Originally Posted by Ohioteamz
try this sight..does he swing down?
No he doesn't swing down....that's what I can't figure. He has one of the best "looking" swings I've seen on a child. He does everything right (as far as I can tell). But for some darn reason he isn't hitting worth a darn this year.
Get this. I ask him the other night why he wasn't hitting as well this year. God as my witness this was his answer. "Because they aren't throwing down the middle of the plate."
I'm thinking his problem is mental. I think he is waiting on a perfect pitch and when he doesn't get it he swings so late that he hits the ball on the end of the bat and drives it straight into the ground. At least that is all I can figure...I'm sure I"m wrong though.
I look at the site you posted......thanks...
Originally Posted by Sparksdale
try to post a vid of his swing up here..then you'll get some worthwhile feedback.
Having coached hundreds of ball players I could not agree with Wogdoggy more. I have seen kids who at a young age looked promising only to peak out in Jr, High or Little League. I have also seen kids who look like they wouldn't go past Minor League become a great HS player. They key is - at 10 - Wog is right, at best you only have an inkling.Originally Posted by wogdoggy
Thanks for keeping us posted on your kid's doings. Bear in mind that the folks who have posted in response to your thoughts in many cases have coached or been involved in youth ball for many decades and have seen hundreds of kids and their fathers attack baseball. And, I think your posts give away more about your attitudes than you know.
There's nothing wrong about braggin' on your kid. I love to try to sneak in success stories about my son as well, though I find that posts about my shortcomings in trying to help guide him are much better learning tools for all of us than just talking about what he did right. But, you can say, "Oh, yeah, I just want him to have fun," but when you say your highest moment was when a coach said your son had the best arm he'd seen on a 10-year old, that tells us something too. My favorite moments in baseball usually come when I see teammates encouraging another teammate who's been struggling, or applauding one who's overcome inexperience or other shortcomings and had some success. I think the life lessons should come first, and having a strong throwing arm is down the list a ways.
There is a lot I could suggest, but much of it is in the same vein -- suggesting approaches that relate more to your role as a father than to your role as your son's de facto coach. And none of us probably know you well enough to go there too deeply. But I do feel comfortable saying, don't get too caught up in the ups and downs of day-to-day successes. What will drive you nuts will be the times when -- just when you think your kid has it "right" and has some success -- he'll change his batting stance or his pitching motion and look horrible. If you act like you're both in it for the long term and won't worry about success in a particular game, he'll relax more too.
Kids shouldn't take it too seriously. I've seen teams lose games in horrible fashion that they should have won, and the parents of the losing team stand in shock and look like they want to kick something. And then the players come up and say, "Where's the pizza. And can Jimmy [[a player on the other team]] come over and play XBox?" And that puts it into perspective.
War story alert: On Sunday, my son's 11/12 y/o team was playing a team that had already beat them twice this year, even though lower in the standings. So, everyone really wanted to avoid the ignominy of losing to them a third time. Our team had built a three-run lead going into the top of the sixth (we play 7 innings), but allowed the other team to tie. The parents were pacing; the tension was thick; and the bottom of our order was coming up.
And, all of a sudden, someone discovered that one of the players had a bag of mini chocolate bars in the bottom of his equipment bag, and everyone crowded around him trying to get a piece, even my son, who's usually the first to try to re-focus kids. I could tell most of the parents were thinking what I was: is this an utter lack of necessary focus, or is this a good sign that they're not too tight? Well, they went out and scored three runs, with impeccable judgment at the plate and on the bases (the runs scored on a wild pitch sandwiched between two infield outs), and we won. So, maybe they had a better perspective than the grownups. End of war story...
What else? I don't think you should shelter him from playing ball alongside kids who are at his skill level or higher. Sure, he shouldn't be in a situation where he is completely overmatched, but making him the big duck in a small pond is not the road to success. He'll just spend his life staying in small ponds. You get better by playing with people who are just a little better than you. Players who consistently get stuck with players who are weaker than they are often get bored and quit the game.
In a sense, I think you are lucky to have avoided the screaming travel ball coach. That's ridiculous at that age. But, there may be a lesson there. Sure, your kid may have thrown and hit the ball better than anyone, but it's possible that the coaches saw some flaws that they would have to revamp if the kid was to face higher-level competition. You indicate that your background in baseball is limited, but don't say what higher level coaching assistance you've called upon. I'd ask around (maybe through your local high school coach) and see if you can find some well-regarded coaches to look at his pitching and hitting motions. And, I can't echo too loudly what has been suggested in other posts here -- take some video of a couple of his pitches and two or three of his swings (with one a game swing, if possible), and let the folks here offer some assessment.
Oh, and speaking of perspective -- that fact that you and your son can share a passion for something is absolutely golden. One litmus test of it, though. If you're not laughing out loud about something -- maybe some kind of private joke -- at least twice an hour while you're doing it, you're probably taking it too seriously.
Thanks for sharing your feelings with us so eloquently.
Before I start... everyone who knows me (Via BF) knows I am not an advocate of a gun at the young ages.Originally Posted by Sparksdale
I ran our Pitch, Hit, Run competition today. One of the Dads brought a gun, thinking speed and not accuracy was the criteria (actually not sure what he was thinking).
Long story short... the decent 12 y/o's pitchers were throwing 48-55 mph. the 11 y/o's pitchers were throwing 43-50 and a decent 10 y/o was throwing 40-46. My son Jonathan, 20 y/o and a former American Legion pitcher who hasn't thrown for a while threw 75MPH. I couldn't see the 75 MPH pitch (50 y/o eyes) and I could only throw 56 mph.
So to answer your original question "Does anyone know what is very good (speed) for a ten year old? Is 50mph just average, better than average, good, or great?" It seems that your son is on the better side of average (with regards to speed).
I put this on my list to either further investigate or further test. If I test I would conduct under a game like situation with the pitchers not knowing I was clocking them. I convinced the dads today to shut the gun down after the boys started to try and out-do each other.
That would be using the gun the wrong way. I suggest reading anything you can find on the impact of immediate objective feedback in terms of motor learning. If you like I can give you a starting point.
I have thought about buying one, but primarily to track my son's progress on a weighted ball/long toss regimen. The gun would not be brought out for the general team.Originally Posted by Jake Patterson
I have a question about the changeup. (First, I don't know if I've said this before but I'm also the head coach on my boy's 9 and 10 LL team)
As I have said, my boy throws as high as 53mph...I figure his game speed is about 49mph on his fastball.
What would be the ideal speed for a changeup at the 10 year old level with a kid who's fastball is about 50mph?
In one game he was throwing the changeup very slow (maybe 35mph but just a guess). I worked with him in the backyard the other day and sure enough he consistantly threw 51 mph on his fastball but I clocked his changeup at 37mph. I feel this is too slow and allows the hitter to adjust. We worked on his changeup and now he throws it about 42-44mph and it has just a little movement but not much.
I realize the idea about arm speed and the arm speed on the changeup should be similar to the fastball. I'm just wondering what the general idea is for the change of speed. Most of the kids I see around in my area really tip off thier off speed pitches by slowing thier body and arms down. My boy doesn't do this, his arm speed is pretty close to his fastball.
BTW: I feel this is one ideal situation for a radar gun. It allows me and my boy to actually see the difference in speed on his two pitches (he only throws a fastball and changeup).
BTW: I made a decision today about my boy and his hitting. Last year when he hit for a .933 average I never gave him pointers....not one single time. My thinking was that I should just leave him alone while he is doing so well.
This year I've been working with him about spreading his feet out and stuff (I think he has his feet too close together) I made a decision today to just leave him alone and let him have fun. I think there comes a time when I need to step back and let him do what is natural. Well, today he got a hit off a good pitcher and walked his other two at bats.
I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing here but I'm going to give this a try. Maybe he was thinking too much while in the batters box? I'm just going to leave him alone and see what happens.
Mark - how do you mean "That would be using the gun the wrong way?"Originally Posted by Mark H
I'm saying I agree with you that letting the gun generate a display of one upsmanship is a bad idea. Using it consistently during individual training for immediate objective feedback is consistent with motor learning research according to my experience and reading.
We agree...Originally Posted by Mark H
This game will really humble you.
Tonight my boy had another game. We lost.
He pitched and to be honest it wasn't pretty. His fastball was a good ten mph slower (at least but I didn't have a radar gun there). I could not see what he was doing wrong. The only thing I could see was that he seemed to be pushing the ball instead of throwing it.
In the end I may have gotten caught into the trap of thinking my boy is better than he really is. That is dangerous. He's having a pretty good year but not near as good as I think he should. In all honesty I have to say it is my fault. He simply needs a better coach than me (I coach our LL team).
I think he is probably playing at a good 50% level of his capability (in my opinion). One thing I'm having a problem with is attitude. Last year he had a lot of success and was far and away the best player in our area for his age. This year he's doing pretty good but he isn't doing great and his young mind can't seem to accept it.
I"m at a loss at this point. I've decided it is best (at least for now) to relax and let him have fun this year. When this season is over I"m going to see what I can do about getting him on a traveling team so that he can get a better coach.
I justified my coaching by saying I was giving him a lot of time. I wondering now....actually, I'm "realizing" that time simply isn't enough. Although it is important go give our kids time I think at some point we (or should I say "I") have to step back and let someone else teach him the things that I can't teach him.
So we lost tonight but maybe I learned a lesson. Just let the kids have fun and stop saying we have the next Chipper Jones or Greg Maddux. When you tell a kid that he is good then I think you put too much pressure on them.
Sparks - not "may have gotten caught," it's "DID get caught." We all do it. I did it with my two boys (Both now adults) and have seen hundreds of parents do it with their kids. I learned a long time ago you can't supress talent. If he's truly good and he wants to learn - he'll shine. All you can do is influence his journey.Originally Posted by Sparksdale
I agree Jake. What I am seeing now is he is still a good player but the other kids seem to be catching up to him.
I'll be honest. The single biggest problem I am having with him is attitude. His first at bat tonight he struck out...he wasn't the same (It was the top of the first inning). In the bottom of the first inning he came up to pitch and his mind was still on the at bat. The umpire of tonight’s game was terrible, the worst I have ever seen. Never the less that is baseball and I tried to tell my boy that it is just something a baseball player has to deal with. When he struck out the ball hit the dirt in front of home plate and the umpire called it strike three. I don't want to bash the umpire because he did his best, but it was clear he made a lot of mistakes. Somehow I have to get through to him to learn to accept the highs and lows of the game. Last year he finished the season with a .933 batting average and was the best pitcher in this area. So last year was a lot of fun to him because he was so successful. Hey, it’s easy to play when everything goes your way.
Let me tell you where I am at: I've never said that my boy was my son...he isn't. I am his granddad. My wife and I have pretty much raised the boy since he was born. Both his mother and father are drug addicts and about three years ago the court sent him to live with us for the boys own good.
So in a nutshell this kid has been through about as much hell as you can imagine. Two years ago I signed him up for baseball.... he didn't want to play at first. Well, one thing led to another and after the first practice he loved it. He took to it like a duck takes to water. What we (and all the other coaches) quickly realized was he has an incredible arm.
I’m not talking about just a good arm for a kid his age…I’m talking about an exceptional arm. He is very small for his size yet he can stand in deep center field and throw the ball to home plate in the air. He could do this at nine. I realize many kids in the country can do this but realize that there are no kids in my area (at least that we have seen) that could do that at nine years of age. It took me about a year of working with him to learn to throw strikes but once he did he really took off as a pitcher. He started having a lot of success with baseball and it was a way that he and I bonded. Baseball for him and I is more than a game. It is an escape from reality. It’s a way for us to come together.
I swear my boy is the most competitive kid (or person for that matter) that I have ever seen in my life. He has always been this way about everything he does. In baseball if he isn’t the best he gets mad and it affects the way he plays. I don’t mean just a little mad either - he really can’t stand it. I’ve never in my life seen someone so competitive.
I don’t know, I guess I’m just a little frustrated tonight as well. I really like the idea of getting him on a traveling team. Hopefully a traveling team will have a better coach. I would really like to see what my boy could do with a good coach. So I guess you can say I’m more down on myself. In some way I think I am letting him down. He deserves better than me and I just do not have the knowledge to give him. I’ve bought all the tapes and read the books but that isn’t near enough.
So I’ve said my peace. I love this game of baseball, but it will humble you. Just when you think you know all the answers you realize you don’t even have the questions yet.
Last edited by Sparksdale; 05-11-2006 at 11:10 PM.
I wouldn't fret too much about this, it's pretty normal. I have had the same issue with nineteen y/o's.Originally Posted by Sparksdale
Last night we won a game in the bottom of the 8th. I had a man on third - ground ball to SS the other team turned a double play to end the inning. Ump called the runner scoring safe - Game over. Ump bailed before we could discuss. I hate winning on a terrible call - but like you said it's part of the game.Originally Posted by Sparksdale
First of all God bless you for what you're doing. I wish you and your grandson all the best...Originally Posted by Sparksdale
This does make what you speak about different. The social and emotional dynamics between a grandfather and grandson is different than father/son, the former usually having a healthier perspective.
Overall, if your grandson is looking at ball as something he really enjoys I would do whatever I could to accomodate that. Baseball may be his way of dealing with the issues life has presented him (and you). If you can keep it fun it may be the best thing for him....
War Story Alert:
My sister who is ten years younger than I am and in her 40's found herself unexpectedly pregnant. Her children were in HS and she was not looking to raise another child, but you have to deal with what's dealt. Not wanting to put her boy in day care she asked my parents to watch Brandon. My 74 y/o dad, found himself watching Brandon daily in the twilight of his life. Long story short... the two have become inseperable and Brandon has taken to my father's second love (mom being 1) golf. At four y/o brandon can hit a ball 100 yards and he parred his first hole the other day. Dad couldn't have been prouder.
He puts as much into Brandon's golf as he did my baseball - somehow though -he and my nephew are having a great deal more fun at it than dad and i did.
Good luck - keep us posted...
Last edited by Jake Patterson; 05-12-2006 at 07:39 AM.
Let me echo Jake's blessing about what you're doing for your grandson. And, the additional information suggests that their may be a whole lot of other authority issues you're dealing with, since I'm guessing his parents were not consistently the responsible, "always there for me" grown-ups that kids need. Quick question: is the County or Court that awarded you custody offering some kind of medical (or at least counseling) assistance? It seems to me he should be given the opportunity to get counseling to deal with the issues that may well be festering within him.
New thought. I'm going to project big-time here, but bear with me and feel free to disregard my theory here. I've found that kids can sometimes go in different directions when they sense that a dad-type really wants them to do well in baseball. Some -- particularly those who've enjoyed success and feel that they've generated some stature for themselves -- stay with the program and work hard.
By contrast, others realize that the Dad's desire for them to succees gives them some power over the Dad, and they resist the idea of practicing, or use it as a lever. I know I'd reached that point when I suggested to my son that we hit the batting cages and he said he would if I bought him some knicknack or other! I've seen other kids do it as well. And, I think the risks of kids "extorting" something from you in return for him undertaking the hard work to improve his game increase when you focus on the results rather than on the fun aspects of the baseball experience.
This too suggests that you might want to retain the services of a local professional coach type -- around here, it's a guy who graduated from our league and is now a skilled college player -- to try to improve his mechanics. This addresses both your concern that you're not a good teacher, and will motivate him to follow the advice that you may already have given but that he's not listening to you the way he should.
I'm feeling even stronger than is reflected in my earlier post that you should avoid getting hung up in the day-to-variations in his skill levels. Particularly if he's so competitive, you'll simply encourage his fits of anger at lack of successes. And, even something that should be as innate as pitching speed will vary dramatically from one game to the next -- sometimes the necessary will and the mechanics are not there, and it's easy to aim or push the ball. We have one 11-year old with a great arm but who's been in a bit of a funk; without the necessary fire, he's throwing just average speed, and getting lit up. It'll come back.
I'm a little concerned about your comment that you're worried that he's not as good as you think he is. Who knows where he'll end up as a player? All you can do is to give him the skills and desire so that he'll be "close enough" when the critical high school years come around. The important thing is that he's good enough for the two of you to invest your energy into it, and he can learn some life lessons about making use of his skills (including leadership skills) in a team setting.
First I didn't realize I sounded that way when I said I was worried that he isn't as good as I thought he was. Ok, this was my point. I swear as bad as this sounds I thought he might be the next Chipper Jones or Greg Maddux or what ever. In other words my expectations for him were too high (my fault). I can still see that he is better than the other kids around here but man I tell you I really messed up in my own head. Let me tell you what I "hoped' would happen our last game. Now this is bluntly honest but I feel it is necessary to show my point. I honestly thought he would throw a no-hitter our last game. That was foolish of me to do that and I feel I need to work on my own emotions more.
In our game he pitched all 4 innings (time restrants would not allow us to play six). We gave up six runs and lost 6 to three. My boy only gave up three hits and four of the runs that scored were due to errors that my young team made.
See what "MY" problem is? In reality he pitched a pretty good game but in my own mind it wasn't good enough. I realized this last night and I really got down on myself for being such a fool. This was when I realized he needed a better more experienced coach.
The truth of the matter is it is almost impossible to coach your own kids. HE thinks because he is the best player and my kid that he should be allowed to do what he wants. Now this is pretty normal for a 10 year old but he does take it to extremes. Now again, he is growing up so he has a lot to learn in life.
Oh, and regarding the matter of his work ethic. I tell you the boy works very hard. I have a big back yard and he is out there everyday trying to be the best he can be. Not a single kid on my team does this other than him. I mean my boy really wants to bet the best. The problem is that when he doesn't do well it really gets to him and his mindset. I'm sure a better coach could bring out the competetive part of him and teach him how to deal with the pitfalls of the game.
As far as getting a counsler. I would love to but my wife doesn't agree. Actually, she is a psychiatrist and she doesn't think he needs it. She and I vastly disagree on tihs matter but the wife is always right you know.
So we are doing the best we can with him.
I do wonder how I would react if my father was looking at 20 years in jail and my mother was caught with drugs as well. No wonder the kid is messed up...he really doesn't have a chance. He is so good in sports that I hope this is his way out.
So, I'll do the best I can and I fully intend on getting him at the next level next year with a better coach. I wouldn't mind sitting in the stands chearing him on for a few years.
Last edited by Sparksdale; 05-12-2006 at 05:53 PM.
Based on what I've read I think he has a great one. Don't underestimate the power of a grandparent.Originally Posted by Sparksdale
when i was ten i threw around fifty, now im the ace of the team 2 years later
I suspect that we are of similar age, (I'm pushing 60 pretty hard) but I started later than most and have been coaching my almost 13 yo son for six years. I started coaching because no one else wanted to. Since then I've spent a lot of time and a fair amount of money figuring out what and how to teach kids and specifically my son. We've had our ups and downs in trying to balance teaching and coaching against letting him have fun. I, like you, started out thinking this is a kid who has star potential. He is pretty athletic, but I have no idea whether he has potential beyond HS. This is his last year of LL and I don't think I'm bragging in saying he is one of the 3 big studs in the league this year, and he doesn't yet weigh 90#.
There were times when I was convinced that I had ruined him for baseball because practicing was just about the last on the list of things he wanted to do. We would practice during regular team practice and then practice when there was just me and him. But, the bottom line has always been that I tried to teach him and the team the right way to do things, rather than just relying on the same stuff we all heard as kids and still hear from an awful lot of coaches. It's important to keep up with the latest info and the internet has been an incredible resource for me. I would never have stumbled across people like Steve Englishbey if not for the net. I am just beginning to realize how much I, my son and our team have gained from him.
But, I stray. My point is to just use your best judgment as you go along, and to keep your priorities straight. Even though my boy is a stand out at this early stage of baseball, and a good athlete in other sports as well, he is clear that grades come first and that music, acting and other extracurricular activities are important also. (He maintains a 95+ average in school, plays a decent trumpet and is one of the go to guys for the school's acting and singing teachers when they are putting together a musical or play)
But, baseball is our one big shared experience. After LL season this year he has decided to play on one of the 13-15 BR teams in the area rather than AS. This will be the beginning of the end of my pervasive involvement in his coaching. I'll still be around, of course, as long as I'm able to pick out his weaknesses and help him improve, but I'll no longer be the No. 1 authority figure.
I feel at this point that I have accomplished my two big goals. I've helped him develop a real love of baseball that he can carry with him forever, and an understanding of what it takes to go after and achieve whatever he wants in life. Just keep it all in perspective and teach the kids the best you can, and it will all work out.
Actually, I'm 41. My stepson is the one who is the father of my grandchild. My wife and I have pretty much raised our grandson since he was born (I wouldn't have it any other way).
Congratulations on your child doing so well.
We got a phone call last night from a coach of one of the local 12yr old teams (Remember my boy is 10).
The twelve year old team is going to be short a player this coming Thursday and they called my boy and asked him if he would play.
I talked to my boy last night about this. My words were this...I told him not to expect to much when he played this game because the 12 yr old boys are much bigger. I told him he should be proud just to have been asked. Out of all the players around here they called my boy to fill in and I told him that he should consider that an honor and it shows how well he has been playing and what the other coaches around here think of him.
We are excited as well as nervous about the game. I don't know about where ya'll live but the there are 2 or 3 boys on the twelve year old team at least six feet tall (all of them are pitchers). My boy is 4' 8" so he will look very small out on the field.
Personally, I doubt he will hit off these guys, after all they do throw much harder and a few of them "know how to pitch". Mainly what I would "love" to see out of my boy is how he stands in the box when he bats. If he strikes out then that is fine. I just hope he doesn't back out of the box. If he gets a hit then you guys will hear me yell all the way from where I live ;-)
He has played in one other game with the 12 year old kids. He didn't get a hit but walked and he stood in the box that day against the best pitcher in this area. We have a local kid that is 12 who everyone talks about and he pitched the day my boy played. This kids threw hard but my boy stood in there and didn't back out of the plate. I have to admit that my boy was pretty late with is swing when the other boy threw a fastball but that was to be expected. He had never batted agaist a pitcher that threw within 15mph that fast before. If I were him I would have been scared out of my mind but you should have seen my boy that day. He had a smile on his face that was as big as Texas. I think that is what seperates the good players from the average. Good players thrive in tough games and they want the ball.
Oh well, looking forward to Thursday.
A word of caution. It is against LL rules for a kid to play on more than one LL team at a time. He can play on travel or other organizations' teams, but not another LL team.