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  • You Call This Baseball?????

    I begin this post with a disclaimer. I run a program for catchers. I sleep, drink and eat catching. I look at baseball through the eyes of the catcher. I try to come up with ways that leagues can better help the development of their leagues catchers. And I make no apologies.

    I discovered a number of years ago one of the reasons that it is often hard to get enough kids to want to catch. At the Minors level, why would a kid want to be responsible for 20 runs scoring? Since the pitchers are still learning to hit the glove, and he is struggling to figure out how to catch the ball in the dirt, it is not uncommon for there to be 20 runs scored solely on passed balls. Why would a kid want to get behind the plate when he knows he’s going to “Let” 20 runs score.

    Few kids get the opportunity to learn to tag on a fly ball when on third and score from there because the first pitch that goes in the dirt and gets by the catcher he scores. Actually in many games, every kids that gets on scores. And you call this baseball????

    A few years ago the youth program in our town we made the change that in the Minors there would be no scoring from 3rd on a pass ball. NO Scoring at all!!!! By the 2nd week of the season we were having games 2-1, 3-2, like real baseball, not 21-17. It took the pressure off the pitcher and catcher to relax and have fun and not be so overly concerned about runs scoring.

    The next season we made some other observations. Our infielders never had the chance to make force plays. As soon a player got on first they player would “steal” 2nd, then “steal 3rd” and any chance for a force was usually lost. So we implemented the following rule change. No runner can move, even on a pass ball, until there are 2 strikes on the batter. Now there were many opportunities to make the force at 2nd or 3rd. And we even saw a few double plays that first year. We did have some coaches complain about the reduction in running. But then they have a very unrealistic view of base running at the youth level anyway. Here’s there idea of what happens when a runner gets on first.

    Pitch crosses plate, runner goes,…sorta…catcher fakes throw, runner goes back to 1st….sorta….runner dances the jig off of first to bait catcher to throw,…catcher runs out from behind the plate very badly faking a throw…..runner goes back to 1st…sorta….catcher tosses ball to pitcher, runner must go back to first..,…yeah that was baseball.

    Try that base running at the Babe Ruth Level on the 90ft diamond and the runner will be picked off every time. Why do coaches encourage all this unrealistic base running that in no way teaches anything that will be used once the player gets to the bigger field. Simple, the coach wants to win, and doesn’t care if the tactics he employs are not ones the kids will use at the higher levels.

    No wonder our youth catchers have so much trouble making the throw at the big field. It’s bad enough that the throw is 42 feet farther then the small diamond, but as a youth player they have never been able to use the simple premise of..Runner goes..catcher throws. We have allowed our catchers to get caught up in the ridiculous game of cat and mouse coaches play on the base paths instead of just acting like a catcher and making the throw. Teach your catchers if they see the guy break, make the throw, don’t wait for the coverage to get there, make the throw. That’s real baseball. If the infielder doesn’t go to the bag because he’s not paying attention, then he will be the one that needs the instruction. If your centerfielder is paying attention then he will do what his job is and back up the play. That’s baseball!!!

    I have a question for those of you that might criticize this idea and say that it’s another example of coaches watering down the game and the catchers should just suck it up and deal with it. To make sure your young players play by the rules as you see it, do you also enforce the balk rule at the Minors level? If not, then explain why not?

    Put in place rules that limit this joke called base running that has no other purpose then to run up scores at the expense of the development of young catchers and pitchers. I’m not opposed to teaching aggressive base running, stretching a single to a double, tagging up from 3 rd on the fly to the outfield. But the ridiculous antics of some teams that run the bases in a manner that will only ensure they will be thrown out when they get to the higher levels needs to stop.
    Coach Weaver
    www.catchingcamp.com
    Facebook: New England Catching Camp
    Phil 4:13

  • #2
    Hey Coach,
    From what I gleaned, the changes are:

    1. Minor League there would be no scoring from 3rd on a pass ball.
    2. No runner can move, even on a pass ball, until there are 2 strikes on the batter.

    What affect did this have on game times? I would think they would be considerably shorter.
    "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.

    Comment


    • #3
      Excellent!

      One of the best posts I've seen in a long time. Congratulations!!!!

      Structure the rules in such a way that our young players have a chance to learn the game in it's entirety.

      About twenty years ago we moved our young teams from kid pitch to tee ball and immediately saw a significant inprovement in hitting, fielding and baserunning. The "traditionalists" (of which I was one at that time ) thought it was terrible, like burning the flag. But, it was soon evident that the change was beneficial to the kids.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Catchingcoach
        I begin this post with a disclaimer. I run a program for catchers. I sleep, drink and eat catching. I look at baseball through the eyes of the catcher. I try to come up with ways that leagues can better help the development of their leagues catchers. And I make no apologies.

        I discovered a number of years ago one of the reasons that it is often hard to get enough kids to want to catch. At the Minors level, why would a kid want to be responsible for 20 runs scoring? Since the pitchers are still learning to hit the glove, and he is struggling to figure out how to catch the ball in the dirt, it is not uncommon for there to be 20 runs scored solely on passed balls. Why would a kid want to get behind the plate when he knows he’s going to “Let” 20 runs score.

        Few kids get the opportunity to learn to tag on a fly ball when on third and score from there because the first pitch that goes in the dirt and gets by the catcher he scores. Actually in many games, every kids that gets on scores. And you call this baseball????

        A few years ago the youth program in our town we made the change that in the Minors there would be no scoring from 3rd on a pass ball. NO Scoring at all!!!! By the 2nd week of the season we were having games 2-1, 3-2, like real baseball, not 21-17. It took the pressure off the pitcher and catcher to relax and have fun and not be so overly concerned about runs scoring.

        The next season we made some other observations. Our infielders never had the chance to make force plays. As soon a player got on first they player would “steal” 2nd, then “steal 3rd” and any chance for a force was usually lost. So we implemented the following rule change. No runner can move, even on a pass ball, until there are 2 strikes on the batter. Now there were many opportunities to make the force at 2nd or 3rd. And we even saw a few double plays that first year. We did have some coaches complain about the reduction in running. But then they have a very unrealistic view of base running at the youth level anyway. Here’s there idea of what happens when a runner gets on first.

        Pitch crosses plate, runner goes,…sorta…catcher fakes throw, runner goes back to 1st….sorta….runner dances the jig off of first to bait catcher to throw,…catcher runs out from behind the plate very badly faking a throw…..runner goes back to 1st…sorta….catcher tosses ball to pitcher, runner must go back to first..,…yeah that was baseball.

        Try that base running at the Babe Ruth Level on the 90ft diamond and the runner will be picked off every time. Why do coaches encourage all this unrealistic base running that in no way teaches anything that will be used once the player gets to the bigger field. Simple, the coach wants to win, and doesn’t care if the tactics he employs are not ones the kids will use at the higher levels.

        No wonder our youth catchers have so much trouble making the throw at the big field. It’s bad enough that the throw is 42 feet farther then the small diamond, but as a youth player they have never been able to use the simple premise of..Runner goes..catcher throws. We have allowed our catchers to get caught up in the ridiculous game of cat and mouse coaches play on the base paths instead of just acting like a catcher and making the throw. Teach your catchers if they see the guy break, make the throw, don’t wait for the coverage to get there, make the throw. That’s real baseball. If the infielder doesn’t go to the bag because he’s not paying attention, then he will be the one that needs the instruction. If your centerfielder is paying attention then he will do what his job is and back up the play. That’s baseball!!!

        I have a question for those of you that might criticize this idea and say that it’s another example of coaches watering down the game and the catchers should just suck it up and deal with it. To make sure your young players play by the rules as you see it, do you also enforce the balk rule at the Minors level? If not, then explain why not?

        Put in place rules that limit this joke called base running that has no other purpose then to run up scores at the expense of the development of young catchers and pitchers. I’m not opposed to teaching aggressive base running, stretching a single to a double, tagging up from 3 rd on the fly to the outfield. But the ridiculous antics of some teams that run the bases in a manner that will only ensure they will be thrown out when they get to the higher levels needs to stop.
        If your goal is to reduce the total number of runs scored in a game, and to decrease the time it takes to complete the game, then your rule changes accomplish that. But, I don't see how it does anything to improve their skills.

        Using your rules, the catcher could go for a water break until the batter gets two strikes. How does that help him learn to block a pitch, or throw out a runner?

        If he doesn't have to block or throw, then why would he put any effort into it?

        If the pitcher doesn't have to worry about a wild pitch with a runner at third, why work on control.

        Baseball is throwing, catching and hitting. If you can't do those things, the scores get high. Why not solve the REAL problem and focus on throwing and catching?

        Putting in golf is tough, so instead of getting better I think I'll make the hole 4 times as big, then I'll be able to score well. And, while I'm at it, I'll remove all sand traps and water hazards and move the tee boxes closer. If I can't play the real game, I'll make one I can do well at.

        Sorry, but I strongly disagree with your solution to the problem. It's not the runner's fault that the defense can't get him out. The defense needs to get better.

        Comment


        • #5
          Jbooth,

          First of all I never said my goal was to reduce the time the game takes. Another poster asked if that is what happened. Actually the games continued to be played the 90 minute time limit our league had set. However now most games actually got to the 5th and 6th inning, instead of 3-4 with the rules before.

          And I never said my goal was to reduce the rumber of runs scored, you said that. My goal was to put rules in place that would help cause more of the runs to be scored by the ball actually hitting the bat, rather then walks, and unrealistic baserunning. The kids in the league were getting the attitude to go up to the plate and not swing their bat. Coaches would even tell their kids that. "Just get the walk" and then the stupid baserunning to score runs. The message the games were sending was nothing even close to the "real" game. We were teaching don't swing, just wait till the young pitcher walks you, then you should be home to score in three pitches.

          You do realize that the kids in this division were 8-9 yr olds?? With that said you still stand by your previous post??
          Last edited by Catchingcoach; 01-28-2006, 09:19 PM.
          Coach Weaver
          www.catchingcamp.com
          Facebook: New England Catching Camp
          Phil 4:13

          Comment


          • #6
            I think stuff like pitch counts at lower levels of baseball is retarded ******** so you dont wanna know what I think about 'not letting runners score from third.'

            Sorry for my frankness, I know there is someone out there who cant handle brutal honesty.
            Last edited by Bob Hannah; 01-28-2006, 11:16 PM. Reason: see paragraph 2 of this post

            Comment


            • #7
              Why? Would you let a 13 year old throw 150 pitches?
              While I do prefer to interact with people in a gentle manner... I'm also not at all opposed to establishing my dominance in a reign of terror.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by XFactor
                Why? Would you let a 13 year old throw 150 pitches?
                No I would educate coaches and parents on how to properly manage their pitchers.

                Comment


                • #9
                  [QUOTE=chisox2k5]I think stuff like pitch counts at lower levels of baseball is retarded bulls*** so you dont wanna know what I think about 'not letting runners score from third.'


                  So when after you finished your try at educating the parents and coaches of 800 kids in our league and you hear that there are still kids arms being pushed too far, because some coaches and parents just were not real impressed with yours or anyone eleses teaching, would you ever feel that the Board of Directors of the league should ever step in an establish rules that mandate the number of pitches a player can throw. Or would you go back and try to teach them some more??
                  Coach Weaver
                  www.catchingcamp.com
                  Facebook: New England Catching Camp
                  Phil 4:13

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Catchingcoach
                    So when after you finished your try at educating the parents and coaches of 800 kids in our league and you hear that there are still kids arms being pushed too far, because some coaches and parents just were not real impressed with yours or anyone eleses teaching, would you ever feel that the Board of Directors of the league should ever step in an establish rules that mandate the number of pitches a player can throw. Or would you go back and try to teach them some more??
                    I would make sure I do a better job of quality control.

                    Figure it out.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by chisox2k5
                      I would make sure I do a better job of quality control.

                      Figure it out.

                      Well, I figure your plan would be to only have people coaching that met your quality standards and followed your teachings precisely and eliminate all coaches who would dare to operate outside them.

                      That league only exists on Fantasy Island.

                      So if you are opposed to limiting the scoring from 3rd on passed balls in a league of 8-9 yr olds, I guess if you had your way you'd insist that your youth programs in your town play on full size field. 60 ft pitching distance, and 90 foot bases right?? Wouldn't want those 8-10 yr olds to be forced to play something other then the "real" game would you?

                      Oh and I was wondering, are you also against TeeBall? Lets have those 5 yr olds pitching to other 5 yr olds...gotta make sure they experience the "real" game. None of that watered down game for them hitting off that Tee and having fun.
                      Coach Weaver
                      www.catchingcamp.com
                      Facebook: New England Catching Camp
                      Phil 4:13

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Maybe he was unaware of the age of the league...
                        While I do prefer to interact with people in a gentle manner... I'm also not at all opposed to establishing my dominance in a reign of terror.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Catchingcoach
                          Well, I figure your plan would be to only have people coaching that met your quality standards and followed your teachings precisely and eliminate all coaches who would dare to operate outside them.

                          That league only exists on Fantasy Island.
                          I feel sorry for your kids if arent inventive enough to create a system where you can eliminate pitcher abuse yet create an environment for pitchers to acheive their maximum potential.

                          So if you are opposed to limiting the scoring from 3rd on passed balls in a league of 8-9 yr olds, I guess if you had your way you'd insist that your youth programs in your town play on full size field. 60 ft pitching distance, and 90 foot bases right?? Wouldn't want those 8-10 yr olds to be forced to play something other then the "real" game would you?
                          I never said that but you can pretend I did if it suits you.

                          Oh and I was wondering, are you also against TeeBall? Lets have those 5 yr olds pitching to other 5 yr olds...gotta make sure they experience the "real" game. None of that watered down game for them hitting off that Tee and having fun.
                          I never said that buy you can pretend I did if it suits you.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            First, don't encourage Chisox; he thinks he should be managing the Orioles. Fine. I'm an A's fan.

                            Anyway, Coach, for that age level, I think you raise some good points. Almost all 8 year olds (and probably most 9 year olds) are not ready for real pitching anyway, so I can see the value in what you do. In my son's summer 11-12 summer league they wouldn't let kids score from third without being knocked in, and it probably made for better ball. There, the rule apparently was designed to reduce collisions on passed balls, either from catchers diving to the plate with the ball or the pitcher being sent a$$ over teakettle by the runner coming in behind him. I thought the rule "wasn't baseball" because the kids were pretty big and could handle themselves. A lot of it of course depends on how far back the backstop is. With most fields I've seen with wooden backstops, they're close enough that the runner can't score unless the pitch is so bad that it hits one of the side panels and kicks around, rather than going straight back to the catcher. So, in the 9-10 league it wasn't so bad allowing kids to score.

                            Pitch crosses plate, runner goes,…sorta…catcher fakes throw, runner goes back to 1st….sorta….runner dances the jig off of first to bait catcher to throw,…catcher runs out from behind the plate very badly faking a throw…..runner goes back to 1st…sorta….catcher tosses ball to pitcher, runner must go back to first..,…yeah that was baseball.
                            Gad, I hate that. In 9-10 y/o ball, it was worse with fast runners on third base. They'd take a big lead and break for home when the ball went to the pitcher. So, we had a play where the catcher would walk the runner back while the first baseman came in to cover the plate. The catcher would throw the ball to the pitcher, and then the catcher would return to the plate while the first baseman waited, then the first baseman would return to first, and we'd be ready for another pitch. Wow, we'd get a whole three innings in.

                            And I hate the dang jig (and accompanying handclapping and taunting) the runners do each time after a pitch, especially in leagues where leadoffs aren't permitted, so the runner has to go back to the base anyway. Where are coaches to say to their kids, 'Hey, that's bush; knock it off!'?

                            In sum, for 8-9 y/o ball, I think those are reasonable innovations. Good to see coaches thinking outside the box to improve the experience. And I don't think it discourages good pitching and catching. No pitcher wants to give up a wild pitch (i.e., a ball) regardless of whether runners can advance. And no catcher likes having to chase the ball back to the backstop. For 10 and up, I think Jim's more on the beam as far as having kids suffer the consequences of their misfeasance.
                            sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by chisox2k5
                              I never said that but you can pretend I did if it suits you.
                              The let me go back to your original statement that you are opposed to eliminating the scoring from home on a passed ball in a league made up of 8-9 yr olds?

                              What is being taught? and where is the fun in a game with a score of 23-21, when there might be 2 or 3 balls hit out of the infield? The majority of the runs are all scored on passed balls.
                              Coach Weaver
                              www.catchingcamp.com
                              Facebook: New England Catching Camp
                              Phil 4:13

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