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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • Originally posted by HardBallDad
    Edmondsfan#1,
    Not using a radar gun is like me not going to the doctor when I have a pain in my chest. I fear the worst therefore I would rather not know. Ignorance is not bliss.
    Where does one begin. HBD you need to go back and read the reports and opinions from the experts. There are several posted in BBF.
    Last edited by Jake Patterson; 10-02-2006, 09:10 PM.
    "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


    • Originally posted by HardBallDad
      Edmondsfan#1,
      Not using a radar gun is like me not going to the doctor when I have a pain in my chest. I fear the worst therefore I would rather not know. Ignorance is not bliss.
      I disagree about the foot speed, you probably never coached a boy who hit a hard shot to left field and got thrown out at first.
      So i'm ignorant? OK, whatever.

      In my case, i have nothing to worry about because I throw harder than probably about 18 of the 21 kids in my junior high school team. But i'm saying, if you are a slow thrower you should know you are a slow thrower. If you are a throw slower don't go and use a radar gun to see exactly how slow you are throwing becuase then you will be concentrating too much on your velocity then the other aspects of pitching. And if you are a fast thrower you are going to think you are a fast thrower than some kids would think that they don't have to practice as much anymore but the competetion will catch up.

      Also, alot of ball players in the youth league sometimes get more intimidated by the batters when they find out they are not throwing as hard as any other kid or is a slow thrower when they thought they were a hard thrower. Thus they are not pitching with as much confidence which seriously affects the performance.

      Don't judge me on my opinions and I won't judge you on yours.

      Comment


      • The Game

        I honestly don't understand this game of baseball.

        We had another game last night...we played one of the better teams (a travel team). We lost 6 to 0.
        My boy was the starting pitcher and he gave up one run in two innings. I was very pleased at the way he pitched. As you all know there is a limit of 2 innings in fall ball for a pitcher.

        So what is my problem? Not really a problem as much as I really just don't get it. The one thing my boy has always been is a great hitter. I tell you last summer he was by far the best hitting 10 year old in my city...no one even came close.

        During this fall ball season he can't hit the side of a barn. I just don't get it. He seems to be doing everything right but he's just not hitting. I would like to say that he isn't hitting because he is batting against better pitchers, to an extent this might be true. Most of the pitchers we have faced this fall are very good and almost all throw hard. That would be a great excuse except for one thing....last summer my boy played up and even though he was only 10 years old he played with the 11-13 year old league and did very well hitting....very well.

        So I don't know what it is....I have to think it is something mental...that's all I can figure. His swing still looks good but he doesn't seem to be making contact. He has had 10 at bats so far this year and has struck out 2 times, walked 5 times and had two grounders to the IF and one hit. Yep one hit all during fall ball and it was a week hit that really should have been considered a fielder choice. My boy never and I mean never struck out when he played last year. He played in two leagues, the 9 and 10 year old league and the 11- 13 year old league. All summer he struck out 3 times in both leagues. So for him to have struck out 2 times in 10 at bats has me scratching my head. I swear I think he is trying to get a walk when he gets in the batter's box. He's taking pitches right down the middle and he has never done that before.

        Oh well, baseball is a funny game.

        BTW: My boy turns 11 today. So he can no longer use the excuse that he is only 10 ;-).

        Sparks

        Comment


        • Sparks, can you post a clip of his swing at a game???
          "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


          • Naw, I can't post a clip.
            It's not all that big of a deal...I'm just a little surprised that he isn't hitting better.
            Last weekend we had a party from last summer's all star team. We had to wait several months to have the party because of vacations and stuff. Anyway, we had the party for both the 9and 10 year old all stars and the 11-13 year old all stars.
            At the party we had a game between the kids. My boy hit the cover off the ball and hit better than anyone except the older kids who is 13 who I've talked about before.

            I don't know, it's only 10 at bats but the coach has him hitting 6th in the lineup and rightfully so. My boy has always batted 3rd when I coached but I agree with the coach having him bat down in the order. Just like he had to earn a pitching spit (which he did) I think he will have to earn a higher batting spot.

            Anyway, I've got no way to post his swing but I think his swing is pretty good. It's the same swing he's always had. I think batting in fall ball is more mental than anything right now. My hope is he will get one good hit and everything will be just fine after that.

            Thanks Jake...

            Sparks,

            Comment


            • Sparksdale,

              Don't sweat it too much. I had a similar experience with my son at 11. He had a great year as a 10, but couldn't hit a pitch at 11. His body was starting to change, and he lost all coordination. Normally a very solid fielder, he was regularly dropping pop flies and missing pitches he killed the year before. It was a very frustrating year for him. 12 was maybe a little better, but now at 13 he's back to hitting the way he was. A lot of the kids go through this. So just hang in there and keep encouraging him.

              -JJA
              The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than the outcome of any game they will ever play

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Sparksdale
                Naw, I can't post a clip.
                It's not all that big of a deal...I'm just a little surprised that he isn't hitting better.
                Well if it's any consolation I typically go through this with my better hitters at some point. Filming them usually exposes the problems. If it doesn't I take the player and go back to basics.
                "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


                • Originally posted by Sparksdale
                  I swear I think he is trying to get a walk when he gets in the batter's box. He's taking pitches right down the middle and he has never done that before.
                  Sparks
                  Sparksdale,

                  I might get jumped all over for this but when I recognize that my son has started "looking" at more pitches/strikes, I tell him to not take the first strike looking. Normally he is a very discipline hitter who looks for something to drive for his first swing. However, for some reason, he gets too picky and before he knows it, he is 0 and 2 without taking a swing and has to try to protect. I think that by getting him more aggressive on the first strike, he moves beyond the picky part. Now, he might swing at some pitches he shouldn't, but it usually gets him out of the funk. Once I see that he is making good contact and not looking at a too many first strikes, I go back to working on getting him to hit pitches he can drive.
                  To help get him going, I play a game with the game kind of thing. For every first stike he looks at, I get a point. For every first stike he swings at (and is a reasonable pitch), he gets a point. At the end of the game, the winner gets something from the concession stand from the loser (me most of the time! )

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by dw8man
                    Sparksdale,

                    I might get jumped all over for this but when I recognize that my son has started "looking" at more pitches/strikes, I tell him to not take the first strike looking. Normally he is a very discipline hitter who looks for something to drive for his first swing. However, for some reason, he gets too picky and before he knows it, he is 0 and 2 without taking a swing and has to try to protect. I think that by getting him more aggressive on the first strike, he moves beyond the picky part. Now, he might swing at some pitches he shouldn't, but it usually gets him out of the funk. Once I see that he is making good contact and not looking at a too many first strikes, I go back to working on getting him to hit pitches he can drive.
                    To help get him going, I play a game with the game kind of thing. For every first stike he looks at, I get a point. For every first stike he swings at (and is a reasonable pitch), he gets a point. At the end of the game, the winner gets something from the concession stand from the loser (me most of the time! )
                    I teach the batters to think swing on every pitch. It's easier to stop a swing than it is to begin one. Doing the latter usually results in all kinds of bad things to include bad timing, rythym, bat drag, etc.
                    "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


                    • Sparks: I may sound like a broken record on this, but you KNOW that you can't fret about a small sampling of at bats. And part of the point of fall ball is for kids to try new positions or techniques, and maybe mess up a little. So, let it go a little. Part of the problem may be that he's worrying too much about individual at-bats, which isn't helped by you worrying about each at bat. And maybe he's not the hero yet, but he's got a .600 on-base percentage, fer cryin' out loud.

                      And getting video is absurdly easy. Find someone with what looks like a decent digital camera you can borrow. Now, almost all of them have a video function that will let them take at least 15 FPS video. Get about three swings of him doing soft toss or hitting off a tee. Then PM me, and we'll figure out how you or I can post them.

                      Jake Patterson said: It's easier to stop a swing than it is to begin one.
                      Jake, that's great. I've been trying to find a succinct way to make this point, and you've hit the nail on the head with your language. Thanks, I'll gladly steal it.
                      sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

                      Comment


                      • Right on Ursa! .600 OBP is very good. In the 5 ABs he didn't walk, he's 1-for-5 - which is far too small a sampling to worry about (IF you're just focusing on results). If he's having "good" ABs - jumping on good pitches, laying off bad ones, maybe fouling a few off, making the pitcher throw more pitches, etc. - then leave him be and ignore this microsample.

                        My wife and I used to get frustrated (a year or 2 ago) because my son would always lead his All-Star team in walks and be in the top 3 in AVG, but... because of all the walks, other parents didn't think of him as as good a hitter as others. It's almost like he was penalized for having a good eye. And, no, he wasn't up there by any means LOOKING for a walk. He just didn't have the mentality that "strikeouts are embarassing so I MUST not do that". His mindset was always, "get a good pitch to hit". True, sometimes he got a little TOO picky (probably not wanting to get the verbal lambasting from overbearing Dad for making an out on a bad pitch).

                        But for the most part, walking is not a bad thing, unless the hitter's up there taking almost every pitch. DW8's suggestion is very good. I did the same thing w/ Kevin - "took the training wheels off", more or less. IOW, let him do what he sees most kids doing - jump on the first pitch he can get a bat on instead of the first "good pitch". You'd be surprised how many pitches can be driven well other than just the "perfect" ones - esp. at this young age.

                        Finding the right balance between "getting your pitch" and "being aggressive" is part of the learning process. When you think he's gone too far one way, giving him "permission" to go the other way is good advice.

                        Good luck.

                        Comment


                        • I think maybe you guys are right.... I'm afraid I might have fallen into the trap of "expecting too much". It's an easy thing to do.

                          I'll just loosen up and let the kid play ball ;-)

                          Sparks,

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Jake Patterson
                            I teach the batters to think swing on every pitch. It's easier to stop a swing than it is to begin one. Doing the latter usually results in all kinds of bad things to include bad timing, rythym, bat drag, etc.
                            Jake,

                            Could you clarify your post for me? Are you saying that working on being a discipline hitter is a bad thing and can lead to bad habits, or have I missed read your post? I am asking because if I am giving bad advice to my son (or anyone) I would like to stop. He is ready to swing on every pitch but I, and his hitting coach, have been working on him being a smarter batter. In other words, don't just swing at any pitch. Based on the situation and need, can't he be selective? For example, hitting to the right side of the field with a runner on 1st. If the first pitch he sees is an inside fastball, it would be hard to hit to the right side (for a RHB). Might that not be an okay pitch to take or should he swing and hope for the best?
                            BTW... he is 13 and plays in a very competitive select league and school ball, in case that makes a difference on what type of advice to give.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by dw8man
                              Jake,
                              Could you clarify your post for me? Are you saying that working on being a discipline hitter is a bad thing and can lead to bad habits, or have I missed read your post? .
                              Being a disciplined hitter is obviously what you want to teach. The decision making process the hitter uses is critical. It is more difficult to be successful utilizing "I am going to swing" decision making process than it is " I am NOT going to swing" decision making process. The differenece is getting the batter to think hit every pitch. It's easier to stop a swing than to start one...
                              Make sense?
                              "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


                              • Yes, that does make sense. Thanks for your clarification.

                                Comment

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