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!!"