Baseball & Softball Tip That Saves 3 Runs Per Game!
I remember when I played college football. Our coach used to press upon us that with eleven players on the offense if ten do there assignments perfectly and only one player screws up, the play can still be a disaster. Sure enough, I saw this happen time and again and understand to a point what these big time coaches go through. How many times have we seen in basketball a player gets a rebound and scores the winning basket just because a player did not box out his man. Or in hockey, a player misses an open net goal because he was too anxious and he shot wide. Back to football. How many times have we seen a team drive down the field on a great drive and then on first and goal from the one yard line, an offensive player goes off sides and now they must score from the six yard line and end up with a field goal instead of a sure seven points. On the youth level it can even be more frustrating no matter what sport you are coaching. I can state it a million times but we have to show patience and remember that we are coaching 10, 11 and 12 year old kids.
In youth baseball it is no secret that the team that makes the least number of mistakes will usually end up on top in most of the games. If there are any mistakes that will drive a coach or parent crazy it is some of the mistakes you see that happen in the outfield. When there are mistakes in the infield, usually it can cost a team just an extra base. But a mistake in the outfield will usually be extra bases. A number of years ago we were playing a regular season game and a ball was hit into left field down the line for a hit. Now I always teach my players to get the ball back to the pitcher so when he is on the rubber, play is virtually halted. Apparently some of the wonderful parents on my team took heed to what I was saying. So in this game when the ball reached the left fielder who retrieved it pretty deep, the parent of the player was screaming to throw the ball back to the pitcher. My third baseman and shortstop both had their hands up looking for the relay throw but the left fielder decided to throw the ball to the pitcher himself. It ended up being the perfect storm. The ball went sailing over the pitcher’s head and from the angle it was thrown, went down past the first baseman almost all the way down the line. My right fielder was sleeping and the term “Little League Home Run” fit perfectly on this play as the baserunner rounded all the bases and went home.
A challenge for youth baseball coaches has always been the player’s parents shouting instructions to their son or daughter. I always go over this at the “parents meeting.” The three most popular times when parents are yelling instructions are when their child is in the batter’s box, when they are pitching and when the baseball is hit to them. Going over this is important and it gives you the right to challenge the parent when they do yell instructions by reminding them what we went over at the beginning of the season. I have been successful with most parents and unsuccessful with a few. One thing I do know is that if you don’t go over this, parents will feel they can and say anything from the stands.
The best thing to do is to practice and during your games keep you team aware when they will have to throw to the lead base or home. But in general keeping the throwing distance short will help keep the mistakes down.
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