Make a bad play, do 10 pushups

What do you think of this mentality? And if you don’t agree, what do you suggest to get kids to focus, concentrate and make the play?

(I personally don’t like it at all. Don’t think coaches should “punish” kids with fitness-related activities like running or pushups, etc., since in reality these kids are going to have to develop an affinity with fitness if they’re ever going to play at the next levels – sends mixed messages.)

My son’s travel basketball coach employed this starting at 7, and used it till the kids were 10. At 11 (5th grade) if you made a mistake he got a chair, set it at center court, and you sat while the rest of the team ran killers. I always said I didn’t know how many games we’d win but if a fight broke out we’d be set.

The truth is we didn’t lose many games, and we played a lot. Bigger schools, all-star teams, it didn’t matter, our kids played at a different level. Never saw that group of kids rattled, never out of control. No burn out either. Believe it or not even young kids can respond to adversity in a positive way. I prefer it to the patty ass love feast I see at most youth sporting events now days.

Well even though I agree with expectation in sports, expect players to make plays, expect them to be foused and expect them to be team players and that there should be consequences to failing in those actions. My disagreement with the coach mentioned are that calling a player out and embarrasing him in front of his team mates only generates blame for the one singled out and worse team unrest. I would imagine that this is some of the activities that gets 11 yr old kids to eventually quit baseball or a particular sport all together. I have had conversation with parents that feel that it’s important for their kid to have that discipline level in order to be the best at an age. I disagree that this is “required”, and I don’t think this makes me a patty a** love feaster, or maybe it does.

I agree with team discipline, I also agree with the need to focus and concentrate on the game but it’s a process that takes their entire life to get to. That focus builds in certain athletes, there are players that don’t go the travel ball team route, or the AAA and major games route, there are players that just play rec ball and still make the high school team and start Varsity with travel ball parents asking, “who the heck it is this kid” and “where did he come from” and even worse “why should he be starting over my kid, he didn’t play anywhere good”.

My history is that I have 3 kids, 2 HS players, 1st played AA ball and that was good enough for him, 40 games a year before HS and became a excellent HS lefty pitcher, stopped playing his senior year to focus on going in the Marines. 2nd played single A and rec ball, 20 games a year and enjoyed it fully, now plays C team HS ball and is considering that next year he wants to focus more on Chior and his Cullinary studies. 3rd player is going to be a Freshman next year, plays Major, pitches, plays everywhere except short, center and catcher, 5 or 6 spot hitter and wants to play 75 or more games every year. He doesn’t just want to play HS ball but wants to start on JV or V as a Freshman, it’s what he wants, but it’s what he wants.

Discipline and especially phycological discipline can have very negative results in the long run, I like seeing my kids play baseball and I encourage them fully, but a player should want to be “pushed” to be better, at 11, what do they know. All they know is I want to be good, I want to have fun and winning is fun. I am sure that my post will start a whole new firestorm of “psyco parents” vs “let the kids have fun” debate but my thoughts are that parents should allow their kids to develop their baseball over time and not live through what we thought our baseball experience could have/should have been.

Everybody has their own style but not a fan of motivating through fear of failure. More a fan of the Augie Garrido Style

“Eliminate the fear and it’s fun”. Got to see a couple of coaches work with a youth fall team (11-12). 40 years of coaching between them. One is an area hitting coach, one is and has been a scout with a major league team for many years. There was no intimidation, there was a lot of teaching. It was a fun team to watch. And these kids very quickly became “teammates”, very supportive. Not something you see a lot of at that age. They won almost all their games but I’ve seen some, what I consider, bad coaches win games, so that’s not what impressed me. What impressed me was the way these kids “played” the “game”. It is still a game and is supposed to be fun. Not silly fun but fun in the way that it’s fun to do something really well.

Now there is a difference between baseball and other sports for example in basketball maybe you can “try” harder on defense but in baseball if the player “tries” harder to field a grounder I think he is heading down the wrong path. It you want your team to do a better job of fielding grounders, hit them more grounders so when the ball comes to them in a game they don’t have to “try” to field it, it’s just what they naturally do because they’ve taken a thousand ground balls in practice. (you can have it be a competition, which group fields the most in a row etc)

If you want kids to concentrate more in practice I would greatly encourage you to pick up the pace and tempo of whatever it is you are working on. (not my idea, that is a John Wooden thing) You get two kids taking grounders rapidly one after another and they will concentrate and focus. (it also becomes a conditioning drill at that point, John Wooden philosophy as well) One final point, I’ve seen well intentioned coaches make the kid who misses the grounder chase it down. So let’s get this straight, the kid that catches the grounder and is good at it gets more grounders and continues to improve while the kid who is struggling with grounders gets fewer attempts because he is busy chasing after baseballs. Does anyone see a flaw in this logic? The Kid who really needs the work is getting better at?..Chasing balls, fun skill for a dog, not of much value to a shortstop.

RJ35, i like you comments on how to motivate through activity.

I coach a rec league team. 9-10 year olds. Multiple mistakes are common. :lol: I try to get my kids to think about the result of the mistake–poor mechanics lead to poor catches and throws…I ask them, “What is our goal on defense?” They all know–to get baserunners out. “How can we make outs if we’re not catching and throwing correctly?” “Let’s try it again and get the out this time.” Stuff like that. Try to motivate by explaining (sometimes over and over) the result of a lazy throw, lack of effort getting to the ball, etc.

Same goes for hitting. A kid is stepping in the bucket? Demonstrate to him how stepping in the bucket pulls your head/eyes off the ball, and remind him, “If you can’t see it, you can’t hit it.” “What’s more fun? Getting a hit or striking out?” “Let’s try it again, and this time, get than front foot going this way…” (then I put a piece of tape on the ground where he should be going, and a glove or bucket where he’d go when stepping out)

I have seen youth coachs make teams run as a punishment. The only problem at young ages kids love to run and you are rewarding what you dont want to happen. I will do it with our 13 year old team just to get them to concentrate and make it competitive. If you miss the ball you owe two pushups. 8th grade bball miss free throw 2 pushups. They enjoy the challenge. In high school we use it more often for discipline ,focus and competitiveness.

I look at it as ignorance. Doing pushups fatigues the muscles, making it even harder to perform the skill at task.

How about from the perpspective of the kids that run cross country or track- “my sport is your sport’s punishment”.

I completely agree wiht Steven about the mixed messages of fitness related punishment. The sooner fitness can be embraced as a positive the better.

IMO kids should not be punished for making errors only the lack of effort. Too many times kids hang their heads when making a play while the play continues on around them. Kids need to realize that errors are part of the game and continue playing. In practice if a kid makes an error I hit them another one right away. If they are allowed to hang their heads that will usually result in another error. It isn’t the fact they made the error it is how they react after it.

One day Yogi Berra hit a ground ball, and to put it politely he lollygagged down the first base line and was thrown out. When he returned to the Yankee dugout Joe DiMaggio got after him. DiMag asked if Yogi was feeling all right. Yogi said he was, and then DiMag exploded “Then why the — didn’t you run out that hit?” Yogi suddenly felt like the kid who had been caught with both hands in the cookie jar—but that explosion woke him up, and from then on he hustled all the way.
You don’t punish kids for making errors or failing to run out grounders or whatever. Puships? That belongs in military boot camp or a prison yard, not on a baseball or other playing field. There have been too many instances where kids, having been subjected to such punishment, become soured on the game and drop out, never to play again. At any level, bullying===and I would consider this a form of it—doesn’t work.
Specialized workouts concentrating on a problem will work, when done in a professional way. 8)

Negative reinforcement stifles many kids’ development. Instead of pushing themselves to make increasingly difficult plays, they instead just try not to make mistakes - they play conservatively.

Also, negative reinforcement takes the fun out of the game and that can drive some kids away from the game. Coaches shouldn’t be doing that to kids.

Mental mistakes do need to be dealt with in an age-appropriate manner. But I love kids to try to push the envelope to make plays. Practice is a time for doing that.

Too many coaches think players should perform perfectly at practice when, in fact, practice is the time to make mistakes - without fear of punishment.

Right again, Roger!
Some years ago a very wise psychiatrist once said that we all learn by making mistakes. That is true of just about any endeavor, whether it be learning to play a musical instrument or cooking a gourmet meal or—yes, playing baseball or some other sport. Sure, we all goof up, but how else are we going to learn?
I remember when Yogi Berra first came up to the Yankees. He was, from the outset, a great hitter—they used to say about him that the only way to pitch to him was to throw the ball under the plate—but as a catcher he was an absolute disaster. So the Yankees hired Bill Dickey, one of the great catchers of all time, to teach Yogi how to catch. (As Yogi once said, “Bill Dickey is learning me all his experience”—and no, that is not exactly a Yogiism; that usage was common in Shakespeare’s time.) So Yogi made mistakes—but he learned, and the pitching staff helped him learn. And he became one of the great catchers of all time, an expert handler of pitchers, a guy who fooled everybody because he didn’t look as if he could run but who ran and beat out those base hits, and who threw out runners trying to steal.
Yes, we all make mistakes at the beginning—but that is how we learn, when someone who makes few if any mistakes shows us how to do things right. And punitive measures are NOT the way to go. 8)

Same coach…during a semi game my son royally pissed the coach off, to the point the guy took him out of the game and then screamed/yelled at him off and on throughout the rest of the game. I think the guy kind of lost it, but as I told the kid, cause and effect. He may have went overboard, but you lit the fuze.

Anyway, the kid went out in the championship game and kick butt. Never been so proud of him before or since. So I’ll say it again, even young kids can respond well to adversity, if given a chance. I know it makes us feel good as adults to shield them from all things we perceive as bad, but are we doing them a favor? I tend to think it’s a form of child abuse.

Depends if the kid can do pushups to begin with . . . my son didn’t want to play Middle School B-Ball this year 'cause they do pushups and suicides . So, before basketball season he starts exercising so he can do pushups and have the endurance for sprints. Decides to play b-ball, has a solid year playing the power forward spot for a 6th grader, and keeps up with the older kids in doing pushups and suicides, and being strong enough to battle inside. He’s stronger now, more flexible because he also took seriously stretching, and has more endurance. In my observation, at the youth age, most kids are not working out long enough to get their muscles fatigued. It’s not like they’re in the gym for hours before hitting the practice field and their muscle are already tired. Most likely, youth age kids needs to work on the core exercises to build muscle.

[quote]Same coach…during a semi game my son royally pissed the coach off, to the point the guy took him out of the game and then screamed/yelled at him off and on throughout the rest of the game. I think the guy kind of lost it, but as I told the kid, cause and effect. He may have went overboard, but you lit the fuze.

Anyway, the kid went out in the championship game and kick butt. Never been so proud of him before or since. So I’ll say it again, even young kids can respond well to adversity, if given a chance. I know it makes us feel good as adults to shield them from all things we perceive as bad, but are we doing them a favor? I tend to think it’s a form of child abuse.[/quote]

SomeBaseballDad, so you tend to think it’s a form of child abuse, is your kid still playing for that team? I am sure that if the situation was different and that kid instead of it lighing a fire under him, quit and didn’t play again, then there would be a different view of the actions.

I’m not so sure that it isn’t a form of child abuse. In fact, we have just seen a form of pitcher abuse in the major leagues. The Mets (shame, shame, shame on them!) overworked Pedro Feliciano to the point that now, as a Yankee, he’s started the season on the disabled list because of extreme fatigue, and it will take some time before he recovers enough to be able to pitch even one or two innings in relief. What’s the matter, didn’t they have anyone else in their bullpen? :shock:

Yeah I would look at it that his heart wasn’t really in it. Most of the kids were straight A students, with more strict parents. A lot (most) of the time not the more talented group. But they just never gave up or got rattled. I seen the coach get teed up, put the team in a bind, they responded by turning it up a notch. Appreciated the coach had their back. He was good at pushing then to a point then backing off. I think in their insightful kid way the kids knew it was genuine, He also never talked down to them, explained the way it was,

I never though the coach abused them, about the closes was my kid. He was very distraught when on the way to practice I told him this would be it for the year. Think I saw a couple tears.

REC ball was touchy feely, kid hated it. Always said there’s not a kid out there that cares.

Ya know, in the whole scheme of things it wasn’t that long ago kids were riding in the back of covered wagons shooting at Indians because they knew losing meant death for the boys and rape for the girls. Now telling a kid to pick it up is the devil’s work.

I know this is an older thread but felt I had to comment. After a great season my son was asked to join a travel ball team for the fall with kids picked from our league. We decided to do it. First couple of practices went ok. Then it became, if you make a mistake, the whole team has to do pushups. One kid was struggling to do them so the coach pulled him aside, made him do them in front of everyone. These are 10/11 yo. I couldn’t believe it.
Oddly, I didn’t see the team improving. I saw certain kids who became terrified to make mistakes. Almost like, hesitant to make a play cause if they did it wrong, they would be punished. My son being one. In the end, I made the decision to pull him. It was by no means all the coaches fault, but he was losing the love for the game. He no longer seemed to be the same kid who loved playing. He was struggling and not having much fun. I’m not going to blame the coaches for his struggles. Not sure what it was. I feel you have to make the best of every occasion but I was fearful he’d quit baseball all together. I at times regret my decision but know it was probably the right one.
My point is what’s good for some kids, is most certainly not good for others. After all they’re kids trying to do their best. There’s already enough pressure to succeed.

I believe you made the right decision. You’d be kicking yourself if your kid decided hang it up and you hadn’t made this decision.

Now, shop around for a good, positive coach who puts the right perspective on youth baseball.