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GAC
07-23-2005, 08:53 PM
Coaching my kids (Rachel and Sam) in baseball this summer helped to take my mind off the Red's woes. I found more solace and joy in teaching these kids the fundamentals of the game, then watching the Reds not knowing what they were.

This was Sam's first year at facing another kid pitching to him (Farm League). He was in a Coaches Pitch League last year. And he had his troubles this season adapting. he did fine in the field, but hadn't gotten a hit most of the year. In fact, the coaches and I couldn't even get him to swing. When he learned what a walk was ("You mean I can get on base witout ever having to swing?"), that is where he took his chances. Of course I worked with him consistently in the bakyard taking batting practice - showing him the proper stance, how to swing, teaching him the strikezone, following the ball, pitch selection, etc. And he'd hit the heck out of the ball. But when in that game he'd just stand up there. The coaches and I kept encouraging him and telling him that he can't hit if he doesn't swing. We tried every approach with him (and a few other boys who had the same problem). You almost have to be a psych major anymore to get into these kid's heads. Sam had mentally convinced himself, after numerous failures/attempts, that he couldn't do it.

This kid ran me through the wringer as a coach and a Dad.

Finally, in the last game of the regular season, I told him this is it - there's nothing more I can say to you....JUST SWING THE FRIGGIN' BAT BOY! :lol:

Everybody in the stands had been encouraging Sam all year. In his 2nd A/B he finally made contact and fouled off a pitch. He looked over at me with this surprised look on his face, and Dad was pumping his fist telling him to do it. He ended up swinging, but struck out. Next time up I again encouraged him- watch the ball, wait for your pitch, and do like we have been doing in the backyard.- but you aren't gonna get a hit if you don't swing. Even if you strikeout, you are trying. There were two outs and the last batter in the game. He nailed one that the SS fielded and threw him out. But Sam didn't care... He had hit the ball! We drove home, with the tourney starting the next week, and the kid was filled with new hope. He had a grin from ear to ear.

So to make a long story short, here are pics of Sam after his first hit, and afew other selected shots from that game. They ended up geting eliminated from the tourney, but they played very well. I was proud of them. Sam is the red-headed one with glasses.

RFS62
07-23-2005, 09:03 PM
His trade value will never be higher.

Just sayin'

KronoRed
07-23-2005, 09:55 PM
Congrats to GAC JR :)

Kid in the dairy queen shirt has the Klu sleeveless thing going on :lol:

BoydsOfSummer
07-24-2005, 01:02 AM
And the kid behind him in right seems to be taking a potty break.:eek:

redsrule2500
07-24-2005, 01:54 AM
Nice Story.
Coaches Pitch to Kids Pitch is a HUGE jump. I know that a lot of kids are scared of the ball hitting them, which creates a "back of the mind" fear.

RedsBaron
07-24-2005, 07:00 AM
Thanks for the post GAC and send congrats to Sam. I just finished Little League ball a couple of weeks ago and I'm already looking forward to our fall league-sure beats being a Reds fan.

GAC
07-24-2005, 08:25 AM
Congrats to GAC JR :)

Kid in the dairy queen shirt has the Klu sleeveless thing going on :lol:

Alot of the kids on that Dairy Queen team cut their jerseys off like that. Our kids wanted to do the same too - but our head coach was a prude. Plus some Mom's didn't want their sons to ruin such nice jerseys. ;)

We lost the first game of the tourney to this same team 14-10. We then ended up playing them in the losers bracket for our 2nd game. We were all so proud of our kids - they came to play, and we had them down 9-3 going into the 5th inning. Our BP killed us, and gave up 7 runs! :lol:

We came back in the bottom half and tied it 10-10; but they squeezed a run in in the next inning and then held us in check to win 11-10.

In the Farm League a kid can only pitch 3 innings. So you really need two good pitchers. We had two; but then one quit because of all the other summer camps he goes to. That hurt us big time because the other kids we put out there were alot like Danny Graves in the 9th - you needed a 7-8 run cushion and then hoped for the best. ;)

But the kids had fun (as did the coaches). I thoroughly enjoy it.

GAC
07-24-2005, 08:30 AM
Nice Story.
Coaches Pitch to Kids Pitch is a HUGE jump. I know that a lot of kids are scared of the ball hitting them, which creates a "back of the mind" fear.

Sam got nailed in his first A/B in the very first game. Right in the side too. he came back to the dugout afterwards and was fuming (with tears in his eyes). I had to restrain myself from laughing in the dugout when he said... "Why are kids allowed to hit other kids like that? Isn't their some sort of rule against that? He should be arrested!" :lol:

Sam got hit a few times more though as the season wore on, and took it pretty good. I always tell him... "Your sister hits you harder!"

RFS62
07-24-2005, 08:33 AM
Great stuff, GAC.

RANDY IN INDY
07-24-2005, 08:51 AM
It's a lot of fun, isn't it GAC? I really enjoy coaching. Kids can say some of the darndest things. Keep encouraging Sam!

Johnny Footstool
07-24-2005, 06:56 PM
Do your team's pitchers pitch to the other kids during practice? It seems like that would help the kids get comfortable facing their peers on the mound.

If psychology seems to be a problem, maybe you could try to re-create game situations at practice -- divide the kids into different "teams" with diferent colored jerseys, have more parents show up and cheer at practice, etc.

GAC
07-24-2005, 08:37 PM
If you look at that group shot there is the BIG kid in the back row/center. He moves up into the next league next year, but this kid, while slower then Casey, can pure out hit the ball. He was also our 1Bman. His swing is so natural. He put one out of the park earlier in the year. I loved working with this kid. He really listened to you and was very receptive to instruction. I kept working with him all summer on his stance and correcting his tendency to be over anxious at the plate and reach for balls (he didn't like taking a walk). But I got him to learn plate discipline, pitch selection, and to wait for his pitch. He was one of the better hitters in the league.

GAC
07-24-2005, 08:54 PM
Do your team's pitchers pitch to the other kids during practice? It seems like that would help the kids get comfortable facing their peers on the mound.

If psychology seems to be a problem, maybe you could try to re-create game situations at practice -- divide the kids into different "teams" with diferent colored jerseys, have more parents show up and cheer at practice, etc.

We try all that Johnny, but once the season starts you have such limited time with everyone's busy schedules during the summer (parent's work, other kid's activities - camps, etc). You're basically trying to cram as much fundamentals as you can in the three weeks before the season starts to get these kids ready. And I find that alot of these kids don't play the game outside of the league (at home, in the backyard, sandlot, etc).

Today's kids have so many other "distractions" in today's culture, that summer baseball is not very high on that list for alot of them. So they are very lacking, at ages 8-10, in the fundamentals of the game to begin with. It simply amazes me. When I was growing up/playing little league in the early 60's the kids lived/breathed baseball. When you weren't playing in a game, you were playing it at home and in all your spare time. The neighborhood kids were playing it every chance we got. So we were pretty sound fundamentally in the game, which made it easier on the coaches. That is just not the same with today's kids.

It's also the reason why they have implemented so many rules that have been put in place because of the kid's lack/inabilities. Such rules as...

- max of 4 BB's/inning
- you can only advance one base on a steal, and you cannot steal home in any situation.
- due to poor pitching skills/development, you can only bat thru the order once per inning. Once that #10 hitter bats, the inning is over.
- a pitcher can only pitch 3 innings, and is limited as to how many pitches he can throw in a week.
- time limit on games.

It's not until you get up to Little League (ages 11-13), that those rules are relaxed.

RedFanAlways1966
07-25-2005, 07:57 AM
Nice story, GAC, and thanks for sharing. Looks like little Sam is a lefty. Forget the hitting part and teach that boy how to pitch! If he can throw 80 mph someday, he could get a job in the major leagues.

:)

cumberlandreds
07-25-2005, 08:24 AM
Very nice story Thanks for sharing. You are one lucky man to have this type of experiences with your son. Enjoy all your time with him. You both will remember it forever.

GAC
07-25-2005, 06:01 PM
I think I'm gonna start working with him on his hitting playing stick ball. You can by those darn things at Wal Marts now. Think I'll just use a mop handle. :lol:

I'm in the middle of the book Cobb by Al Stump. One of the best baseball books I have ever read. It has shown me alot about teaching the fundamentals and repetition. I just hope I don't end up like Cobb's Dad though. ;)