Teaching the Good

I have always known that I get better improvement from the least skilled players. I also understand the least skilled are going to improve more than the good players. I can see the good players getting complacent and just going throught the motions.

This is fallball now and we are half over. These are 9 - 10 yr olds.

How do I go about challenging the better players to get better? Do I seperate them for a brief time during practice (15-20 min) from the other kids and give them harder ground balls, faster pitching,or tougher situations? Do we just make everything harder while they are doing the stations with the other kids?

Thanks in advance for your responses

A long time ago … a very long time ago, I filled in with a 17U club as a favor. I ran into the exact situation that you mentioned here.

The attention span seem to be the key to everything. If the interest was there - fine. If it wasn’t - boring! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

My Mrs came up with the idea of involving the more talented members of the club with the coaching process. Not taking over in places that these guys had little or no experience in, but integrating the practice and game experience USING those with more depth and talent to help the others who were less so.

It took me a while to fiddle around and work all the bugs out, but after three weeks of pratice sessions I had a club firing on all cylinders.

At the start, I told the gifted guys that I was depending on them to bring this club together … better with them than just me alone. I built up there confidence by recognizing each player for his outstanding ability in one way or the other. I then placed all the gifted infielders on the skins, gave the catchers the infield pratice balls and told them to give-it-a-go. The infield practice went smooth and some lasting friendships were in the works. " Let’s turn two on the next one"… I’d hear, then I ask each top roster player to explain why … how did he set himself up for this play … what was his prep work… etc, to the developing players next to him.

When things really got going, I’d designate one player as the field captain during a practice, then switch to a different player for the next. I’d step back with my backstops and we’d talk about what we were seeing. I wish I had some assistant coaches - but things being what they were, I was lucky to have what I had.

By the way, I didn’t have one pitcher on the roster - not one. So, I took eleven players at random, shook their hand and congratualted them on being “instant pitchers delux” - welcome! Needless to say we weren’t overrun with scouts that year, but we did have one heck of a batting order. Funny how a pitching coach can be credited with improving the batting prowess of a lot of guys who where just born to swing a bat. (Personally - I didn’t have the foggyest idea. But that’s a story for another time.)

Coach B.

And conversely—how an infielder, for example, can be credited with helping a pitcher.
Whitey Ford came up to the Yankees in 1950, and he started one game—and he was belted around from here to Timbuktu and back, with all his pitches being turned into line-drive base hits. In addition, he was being distracted by someone behind him who was yelling all the time. Finally, in the fifth inning, first baseman Tommy Henrich came running out to the mound and said to him, “Hey Whitey—that first-base coach is calling every pitch you’re throwing!” This was, for Ford, the first indication that he might be telegraphing his pitches; the other team’s first-base coach was picking up on them and relaying them to the hitters.
The next day pitching coach Jim Turner and fellow pitcher Ed Lopat took Ford into the bullpen and had him throw from the stretch, because that was when the problem was occurring. Turner was puzzled and kept scratching his head, but Lopat, who had been watching Ford the previous day with a grim, sardonic smile on his face, zeroed in immediately on the problem. Ford, without being aware of it, had been positioning his hand one way for a fast ball and another way for a curve, and because he was a lefthander it was no problem at all for the opposition coach to pick it up and yell at the batter to expect one or the other pitch. Lopat then took him aside, told him what he had been doing wrong, and worked with him to correct the problem.
But it was Tommy Henrich who had first become aware of the situation. :slight_smile: 8)