have you ever been to a little league game and saw a pitcher with horrible mechanics? well my little brothers team was like that last year, with every single pitcher. his coach wanted me to help with the pitching but they just wouldnt listen to me that they would eventually hurt thier arms if they didnt do basic things like follow through. any tips for me this year if i have to help again?
I saw you posting … and I just couldn’t pass this one by!!
A long time ago my bother-in-law was coaching a 10-12 team for the first time, in a CYO sponsorship program. He asked me if I could help him with the pitching end of things. Since the time was right for me, I volunteered.
Those kids had the attention span of a gold fish! The main pitcher was a kid that was big for age - in both the height and weight department. His only sucess was due to the fact that no one wanted to step into the box for fear of being hit. His accuracy rate was nill - heck he even hit one of his own kids in the on-deck circle once when he lost his balance and let one fly. The second in line was a tall lanky kid I called “pop-up”, because that’s exactly what every pitch looked like as soon as it left his hand heading for the plate. The rest of the pitching was a motely collection of who ever showed up.
Adding to this was usually a one umpire per game that was well into retirement with the motivation and eye sight that begged for a wheel chair and a white cane with a red tip.
The parents were also a real work of art. I really felt bad for an umpire after one game in particular, so I approached him and apologize for the verbal chorus from the lawn chairs… when he saw me – he started to pull ear plugs out of both ears so he could hear what I had to say.
We had a couple of dads … or whatever, that were resident experts of the game … but their place was OFF THE FIELD… never once did they put themselves in the action. These were also the clowns that as soon as their son was in the family stationwagon – the kid got an ongoing stream of verbal instruction of what was wrong form the get-go. And this verbal devlivery went on from the parking lot – , out the park, ---- at every traffic light, – and more than likely … right into the driveway at home.
This self serving mindset of expertise with these guys was unending.
Duing the first three weeks before the regular games started, practice was a hit-or-miss venture. Sometimes kids would show up – sometimes not. Other sports that the kids signed up for were still in full swing and some kids would show up still in thier basketball and soccer uniforms. This wasn’t too bad … considering some parents dropped their kid(s) off then took off without a word to anybody. My brother-in-law told the same people over and over again - DON’T DO THIS. In one ear and out the other. I suggested that he cal the parents and tell them to take the kid elsewhere – but he was told the league needed the money … so deal with it the best way he could. The only saving grace out of this situation was an officer from youth services that I knew got involved.
The bottom line to this experience, for me anyway, was an overall “me-myself-and-I” environment that is pushed on most kids from the parents is inertia that’s impossible to over come… much less, dealing with. Getting one’s monies worth, and let’s not embarrass mom and dad, and there are other things in my son’s/daughter’s life right now … are poor standard bearers that unfortunately a lot of youth coaches have to deal with.
BUT, what sets me off the most – are the self imposed sins of the teams and leagues themselves. Patronage, cronyism, and the worse of all phony fee collections during tryouts.
Here how the phony fee system works :
A club collects fees during tryouts. What they really need is say … a catcher due to last year’s catcher is no longer available. However, will the coaches tell any of the kids and their parents this, NO! So, fees are accepted from everyone. The end result, the same kids from last year show up … or don’t, they get a spot … plus a new catcher, and everybody else is sent an nice letter saying “thanks – but, no thanks”. The club is $$$$ richer under the disguise of a tryout, that never really happened – except for a catcher.
Then there are clubs that have district or other restrictions for participation. In order to play for a club out of one’s district, approval must be given by someone who is authorized to do so. The American Legion system is like this. So, if a kid wants to play for another Legion club that his buddies from school are on, he has to get approval from the Legion post in HIS DISTRICT. If that DISTRICT’s authorized offical says – no dice kid… well, its plain and simple - NO. There are of course reasonable and unreasonable experiences on both sides of that issue.
Is every youth club like the one’s above – of course not. There are just enough great clubs and organizations around to keep the youth game alive and kicking.
one of them who thought they were hot s**t got into saying things like your not the coach and thats stupid and things. i told the coach, but what was he going to do? make them run laps for acting that way? i garuntee that if parents saw kids 9-12 running laps they would pull the kids from the team. most just dont understand
I think I have been blessed with really good kids because I have not had this problem. I have had the benefit of teaching pitching to kids 7-12 years old for several years now and I have found that the best way to get the kids attention is to win their appreciation. I have found that talking pitching for a bit before throwing the ball is a good way to get them to listen. The other technique I use is to listen to them and their opinions/concerns. Keep in mind they are young and they are going to have lapses in attention span. I try to keep my instruction short with the kids and let them have fun. They have to love the game before they can love the work that comes with being really successful.
All that being well and good, if you are teaching pitching, or any part of helping you deserve a certain amount of respect. There is nothing wrong with having kids run laps or doing pushups when properly framed. I start every season by telling the parents that I will dedicate my time and whatever knowledge I have to make their kids better players and people but I need their help. This way when I make the kids do push ups or run laps they know it is for their child’s benefit. Involve your parents early on and you will start seeing different results. I would talk with the head coach/team manager about addressing that pitching is about discipline and that you need the full support of the parents to be successful in teaching proper pitching.
Not sure if this will help you but it has worked for me so far.
i have tried telling parents that pitching is about discipline but most of them think “what does he know hes only a kid?”. they think its just going out there and throwing a baseball as hard as you can
This is a tough one but really needs to start at the top of the league. A code of conduct for coaches and parents is a great way to begin. Have all parents sign it and then hope for the best. Next, the team manager has to have a discussion with all of the parents at the beginning of the season discussing what the rules are and what the penalties will be for breaking the rules. The same discussion has to be had with the players. It has to be stressed that the rules are there for the integrity of the game. (Take a look at the Positive Coaching Alliance on the web) You would never send a kid to the plate without a helmet, you should never have kids pitching incorrectly.
On my teams, if any volunteer is disrespected the whole team does push ups or runs the bases. This usually stops the problems before they start. The kids learn that we are all in this together and everyone has their job to do. Fun is paramount but there is no fun when the coaches and other players are aggravated by a few bad apples.
Good luck to you. Hope your season goes well.