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  • update: 6/21/08

    We've had three All Star practices so far with the All Star team.

    I have to say, I'm just BLOWN AWAY. I've never seen baseball at this level before. The coaches are incredible...I could not be more pleased at the way these coaches are running practices.

    The head coach was a great baseball player who played on three state championship teams and was drafted by the Dodgers. He passed up baseball to play football at a major college. The guy is good...man I'm telling you he's reeeeeeaaaallllll good.

    All my boy's life I've dreamed of him getting to play under a coach that really knows the game and these coaches have just blown me away.

    Every player on our All Star team is very good. I'll say this, right before my very eyes, almost minute by minute, I'm watching my boy get better. He's hanging on to every word this coach say's and soaking everything in like a spong. Right now it looks like my boy is going to be the starting SS and either the 1st pitcher or the 2nd pitcher. One of the reason's he was chosen for All Star team is because of his pitching. I think he's really opened the eyes of the coaches with his defense at the SS position. We have a great kid who's alway's been the starting SS for this team and so far my boy is either beating him out of the position or it's so close you can't tell. Regardless, I'm so proud of my boy that I could spit. His attitude, the way he's hustling.....EVERYTHING.

    You know what he did today? He went to practice 3 hours early. Yep, THREE HOURS EARLY. I took him to the field three hours before practice started and he took grounder after grounder after grounder and also did a good bit of hitting. He's working his tail off and I can see him improving and playing at a higher level every single play.

    I've never had so much fun. I just can't believe how good these coaches are.
    They are doing something in practice that I've never heard of but I LOVE IT!. When the kids take batting practice they already have two strikes on them. It's amazing how much it makes the kids really think in the box when they already have two strikes. They can't swing for the fences so they MUST concentrate on making contact and getting a basehit. Amazing....I love it!

    Sparks

    Comment


    • Sparks, thanks for the further update. Glad that the all-star experience is working out. Hopefully, it gives him something to lift him over those times in the future when he's on a bad team or has bad coaching -- "this too shall pass."

      I'm hoping that your new coaches will address his problem with outside pitches. One problem that Ursa Minor has is that he's also an umpire and a good one, so he keeps second guessing the umpires in our league and insisting that he won't swing at outside pitches, and then strikes out more than he should. I know that your boy was a bit short for his age group a couple years back and, if that still holds, it can be tough to reach those outside pitches.

      What you need to do is to convince him that those pitches are the Good Lord's little gift to him to allow him to swing at a pitch that he knows will be hit, if at all, near the sweet spot on the bat. Also, those are the ones that righthanders can drill into right field, with two consequent benefits: (a) usually the rightfielder is not a strong fielder, so there's a good chance that a mediocre hit will fall in, and (b) if he gets it past the right fielder, the long throw to third base makes it very likely that he'll get a triple. (Triples are cool because you're closer to the stands so you can hear the cheers from your teammates better than if you're stuck with a lowly double.)

      The best way to convince him he can hit those pitches is to put the ball on a tee just off the front outside edge of the plate and have him smack hit after hit into right field. After a couple of days of that work, that outside corner strike will look a lot more attractive.

      Otherwise, relax for a bit. He's played a lot of baseball over the past four months, right? And he's a smart, tough-minded kid. He'll find that groove again soon, one way or another. I guarantee it.

      Ursa
      sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

      Comment


      • Ursa,

        First, I'm letting these coaches do "ALL" the coaching. I'm staying completely out of their way. These guys have forgotten more about baseball than I'll ever know.

        Regarding my boy hitting the outside corner pitches. Ok, this blow's my mind. I was going to say something to the coach about my boy and the outside pitches but I decided to just stay out of the way and not do anything. THE VERY FIRST BATTING PRACTICE THE TEAM TOOK THE COACH TOLD MY BOY THIS..."You'll never hit outside pitches with your stance so far apart."

        Remember, I hadn't said anything to the coach that my boy was having trouble hitting the corner pitches. He knew as soon as he saw my boy's swing.

        My boy has adjusted now and his using a smaller stance and stepping into the pitches as he swings.

        I don't know how good our team will be. These boys all look pretty good but you never know until they play. But, I don't think there will be a better coached team in the all-star's. As a parent that's all you can hope and pray for is that your kid has a good coach.

        I was told that our head coach is currently in the Hall of Fame where he attended the major college. From what I gather he was a great running back and a good enough baseball player to be drafted. I think we've gotten pretty lucky to have this guy as a coach.

        Sparks

        Comment


        • State Championship

          It's finally here. This weekend our All-Star team is going to play in the State Championship tournament. The Tournament starts on Friday.

          It's been a privilege for my boy to be part of some of the best coaching I've ever seen. I've never seen coaching at this level and regardless of how things go in the tournament the coaches have our boys as prepared as they can be. They've done an incredible job with these kids and at the very least they've given our kids a chance to win.

          There does seem to be on downside to things so far. This All-Star team has been together for 3 years and my boy is the new kid on the team. He's having to fight for every position and quite frankly he has to prove himself in every practice and game (which is great by the way). My boy plays SS and Pitcher. The other SS has always been the star player in our area and the kid everyone thinks will go on to bigger and better things in the future. His dad is also one of the coaches. My boy throws about 2 mph faster and has a much much better change-up and my boy throws a curve ball like no 12 year old I've seen. His pitching coach taught him to throw a curve that doesn't hurt your arm because you don't snap your wrist. Anyway, the past few days the star players father has refused to speak to me and yesterday during practice his boy pushed my boy off of the SS position and told him to get off the field because he was the only SS on this team. His father (one of the coaches) also came to my boy and said he would not throw his curve when he pitches anymore. During the season my boy averaged 9 strike-outs a game and part of the reason is he has the best fastball in our league and a curve that keeps the batters off balance. I think this coach doesn't want my boy to throw his curve simply because his son can't throw one and it makes my boy look better than his boy.

          Also my boy has always used this other kids bat and yesterday he told my boy that he couldn't use his bat anymore.

          Anyway, I told my boy there was nothing we could do. Just get hitters out with your fastball and change-up. I explained to him that he must "always" do what his coaches tell him even if he doesn't agree.

          I don't know what happened to make things bad. The other night we were playing a practice game against a cross town team. My boy had just finished pitching his two innings and he begged the coach to let him catch (he loves to catch). He pestered the coach to death until the coach finally told him he could catch a couple of innings. But before he let him catch he told him that he he was reluctant to let his best SS catch. All my wife and I can figure is the star players dad must have heard what the head coach said and it must have pissed him off.

          It's a shame that this has happened because this kid is such a wonderful kid.

          Never the less I'm very pleased with these coaches and I'm nervous about this weekend. All of these kids have worked very very hard. It would be nice for these kids to be a part of a state championship. It would be even greater if they could move on and go to the World Series (that would be a dream!)

          I'll update everyone next week how the tournament goes.

          Sparks

          Comment


          • Thanks for the update Sparks. It helps me to remember a similar trip I made a number of years ago... While the State's would be awesome, I am certain he has already formed a great deal of memories.
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            • We use a gun just to measure velocity from time-to-time in practice... but never use it in a game...
              Last edited by Bolts-Baseball; 11-23-2009, 09:54 AM.
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              • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post

                There does seem to be on downside to things so far...

                ...I'll update everyone next week how the tournament goes.

                Sparks
                As far as the other SS goes, it sounds like he's a little jealous and a little bratty. But as far as the coach goes, you may want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Most of the kids on an all-star team probably played SS and pitched during the regular season, and only one kid can start there. As long as the coach's son is a good player you'll have to accept the fact that the coach's son will get most of the time there. Also, as far as curve balls, the coach may be trying to protect your son's arm. I won't let any of my pitchers throw curves. I know there are conflicting opinions on the issue of curve balls before adolescence, and I'd rather err on the side of caution.

                Comment


                • Azmat

                  Originally posted by azmatsfan View Post
                  As far as the other SS goes, it sounds like he's a little jealous and a little bratty. But as far as the coach goes, you may want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Most of the kids on an all-star team probably played SS and pitched during the regular season, and only one kid can start there. As long as the coach's son is a good player you'll have to accept the fact that the coach's son will get most of the time there. Also, as far as curve balls, the coach may be trying to protect your son's arm. I won't let any of my pitchers throw curves. I know there are conflicting opinions on the issue of curve balls before adolescence, and I'd rather err on the side of caution.
                  I agree with you. This other kid is a great great kid and I'm very fond of him. I also agree that he has been on the team for three years and it's his job to lose (I've told my boy this). Pretty much it goes like this....when this kid pitches my boy plays SS. When my boy pitches he plays SS. When another kid pitches hasn't been determined yet but my guess is the other kid will play SS. He deserves it. He's a good kid and a good player.

                  I just hate that problems have come up and I hope when we get to practice tonight that it's all over. To be blunt, my boy has always ALWAYS ALWAYS been on bad teams. It's crazy but it's the luck of the draw that I've never been able to get my boy on a good team. Most of all I want us to win! I want my boy to see what it feels like to be on a great team that knows how to play together and WIN! If that means my boy sits out or plays another position or what ever....I want him to learn that.

                  As far as the curve? To be honest, my wife and I just don't know what to think. His pitching coach was one of the best college pitchers in AA college and a coach at one of the best AA college teams in the nation. He told us when he taught my boy to throw this curve that it was a safe way to throw it that will not hurt his arm. I trust what this coach has said because he has been right about everything regarding my boy's throwing. So I don't know why his coaches don't want him to throw it.

                  I'll say this also, my boy's arm NEVER EVER hurts.....NEVER! Every pitcher on our team starts complaining after about two or three innings that their arm hurts and the next day they can't do anything but soft toss. My boy has never come out of the game because his arm hurts. AS a matter of fact he it takes him about two innings to get lose. He throws harder in the third inning than he does in the first inning. He's always been this way. He has more complete games in our area this year than any other pitcher and not once has his arm ever hurt. We do stay by the rules of course, he never pitches more than 6 innings in a week.

                  My point is this...I think his pitching coach taught him to throw right and the result is he has a stronger arm (not faster but stronger). He's 12 years old and weighs 100 lbs and is only 5ft tall (not an inch higher). He only throws in the low 60's. I got him in a game a while back at 62 and one game I didn't clock him but I know he was hitting mid 60's (maybe 63 or 64). He doesn't have the fastest arm in the nation. Most boys on our team throw in the high 50's or low 60's (after all these kids are all stars). So my boy doesn't have the greatest arm in the world but I'm very very happy that he has a strong arm.

                  In the end this other kid is a great player and he and my boy will be playing with or against each other for many years to come. I hope they become great friends and help each other out along the way.

                  Sparks

                  Comment


                  • I think that 50 mph is good for a kid that's anywhere from 10-12 years old. I think it really matters if he has control throwing in the 50's. If he is missing a lot, then he should slow it down. Yes, it does matter greatly on body size. Overall, I think that 50 mph is good.
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                    • Big News!

                      We're down here playing in the state championship. My boy's first at bat he hit a bomb homerun over the center field fence!!!!!

                      So far he's pitched two games and has been incredible. He's also hitting around .700 for the tourney so far (with one homerun and a double and several singles). He's having a blast and we all are.

                      We are having the time of our lives. We made it to the final 4 and tomorrow we play for the title!!!!

                      Sparks

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Bolts-Baseball View Post
                        We use a gun just to measure velocity from time-to-time in practice... but never use it in a game... My son throws mid-to-upper '50's from a 50 ft mound, he's about 5ft tall and around 100 lbs... On our travel team (when we were a 10u team, now we're an 11u, going to be a 12u in the fall), we have about 3-4 kids who throw at a comparable velocity... We have one kid who's a big lefty (5'4" 130-140 lbs) who throws upper 50's to low-to-mid 60's... He gets a little wild though...
                        If he was gunned on a 60/90 field from sixty feet he would still be throwing mid to upper 50's. Those doctored speeds you see on ESPN LL broadcasts are calculated based on velocity in relation to distance/reaction time on a small field versus a full size field.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by azmatsfan View Post
                          As far as the other SS goes, it sounds like he's a little jealous and a little bratty. But as far as the coach goes, you may want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Most of the kids on an all-star team probably played SS and pitched during the regular season, and only one kid can start there. As long as the coach's son is a good player you'll have to accept the fact that the coach's son will get most of the time there. Also, as far as curve balls, the coach may be trying to protect your son's arm. I won't let any of my pitchers throw curves. I know there are conflicting opinions on the issue of curve balls before adolescence, and I'd rather err on the side of caution.
                          If his kid is throwing a curve, the way it sounds, I'll guess it's a knuckle change. It's all grip and has a nasty break. It breaks hard and falls off the table. Every LL kid should be taught this pitch. My son threw it in LL. He got away from it in 13U. He couldn't throw it effectively from sixty-feet.

                          There have been many conflicting opinions on youths throwing curves. But how valuable are some of the opinions? ASMI did the research and created fact. They could not find a connection between a properly thrown curve and arm imjury. ASMI found excessive pitching to be the primary cause of youth arm injuries.

                          A properly thrown normal curve places no more stress on an arm than a fastball. My son threw a normal curve in LL. The issue with curves in youth ball is most kids aren't taught proper technique and many coaches can't recognize failing mechanics. Then it becomes a dangerous pitch to throw.

                          Let's say you see your kid throwing curves in practice. He's throwing it wrong. You ask him where he learned. He tells you he taught himself. He's torquing the hell out of his arm to make the pitch break. Do you tell him not to throw it again or do you show him how to do it properly. You know either way he's going to throw benders in the back yard with his friends.
                          Last edited by TG Coach; 07-14-2008, 12:58 PM.

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                          • Update

                            We didn't win the state tournament. We had the misfortune of playing the eventual winner twice. To be honest they were just a better team. I might add they were a great bunch of kids as well.

                            My family and I had the best time of our lives and will take with us memories for a lifetime. I can't imagine having a better time.

                            In the end my boy finished the tournamant with a .500 batting average with one homerun and two doubles. He also lead the team in on base % with .714. He didn't make any errors during the tournament either. I think he played better than he's ever played in his life and did it against the best teams in the state. It didn't hurt that he had some incredible coaches either...

                            Baseball is over this year and I'm alreay missing it. My boy will move up to 7th grade and play school ball next year. So he is getting older and growing. It's a joy to watch him play the greatest game in the world. I hope he continues to love it for the rest of his life.

                            Sparks

                            Comment


                            • Sparks, thanks for the update. Since your boy's ending his season, I thought it would be a good opportunity to go back and look at the first few posts by you about his progress -- starting in March 2006! (Ain't BF a great resource?) While the whole story off the baseball field has a near-fairy tale (i.e., dramatic and ultimately happy) feel to it, I think it's fair to say that you've both grown a tremendous amount. And, I hope that at some point he can comprehend that he's got a whole family of "uncles" who've been rooting him on the whole way.

                              Two thoughts. Before he puts all of his equipment completely away, he should make a point of sending a note -- even if just an email -- to all of his coaches (even the lousy ones from earlier in the season) thanking them for helping him this season.

                              And, for whatever he faces in school, or on the playground, or on the baseball field, he should understand that excelling at all the challenges he's met both this season (as well as in the past) demonstrates that he can meet those non-baseball challenges as well. This is especially true because he's not some physically precocious freak who's dominating by virtue of being given a man-sized frame in a twelve-year old's body. My hat's off to the both of you. :bowdown:
                              sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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                              • Ursa

                                Ursa,

                                It's great to see you respond. Hard to believe it's been two years since I started this thread. I reckon it's grown to more of a diary than anything.

                                Regarding the coach that we had problems with? It all worked out like I hoped it would. I think there was a misunderstanding and all is well. For what it's worth his kid played terrible in the tournament. He played so bad and struck out so many times that the coach was going to sit him out the last game. But he is a wonderful wonderful kid and I love the kid to death. He just drops his hands so bad when he hits that he can't catch up to fast pitching. His swing works in reck ball because the pitchers are slower but when we got to the state Tournament he faced the best pitching he'd ever seen. He'll be fine though....he has natural talent and just needs a tad bit of work.

                                Hey, my boy was in a terrible slump until he made the All Star team. He hit .670 during rec ball but I could see he wasn't hitting the ball hard and I knew something was wrong with his swing. The All Star coaches forced him to change his stance so he could reach the outside pitches and the result is my boy hit a homerun and hit .500 in the state tournament. If that isn't great coaching I don't know what is.

                                I'll say it again. My entire family had the time of our lives during the state tournament. All of the parents rented rooms in the same motel and we usually ate together each night. These people are great people and everyone pulled for the other person's child to do well.

                                Anyway, thanks for putting up with my post. This is the greatest game in the world. Hey, how many sports pull families together and have kids working hard to be the best they can be?

                                Sparks
                                Last edited by Sparksdale; 07-17-2008, 04:37 PM.

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