The games are about to begin. As coaches, and I am sure I speak for the players, we are very excited for our 2023 tournament schedule to kick off this weekend. I wanted to take a moment to share a few thoughts as we get ready to start what should be a fantastic year!!
Game protocols –
- Arrival time is when we begin stretch. Make sure you are there a little in advance.
- Show up and exit looking like a professional: no slides, untucked jerseys, shorts, headphones, etc.
- Once you are out of the car there is no more communication with family/friends/fans. Be sure to have everything you need (drinks!!) before you head to the field/batting cage. We want our players to learn how to take care of their own business and be less dependent on those around them, including coaches and parents.
- Positive attitudes are the ONLY acceptable attitudes. There are no fiends on the field – only teammates. We will show 100% respect for one another and we will seek to lift each other up. Be encouraging to your teammates regardless of what is happening to you. Anything less than a positive attitude will not be tolerated.
- Stay aggressive in all facets of the games. You may not have your best stuff and it could be one one of those days. You will still contribute to your team even if all you can do is hustle to your position or hustle down the line. Aggression disrupts the other team and will give you the edge in these games. Be prepared to do everything aggressively and to Stay Vicious!!
Preparation on EVERY pitch – The difference between practice and the game is “knowing“. At practice, for the most part, you know the ball is going to be hit to you. Your brain engages more in that moment than if you thought the ball “could” be hit to you. This is the main reason why players can make all the plays in practice, but in the game we see routine mistakes. You will need to prepare yourself on EVERY pitch with a belief, and a behavior, that this ball WILL be coming to you. Most likely it won’t….but once the pitcher gets set you repeat the preparation* again with 100% confidence that the ball is coming to YOU! Do this every pitch, one pitch at a time, and you will see a level of success you didn’t know you had!!
*note there is an post going out on Social Media later showing and describing this preparation. If you are not already following us on social media be sure to do so!! (you can find the links to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at the bottom of the website www.completegametraining.com)*
The games are a test – As competitors we all want to win. When we step foot on the field our goal is to beat the opponent. It’s that simple. But while our competitive nature takes over there is still the inner awareness on player development and growth. The game is a test and, just like every other test, there needs to be preparation leading up to it (practice/training). As coaches we will put our players in the place that is best for them. This includes their spot in the batting order, their place in the pitching rotation, and their playing time in the field. Our focus on “earn your time” is to prepare each player for success both on and off the field. Do not look at playing time as a punishment – we certainly don’t! We will put everyone in the place we believe is best for them. If this creates any issues or concerns for you I certainly invite you to speak to me directly about it away from game, practice, or training time. We want everyone to be on the same page because our #1 goal is also yours: to see each player develop into the strongest person and player they can both on and off the field.
Coaches will Encourage…not Instruct! – To build off of the last section regarding the games being a test we want to prepare everyone and remind players what we have been saying at practices regarding coaches. As difficult as it is we will be refraining from instructing during games. Let me elaborate. A reminder here and there when appropriate will take place, but giving mechanical lessons during the game will not. We don’t want the players to be weighed down with a checklist of to-dos in their mind. We have been repeatedly teaching them that there are two styles of play: training mode and performance mode. Training mode is all about the body and the mechanics and should stay at the facility or at the player’s home. Performance mode is when the player takes a very simplified approach of making sure they are loose/set and then they attack. No thoughts on where their hands should be, what their legs are doing, etc. This will slow them down and erase all of the hard work they’ve poured into this winter/early spring. We will talk to them in the dugout and possibly give them a physical correction reminder, but players should expect to help themselves in the game. They have earned it!!
GameChanger will be used – GameChanger will be in every dugout via a coach’s tablet. The players will be working the tablet, especially while we are up to bat, to give the coaches the freedom to coach! We will be utilizing stats through the season as another means of player development. Also, any game times and locations that get updated will be processed through GameChanger only. This also includes updates such as weather – they will communicated to the team via GameChanger chat.
Closing thought – stay positive! – We need all around positivity: coaches, players and parents. There will be plenty of time after the competition to analyze parts of the game and discuss what went well and what can be improved upon. During the game, however, we ask that everyone stay relaxed and stay positive. Yelling out corrections or showing displeasure with a call is not going to lead to anything positive or productive. Again, I know it can be difficult during competition but we need to all work together to keep our side of the field to most focused and most positive.
Get ready for an amazing season. We are proud of each of the players and their commitment to excellence. We look forward to beginning this next stage of the journey this weekend!!