Monday, March 5, 2012

Just Baseball

Professional Baseball Stadium
The 'DREAM' most young baseball players have is to play in the Major Leagues - in huge stadiums with 40-50 THOUSAND fans watching them play.

The 'REALITY' is that most players will end up buying the tickets to watch the game, played by a very few 'professionals' that have the talent, the right attitude and the right breaks.

In the 972 area code - youth baseball is very intense, very competitive and very comparative. As young as 8 years old, players and teams are now being classified as A, AA, AAA or Majors - really! Even at 9 years can we really tell what level a team is. Each team will consist of players of various levels and if done right - players at this age will all be friends, go to the same school and possibly live in the same neighborhood.

When teams play - no matter what level - 8U, 12U, high school, college, minors, majors - there will be games where one team 'blows out' another team - and believe me . . . it is not fun for either team. Yeah the team winning is winning, but how fun can it be 'whooping' up on another team? Not much. As for the team being beat - no really fun either. However there will be days where you will be on one side or the other.

This past weekend, I watched teams at the 8U, 10U, 11U, 14U and high school - have football type scores to zero - and then . . . I watched teams go back and forth and back and forth with the winner being decided by one run. Obviously the tighter games were better to watch and a lot more interesting.

It is always good to have teams that are evenly matched play one another, however that is not always the case. Even when teams play each other year after year . . . the teams may start out evenly matched, then one team gets better . . . then the other team gets better . . . but from year to year the run margins in games will vary.

So just like the dream of playing in the big leagues to the reality of sitting in the stands . . . teams vs. teams - can be very close or by wide margins.

At the end of the day - it's just BASEBALL . . . a game to play, to forget about the 'real world' to escape . . . to relive childhood memories and remember to dream or to get out there and play and compete and focus on the . . . BASEBALL.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

President's Day 2012

Baseball in February
Tournaments | High School

The cold, the wind, the rain. February baseball needs to deal with all three and baseball families and players make adjustments.

This President's Day weekend all three (cold, wind & rain) came in strong Friday night and shut down baseball in the 972 area code, leaving families and players indoors, dry & warm.

Question: Is playing baseball in February just a waste of time in North Texas?
Playing baseball in February is like stealing base second base. Stealing second base? For a team/player that knows how to steal bases - the odds are good that they will steal second and be in scoring position. For a team/player that does not know how to steal bases - you will give a defense an out and possibly put your batter in a whole.

Playing baseball in February all depends on the experience of your team; families, players and coaches.

Experienced Team: An experienced team will leverage indoor workouts for more than just hitting - know how to use small fields for situations and positioning, build muscle memory for skills and drills, and slowly get their pitchers arms in shape. An experienced team - adjusts to weather; knows that it is okay to cancel practice if the weather doesn't cooperate, knows to add a practice to take advantage good weather, has a flexible practice plan, and discusses situations to train the baseball mind. The weather never frustrates or worries this team.

In-Experienced Team: An in-experienced team will force workouts indoors and is compelled to 'keep up with the Jones'. This team will only use the indoor workouts for hitting - maybe pitching - but never realizes that they could be training the baseball mind. This team never cancels practice and doesn't ad-hoc schedule practices to adjust to weather changes. This team is often frustrated and worries that their players are 'getting behind'.

Final Thoughts: Baseball in February is not a waste of time, just like stealing second base. Teams just need to know how to leverage indoor workouts, have confidence that 'one practice' is not going to make-or-break a season and prepare their families for cancellations and adjustments. Keeping February workouts lite, focused on fundamentals and developing baseball thinking should be the focus in February baseball.

So this President's Day 2012 weekend, I sit - indoors, dry and warm. Tournaments, games, scrimmages and practices cancelled - it's okay to take a day off. Enjoy your day today, enjoy your weekend off - because as you know - when March comes around it's "Madness!!"

Monday, December 13, 2010


At some point all of us – even the most successful professional athletes – have to venture out into the business world or what some people like to call the “real world.” While it is our primary goal to help the young baseball players improve in those sports, we are very aware that there is more to life than athletics. There are many valuable life lessons that can be communicated through sports participation, and it is our hope that the young athletes take away something that will help them later on in life. One of those key lessons that we hope to impart is the value of sportsmanship.

When people think of sportsmanship, they naturally think about sports. Well, sportsmanship is defined in this way: Someone who plays fair, sticks to the rules and accepts defeat without any rancor or bitterness. On the field, a good sport plays hard and tries his or her absolute best to win within the scope of the rules. A good sport doesn’t complain to the officials, doesn’t “trash talk” and helps an opponent who falls down get back to his or her feet. When all is said and done, this person has no regrets. The athlete put forth his or her best effort and played fairly, earning the admiration and respect of teammates, coaches, officials and opposing players. Despite being a true competitor, this person is willing to openly congratulate opponents and accept even the most bitter of outcomes, because he or she knows that there was nothing more that could have been done within rules of the game to change the end result.

Just because the root sports actually is part of the word sportsmanship doesn’t mean that sportsmanlike behavior is important only on athletic fields. In life, people who are honest, consistently give their best effort, don’t make excuses, respect others and are able to accept everyday outcomes without complaint or holding grudges are generally the ones who succeed. They are the type of people that any wise CEO would want to build a company or organization around. Because of their attitude, work ethic and professionalism, those who consistently exhibit sportsmanlike behavior in the “real world” earn the respect of their peers, have many friends and admirers and enjoy the highest level of job satisfaction. People will go out of their way to help make a good sport successful. They are people who can go to bed every night satisfied, knowing that they have given their best no matter the outcomes of that particular day.

In life, each day presents many ups and downs. There are far more small defeats than major successes. Good sports don’t get bogged down in these small setbacks. They accept the outcomes, acknowledge that someone might have had a better idea and push on toward bigger and better things. For people of that mindset, success is right around the corner. For poor sports there are nothing but excuses and complaints, which suck up energy and waste valuable time.

A good sport believes that his or her approach is the right one and will not resort to underhanded or deceitful tactics for the sake of improving the results. This person goes back to the drawing board and puts in the time necessary to achieve a more desirable outcome, confident that his or her approach will ultimately lead to success. Poor sports are easily frustrated and often resort to tactics that may prove successful in the short term, but ultimately come back to haunt them.

Coaches, managers and executives always will find a place for those who display the traits of good sportsmanship. Others will come and go – either because they become too miserable, resort to dishonesty or wear out their welcome. Remember that sports help develop young athletes’ sportsmanlike traits and will set them up for success on the field, in the classroom and beyond.