Goals and expectations

I’ve been thinking about what are the goals and expectations for what I would like my son to achieve this year. Last year we had some basic goals which we tried to meet: 62% strike efficiency, command of a 2nd pitch to go with the FB, and consistency. Three things he has control over.

This year’s goals:
•65% strike efficiency. He ended up last year at 62% and was 65% for his last three games.
•gaining confidence in his 2nd and 3rd pitch so he can throw it on any count
•continue to be consistent no matter what the umpire does or whether his defense catches the ball or not (i.e. control emotions)
•improve on fielding and
•adding a change up and using it at least once per game.
I’ve thought about adding the wind up, but am leaning on waiting until next year or even HS before adding it. I don’t see much significance for it at LL/youth level.

What other goals would be appropriate for this age? Longer term goal would be to have command of three to four pitches, be an excellent fielder, and have a basic understanding of what it is to be a pitcher and not a thrower before he gets to HS

I’d say learning the change is more important then teaching him a slider and a knuckle curve, but that’s just me. There’s guys in pro ball who still haven’t learned how to effectively throw a slide piece or K-Curve. I’m just saying…

What about something mechanical as well? You know Tom Seaver used to break the game down into mini games so he could appreciate the little things more, for example he’d be more excited about how he executed the perfect pitch in an at bat vs how many strikes he threw in a game.

How about increasing velocity??? Like I’ve said many times Coaches and Scouts will tell you “I can’t teach velocity but I can teach off speed”

The emotional control is great that is something that is often overlooked.

Becoming a better fielded too is a good one as well.

K-curve and slider are pitches he developed himself when we would toss from 60’ out playing with different grips, pressure points, etc. We’ve tried the circle change the past two years - the grip never felt comfortable. Tried the splitter last year. The pitches looked great, but he didn’t warm up to it so it was dropped. His hands are big enough so results may be better this year.

Did something like this last year. He would count his strikes versus pitches thrown. He was always looking to for that high strike count. What about fostering the thought within him of throwing the perfect showcase change up in a game?

He’s blessed with velocity. Therefore, we look at the smaller things of pitching and let the velocity be whatever it is. His goal is 80+ entering HS. He also has a personal goal of throwing the ball from home plate to the 2nd field, which would be 250’ from Home plate to the 2nd fence. We need a relay when long tossing. His long throw last year was 220’. I can’t throw it that far.

Helps when umpires squeeze him to balance the game. Nothing worse than walking a kid despite throwing six strikes down the middle.

It’s like rebounding and diving for loose balls in basketball. Doesn’t always end up in the box score, but the coach notices and it keeps you in the game when the shots aren’t going in.

West2East,

I got to give you credit for your intensity and focus. If your kid can tolerate, check that, actually thrive on these goals with the same intensity…you got something. I told my kid what Joe Paterno was known to say, “You’re either getting better or your gettin worse…nobody stays the same. It’s up to you.”

I had a friend who was the only dad to build an indoor mound in the basement of his house…(minimum of 5 months of winter here.) He had that kid ready every year as the snow was melting away. Always two months ahead of the other pitchers. He wasn’t really big but he had a big arm. High school stud. Major league scout team. Junior college standout. He was ready for the draft. And his arm crapped out. Never was the same even after Dr. Andrews worked on him. It wasn’t like he wore himself out with year round baseball, he played basketball and took the whole season off from throwing. Just happens sometimes no matter how you slice it because it’s kind of a balancing act. You can only get better by pitching and you can only get hurt by …pitching. Isn’t that the way it goes with all things that we enjoy?

[quote=“Dino”]West2East,

I got to give you credit for your intensity and focus. [/quote]

Thanks. My wife would say we are too easy going; yet, very focused on being doing my job well, raising my sons to be men, and being a good husband. And my son is only intense when he’s on the mound or on the B-ball court. I remember back when he was in 2nd or 3rd grade and a little kid stole the ball from him. He chased the kid down, stole the ball back, and then hovered over him like Goliath staring down David. The poor kid just melted and started crying. In a baseball game last year when the opposing coach told his players to crowd the plate, he knocked their best four hitters out of the game with fastballs in on the hands. Good pitches. Inside corner of the plate. Still, very unusual for an 11U kid to pound the inside in that situation. He was very intense about keeping the inside part of the plate. That’s not something that’s taught; it’s whats within a kid.

I love Jo Pas quote “It’s up to you.” One of the ways we know our boys are becoming men is when they take ownership of their actions. I think I’ve mentioned before his goals: Pitch for Penn State. Pitch alongside CC, Halladay or Lincecum. Be an Iron Chef. Be an artist. (Not much academics on this list. :))

No guarantees in life. We’ve talked about these uncertainties. I’m most pleased at how hard he works at his grades more than I am about his sports abilities. Sports are easy. School -especially for a 7th grader when it’s warm outside, is not.

The showcase change is a good approach to start with developing one, hopefully you’ll see results this year.

It does sound like your son is headed in the right direction.

[quote=“Wales Diesel”]The showcase change is a good approach to start with developing one, hopefully you’ll see results this year.

It does sound like your son is headed in the right direction.[/quote]

Thank you.

Thinking back on one of the reasons he wanted to stay with LL this year instead of playing 14U was he wanted the oppurtunity of throwing a perfect game. Not just a no hitter. Been there, done that. But the chance to be perfect. Not sure why he chose that as his internal drive, except seeing Halladay throw his perfect gem and wanting to achieve something that only great artist achieve.

It’s one reason I think his change needs to be special; otherwise, I don’t think he’ll use it.

Ah the Perfect Game… A lot has to go right for that to happen, not only does the Pitcher have to be perfect but so does the rest of the team, without that it’ll never happen and it will just be another no-no.

Hopefully staying back doesn’t become too easy for him and cause him to lose focus and drive and determination.

I don’t mean to throw water on your fire, but why are the goals yours? Its not your experience, its his.

West,
You and your son seem to have a good grip on a set of attainable goals.

One thing that will help him immensely in HS especially Varsity is game management, knowing what pitches to throw to what hitters in certain situations and counts. It may sound like alot but it does help. Liker it or not some HS coaches wouldn’t know what pitch to call if it bit them. I’m not saying throw what he wants and buck the coach, but the knowledge of the correct pitch in the correct situation can take his confidence to a new level.

[quote]West2East wrote:
I’ve been thinking about what are the goals and expectations for what I would like my son to achieve this year. …

I don’t mean to throw water on your fire, but why are the goals yours? Its not your experience, its his.[/quote]

Your comment gave me the same thought West.
I love your attitude and love…I get nervous at 11 for such a tight script…or should I say tightly scripted excerpt…cuz this isn’t W2E Jr’s whole rap sheet…obviously you are geared closely to his scholastic acheivement and know it’s the prime directive, I don’t see a lot of free style creativity facillitation (Only in the description I feel it may in fact be much different) and would urge you not to forget to allow him to imagine and experiment…again I’m likely preaching to the choir but I still think it worthy of your consideration.

We had a light bullpen throwing yesterday and he used the time to experiment with grips. Total creativity. No input from dad on what to throw. Talked about what worked and what didn’t. The best part was that we talked about life during the 30 minutes of easy throwing.

[quote=“scorekeeper”]

I don’t mean to throw water on your fire, but why are the goals yours? Its not your experience, its his.[/quote]

He’s 12. It’s an age where a kid is just starting to figure out logically the world around him and to begin to set his own goals. But he has yet to have the life experiences that a father has to be able to wisely set all of his goals. We set goals in our children’s life in everything they do. What child can set their own goals as to whether they go to school or not, or what kind of education they get. Most 12 year old’s wouldn’t make the best choice if it was theirs to make. Do kids set their goals on what and when they eat? If they did, I think it would be mostly cookies and cake and very little broccoli and beans. Most kids at one time or another want to give up on what they do, whether it be swimming, piano, ballet or baseball; yet, parent’s sets goals to get the young child through these boring times and focuses them on the long term benefits of practicing. And the essence of why a parent would set goals for a child is to put discipline and practice into their life. What child would choose the boring and mundane tasks of practicing to perfect an art if given the choice of just going out and performing without any practice? Why practice if given the choice to play without practicing? A 12 year old is starting to understand the benefits of routines, but he may be another year or two away before he actually choose to practice on his own due to his own needs.

I discuss goals and expectations with my son because it’s a father’s duty to to give direction as well as opportunity. A little history here is he has had a goal since he was 10 to go to the State’s in LL and give it his best shot for Williamsport. Rest of his team left LL this year to “move up”, whatever that means, but he chose to stay with LL and carry the kids who remain as far as they can go. That’s his goal, not mine. But it’s my duty to keep his sights higher and look at where he’s going, and prepare him to be a man and not just a teenager.

Amen!
Together, playing catch, my son and I have cured world hunger…solved pi…and had some of the very best moments here on earth :wink:

West2East,

I agree that a child needs guidance, but IMHO part of that guidance should be to allow him/her to make some mistakes. FI, of a kid wants to quit swimming, piano, ballet or baseball, its one thing to try to help them through whatever it is that has caused them to want to do that, but its quite another to force them to comply with a parent’s wishes.

To me the point isn’t as much what the benefits of continuing on are, but rather what the mindset becomes of the child forced to continue on. I’m certainly not trying to suggest that there aren’t any children who need “firm” guidance, but instead am saying that not all children respond in the same way to the same thing.

For instance, my son wanted to quit the Cub Scouts, but his mom and I wanted him to continue on, and tried every imaginable thing to have him do that, and finally relented. A couple of years later we found out that most of the boys in his den also wanted to quit, and it turns out, all for the same reason, which I won’t go into. So it turned out that had we been simply able to offer him an alternative den, chances are he’d have stayed in the Scouts. But we live out in the boonies of the boonies, and there was no reasonable alternative, so we never thought to offer it.

As it turned out, there sometimes are very good reasons a child wants to stop an activity, any activity. And the reverse can be true as well, where a child may want to continue an activity for the wrong reasons. All I know, is it’s a dang difficult thing to do to try to raise a child the “right” way, and there needs to be a good balance of freedom and restrictions.

Soloman’s wisdom is needed. Rule in our family is when the child reaches HS, he can determine if he wants to continue an activity. He still has no choice about going to school or eating what is put in front of him without complaining. My oldest son dropped baseball this year as a frosh, eventhough he’s a big time hitter for his age, to concentrate on basketball. His decision. He also restarted piano, on his own, and is pursueing chess mastering. I saw basketball coming. Didn’t see the ethusiasm for piano and chess until he announced he wanted to master both. He helps his brother with baseball practice, and in return the boys batter each other on the court and in chess.

The ability to make good decisions comes with taking responsibilities for ones actions.

[quote=“West2East”]Soloman’s wisdom is needed. Rule in our family is when the child reaches HS, he can determine if he wants to continue an activity. He still has no choice about going to school or eating what is put in front of him without complaining. My oldest son dropped baseball this year as a frosh, eventhough he’s a big time hitter for his age, to concentrate on basketball. His decision. He also restarted piano, on his own, and is pursueing chess mastering. I saw basketball coming. Didn’t see the ethusiasm for piano and chess until he announced he wanted to master both. He helps his brother with baseball practice, and in return the boys batter each other on the court and in chess.

The ability to make good decisions comes with taking responsibilities for ones actions.[/quote]

Part of my cultural background is that a male child becomes a man at 13. Being from a mixed religious background I’ve never taken that literally, but for many things 13 seems a good age to allow a male child to start making many of his own decisions, and since gals are of course much more advanced, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be afforded the same things. :wink:

But, to each his own. You say HS, I say when I think he’s capable of dealing with the consequences of his decision, and that’s my call. I’ve just never been a big fan of forcing anyone to do anything that for good reasons they really didn’t want to do.

My oldest son was 13 when he started HS. Within your range. My youngest will be 14.

We should grab a drink and continue this talk:dialog:

Thought since the regular season is over, I would add how my son did with these goals.

  1. To date this year, he’s at 67% strike efficiency, showing command of his FB and control.
  2. He controlled his emotions even when the opposing coaches harassed him. He pitched the championship game throwing only off speed pitches on the outside part of the plate, and only once went inside. He said he didn’t want to cause a ruckus by throwing to hard or accidentally hitting someone. Also, he wanted it to be a team win, not a game focused just on him. He gave up a few hits and a couple runs, but kept his composure to win the game 14 - 3 win.
  3. No fielding errors when pitching. No bunt hits, either.
  4. The only change up he threw in a game was during the last one, but he showed confidence in it and kept throwing it. Still, though, dominate pitch is the FB and most likely will remain the FB for some time.

Most important, he is a good team leader and team player. His teammates rallied around him when some of the opposing coaches attacked him, showing team chemistry and togetherness. And even though some coaches wanted him banned for throwing to hard, others thoroughly respected him and defended him.

All in all, the season prepared him both physically and mentally to do his best in the upcoming LL tournament.

Good stuff