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Anthony Nail, Baseball Coach: Ouachita High School, Arkansas

As told by Ouachita High School Students and Taylor Jones
Donaldson, Arkansas

Story Narrative:

A screenshot from a presentation showing high school baseball players in a team photo.

Students at Ouachita High School collaborated with Taylor Jones, a student in the Public History program at Ouachita Baptist University, to explore the history of the high school’s athletic teams and supporting organizations. They located many photographs and conducted oral history interviews with Ouachita High School’s cheer and baseball coaches, Heather Fulmer and Anthony Nail.

Speaker 1 (00:00): Okay, this is the interview for Coach Nail for baseball on April 21st, 2017.

Speaker 2 (00:06): All right, how do you prepare your team for the games?

Coach Nail (00:10): We have practices every school day that we do not have competitions on. We have the occasional practice on school holidays, such as President's Day or Good Friday. We also have voluntary practices on the weekends, mostly on Sundays. I can't host practices those days, but I allow them to voluntarily come out with no punishment to them if they don't come out there. We just try to simulate things that happen in games as much as we can. Baseball is a most complex sport, in my opinion. There's just lots of scenarios that you just have to practice so that whenever the players get out there, they know what to do without having to think, they can just react.

Speaker 1 (00:54): Okay. Why did you decide to be a coach?

Coach Nail (01:00): When I was in high school, I played, a very big high school, Conway High School. I was pretty good at baseball, but we had a kid that was, played my position that was better than me. I spent a lot of time on the bench and was a courtesy runner, and spent a lot of time around the coaching staff. And realized that I was very good with the mental side of baseball with stealing signs and knowing where everybody had to be. Not just the guy that played my position. My teammates knew that as well. If they didn't want to screw something up and needed to figure something out, they would come to me and ask me instead of having to ask the coach so they didn't get yelled at. I just, from then on, I started coaching summer baseball starting nine days after I graduated high school, and did that all through college. Just continued to love it and learned more about the game, became a better coach and how I do it for my job.

Speaker 2 (01:59): What personal sacrifices do you make for your team?

Coach Nail (02:04): I take a lot of what would be free time. I mean, just all the free time that I have in the off season becomes baseball time in the spring. From several hours after school for practices. Essentially all afternoon and evening for games, especially away games. Sometimes I end up spending my own money on stuff if I want to. The other day we needed some brooms and we needed a new water hose, and rather than going through the whole process of getting it approved and spending the school money, I just went and got it at Walmart, it was just easier that way. It's just, there's the sacrifices [inaudible 00:02:50] that you make to have things that your team needs, but so time and money is the main thing that I sacrifice.

Speaker 1 (02:59): The last question is, how do you feel this activity prepares your team for their future?

Coach Nail (03:07): There are lots of things about baseball that carry over into the real world. I told them the first day I took over as head coach that if you're not early, you're late. I learned that as a high school baseball player, and that has served me well. I mean, I've never been late to a day of school of teaching through almost three years. When I have meetings, I'm always 10 to 15 minutes early. If I'm meeting my parents for dinner, I'm always there early and they're always late. It just, it drives me nuts when people are late.

Coach Nail (03:37): I've taught them about important things, such as that as being an adult, but also just how to accept lack of success because nobody succeeds at everything they do. Baseball's a great teacher of that because if you succeed three out of 10 times you're in the Hall of Fame. It teaches you how to handle failure and be able to move on from it, and be better without it letting you mentally be destroyed. And just what hard work and teamwork and all that is about. And becoming an adult because there's just a lot of things you can take from baseball, off the field or off the game field that can really apply to your life as a rising adult.

Asset ID: 2021.09.03.b
Themes: Hometown Teams, sports, high school, baseball, coaching, practice, teaching, education, sacrifice, life lessons, success
Date recorded: 2017
Length of recording: 04:33 m
File Type: Audio
Related traveling exhibition: Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America
Sponsor or affiliated organization: Ouachita High School, in collaboration with the Public History program at Ouachita Baptist University
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