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What is an ideal Coach-Pitch League Model?

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  • What is an ideal Coach-Pitch League Model?

    My local organization is in a bit of an upheaval. Some of us want to rework our c-p program from a team-focused, competitve schedule model to a blend of clinic-workout-instructional/competitve schedule model. Some of us want to seriously de-emphasize the competitive component, while others insist that has to be the focus of the program. thier argument is that the kids want it that way, and otherwise it would not be fun. They don't want to practice anyway, they claim and therefore do MORE instruction would turn off the kids.

    As the coach of the local middle school I see kids coming to me WHO MAKE THE TEAM with weak fundamentals, and I am in favor of blending more intense instruction with the competitve schedule (with a deemphasis on competitiveness, for instacne I don't keep score for my team, the others do.)


    There is much resistance to the latter.

    Thoughts?

    Tom

  • #2
    Originally posted by tominct
    Some of us want to rework our c-p program from a team-focused, competitve schedule model to a blend of clinic-workout-instructional/competitve schedule model. Some of us want to seriously de-emphasize the competitive component, while others insist that has to be the focus of the program.
    Tom, this seems to be a problem with many leagues.

    I have coached both middle school and high school and know the frustration of having a tryout squad with little basic knowledge. For the coach pitch level I recommend the emphasis should be the basics and training only. See the attached chart.Winning versus Teaching.doc
    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
    - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
    Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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    • #3
      First off, Jake your book is great - got the ebook the other day and will definately be using some of that information this spring.
      Tom, I'm down in TX but perhaps you all have something similar. The local "rec" league is very competitive in the spring. They offer a Fall Ball program that is dubbed "Instructional Ball" (no score keeping, coaches on the the field etc.). There is also a YMCA in town - they are NOT competitive at all. No score keeping but I don't think they have much as far as knowledgeable coaches either (at least not that I've seen). So parents here have that choice of whether they want their children playing competitevely or not.
      I would be curious if y'all have that option up there so that instead of the upheaval, just have them go on down the road.

      Comment


      • #4
        [/QUOTE]I would be curious if y'all have that option up there so that instead of the upheaval, just have them go on down the road.[/QUOTE]

        We have no such option. Kids at a slightly older age than that to which I refer, often choose to play AAU, which is highly competitive, very costly, and requires a very serious committment from families. To a slightly lesser extent there are local travel teams, which are just emerging. These are rec ball players who are the all-star players and they have now figured out a way to get these all-star tams playing together much earlier than they ever did in the past.

        Tom

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        • #5
          How many players does this league have? You can try to affiliate with PONY or Babe Ruth, and follow their guidelines. Both organizations are committed to keeping the game fun for youth.

          If there are disagreements, make sure coaches get NYSCA certification: http://www.nays.org/


          The key is to keep it fun. Since you mentioned coach pitch I would assume they are in 3rd grade and younger.

          One solution is to put the more coordinated players that are in 3rd grade in kid pitch. A 3rd grader that can throw, catch and hit will find coach pitch boring.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by tominct
            while others insist that has to be the focus of the program.

            This comment to me is exactly the problem with youth sports in america. Select teams in our area, and even league teams for that matter will do whatever it takes to WIN at all costs.

            Select ball at least in my area is all about "Parents Pride" and parents attitudes are killing their kids future. I'm seeing more and more kids quite playing baseball all together by the age of 10-12 because they see it more as a job, and chore to go their "military style" practices and games rather then going to have fun with their friends and play a game doing it.

            I think your idea of what coach pitch should be is dead on. It should be an environment where the kids can come out, have fun and learn the basic fundamentals of the game. And if I were running one of these teams, I would make it mandatory that parents sit 25ft from the fence and are not allowed to talk to their kid until the game is over. (unless there is a serious problem)

            I can't tell you how many times I see little Jhonny up at the plate and take a swing and miss and imediately turn and look in the stands to either get yelled at by their parent or instructed to do something different. Same thing happens when I'm doing lessons with an "overbearing parent". The dad is sitting outside of my cage, and everytime I toss a kid the ball he takes a swing and turns and looks at his dad for approval.

            Ok, I"ve said enough.

            Comment


            • #7
              I have seen leagues take t-ball and flag football too seriously. In one local league, affiliated with Little League, they have 4-7 year olds playing t-ball, and coach pitches to them after the first round and no score is kept and every kids bats every inning and the game usually is three innings. The have a "Prep" division with 7-10 playing and the kids pitch with basically normal Little League rules, score is not supposed to be kept, but they do on the sly. Minors 8-11 and Majors 10-12 end up being competitive.

              Another local league , affiliated with Pony, T-ball (Shetland, 5-6) has coach pitch by second round and plays three innings with no score kept. Kids have fun. Pinto (7-8) is kids pitch, no leading off and no advancing from third on past balls or bad throws to the pitcher (you basically have to hit him in). Competitive to an extent, but very instructional in most cases. A few coaches take it a bit too seriously. Mustang (9-10) playing basic OBR (official baseball rules) and is competitive, but balks and some other rules are not enforced to the "n"th degree. Bronco (11-12), "real" baseball at 70 foot bases with all OBR rules enforced. Pony (13-14), bases at 80 feet with all OBR enforced. Bronco and Pony end up being competitive, but as a whole, the league is not that overbearing towards the kids. It is considered a "mellow" league by the umpires.

              I prefer the age system and by moving the diamond for each level as opposed to the same basic diamond for a 7 year old and a 12 year old. Some league use that level between t-ball and kid pitch as a true coach pitch, which is fine. Pony actually does reccommned that Pinto is coach pitch, but they have tournaments that have kid pitch. so a bit contradictary. If tyhe kids pitch, move the rubber closer, because you don't want a walkfest.
              http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/ex...eline_1961.jpg

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              • #8
                Coach Pitch/Recreational vs Competitive

                I've coached both recreational and competitive teams and both have their place.
                However, for young players (say grades K to 5) I believe the focus should be on fundamentals/teaching/participation. Teach them the game, skills, positions, etc and let them play. Mandatory participation rules, players moving to a diferent posiiton each inning, everyone batting all help ensure that players learn the game and get to play.
                If and when a player is clearly way better than others and has the competitive drive then I will recommend that player move into a more competitive program (LL or whatever.)
                My grandson (8) got into baseball this spring starting with a recr. team that slowly morphed into a travel team by the end of the summer and fall. By the time the season was over he had played about 100 games and he was sick of it. He will be back next spring in a recreational program for a year or two. (And, BTW, he is good enuf to play travel ball but not just yet.)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Each season,our local coach pitch division turns into the most competitive league we have. We are starting something in soccer which I am trying to transfer to our coach pitch league. Put both teams on the field, divide the players into 4 groups (or more if you have enough coaches), and work on fundamentals for 30-45 minutes. After the "practice" stage, regroup into the separate teams and play a short game (1 hr). The trick is having knowledgeable coaches. Too many dads with Little League playing resumes. Most of our coaches are not willing to put the time nor effort into learning the game. I use to think I knew what I was doing when I played high school. The more I coach, read, watch... the more I need to learn.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tominct
                    My local organization is in a bit of an upheaval. Some of us want to rework our c-p program from a team-focused, competitve schedule model to a blend of clinic-workout-instructional/competitve schedule model. Some of us want to seriously de-emphasize the competitive component, while others insist that has to be the focus of the program. thier argument is that the kids want it that way, and otherwise it would not be fun. They don't want to practice anyway, they claim and therefore do MORE instruction would turn off the kids.

                    As the coach of the local middle school I see kids coming to me WHO MAKE THE TEAM with weak fundamentals, and I am in favor of blending more intense instruction with the competitve schedule (with a deemphasis on competitiveness, for instacne I don't keep score for my team, the others do.)


                    There is much resistance to the latter.

                    Thoughts?

                    Tom
                    You didn't indicate the age level, but I'll assume you're talking about 9U kids. Regardless of the sport, the emphasis at that level should be #1 FUN and #2 teaching the fundamentals and the "why" of the game. As you said, you've junior high kids who haven't the foggiest idea of how to execute a bunt, how to run the bases, how to play based on a given situation, etc. Bottom line, is that by their freshman season, they're pretty much useless because they don't really know the game (that's provided that you've shown the patience of Job in coaching them at the junior high level and not already cut them). Young kids need to have FUN and learn the fundamentals of the game. In my way of thinking, if the kids finish each practice/game asking, "Can we stay longer?", or "When is our next game?", then a coach has done his/her job!
                    "I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it." - Sandy Koufax.

                    "My name is Yasiel Puig. I am from Cuba. I am 21 years old. Thank you."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by chd66
                      Each season,our local coach pitch division turns into the most competitive league we have. We are starting something in soccer which I am trying to transfer to our coach pitch league. Put both teams on the field, divide the players into 4 groups (or more if you have enough coaches), and work on fundamentals for 30-45 minutes. After the "practice" stage, regroup into the separate teams and play a short game (1 hr). The trick is having knowledgeable coaches. Too many dads with Little League playing resumes. Most of our coaches are not willing to put the time nor effort into learning the game. I use to think I knew what I was doing when I played high school. The more I coach, read, watch... the more I need to learn.
                      You mentioned youth soccer. The European model of coaching/teaching youth soccer is a fantastic example of the emphasis being put on FUN/discovery/practice and NOT on playing and winning. If you're interested in learning more about this type of approach, try searching "european youth soccer academies" on Google. This may provide some good ideas to base a league format upon.
                      I also believe the folks at Frozen Ropes have a program that works with young kids in a baseball setting. That may be worth looking into as well to gain some insight. (No, I don't work for Frozen Ropes).
                      "I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it." - Sandy Koufax.

                      "My name is Yasiel Puig. I am from Cuba. I am 21 years old. Thank you."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The European model is true for all sports, not just soccer. Teach kids to love the game more so than be great at the game. Baseball is the game of our generation (35+) and those before us. Our kids may choose baseball or they may not. If they love the game, they will try to improve their individual skill level. If we, the little league dads, keep pushing them to love our game, they will play but never love the game.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Some of us want to seriously de-emphasize the competitive component, while others insist that has to be the focus of the program.
                          Tom, we discussed this in the other thread, so you know my thinking. One bit of ammunition in your debate could be this: dare the proponents of a competition-based C-P program to come forward with any recommendation by any responsible coaching expert, youth sports organization, developmental psychologist, pediatrician or major leaguer who agrees with their position. I can name you a bunch who unanimously would counter it. (Start with Jake's book with its excellent chart on those issues -- winning isn't even in the running as a relevant consideration at that age.) Segregating kids by their skill level at that age insures that half will give up the game by the time they're nine, and makes no more sense than steering seven year old girls into (or away from) school plays based on signs that they are (or are not) developing boobs.

                          My grandson (8) got into baseball this spring starting with a recr. team that slowly morphed into a travel team by the end of the summer and fall. By the time the season was over he had played about 100 games and he was sick of it.
                          Is it too late for you to spank whichever of the kid's parents is your child? That's insane.
                          Another local league , affiliated with Pony, T-ball (Shetland, 5-6) has coach pitch by second round and plays three innings with no score kept. Kids have fun. Pinto (7-8) is kids pitch, no leading off and no advancing from third on past balls or bad throws to the pitcher (you basically have to hit him in). Competitive to an extent, but very instructional in most cases. A few coaches take it a bit too seriously. Mustang (9-10) playing basic OBR (official baseball rules) and is competitive, but balks and some other rules are not enforced to the "n"th degree. Bronco (11-12), "real" baseball at 70 foot bases with all OBR rules enforced. Pony (13-14), bases at 80 feet with all OBR enforced. Bronco and Pony end up being competitive, but as a whole, the league is not that overbearing towards the kids. It is considered a "mellow" league by the umpires.
                          Steve, my son has played in Pony ball for four years, and I think the progression is excellent. First, it has a batting order where all players bat (if twelve show up, you have a twelve person batting order), so there's none of this juggling kids in and out and "forgetting" to get the weak kids in. Second, the ever increasing distance for bases accurately follows their development. My son went back to Little League distances for summer league and, with some of the really athletic kids, it was a joke. The mound is too close and scary. The fast kids could run out anything to first. And you can't have stealing or leadoffs with those distances.

                          In non-Pony Leagues, as occurred in my youth, the 13 year old kids are expected to quickly adjust to 90 foot basepaths and 60 pitching distances. For us, it was a joke. Pitchers walked way too many batters. And most catchers couldn't make the throw to second. Pony's got it right, having you jump ten-feet in basepath distance every two years.

                          One question, BlueSteve. Why should balks be enforced in any way at the Mustang level, as there are no leadoffs or steals, right?
                          BHSS89 said: "Guys ask me, don't I get burned out? How can you get burned out doing something you love? I ask you, have you ever got tired of kissing a pretty girl?" - Tommy Lasorda
                          Dang it all, BH, you're making it tough for me to dislike Lasorda as much as I'l like too... ROTFL
                          Last edited by Ursa Major; 01-22-2006, 01:15 AM.
                          sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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