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  • Sorry...Need to vent about HS coaching(or lack thereof)

    I just needed to vent about some fundamentals/strategies taught by my son's JV coach. These are things I have seen in just the past two games, and are things he has outwardly criticized players about. Normally, I would never second-guess coaches when I'm not coaching, but these things seem so wrong it's hard to bite my tongue. Feel free to chastise me if my thinking is wrong, and back-up the coach if he is right.

    1.) First & Third play - can't believe I am still seeing this play in HS ball, but I question the coach's defensive strategy. The situation was runners on 1st and 3rd, 2 outs. Runner on 1st broke for 2nd with pitcher in his set position; pitcher stepped back off rubber and then ran at runner; second basemen (my son) ran forward from his position to basepath to receive throw from pitcher; runner continued to 2nd so pitcher threw ball to my son who was standing about 15-20 feet from 2nd base; runner at third broke for home when pitcher threw ball; my son(2B) received ball, then ran down runner for third out before run crossed plate (runner was ~ 20 ft. from plate when tag applied on 1B runner).
    Coach then proceeded to criticize my son for not running play the way they practiced. Coach's defensive strategy for First & Third play is as follows: runner at 1st breaks for second - pitcher steps off rubber - second basemen runs directly to 2B bag - pitcher throws to 2B - second basemen immediately throws home if 3B runner breaks for home. Coach wants it run this way NO MATTER HOW MANY OUTS. When my son tried to defend his actions, based on situation and there being two outs, coach just said to run it the way they practiced.

    2.)Another one... Situation was runner at 1st with two outs. Slow-medium ground ball between SS and 3B fielded by the third basemen who threw to 1B for routine third out. Coach proceeded to yell at third basemen because coach thought ball should have gone to 2B, even though ball wasn't hit hard and third basemen's momentum was already moving to 1B. Also, found out later that my son(second basemen) was criticized for not yelling 2..2..2 on the play.

    3.) Last one... Our catcher was being constantly criticized for the way he set-up prior to pitches. On any pitch which was called for outside, the catcher would wait until the pitcher started his motion before moving and setting up outside. Coach kept telling him to move outside after giving signs and before pitcher started his motion. Also, during the catcher's normal set-up, he would give a target but relax wrist so glove was somewhat pointing down, and then pull wrist/glove up when pitcher started motion. Coach continually criticized the catcher for not giving a proper target.


    Even though my years of coaching experience has reached double-digits, I would never profess to know everything nor do I make it a habit of second-guessing coaches. However, these three examples just seem fundamentally wrong and are then compounded by the continual criticism from the coach.

    All comments/feedback greatly appreciated.


    Twitch5

  • #2
    I think the big thing that you are looking for is a "why" to all three things.

    1) Why do we run that play just one way. Simplicity?

    2) Why did he feel as if he should have thrown to 2nd base? Does he want to make it a habit of always trying to make 80 foot throws rather than 110?

    3) What is the coaches philosophy on catching. How does he teach his catchers to receive?

    If players know why they are supposed to do things (whether they agree with it or not) at least there is a reason.

    I think you and your son are looking for reasons whether they be right, wrong or indifferent.
    I

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Twitch5 View Post
      I just needed to vent about some fundamentals/strategies taught by my son's JV coach. These are things I have seen in just the past two games, and are things he has outwardly criticized players about. Normally, I would never second-guess coaches when I'm not coaching, but these things seem so wrong it's hard to bite my tongue. Feel free to chastise me if my thinking is wrong, and back-up the coach if he is right.
      Doesn't matter, he is the coach and players are expected to execute according to the coach's play book. A friend of mine told me that at each level of baseball, HS, College, A, and AA, coaches instructed him to do baseball related things (hitting, fielding, etc.) differently, sometimes the same instructor in mid-season. The ability to go with the flow is one of the most important characterisitics of why some players continue their careers, and many don't. I played adult baseball with many players who all say " I could have played in "college, A, AA, etc" if it wasn't for that a$$$ coach I did not get along with. I think the most important advice you can give your son is listen to the coach and try to execute his plans to the best of his ability (even if you disagree). The lesson he learns is to be flexible and make adjustments. This along with his natural ability will help him prolong his baseball career.
      Have Fun and Play Hard!

      Chuck Faulkner
      Tazewell TN 37879
      The Glove Medic

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by BatSpinner View Post
        I think the big thing that you are looking for is a "why" to all three things.

        I think you and your son are looking for reasons whether they be right, wrong or indifferent.
        I
        Not looking for "why" or reasons... To the best of my knowledge (based on what I was taught and coaching materials I've read), the coach isn't teaching proper fundamentals or using "tried and true" strategy.

        If I'm wrong in my thinking, please show me the error of my ways. Basically, I don't want my son second-guessing his decisions, but still want him to remain open-minded and able to see the "error of his ways".

        You say that a play will be run just one way for simplicity. I contend that at the HS level, a player should be able to adjust based on the situation.

        Twitch5

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        • #5
          In the first two instances sounds like the players handled it the way they should...if they're being taught to read the entire field and handle things according to an overall sense of what's happening. Developing instincts on the field is just as important as executing rote plays. My two cents.

          Regarding the third issue I agree with the coach.
          Our catcher was being constantly criticized for the way he set-up prior to pitches. On any pitch which was called for outside, the catcher would wait until the pitcher started his motion before moving and setting up outside. Coach kept telling him to move outside after giving signs and before pitcher started his motion. Also, during the catcher's normal set-up, he would give a target but relax wrist so glove was somewhat pointing down, and then pull wrist/glove up when pitcher started motion. Coach continually criticized the catcher for not giving a proper target.
          I've coached pitchers (and consequently catchers) at HS level and above. Catcher movement is a huge distraction for pitchers and in my opinion the catcher is there for one big reason: the pitcher. When a pitcher has a fixed and stable target to throw to it aids greatly in throwing strikes. Sometimes guys need to visualize a target other than the mitt (ie the catcher's shoulder) in order to find release points, particularly on breaking pitches. When these targets are constantly moving it's a big problem. Once catchers are in their receiving stance everything should be still and a clear, open target presented. That said, there's a big difference between criticism and constructive criticism.
          www.rpmpitching.com

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          • #6
            Originally posted by glovemedic View Post
            Doesn't matter, he is the coach and players are expected to execute according to the coach's play book.
            I agree... BUT these things don't even seem to be consistent within all levels of my son's HS program. I understand that all coaches will have their way of doing things, but I do feel that a HS program should remain consistent with respect to fundamentals/strategies. I just feel that this specific coach doesn't maintain or teach "textbook" baseball fundamentals and/or strategies, and I just listed three things I noticed recently to demonstrate this point.

            Twitch5

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            • #7
              We have three ways to run a 3-1. We send the signal in through thye catcher. Getting the runner at 2nd with 2 outs sounds reasonable.
              "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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              • #8
                Originally posted by Coach45 View Post
                Regarding the third issue I agree with the coach.

                I've coached pitchers (and consequently catchers) at HS level and above. Catcher movement is a huge distraction for pitchers and in my opinion the catcher is there for one big reason: the pitcher. When a pitcher has a fixed and stable target to throw to it aids greatly in throwing strikes. Sometimes guys need to visualize a target other than the mitt (ie the catcher's shoulder) in order to find release points, particularly on breaking pitches. When these targets are constantly moving it's a big problem. Once catchers are in their receiving stance everything should be still and a clear, open target presented. That said, there's a big difference between criticism and constructive criticism.
                I completely agree with what you said up to a specific point. At the younger levels, there is nothing more important to a pitcher than a clear/open target. However, starting at HS level, I think it is important to not tip pitches too early, which is why a catcher normally sets up outside AFTER the pitcher begins his motion. As far as the glove pointing down, I see many catchers do this at the higher levels, mainly for the fatigue factor of catching 7 or 9 inning games. The catcher still gives a target, just not an open target. Basically, the catcher just lets the arm hang loosely out in front and then bends wrist/elbow and gets arm tension when pitcher begins his motion.

                Twitch5

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                • #9
                  sounds good to me

                  take your son out of it and your emotions and how would you look at it


                  make love not war,

                  drill


                  if that is what the coach asked for give it to him till he sees his faults. No one is perfact not even me.
                  Yogi Berra was asked by a reporter "How do you catch a knuckle ball?" He came right back and said "When it stops rolling"

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Drill View Post
                    sounds good to me

                    take your son out of it and your emotions and how would you look at it

                    I wouldn't see it any different...

                    Technically, my son was only "involved" in one of the three examples, so I'd like to think I'm looking at from more of a coaches perspective.

                    I realize that there are subtle nuances to every baseball situation, but I still believe that these examples don't follow the coach's "textbook".


                    Twitch5

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As far as the first and third situation- I don't think the coaches theory is all bad. I wouldn't necessarily do that way, instead I would want my players to make on-field reads according to score, outs, the speed of the base-runner, speed of the second-baseman, etc. However, What if the runner would have scored before the out and it ended up costing the team the game. Perhaps he just wants the players in the habit of making the throw home so when the play presents itself in a close game, they make the correct decisions. I don't feel this is a very good example of something to "Vent" about. You need to realize there isn't just one "textbook" method of doing things on the field.

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                      • #12
                        Twitch,

                        Location doesn't necessarily tip a pitch, particularly high or low, and I understand the fatigue issue. But if a hitter keeps looking back to see where the catcher is set up, somebody needs to back him off the plate, pronto.

                        Case in point: two weeks ago I watched HOF catcher Gary Carter working with minor league level catchers in the bullpen and in live scrimmage. I was close enough to hear what he way saying. He was very strident about guys getting set with a great target. When guys closed off the glove or moved around he was plenty vocal. It was also the first time I've heard a veteran catcher tell other catchers that it wasn't about them...it's about the pitcher. Very refreshing experience.
                        www.rpmpitching.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Coach45 View Post
                          In the first two instances sounds like the players handled it the way they should...if they're being taught to read the entire field and handle things according to an overall sense of what's happening. Developing instincts on the field is just as important as executing rote plays. My two cents.

                          Regarding the third issue I agree with the coach.

                          I've coached pitchers (and consequently catchers) at HS level and above. Catcher movement is a huge distraction for pitchers and in my opinion the catcher is there for one big reason: the pitcher. When a pitcher has a fixed and stable target to throw to it aids greatly in throwing strikes. Sometimes guys need to visualize a target other than the mitt (ie the catcher's shoulder) in order to find release points, particularly on breaking pitches. When these targets are constantly moving it's a big problem. Once catchers are in their receiving stance everything should be still and a clear, open target presented. That said, there's a big difference between criticism and constructive criticism.


                          I agree,as a pitcher you dont really like pitching to a jumpy target,,BUT you dont want the hitter knowing where the pitch is comming either

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wogdoggy View Post
                            I agree,as a pitcher you dont really like pitching to a jumpy target,,BUT you dont want the hitter knowing where the pitch is comming either
                            The path the ball takes in getting to the target will determine what happens to the hitter. It's more important to be teaching good movement to pitchers than worrying about a catcher's location giving away a pitch. Example: RHP against a left handed batter, location down an away. The hitter doesn't know if it will be a fastball thrown to the middle of the plate, only to move away, or; a slider thrown away only to catch the corner, or; a curveball up in the zone that breaks down, or; a change that looks fat, only to fade down and out, or....you get the point. The battery is in the driver's seat and the hitter can only react. It really comes down to skill of the pitcher and in far too many cases it's lacking.
                            www.rpmpitching.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kevlar7 View Post
                              As far as the first and third situation- I don't think the coaches theory is all bad. I wouldn't necessarily do that way, instead I would want my players to make on-field reads according to score, outs, the speed of the base-runner, speed of the second-baseman, etc. However, What if the runner would have scored before the out and it ended up costing the team the game. Perhaps he just wants the players in the habit of making the throw home so when the play presents itself in a close game, they make the correct decisions. I don't feel this is a very good example of something to "Vent" about. You need to realize there isn't just one "textbook" method of doing things on the field.
                              I agree there is no textbook for this situation, and I agree this situation is more reliant on on-field reads. But that was part of my initial point and/or venting -- based on the situation and my son's reads, he tagged the runner long before the other runner crossed the plate. For the coach to say the ONLY play is to home, even with two outs or even when you are up by multiple runs late in a game, is not always the right play.

                              Twitch5

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