Thursday, June 18, 2009

O.K., I'm Back.

Sorry it's been a while. I've been pretty busy, and a little embarrassed after the David Ortiz post. I can't just blame it on that, though (check out paragraph 2 from my 3/31/09 post for my excuse). But I have been busy.
One of the things I've been busy with is my son's Little League team. I was an assistant coach. Our season just ended, and I have got to say that while our win-loss record could have been better, we did all of the things that we were supposed to do. The guys on the team - ranging in age from 8 to 11 - all got to be better players than they were when the season started. They surprised me with something spectacular every game. I'm really proud of them all: Elliott, Ian, Matty, Jackson, Silas, Cody, Braelen, Joey F., Alex, Joe T., Henry, Luke and Chandler.
I was supposed to run our final practice, but it got rained out. I wanted to keep their the boys' heads in the game, so I sent this e-mail:

"Due to the weather, today's practice has been called off. Since we can't hit the field and physically practice today, I'd like each of you to try to get in some mental practice. The Red Sox play at 1:35 today - the game will be on NESN, and they'll probably play it again tonight. I'd like each of you to watch at least three full innings of the game, or another baseball game, if you'd rather. As you watch, pay attention:

"CATCHERS: Watch how the catchers set up for pitches. Never mind the signals - we don't use those. Watch the mitt location, and pay special attention to what the catcher does when the pitch comes in. He stays in his crouch. When a catcher stands to catch a pitch, it gives the ump the impression that the pitch is a ball. The catcher stands up to make the throw back to the pitcher, and he throws it back TO the pitcher, so that the pitcher doesn't have to work hard getting the ball. Notice, too, how the catcher moves after the ball is hit - fair or foul. Try to do what they do.

"PITCHERS: Watch the pitchers' motions. They're very consistent, that is, they don't vary much from pitch to pitch. Notice how the pitcher always throws with a full arm extension, and then follows through.

"INFIELDERS: Watch for the "ready position." (Usually best seen in replays, since the camera is on the batter to start) Notice which position covers which area of the field, and how they call balls out. The successful plays always begin with the player getting the ball - if you don't catch it, you can't get the hitter out. First base- stretch for the catch, but make the catch, even if it means taking your foot off the bag. A passed ball is an extra base.

"OUTFIELD: Watch how the outfielders line up fly balls hit to them. Watch how they get under the balls, and don't simply reach out to make the catch. Notice how they drop to one knee to field grounders - infielders don't have time to do that, but in the outfield, it can keep the ball from rolling past you. In the outfield, a passed ball is often TWO extra bases.

"ALL FIELDERS: Even major league ball players use cut-offs. Watch who cuts off and where. Try to understand why they used the cut-off the way they did.

"BATTERS: Watch the batters. See how they stand in the batter's box - and stay in it, unless they're likely to get hit. Notice how the batters hold their bats - the bats are back, waiting at the back of the swing. They don't have to pull the bat back to start their swing. It takes too much

"This is a fun kind of practice. It can be done with a snack, a drink, even a parent. It can last longer than three innings, too, if you want!"

So, I was surprised by the number of families on the team that don't have cable television, and therefore don't have access to a lot of Major League Baseball. I was also surprised by the number of positive responses I got to that practice.
It's been a great season, no matter what the W-L says.

1 comment:

  1. Win-Loss shouldn't matter as long as the kids had fun.