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9U LL All Star Curriculum

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  • 9U LL All Star Curriculum

    Can any of you older guys give me some advice on what to expect from a 9U LL all star team or what's reasonable to try and install and work on over the next three weeks relative to a typical rec team? I wasn't the best choice to be the manager but circumstances put me into the role, so here I am.

    13 kids on the roster.

    Talent wise, I'd say we range from a 3-4 obvious five stars to a couple of kids who are just barely above average for our league.

    Probably two stud pitchers (i.e. can change speed) and three very good pitchers and maybe one or two more who are serviceable and can throw strikes if we need them. 2 or 3 good catchers as well.

    Practice time is limited due to the conclusion of the regular season, so when it's all said and done we might be able to get 7-8 two hour practices over the next two weeks. We are also playing in an unsanctioned warmup tournament immediately prior to the AS tournament.

    I want to be sure we are covering the important things and not wasting time on the obvious stuff like I would do at the start of the rec season.

    This is the list I have right now to focus on for this team:

    - Proper OF technique based on situation and location of hit + backing up (OF is going to be extra important, especially RF given our pitching)
    - Relays and cutoffs from OF
    - Offensive signs and signals
    - Defensive signals (1st and 3rd defense, picks)
    - P and C backing up and not watching
    - One throw double plays (i.e. step on bag and throw)
    - One throw rundowns (two if it's at first base)
    - Bunts and bunt defense (no one in our league bunted at all this regular season)



    Anything else?

    Two things I do NOT want to waste time on are two throw DP's (i.e. "turning two") and multiple throw rundowns, as I believe that even for All Star teams the more you throw the ball at this age the more risk you are introducing into the situation. But I am willing to consider it if you guys think it's wise.

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    If I had to make a top 10 list of success factors for All Stars at 9U, they would look something like this:

    1. Pitching
    2. Pitching
    3. Pitching
    4. Pitching
    5. Pitching
    6. Hitting
    7. HItting
    8. Hitting
    9. Hitting
    10. Hitting

    At that level if your kids make routine plays on defense, the pitchers hit their spots and limit the walks, and your hitters battle at the plate then you'll be successful.

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    • #3
      There are eighteen outs in a LL game. The best defense is 10-12 strikeouts. These are the teams that typically win. In LL all stars we focused on getting the other team to throw the ball around and not doing it ourselves. He had kids round bases hard in practice and find out how far is too far. You want to draw bad throws. Otherwise, hit a lot of homers.
      Last edited by JettSixty; 05-12-2018, 03:35 PM.

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      • #4
        Apologies for my negativity,

        But here's what you don't want--

        You don't want to take a bunch of kids who have been a playing what they've perceived to be a simple easy-to-understand relaxed intuitive game all spring, and all of a sudden at all-stars they're supposed to kick it up a notch, and make it more complex.
        Much better, imo, to send the message that it's the same thing they've all been doing all season, with a notable exception being an emphasis that "everybody is moving on every play" defensively.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by skipper5 View Post
          Apologies for my negativity,

          But here's what you don't want--

          You don't want to take a bunch of kids who have been a playing what they've perceived to be a simple easy-to-understand relaxed intuitive game all spring, and all of a sudden at all-stars they're supposed to kick it up a notch, and make it more complex.
          Much better, imo, to send the message that it's the same thing they've all been doing all season, with a notable exception being an emphasis that "everybody is moving on every play" defensively.
          This is why we had potential all stars playing in a Sunday doubleheader travel league before all stars. Thinking it’s possible to develop a successful all star team in a couple of weeks is a recipe for Two and BBQ.

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          • #6
            crimson guy
            I think your list is fine.
            My initial reaction to your post was a knee-jerk negative reaction to the word "curriculum".,lol
            But whether it's 9 yr olds or 16 yr olds, resist the urge to complexify.
            For example, the best bunt defense is "an athletic pitcher".




            '
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            • #7
              Lots of good advice. I think you're plan is good. On defense, you have to limit bases by getting the ball in and to the right person, but of course good pitching is always the best defense. On offense, you have to hit the ball hard and be aggressive on the bases. You're going to struggle with pitchers given the LL days of rest if you're not careful. If you keep winning, no biggie, but if you fall into the loser bracket, you play everyday. Skipper makes a key point. This can be a very emotional ride for all, so you want the players/coaches/parents focused on the game they know. Make sure each player/family knows that they are integral to the team. Keep it simple!

              In districts we could out hit every team we faced. It helped that our defense was rock solid making both routine plays and some pretty amazing stuff for LL. In states, we just didn't have the pitching to survive. I didn't feel too bad that the team that eventually put us out in states ended up in the championship game in Williamsport.

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              • #8

                You are most likely going to have 8 kids on the team that have only ever played short stop, catcher, or pitcher.

                If they are really athletic, you can move them to other positions. If they are not, you had better find time to teach some of them how to play first/3rd/outfield.

                You don't have time to run every kid through every position specific defensive drill, so you need to assign positions early.

                Whether you are going to be successful depends on the quality of the coaching they have already received.

                Do they already know bunt defense and rundowns?

                Can the outfielders reliably catch popups and rundown balls to keep hits to singles?

                Do players and families know and accept their roles?

                6 or 7 players are going from playing every inning to being part time players.
                You need to manage the expectations or things can get ugly.

                Many of the successful teams/organizations you will see in little league all star tournaments have been playing together as travel ball teams on the weekends, so you are already behind the curve if you aren't doing that.
                Last edited by castaway; 05-15-2018, 10:31 AM.

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                • #9
                  Castaway’s post is why i ran a Sunday DH travel team of potential all stars concurrently with the LL season. We taught a bunch P, C, SS, CF how to play other positions and react rather than think.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JettSixty View Post
                    Castaway’s post is why i ran a Sunday DH travel team of potential all stars concurrently with the LL season. We taught a bunch P, C, SS, CF how to play other positions and react rather than think.
                    Good post. For me that's a very convincing reason to run a pre-All-star Sun. DH 9yo travel team with kids playing various positions.

                    For the original poster, who doesn't have that situation--- At the risk of repeating myself, the onset of allstars is the wrong time for a cram course; it's better to err on the side of keeping-it-simple/reactive/intuitive/instinctive.
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                    • #11
                      Good plan and advice from everyone. Be sure to have a parent meeting, do introductions, talk about your coaching style, that they are all allstars and might need to play at different positions and hit in the order different than the main season. You'll do ur best to etc etc. Do ur best to represent the district etc etc. A good team mom can be invaluable to bring a bunch of parents together in a short amount of time. As for the kids, they usually meld together right away. .
                      Never played baseball, just a dad of someone that loves to play. So take any advice I post with a grain of salt.

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