softball Gods really don’t appreciate you breaking their rules and they almost always make you pay dearly when you do! Rule #1 of tournament play, you can’t play tomorrow, if you don’t win today, so you can’t save anything for tomorrow!
I tried to make sure all my
pitchers were ready for tomorrow’s game. Guess what?! I will be watching tomorrow’s game from the sidelines. I tried to out-smart the softball Gods, and they made me pay dearly. I deserve every bit of it as well. Our #1 was on fire, she was happy, and would have dominated.
I bow to the power of the softball gods and hope that I never cross them again! Hopefully, they will not hold a long term grudge against me!
What is the stupidest coaching decision you have ever made?
Ohio Rec League Cancels All-Star Game
I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on this story that is being wildly commented on by the national news media about a youth rec league in Ohio canceling it’s annual July 4th all-star games. You can read the details about this at
96.5 KISS FM . Canceling this game is ludicrous. Not Little League
First, this is NOT the officially sanctioned All-Stars as everyone on TV is making it sound like. This is simply a game where the teams each pick a couple players and they go play in a game on July 4th against each other. That needs to be understood from the beginning, and it is not.
Little League all-stars is an entirely separate season where the elite of the league compete against one another. The game being canceled is simply a feel good get together game from a feel good fun recreation league. There is a huge difference.
No Reason to Cancel
That said, there is absolutely no reason to cancel an all-star game. Why wouldn’t you want to honor those that worked harder, played better, and excelled? This is the reward for their hard work! They are likely the ones who spend extra time at batting practice, on the field practicing, pitching extra. The all-star game is the reward for their efforts!
It teaches them that hard work pays off. It also teaches those that don’t make it that they need to work a little harder. If they don’t have as much natural ability, they must work harder than someone that does. It gives them something to strive for! If there is no goal to strive for, why try to make yourself better?
The article states:
"[Fred] Engh [from the National Alliance of Youth Sports] says that kind of competitiveness belongs in older kids, not players at this level. He says 9 to 12 year olds need to build their self confidence, and many sign up to play baseball at this age just to have fun".
Children are Sponges
I have to strongly disagree with this quote. Every day I am amazed at how much a young child can learn and retain. They are like giant sponges that absorb everything around them. They comprehend much more than we give them credit for and my advice to any coach is NEVER underestimate a child, especially one in this age category.
I always have parents and new assistant coaches that laugh or chuckle as I shout out 10 instructions in about 5 seconds my kids. "That’s a lot of information for a nine year old to process", is one quote that sticks out in my mind. But always, once the season is over, they come to me and say, "my kid learned more this season on your team than he learned all of his prior years combined". This is because I have a message, I stay on message, and I teach the same thing over and over. Eventually, a light-bulb turns on and they get it.
The fact is, some players are better than others. Most
Little Leagues have their kids vote for who should be on the all-star team. Guess what, that list almost ALWAYS has the best players on it!!!! You think the kids don’t know who the best players are? A Harmful Lesson
I say just the opposite is true. The kids that wouldn’t make the team know if you cancel the all-star game, it is to cover up the fact that they are not as good, and that, my friends, is a much more harmful lesson to teach any child.
Should the game be canceled or not? Let me know what you think.
Once you enter the championship arena, you no longer win games, but you lose them. It isn’t that you don’t win, you just normally are given a victory or give it away. This is fairly typical where mistakes are at a premium.
All teams are good in All-Stars. There are typically not easy
wins . Therefore, you must play mistake free. Have you ever heard a team say they lost because the other team hit better? Rarely, most of the time the coach of the losing team says something like, "we gave them 6 outs in the 3rd inning and they scored 10". This is true so often.
The key to success in all-star play is limiting your mistakes and forcing the opposition to make them.
What is the worst mistake you have seen that cost a championship game?
After rain yesterday delayed our entire district’s tournaments by a day, we are ready to play our first game tomorrow. We have worked hard, hit hard, bled, sweat, and gone home dirty every night. My girls know the key to winning
championships , my montra ‘s are:
What is the most important pitch? The next one.
What wins championships? Blood, sweat, dirt, heart.
What do we play with? Head and Focus.
They know it all, they know what to do, they hit, they
field , and pitch. We have put them in a position to win , it is up to them to perform. I have full faith in their abilities, they must have faith in themselves.
How do you teach your kids to believe in themselves?
David Batcherlor, owner of
dialmycalls.com , contacted me a few days ago because he felt his product was perfect for Little League coaches. While I agree with him, I would certainly not restrict it to Little League Coaches! I would recommend this product for ANYONE that has multiple people to call w/ the same message! This thing rocks! Easy Set Up
As it so happened, we had rain tonight and our entire district’s all-star games were canceled. The perfect time to give
dialmycalls.com a test run! First I navigated over to the site and quickly signed up. Took all of a minute. Once in I clicked on the the Setup a group call link on the right. Step one had me select my free service, step 2 had me record my message. I had the choice of recording my own message, uploading a wav file or having them convert my text to voice.
The service is free for 1 phone call a day to up to 25 people, so they drop a short ad in the front and back of your announcement, but it is really not obtrusive at all! Plus, you can select a male or female voice for the message. Anyone want to take a guess which voice I wanted to hear?
Record You Message
I selected to record my own voice message to broadcast to the board of directors of our league. I clicked, add recording, and ding-aling my phone rang! It prompted me to record my message, which I did, and then hit pound. I could listen to it, rerecord or simply hang up. Done. It took me 10 times as long to type this as it took to actually perform the task.
Add Your Names
Then I added 11 names,
phone numbers , and email addresses . Yes, one of the options I selected was to backup your voice message w/ an email wav file just in case they didn’t get your voice mail . (Remember the days when you could avoid people? Those days are over!) This was actually a bit of a chore. It was frustrating because my only options were load phone numbers w/ no names (fast but I knew I would need these numbers for other lists in the future), load names/numbers/emails, or upload a data file.
The data file option would have been nice, but I would have had to have it in excel or .cvs format. Who has that? Would have been much nicer if I could have integrated my data from my outlook, or even better, directly from my
cell phone ! Either way, it wasn’t all that bad, and I am sure they are working on some kind of option similar to this.
Anyway, once I had all the names in, I hit the send call now button. I could have scheduled a time to send it, but I chose instantly. It was truly instantly. Before my fingers had time to leave the keyboard my phone was ringing w/ my message and all the board members quickly called me to let me know they got it!
It was FANTASTIC! BEAUTIFUL! What a relief! I took 11 calls and turned them into 1!!!!!!
One thing I forgot to mention, I was able to put the contacts into groups. I created the group Board of Directors, directly from the form that I was inputting the names from! It could not have been more convenient.
Once I completed this, I went to the groups/names admin page. I clicked a check mark next to the names of the board members who also had players on my all-star team and bada-bing bada-boom, created and added them to my all-star team announcement group! I then repeated the chore of adding the additional players names to that team’s group. It was quite simple. I have people in more than one group, but only one entry. That is kind of sweet.
One more thing, the wav file is not actually emailed to your list. A link is. This is nice because there is no need for the receiver to actually open a file. The file is hosted by the
dialmycalls.com server and played instantly.
They also offer premium options for larger groups and the prices are very affordable, starting at only 4 1/2 cents a call! They also have a reporting function and what appears to be a fantastic support page.
Gone forever are the days of the phone tree that always broke! Today, we have
Most Misunderstood Rule
infield fly is probably the misunderstood and misinterpreted rule in the book. Everyone thinks they know what it is, but the definition is clearly defined in the book. Problem is most people have their own idea of what an infield fly is. Definition
Rule book definition: a
fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort , when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. Key to Understanding
The key to the definition above is ORDINARY EFFORT. Ordinary effort means an effort that would be considered ordinary effort for an average
fielder . If you have your worst fielders in the infield and w/ their ordinary effort they don’t have a chance at catching the ball this does not nullify the infield fly. A ball that goes in the air that can be caught w/ ordinary effort is an infield fly regardless of the talent level of the player.
I have heard people say you can’t have an infield fly in the minors because nobody catches flies w/ ordinary effort. This is irrelevant. What you need to remember is that the purpose of the infield fly is not to get an easy out for the outfielders, but to protect the runners. Without the infield fly the runners are in jeopardy. The fielder can simply let the ball drop and have an easy
double play . Err on the Side of the Runners
Therefore, the umpire should err on the side of calling a ball an infield fly. The problem is when it drops on the ground the crowd thinks the umpire is wrong. Likewise, a poorly coached team’s players will run into outs when an infield fly hits the ground.
The play is very simple. If there are runners occupying 1st and 2nd and the ball goes in the air that can be caught with routine effort by an infielder, even if it is slightly into the
outfield , it is an infield fly and should be called as such. The talent level of the players is irrelevant.
What play is the most confusing to you?
We’ve worked them until their tongues hung out. We have had shed blood and sweat every night and practice clothes are dirty and stinky. We have swung until we have
blisters , beaten our "tee" to death, and bunted so many times we can do it with our eyes closed.
Tomorrow is our final walk-through before our all-star quest begins. It will be light. I will remind my girls that
sleepovers are strictly forbidden, bed times are to be enforced, and they are allowed to stay in the A/C, on the computer, and in front of the TV all day long no matter what their parents say.
Everyone will have trouble sleeping because of the anticipation. But we are as ready as we will ever be. They simply need to believe in themselves and we will be fine.
Do you believe in yourself?
Metallica in the Clubhouse?
Today I walked into the club house of a fairly upscale
country club and playing on the public address system was Metallica ! Then I went to a gym and they had XM radio playing very heavy modern music that routinely contained aggressive and profane language but nobody seemed to care? I know at my office if they play something that has a slightly distorted guitar everyone freaks out! But this got me thinking. We Have Grown Up
The metal heads have grown up! People of my generation, today’s parents, grew up listening to either
heavy-metal , southern/classic rock, pop, or new-wave . Now we are the leaders and the ones providing the guidance to our children! And guess what? We are damn good at it!
All that loud obnoxious "devil music" we listened to didn’t really destroy our lives. We don’t live in cults, we don’t practice devil worship, we aren’t all dead from drug overdoses, we didn’t destroy all of our brain cells, and we are fine examples for our children to follow!
That’s My Girl!
My daughter told me one of her friends will pull out some obscure metal song that he thinks is the greatest thing he has ever heard! She will begin singing it word for word and the boy’s mouth will drop. How do you know this song?, he asks, "My dad listens to it", is her reply. Now that is funny!
Is Today’s Music Worse?
I have to admit that the music my 11 and 12 year old daughter’s listen to is troublesome to me. I am not really all that thrilled with songs about "sex in the club", and all of the sex that is thrust upon them daily, but I don’t really know what to do about it. My wife is quick to point out that my oldest wouldn’t even go to the
movie theater alone w/ her little boyfriend because she didn’t want to be alone with him. I guess that’s a good thing.
My 24 year old used to listen to ghetto
rap music and he turned out ok, so I guess the same thing applies to them as me when it comes to influences on their life. He is the one that turned me on to Kid Rock back before Kid Rock was cool, then dead, then cool again. We used to have to listen to his CD every day as I drove him 20 miles for school before our house was complete. He had to position himself perfectly in the seat with his left shoulder slightly in front of his right so he could get his shoulder thrust/rock perfect. I chuckle when I think about it! We are the Main Influence
I think we actually have much more influence on our children than we would like to believe. I guess deep down, I know it. This is good. I know I hear my dad talking when I speak to my kids, and I know other’s tell me the same thing. So what do I do about it?
My philosophy is that I teach my children well, try to point out right from wrong at every opportunity, I praise a job well done, and correct them when need be. I give them all the tools I can to help them be successful in life, then, as in a ball game, I sit back and enjoy their development. What more can we do? After all, we turned out alright didn’t we?
What do you do to assure that your children make the proper life choices?
I have blisters and I am sore! My first swing last night in our parent vs. all-stars I am most certain that I pulled muscle below my ribcage. Then today I put out 40 bags of
mulch after cutting my grass for the first time in 2 weeks!
Don’t know how many of you know, but during the
growing season in Florida, leaving your grass for 2 weeks it grows to about 10". My neighbors were beginning to gather for attack.
Little League yard! It gets cut when it can, had brown spots, and is often overgrown from lack of weeding and edging. I figure the kids are more important, but when I do yard work it is very difficult because of the neglect. Oh well, that is the price you pay for being a little league coach!
Tomorrow we begin piecing our all-star team back together. It should be fun!
Boot Camp Philosophy
I approach all-stars with a boot camp philosophy. A mother told me the other day, "my daughter said she misses you. She said he drove us hard and I probably complained back then, but now I miss him". I have NEVER driven a team harder than I did the team I have this year, the response? Overwhelming smiling faces tonight!
My philosophy is fairly simple. You have about two weeks to practice for the district tournament. The problem is they are all from different teams! While they likely know each other from school and such, they are still very loyal to their team. It is important to remove them from this and rebuild them. The problem is you only have two weeks to do this!
Tear Them Down
The first week we tear them down. The second week we rebuild them. Tearing them down requires a boot camp mentality where we work drills that require lots of running and everyone is exhausted when they leave practice. Absolutely no nonsense is permitted, and players are constantly reminded that anyone on the team is capable of taking their
position from them and that others are waiting in the wings should they want to quit.
By today, everyone is exhausted and about done with being beat on. That is success! Today the rebuilding begins. To start with we held two practices today. The morning session was typical for a Florida morning 90 degrees and extremely humid! There was not a smile to be found. I smelled things this morning I never want to smell again! It has been raining and all cleats, coaches sneakers, catchers gear, bat bags, etc. are wet and stinky! It was quite rank!
Build Them Up
At the close of the morning session, I announced I would buy everyone pizza for dinner after the evening session. OK, that got a smile out of them. Tonight, after a rain that cooled everything making for a perfect Florida evening, I couldn’t wipe the
smiles off of their faces! It was awesome!
hit tonight, and then played a bunting game and a game of 21 outs. Then the pizza’s arrived. The point of the pizzas was to begin the bonding process. It was nice, and I gave a little speech about how proud of them I was at how hard they had worked without complaining once. I told them I had never worked a team harder and that they should be proud of themselves as well. Then it happened. Spontaneous Comradery
It wasn’t planned, there was nothing behind it, it was spontaneous! I asked them did they want to play some more or go home. I also asked them what they wanted to play. One of the girls said they wanted to play us, the parents! They all enthusiastically agreed! It was a no-brainer.
We played them. I have never seen a team have so much fun! Also, they came together, decided batting orders, positions, rotations, etc. They knew to have the good outfielders play because we would hit, and they put the right people in the right positions in the infield! They were pumped! It was amazing to watch and I could not have written a better script to start next week with.
The best part of all????? WE LOST!!!!! The parents lost! For real! We didn’t even tank it! And the absolute best of all. I made the last out against my own daughter!!!!!!!!! And she got the assist on the 1-2 putout. I was swinging for the walk-off homer and hit the ball right to her of the end of the bat. It was brutal. They went nuts! The dugout was buzzing for half an hour!
The last cheer in the circle of "1-2-3
All-Stars " was the loudest of all year! They have begun to come together, they are happy, and they are magic together. Next week we begin to focus on the games. Next week, we pull together as a team.
What is the best bonding experience you have ever seen a team have?
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