share with kids or organizations that are less fortunate.  We will send locally to programs in need or in other nations.  We will do this year round and be the foundation for sporting good ministry opportunities.

4.)  We desire to use our network to create real HOPE in children or families in need.  We envision using our network, by sharing a story of a kid or family that needs encouragement in their lives.  We will reach out to our network and seek opportunities for our coaches and AD's to send positive messages, and/or do home visits and even use our platform to raise dollars if needed.

5.)  On down the road, we envision building a 3,500 sf cabin retreat that can host clinics, retreats for coaches, and serve as our headquarters where we will do much of our video production of Bigger Than Ball moments.  Plans are in the works now.

If you are passionate about this message/vision, please reach out to us and connect.  Consider supporting this foundation.  We are a 501(c)3 non-profit.  100% of funds collected will go to towards making a difference in the lives of the coaching industry and all that they impact.

Connect with us on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Click the icon above to donate online or you may send to:  
Bigger Than Ball - PO Box 299 - Belden, MS 38826

Monday, December 18, 2017

What do you value in your program?

         I got into coaching because I love baseball, sports in general. I wanted to be around it. I wanted to be a part of it. I really couldn't get enough of it. I got into coaching because I wanted to win games, win championships, and be known as a great coach. I loved to win and hated to lose. I got into coaching, partly, for selfish reasons. All of those are still true. However, there is also a part of me that wanted to challenge young players not to make the same mistakes I made as a player... and as a person. I have always been a dreamer. Of course, like most young boys, I dreamed of playing big time college baseball. I dreamed of playing in the big leagues. I dreamed of all-star status and hall of fame credentials. I didn't fulfill those dreams. My skills and abilities as an athlete weren't where they needed to be for that to happen. Even if they were, no one makes it on talent alone. I often think and wonder to myself-- "What if?" What if I was disciplined enough to skip the party and head to the cages? What if I knew what accountability was and stopped making excuses? What if I was committed to taking the extra ground balls or extra swings after practice? What if my attitude could have been better about some of the tough situations I put myself into as an athlete? What if I gave the EXTRA effort? I don't like that "what if" feeling and I struggle with it often. I feel like I played and practiced as hard as I could. I wasn't afraid to sweat, or bleed, or get dirty during games or practice, but there was a lot of sweat and blood that I held back. What if I had done more? If only I would have listened a little more. I hope my players don't have to struggle with "what ifs?" But through God's Grace, I have people in my life, my parents; my siblings; my wife; other coaches, who love me enough to impact my life and help me realize what is important. At the end of the day, the wins and championships are great memories, but the lessons learned are what will carry someone through life. Coaches have a unique and tremendous platform to share those values and teach those lessons. And sometimes it is the coach who has the greatest impact on a young person.

       I have been very fortunate to coach with and coach against some very skilled leaders, guys who are respected, guys who are revered, guys who are loved. It is no accident that those coaches consistently win. The past several years as a coach, under the guidance of champions; hall of famers; great coaches; great men; great husbands; great fathers, I have started to develop a set of core values that I believe are vital to a championship program-- winning on and off the field.

  Discipline- Do the right thing. We don't make rules JUST to make rules. We don't give players responsibilities to clean up the field, cages, or weight room because we don't feel like doing it. We don't tell players to act right in school and to keep up their grades for eligibility purposes. I truly believe these things create discipline. Discipline is an effort to do it right... ALL THE TIME. Every rep. Every pitch. Every at-bat. Every play. Every game. In every day life, discipline is an effort to do it right. Every situation. Every conversation. Every assignment. Every class. Every day on the job. Every day at home. Every day. Putting in the extra work, taking time to make sure you're doing what is best for the team-- your home team or your sports team-- that is discipline.

  Accountability- No excuses. We all hear them. We all make them. It is a daily struggle that we see more and more each day. "It's not my fault." Accountability is owning up to mistakes and taking on responsibility to fix it. How can a player get better if he or she does no wrong? Mom, Dad: how will your child get better if he or she does no wrong? It takes a conscious effort at home, at work, at school, at practice, at games. The best of the best make no excuses.

  Commitment- Do what it takes to be the best you can be. I ask my players all the time do be committed to being the best they can be. Take extra reps. Put in early work or stay later. That's how the great ones do it. Commit to studies. Commit to doing your job well. One day, Lord willing, our players will get married and have kids. Commit to being there for your family-- your spouse, your children.

  Effort and Attitude- All of the above take great effort and the right attitude. It's easy to be negative and to give in to laziness because something is difficult. I am guilty. But there is good news-- each day I wake up, I get a chance to fix that attitude. I get a chance to work to make it better.

        These are important for players to understand and equally important for coaches to understand and model for players, for children, for co-workers. What a platform to create change! That's why I am behind the message and goals of Bigger Than Ball. I love to win and hate to lose as much as anyone, but I choose the opportunity to win the right way-- implementing values that will lead to success on the field and in life, because it really is bigger than ball.

Chris Shelton

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Holiday Sporting Goods Drive

There are no words than can describe seeing the smile of a child that has been struggling. In my own personal life, I see so many kids that have such terrible body language on a daily basis. When I say that, I don't mean they are being disrespectful...they look sad and/or hurt.
Nobody really ever knows what is going on at home or even at school, so we never really know how to truly help. The truth is we all face problems (stress, peer pressure, depression, divorce, alcoholism, etc). The scary thing: Many kids will never truly open up and get help.
There is cyberbullying as well. We all know how hateful young immature kids can be, but in this day of cell phones, snap chat, twitter....a bully has such an audience that it can make the impact exponentially worse and it get out of hand so fast that we (as adults) don't even see it until it is too late.
As coaches, we can help. Pay attention. Show love. Have that extra conversation. You don't have to ask too many questions. Sometimes, a pat on the back or just simply saying "I love you guys" is more than that kid is getting in other areas of their life.
If it takes being a parental figure, Bigger Than Ball believes that is part of our calling as a coach, you must do that in whatever way you see fit. Our names won't always be in the paper for the games we won, but our impact will live forever in this young boy or girl's heart.
This sporting goods drive is an easy way to have our kids understand what it means to give...what it means to have your heart filled with joy by helping others and also to show kids that are in need what Hope looks like.
This foundation is committed to capturing those smiles once you donate your sporting goods. The smile you see will impact the way you coach for the rest of your life!
So coach, I pray you are inspired to use your sports platform to create change.
Join us today:
God Bless
Will Lowrey

Friday, June 23, 2017

Coach Butch Thompson to speak....June 27


Hattiesburg, MS – The University of Southern Mississippi will host coaches from across the south on June 27, 2017 at the Touchdown Terrace inside M.M. Roberts Stadium (better known as “The Rock”). This event is lined up for baseball coaches on any level (Youth/High School/College/Professional) to come experience Bigger Than Ball coaching priorities. Other sports coaches are welcome to attend.
"This foundation is touching the heart of the coaching industry and it is greatly needed. I am looking forward to being involved and re-energized by the impact that we can have beyond ball. Bigger than Ball and it's vision will explode." – Auburn Head Coach, Butch Thompson. Doors will open at 7 pm. Food and Refreshments will be provided. This sponsored event will be free to all who attend. Invitations are open to the first 100 to pre-register. Coaches may pre-register at
The Bigger Than Ball Foundation seeks to encourage and equip coaches to step back from their rigorous schedule to rest and reflect. We desire to influence the coaching industry one heart at a time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hi, I’m Will Lowrey… I am a high school baseball coach in Mississippi.  My wife, Jennifer, received a double lung transplant in January of 2011 at Duke Medical in Durham, North Carolina….only one month before my first official job in coaching was set to begin. 

Needless to say, it changed my priorities in a powerful way.  When Jennifer and I married in the summer of 2010, I had to come to terms with the idea that this life is only temporary.  My family and I will live out our lives understanding that everything can be taken away from us on any given day.  We have learned to walk in faith and through our journey, God has shown himself over and over.

Wins became secondary and Love became a priority.  My coaching philosophy revolved around God’s promises to us all.  Over the years, I have coached daily to my athletes the fact that everything we do and accomplish is “Bigger than Ball”.  There is always something greater than ourselves.

Jennifer is now in line to get her second Double lung transplant this spring. 

I have always struggled with understanding what God’s will has been for my life.  I’ve had the goal of becoming a college coach for many years.  God never released me to chase that dream.  It was always apparent that collegiate coaching would not allow me the opportunity to keep my family first.  It was only recently I received a vision on how God was calling me to become a Coach of Coaches.

The coaching industry is so competitive and time consuming.  During my journey of chasing that college job, I had one coach after another explain that this was not the industry to be in if you have a family, especially in my circumstance.  There are sacrifices that must be made.  The pressures to win are so great at each institution, it brings daily challenges to a coaches values. 

I have been inspired to begin a foundation that supports the coach and his or her family.  We now have the “Bigger Than Ball Foundation” that will offer opportunities for coaches to unwind from those pressures and allow them to get re-energized and focused on the reason they coach.

Proverbs 27:17 models to us how Iron sharpens Iron.  The foundation will begin raising funds to buy land and build a 5,000 sf cabin in which we can host coaches from across the nation. Through our foundation we will offer the platform to reshape the coaching industry one heart at a time.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

My own 40 days..

After months of what I've always called prayer, it has increased in the past few weeks.  I've felt led to increase my prayer life.

So here the structure and journey that I've committed to:

40 days and nights of prayer:

- 1 hour in the mornings and 1 hour at night
- I am only drinking water and eating certain foods
- I will journal after each prayer session in the following categories:
              -  Specific Prayers
              -  Visions (ideas that come to mind while praying)
              -  Revelations  (Things that I believe God is showing me)

- I hope to go back and see my specific prayers, visions, and revelations over the 40 days and get a good glimpse of what God is saying to me....

It is my hope to become spiritually connected on a level that I've never experienced.  I pray that He reveal a direction, mission, or ministry to me.  I'm trying to get myself to a place where I can receive and obey the call.

Day one was yesterday:  December 19th.

Today...I'm about to start my morning session.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Don't Widen the Plate

Don’t Widen the Plate
In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention.
While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”
Who the heck is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter, I was just happy to be there.
In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.
Seriously, I wondered, who in the heck is this guy?
After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.
Then, finally …
“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”
Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.
“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”
Another long pause.
“Seventeen inches?”came a guess from another reluctant coach.
“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”
“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.
“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”
“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.
“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”
“Seventeen inches!”
“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”
“Seventeen inches!”
“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.
“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.'”
“Coaches …”
” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him, do we widen home plate?
The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”
Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.
“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”
Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross.
“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”
I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.
“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …” With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.  “… dark days ahead.”
Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.
His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.

-  Will Lowrey