Jason E. Scott, M.D.
Jason E. Scott, M.D., has learned some of his best lessons from sports:
Facing a worthy opponent is your opportunity to rise to the challenge and grow.
If you make a fielding error, don’t make a subsequent throwing error in reaction to the first mistake.
The joy is in the journey of practice and preparation, not the destination of victory.
Winning isn’t as important as reaching your full potential as a player and a team.
Dr. Scott, of LG Health Physicians Hospitalists, now hopes to pass on many of the lessons he learned during his own athletic career as a coach of Manheim Township youth baseball, basketball and football teams.
“How to deal with adversity is the biggest lesson in all of sports,” he said. “You can either fold up and go home, or stand up and give your best effort and see where it leads. Sometimes when you’re down and out, you can have your greatest achievements.”
He recalls one championship baseball game with a nine-man roster, when first baseman Zach Peters put off getting sutures for a hand laceration and stayed to play. Peters hit a single one-handed in the final inning, and the team won the game.
Dr. Scott, who has coached more than 60 youth teams since 2000, lettered in baseball, football and basketball at his Ohio high school, Walsh Jesuit. He went on to play baseball – as a pitcher -- and football – as a punter and place kicker -- at Princeton University.
“My high-school baseball coach, Steve Grescovich, impacted me the most in terms of work ethic,” he said. “He was dedicated to emphasizing the character of his players and having them enjoy competition.”
Dr. Scott coaches with two favorite quotes in mind: “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail” (Coach John Wooden) and “Never fear the results of your best efforts” (Coach Mike Krzyzewski).
He teaches his players that it’s not about championships or trophies – though his teams have won plenty of both. Along with teaching the fundamentals, he hopes to build character and love of the game, and challenge his players to improve every day.
He designs practices as a series of short, focused segments with lots of movement and energy, to keep kids interested in learning new skills. He makes a special effort to minimize “unnecessary” throws and monitor pitch counts in baseball, and emphasizes technique with contact limits to decrease the risk of head injury in football.
“I enjoy practices even more so than games,” he said. “Games are a chance to see how you’re doing, and if the things you’ve tried to teach the kids at practice are helping them to improve. Game performance is a coach’s report card.”
Dr. Jason Scott of LG Health Physicians Hospitalists has coached at least 60 Manheim Township youth baseball, football and basketball teams. Dr. Scott is in the center of the back row (in the Princeton T-shirt) in this 2011 photo.
Dr. Scott’s teams almost always include one of his three sons. Brennan, 22, was an all-state football player at Manheim Township and is now quarterback/punter at Kutztown University. Jordan, 18, a senior all-state football receiver and baseball player at Lancaster Catholic High School, will go to Penn State in the fall. Mason, 13, plays lacrosse, basketball and football.
“One of the greatest compliments that I get – and I’ve had many parents tell me this – is that they don’t know which kid on the team is mine,” he said. “I try to coach them all equally.”
Dr. Scott realizes that the most significant team improvements come from taking the extra effort to develop the players who were “weakest” at the start of the season. He prefers to motivate his players with praise, rather than excess criticism.
He recalls one former player, Brock Kauffman, who grounded out to second base seven times and made five fielding errors in his first double-header as an 11-year-old. Years of hard work later, Kauffman is now an elite hitter heading to college on a scholarship this fall.
The Scott family’s affinity for sports extends to his wife Ingrid, who played soccer at Messiah College, and now makes many sacrifices to accommodate Dr. Scott’s coaching schedule. His late father was an avid referee for Ohio high school basketball and baseball games.
Dr. Scott – referred to as “Coach” around the office -- sometimes has to adjust his work schedule to make coaching work, but the promise of spending time with his players can serve as a great “buffer” against the stresses and challenges of the day.
“Just to see the kids mature and grow is everything to me,” he said. “One of my former baseball players now starts at Penn State. I enjoy getting to be a mentor to them.”
Next year several of Dr. Scott’s former players will play on the Penn State baseball team. Many of his former assistant coaches are now head coaches.
Dr. Scott has seen the power of his mom’s prayers throughout his own life. Consequently, even after his time as his players’ coach comes to an end, he makes an effort to pray for their continued development on and off the field.
Dr. Scott recognizes that athletics, as a player and coach, have enhanced his life. Sports have taught him to prepare for competition and attack adversity to create growth. Through the joy of active involvement in his players’ maturation, the support of his family and the depth of his Christian faith, he has developed resilience to maintain a rewarding career in medicine at Lancaster General Hospital.