Pretty funny that they played 3 blind mice after a questionable call by the umpire!
Click on the link above to check on the concept of getting the back side through the zone. Notice that many of the hitters are actually using their lower half to torque the rest of the body (hands) through…this keeps our motion on a linear path towards the baseball.
Yes, many of these hitters are power hitters, hence, the homework derby – however – guys like Cano and Ortiz are actually good hitters as well.
The never-ending battle between sports and academics goes on and on. Today I was involved in coordinating a finals prep workshop for ninth and tenth graders who we identified as “support eligible.” Our marker was for students who held a GPA below a certain number. It’s encouraging to see such a large presence of student-athletes that have signed up. I feel like traditionally, they don’t always take advantage of opportunities for their academics like they would if it were sport related.
So what’s the catch? It isn’t actually the students who are taking the initiative – it’s the parents. The students with the most in-tuned, involved parents seem to be taking advantage of everything possible. I don’t know if this is a good thing or not in the long run but I do see that what’s to offer, they have access to. Parents would like to think that because their child is now in high school, they can fend for themselves. For many this may be true, but I’m seeing a growing trend of the opposite. I see kids who don’t check their emails, don’t make their schedules and hardly make their own decisions. The decisions they do make usually end in them getting in trouble or being told they need to rethink their actions.
I wonder, although these kids have “access” to support and extra means, what are we as parents actually preparing them for? What skills are we actually teaching our children? These are things I ponder daily as I work with students. The discussion I’d like to have is, what skills are needed for them to be prepared for their future. Their future isn’t that far away from mine…
Yesterday was the last day of the Berkeley Fall Ball clinics. While it’s going to be nice to have some time off – working with them 3 times a week was pretty fun. There’s a couple of players out there…we will see if they put in the necessary work to make something out of their talents…(we have all seen players year after year with talent – but it takes much more).
We decided that we would run our last day as a scout/mock try out day. We kept their times, and discussed with them the mindset of scouts or anyone else assessing you, and what we as players need to be ready for.
After they stretched out – we split them into 3 teams: 1 team ran the 60 yard dash, the second team ran home to first (both times we recorded and they had about 5 minutes to run it as many times as they could/wanted) and our last group soft tossed. Each group had 5-10 minutes and then they rotated so that all players had equal time at each station.
After that round we put them all together and had them do a long infield/outfield where they threw to every base a couple of times. This is always a time that’s rather boring but if in a game you don’t get a ball your way – it’s the only time a coach/scout/whoever can see your arm (let it all go!).
After infield/outfield we put them back in the 3 teams and had them scrimmage for about 40 minutes. Each batter started with a 1-1 count and each team got 4 outs.
As practice was going on each coach took the time to let them know how their mental approach should be at each station. When a group came from soft toss – they needed to take every opportunity to get loose. Some camps won’t look out for the player’s health and they must learn early to get yourself ready to give %100. No excuses – control what you can. Same goes for players who ran to first then had to run a 60. Good thing is that they’re loose but they may be fatigued — how quickly can you bring your heart rate down…
Our hopes were by getting a glimpse of what it’s like, come spring/late winter, they will be ready for try outs (they’ll know what to expect!).
Working with these freshman players is pretty fun but it’s also petty challenging. Besides the obvious, many aren’t very good, many are physically just 9th graders. All the developmental stuff you know either will work in their favor or they’ll be finding another sport to play.
What I hate is that fact that some players just aren’t “there” yet – but who knows what they might be in a couple of years…how can you buy time as a coach?
Holding tryouts and determining your team is a tall order. There are the obvious no-doubters who make the squad but what about the player who is fundamentally sound yet they may not be ready for the big field yet?
What I look for when I’m assessing talent is their make up. How well do they present themselves off of initial contact? From their hat down to their shoes. Then I look at how they throw and catch (can they do those basics with a purpose?). More important than their results is their approach – both defensively and offensively. Are they shifting from pitch to pitch, player to player. Are they thinking about pitch sequence or situational hitting if need be.
Now I know that these are just 9th graders…but now is when the game becomes real. Technically they can compete with 18yr olds and they have to be able to hang. For you players out there, learn the game — observations, questions, and experience will tell/teach you a lot. Trust what you see and feel is instinctual. From a coach and educators perspective, we can always live with players making aggressive errors – shows us they’re confident and decisive. But there’s little tolerance for uncertainty and fear to mess up.