This Blog is dedicated to encouraging and equipping my young warriors on the diamond to run faster, throw truer, hit harder and play smarter. Every sport and challenge God gives us is an opportunity to learn more about life and about ourselves. Every honest victory is reason to celebrate, and every defeat is an opportunity to learn, improve, and show true grit. Baseball is the perfect place to learn some of the great lessons on becoming a man. As a man the best thing you can do in facing a difficult situation is to give it all you've got. The worst thing you can do is to hang your head, quit or make excuses. Men are not made to quit but instead are made to put up a good fight. As a whipper snapper of 8 years old you're ready to start on this road to what baseball can teach you about life. It's also one if the funnest things in the world you can do.
So to all you boys with enough grit to slug it out on the diamond with me each week: This blog's for you!
P.S. The oldest blog is at the top and the most recent blogs will be at the bottom. Look for the date before each new entry.
11-15-11 Coach Heck and Coach Hernandez Hero Awards
Baer Heck - Mr. Strong Arm & Most Baseball Ready
Gabriel Hernandez - Golden Glove (Most caught balls) and 110%er
Nick Yennerell - Dedication Award and Up and Coming Player Award
Samuel Simpson - Sweeper Award and Mr. Fearless Award
J. Paul McCabe - Slugger award & FUAGNEM (Fired up and going nuts every minute)
Carter Barnet - Most Inspirational & Most Determined
Michael Swientek - Best Hit & Most Natural Talent
Ethan Greenwood - Mr. Speed & Most improved throw
Isaiah Jones - Strength and Speed Award & Great Outfielder
Haydn Woods - Great Infielder & Rookie of the Year
Colin Wilson - All Around Athlete Award & Most improved swing
9-23-11 The Coach's Throw Down Challenge
Boys, we have 11 Athletes on the team, one practice and one game per week. To be the best that we can be will take a bigger effort than can be given in these few hours we have together every week. We simply need more. So coach Alberto and I are offering a challenge.
As a team we can commit to practicing our throws and catches wherever we can. Remember that this is not about reaching a magic number near as much as it is about being fierce and intentional about getting better and more confident. The more we practice the more fun the game becomes.
Our goal is this: As a team we catch and throw 5,500 balls outside of practice.
Here are the rules:
1. Every ball caught counts as one (1) 2. Every throw counts as one (1) 3. Mix it up by practicing ground balls, long throws, pop-flys and short tosses, just like in practice 4. You can throw a tennis ball against a wall outside (a hard wall) 5. You can throw baseballs into the air (at least four feet high- that's as high as you!) and catch it in your glove if you're by yourself. That counts as one (1) 6. Practice just like we teach you at baseball practice. Work out the bad habits. Get rid of them now. Now is the always the best time to get better. 7. For every 100 balls caught and thrown, write a "100" under the bill of your ball cap with permanent pen. (J. Paul wrote the date next to his. Great idea J. Paul!) 8. And the most important rule (and DO NOT FORGET THIS!!!)...is to Have Fun. Do it not because you have to. Do it because one of the greatest sounds you can make is a good catch in that stretched leather pocket you made in your glove. One of the most satisfying things you can know is how to throw a good hard ball at something and hit it. You are teaching yourself something that you will enjoy for the rest of your life. And you might some day even grow up and want to kiss a girl and then she may want to marry you, and you may have a little baseball player of your own that will want to play catch with you.
When the entire team has collected 5,500 throws and catches, all together, the entire team will get a patch. Remember, we're doing this as a team. The more our team practices, the better our team plays.
Wait- There's More:
Now if you're the kinda guy that could eat baseball for breakfast, lunch and dinner...if you dream about reaching over the top of the fence and catching that pop fly to be the hero... and if you like the smell of your glove and your sweaty baseball socks, then you just may want to keep going. If you follow the rules above and go over 1,000, you will get an additional patch and a glimpse of what it takes to go pro. So don't hold back. GO FOR IT!
You can take as long as you want to for this challenge. However, there are only six weeks of baseball left, and every day you practice is a day you become a better ball player, so get out there now and not later. I'm proud of you boys. Now quit playing on the computer and get outside and practice.
9-29-11 What the Pros Do Every Day
(Becoming the Ninja of the Catch, Set and Throw)
Hey boys. I'm so proud of your hard work on Saturday against the Red Sox. Well done! As I told you, here is the first of some upcoming videos that you can watch over and over to help you improve in various areas of your game. Practice these hard as you work toward our team goal of 5,500 throws. This one talks about getting the most out of your throws.
10-1-11 On our way to team patches.
To get details on the team challenge, read below.
Here is the patch we get when we, as a team, can ad up all the throws and catches we've written down on our hats. The patches will go on our shirts.
Now, if you're throw and catch tally is 1,000 all by yourself, you get another special patch to go on your uniform. Here it is.
10-1-11 Yesterdays game and what I see in you as a team!!! Good, Good, Good!
- I can tell that the 1.Catch 2.Set. and 3.Throw Practice has been helping some of you alot. Well done.
- Catching a hard ball can be a bit scary. I see you all working through that fear and getting in front of the ball more.
- I see you running so, so, so much better to first base, and to the other bases. As a result we are getting more runs.
- I see you backing each other up more and watching the ball constantly until the play is over.
- Your throws are becoming more accurate.
- This week Mr. Rich was helping you with your practice swings in the on deck circle before you stepped up to the plate. As a result your swings were also improved. Thanks Rich.
- I see you boys enjoying the game more.
So, we as parents are so proud of you. Keep up the work and we'll see you on Tuesday.
10-6-11 Great Practice Tuesday
I saw all of you hitting much better on Tuesday. Well done for the practicing.
Here are a few comments to each of the boys
Nick - Good work on your batting stance. More relaxed and focused. Also I'm so proud of you for all the hard work you're putting in outside of practice, on throws, catches and hitting. Keep it up and you'll be knocking them out of the park, buddy.
Ethan - Great hustle and running in center the other night. Work on getting the glove down and prepared for grounders like we've been showing you and you'll be a superstar.
Colin - Huge improvement on the hitting. Have you been getting a professional batting coach? Your bat speed is making you powerful. Well done.
J. Paul - I saw some awesome and powerful hitting in the cage Tuesday. I love your desire to keep working on something you're already pretty good at. That's how you become a legendary legend. Keep your eye on the ball the whole play and your feet on third base.
Carter - You are the most humble and teachable player on the team. That is why you have and will continue to improve faster than anybody else. Hitting, catching and throwing are all getting better every week. And you have had some essential hits in the games. You are a coach's dream!
Samuel - We missed you on Tuesday. Like I've told your teammates, you have great intuition and are excellent at anticipating where the ball is going to go. Good arm as well. Awesome.
Michael - I have never seen an arm like yours the other night on a little leaguer. You nailed Baer's back with the force of a two ton train. Your accuracy is uncommonly good as well. Keep your eye on the ball the entire play and anticipate. Pay attention and you will be a superstar buddy.
Gabe - Steady and true. Great focus on first base and as backup. You have a beautiful stance at the plate and are a great consistent hitter, catcher and thrower. First base is a tough position to play and it takes a player with focus to do it well. That's you.
Isaiah - You have an arm like a rocket with extra fuel. I was amazed at how well you were throwing tem in to me at second the other night. Good stops and good throws. Keep working on catching balls thrown to you in the air by getting in fromt of it and holding your glove correctly. You're destined fro greatness.
Baer- Great legs in the outfield. You have a real arm as well. And your hitting has improved dramatically with such a good stance and swing. Watch the rollover of your wrists on the swing and your hitting will have more power. Get the glove down on grounders and very little will get past you. You are amazing and I'm so proud you're my son. It makes me proud to see you working so hard.
Hayden -Again, a great stance at the plate and a really good swing. Also I like your aggressiveness in getting in front of the ball, both at Short Stop and in the outfield. You're a valuable player. Good job Hayden.
Dads - You are awesome. We would not be getting near as far with the boys if it weren't for your help. Your gentle and positive instruction, along with your encouragement is so good for these boys. I think all of us working together is accelerating their learning and definitely making it more fun. Fun is the goal and I sure am having a great time as well as Baer. Also I think letting another man work with your son privately is very important. It's great for Baer to hear instruction from another man without me around because it cements the lesson and adds credibility to me as a father who knows what I'm talking about. Also, as boys, they simply need other masculine voices to speak identity and masculinity into them. Again you guys are awesome. Thank you.