Little League is comprised of three specific seasons and four divisions of play for kids 12 and under. The seasons consist of fall, an instructional program, spring, a competitive program, and All-Stars a hyper-competitive program. There are many lessons to be learned in each season. The divisions begin at T-ball, then rookie or coach pitch, then minors, then majors. This hierarchy is by design as well and has come about through years of research and feedback.
The division we all see on TV is the major’s division consisting of 9-12 year old kids. The major’s division is intentionally competitive. You must earn your spot, play hard, and contribute 150% to the team. The major’s division is not an extension of the minors, it is a separate division where those that have the talent and mental fortitude compete.
The fall season allows kids to try the majors to see if they are “cut out” for it. Many of the kids fail. This is unfortunate, but it is a fact of life and a fantastic learning experience for all. Major league coaches are looking for much more than talent. Major’s coaches can teach kids how to play, that isn’t the issue, they simply need a reasonably coordinated kid with a will to learn, give me 12 of them and get out of the way, we will be successful.
But give me 12 super talented kids with poor attitudes and there is nothing I can do. I can’t change attitudes, I can try, but it is difficult. It is especially difficult if the parents support these actions. Every mother or father hurts when their little girl or boy is obviously distraught or struggling emotionally, but perpetuating this action does their child no good. Everyone has heard a coach or parent tell a kid to “suck it up”, in the majors you need have thick skin, and while I am not a big fan of that saying, I do believe a major’s kid should be encouraged to fail and learn how to deal with it during the fall season.
If they are not mentally preparing themselves at this time, they will be left behind. The fact is, they have to be tough, physically and mentally, and more so mentally than physically. Again, anyone can play the game, anyone can be taught and work hard to improve, but not everyone has the mental capacity to succeed.
What does it take to succeed? The ability to not care if you fail. If you don’t concern yourself with failure, then success is the only option. A player that is mentally prepared succeeds even when they fail. A player that fails and then is not properly channeled towards success is let down. The coach or the parent can be guilty of this.
Finally, when a player does not put forth the maximum effort they are capable of they have failed themselves. Catering to their actions or their manipulation of our emotions as adults does them no justice. If we baby them, they will be left in the minors in the spring, if we work together to make them stronger, they will succeed and move up in the spring. The great thing about the majors is, if you don’t want to be here, there is always another player waiting in the wings happy to have your spot.
Back to Work
After a long 3 day weekend, we all have to go back to work tomorrow! Yippee!!!! I do love when July 4th falls on the weekend and at least we get the long weekend. When it is in the middle of the week it just makes you have to go in to work the next day tired.
Back to All-Stars
Here in central florida we take off the 4th weekend for the races. I still call it the Firecracker 400, but apparently this year it is the
Coke Zero 400, who stole it from the Pepsi 400. Coke Zero is really horrible! It tastes nothing like Coke and leaves a horrible aftertaste. Tomorrow we start the grind again and I will probably be umpiring every night. How about that finish to the race last night? That’s not racin’, that’s smash-up derby at the local track. Hosting Sectionals
While most league’s all-stars are winding down, we are hosting two sectionals. Major softball and senior baseball. Boy do I wish we were in the major softball, but I blew that one. Oh well, next year!
Movie Night Report
National Treasure: Book of Secrets , a pretty cool movie! It started a tiny bit slow, but improved as it went along. The original kind of bored me, but this one was not as intricate, and much more like Indiana Jones . My 8YO loved it as well, even though he didn’t entirely understand it, the action adventure kept him interested. Class Coming to an End
My business integration class is coming to an end! WooHoo!!! It took a lot of my time at a time when I didn’t have any time to give! I am very tired and need refocus my life again heading in to fall. Tuesday I move on to consumer behavior, that should be an interesting class. Only eight months to graduation!
Did you see Kevin Youkilis sweating tonight on
ESPN against the Yankees ? That was disgusting! Dripping off! It wasn’t like he was pitching or anything, even though the pitchers weren’t sweating as much as he was. Yuk. Makes you wonder a bit maybe? Why only him? First Travel Practice
Speaking of sweating! We had our first 10U travel practice today. It was extremely hot! My 8 year old (9 years old little league age next year) said we "practiced our butts off". That was fairly accurate. Great practice as well! Tons of parents helping, all knowledgeable, lots of stations, lots of coaching going on. It’s no wonder why we consistently compete.
The Yankees Win
Can they still make the playoffs? Never count them out, but they have tough row to hoe. Even if they make it they will probably wear themselves out getting into the playoffs as they have done the last couple of years. But who would want to play them? No team in their right mind.
Can Milwaukee Actually Be Legit?
Brewers actually make the playoffs? Wow, what a trade they pulled off with the Indians eh? Wouldn’t it be cool if they won it all? I love teams like that, the Marlins have done it twice, the Rays this year, the Twins , too many to name. There is always a team that competes with young talent. It’s fun to watch.
Any comments? Come on, let’s debate!
Family is home and tonight is movie night! Nothing profound to say today anyway, hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend! Don’t you love when the 4th falls on the weekend? Take this weekend to enjoy your family. Monday we start up w/ All-Stars all over again!
OK, today I hauled butt out of work to drive 60 miles to
umpire , only to be greeted by a torrential downpour and have to drive 40 miles back to my hometown to play the game! We started about 8:45 and were done around 10:30. I got home, ate, and here I am.
All of that after being at the fields last night until 11:30 because after I umpired 1 game, they sent 2 more to our fields! They ended around 11 and we had to clean up the snack bar.
Of course, the day before I umped too!
Just an average all-star season I suppose!
How is your all-star season going?
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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?
Most leagues in the world announced their all-star teams yesterday. While they could have practiced on Sunday I suppose, most, like us, probably held their first practice today.
Most, like us, probably feel they have a pretty good competitive team, but feel they have a lot of work to do.
I ask EVERY all-star
coach out there to remember that millions of teams began practicing today, but only 1 will end their season with a win. Make sure to make All-Stars a positive experience for everyone involved.
What tricks do you use to make sure everyone enjoys their all-star experience?
50% of our Teams Make District Championships!
Received a call today from a mother of our Juniors team. They just made it to the championship of our District Tournament of Champions! That makes 2 out of our 4 teams! Not bad for one of the smallest leagues in the country! We have only 300 players, 2 major baseball teams, 2 major softball teams, 2 junior baseball teams, and 1 senior softball team.
Just to compare. The league I came from in Virginia had 119 teams, 14 major teams, 2 charters, and it was ONLY baseball! Our 300 consists of 7 softball teams! We are blessed with fantastic coaches, training, and parents. One should never take that for granted.
We Need Lights
The power company was changing our light bulbs last year on one of our older fields and noticed that woodpecker had hollowed out many of the light poles. They immediately had to be taken down! We have since converted this field to a second softball field but can only use it for t-ball during the week because we don’t have any lights on it any more!
We need lights! Any corporations willing to donate to a fantastic program? We offer very creative long term corporate sponsorships if someone were to step up.
A Productive Board
We have had a productive board this year! Here is a list of the large projects we accomplished:
Batting cages at one park
Hit-away stations at all parks
Public Address Systems on all 6 fields
That is the short list. I am proud of what we accomplish every year and when you look back it is amazing what a dedicated group of volunteers can accomplish.
Heading into All-Stars
Now we being our 2nd season. It will be a long time before the rest of the the world sees the little guys on TV playing in the World Series, but it all starts on June 15th. The day all-star teams are able to be announced and begin practicing. The road to the World Series is excrutiatingly long and of the 30K or so teams that set out to make it, only 1 ends their season w/ a victory! The
NCAA has nothing on Little League ! Good Luck to All
Good luck to all heading into all-stars. Those that don’t make a team keep working, you will one day! Remember, Michael Jordon was cut from his High School team the first time he tried out!
Anyone have any good all-star memories? Let us know about them.
I am exhausted and we are just heading into all-stars! Our team fell into the loser
bracket in our district tournament of champions and had to play every day. This was very fun, but very tiring. Now we are hosting baseball games and announcing all-stars very soon!
I figure I will be on a field every night from today until around July 10th or so. After that we host the sectional for
softball on the 12th and Senior baseball on the 19th! Wow!
Does it end then? No, we start w/ fall ball registrations!
You gotta love this stuff!
How busy are you? Let’s hear about it.
April 24, 2008
Little League Baseball sent out an emergency rules change bulletin today that will have a major impact on the tournament teams. Participation in Other Programs
The rule that prohibits players from participating in non-Little League programs (dual participation), once Little League tournament play has begun, has been rescinded at all levels of play for
baseball and softball. However, the local Little League retains the right to dismiss a player from a tournament team if the player repeatedly misses games and practices. Big League
The maximum number of players that can be named on a tournament team affidavit is now 17 (increased from 15).
The maximum number of players that can be named on a tournament team affidavit is now 16 (increased from 14).
Wilson, W.P. (2008, April 23). Tournament Bulletin. Little League International.
I have mixed emotions on this. I understand the reasoning, we are losing to many good players to travel ball. But, are we simply giving in to the competition? In the long run I think there is nothing more exciting than the Little League tournament, so the better product should win out. This will give more kids the opportunity to compete in the tournament and make the teams better. So I guess this is a good thing. I just wish they had done it last year!
The Big League and Senior League roster expansion is a good thing.
What do you think? Should players be allowed to compete in other programs and Little League’s tournament? It wasn’t long ago a coach couldn’t even coach in a different program and coach an All-Star team. The times they are a changin’! I just wonder is it for the best? What say you?
Update from Little League 4/25/08
To clarify an e-mail distributed earlier this week regarding modifications to the 2008 Tournament Rules and Guidelines, the increases to the maximum number of players that can be named on a tournament team affidavit apply to Big League and Senior League baseball only .
Big League Baseball - The maximum number of players that can be named on a tournament team affidavit is now 17 (increased from 15).
Senior League Baseball - The maximum number of players that can be named on a tournament team affidavit is now 16 (increased from 14).
Little League International apologizes for the confusion.
Clarification to Rules and Guidelines for 2008 Little League International Tournament . (2008, April 25). Little League International .
Now this one I don’t understand at all. WHY?????? This makes absolutely no sense! According to the original memo the reason for the roster expansion was because they had jobs and other commitments. So according to Little League, girls do not have jobs or other commitments? This is very sexist and discriminatory on their part!
In our league we have an understanding that whatever rules we make for baseball, we also make them for softball. Why would Little League International do any different?
Little League, It’s the year 2008! Get w/ the times! You made a great ruling and then botched it’s application. Fix it!
What do you think? Should rules be different for girls and boys?
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