BY JOHN CAESAR
For over 40 years, baseball has played a huge role in the life of Rodney Dickinson.
He started young and continued to improve before playing for Auburn. In 1994, he transferred to Georgia State and was successful enough to be drafted into the Braves and eventually the Red Sox.
After eight years of professional baseball, he retired the jersey and started working at Home Plate Baseball in Fayette County before starting Sox Baseball as a way to escape the corporate side of baseball and have a more personal touch. with his players.
Dickinson has been coaching the Sox for six years now. During those six years, he worked hard to improve the players as individuals and team members.
Dickinson’s team is made up of kids that other baseball coaches or companies can’t give a fair chance. While they have practice sessions, Dickinson encourages his team to train independently to improve further.
“We train and play a lot in the summer,” Dickinson said. “We’ll play 40 games and, you know, seven weeks and a lot of training. You know they have to find a way to get into the weight room or you know, go through the arm care program. They have to find a way to manage alone sometimes on public holidays.
Dickinson thinks his team should always work on self-improvement. He wants his players to grow physically and emotionally as they grow both in the real world and in the game of baseball itself, even if that means failing every now and then.
“Baseball is a game of chess,” he said. “You know, they say, if you get it 3 out of 10 times, you’ll be in the Hall of Fame if you play in the big leagues.”
He points out that understanding failure is just as important as understanding what it takes to win, especially if you want to get into college baseball.
“To be a Power Five, Division One guy, you better be a dude because not many freshmen can get in and compete for playing time at a Division One school, let alone a Power Five school” , did he declare. “It’s a job, and if you don’t enjoy it now, it’s going to be very difficult for you not just in college baseball, but in life.
Dickinson advises players to attend junior college, especially older players who are new to baseball development.
“A lot of people look down on it, but at the end of the day it’s a lot more economical for parents because college is expensive,” he said.
“Baseball scholarship money is not what people think it is. It’s not like basketball and football. If you go to college on a baseball scholarship, you might get 35-45%, whereas if you go to football and basketball you get a full scholarship.
Dickinson is proud of his players and cares a lot about them. As a coach, one of his main goals is to help every player reach the collegiate level as best he can.
Although baseball can be a very competitive field, Dickinson is confident that his team can compete with the best.
Pictures of Kristy Rodgers
Southside Sox third baseman Heath Henley made a throw to third base at Newnan’s Pickett Field last Sunday.Duce Wyche slides headfirst into third for the Sox. Newnan’s Brady Bowman kicks a fly ball into center field.Heath Henley goes all out for a foul ball.