“What do you want?”

Tough question for a lot of people to answer.  It can be difficult to make a decision on dinner, let alone where you want to go to college and how far you want to play in baseball.  But there is a huge difference between the two questions.  Asking someone about dinner is making a decision – what WILL we have for dinner.  You should not be asking the question, “Where WILL I go to college?” or “How far WILL I make it in my career?”  The question is not will – it’s WANT! That should be easy.  You have dreamt about playing a specific level, wearing a particular uniform, and donning your favorite number.  When asked where you WANT to go you should answer, without hesitation, the level you’ve been dreaming about.  Be specific but also be prepared! Be prepared for people to tell you “the odds” of making it.  Be prepared for people to quickly move to Plan B (“yea but if you don’t make it…”). Be prepared for people to tell you that you can’t.  THEN, be prepared to answer with a smile and immediately get back to work.  Nobody knows how far you can go, but if you don’t keep your ultimate goals/dreams in your primary focus you will most certainly not put in the work required to make it.  If that’s you then you won’t go far.  But if you avoid those pitfalls and keep your focus where it belongs and are willing to work for it, then your goals are more realistic than you think!

Here are the Coaches Notes from this past event:

Positives – Let’s look at some of the positives from the past event: As an exciting first weekend of games ends, it is safe to say this team has a lot of potential and ability to go deep in many tournaments in the future. We had very solid approaches at the plate and were incredibly aggressive on all pitches in the zone, a lot of our fielders got their first chance to get game reps on the big field, and for the most part, it was incredibly clean, finally while missing a couple of pieces, guys stepped up big on the mound and in the field to get us within reach of a championship game. One big thing I want to talk about is the signs, we have gone over signs as a group a few times briefly, and we went 3 games while only missing a sign once. As a group, there is a level of seriousness I haven’t seen on the field from a 13u group yet, they are very professional and close, so when it’s time to dial it in a little bit extra these guys have no issues. Base running was the biggest positive this weekend as we really put ourselves in a position to steal runs. Taking advantage of passed balls as well as our guys getting good jumps kept us in these tight games. There is potential for this team to be something special, and with two weeks of hard work before our next tournament, I believe we should see an even more polished squad then.

Areas of Improvement – Here is what we need to improve upon: The negatives from this week are super important because essentially everything that needs to be addressed can be resolved with more experience in the field. For half of the team, this is their first ever real game on the big field and there are always going to be hiccups. The biggest hump our defense needs to get over is keeping the ball in front of us and not rushing. There were a lot of cases where guys rushed throws or took a bad route that would not really make much of a difference if there were 200-foot fences. Balls that roll past us in the outfield are almost always triples, bad throws can turn into the same thing, but it is part of the game as we will continue to develop good skills and arm strength that will limit these mistakes. We also found out this weekend how quickly things can get away from us when we give out free passes. The most important part of this year and any year of course is throwing strikes. Not too many players are going to clear outfielders’ heads on a flyball, so we should never be afraid of hard contact, as well as the fact that we have a great defense. Everyone who pitched this weekend has stuff they can work on, and attacking the zone early should be at the forefront. Falling behind every batter drives your pitch count up and makes you feel like you are constantly in a losing battle. The idea should be to get ahead early and make guys swing the bat and prove we need to pitch around them.

Overall Attitude Rating (1-5 with 5 being the best): I’d give our attitudes this tournament a 4

Attitude Explained: Here’s is why you received that rating: I thought the energy and attitude of this group were great all weekend. We were limited on players so a lot of guys stepped up in new and unfamiliar positions, never questioning or complaining, just competing at their absolute best which really stuck out to me. Having a versatile team of guys that can really play anywhere helps us avoid falling into a hole deep in tournaments. We saw flashes of guys leading by example, and leading with their words which was incredible to see as I am always here but the team needs a leader that they can count on in that uniform to have their back at any given moment. The biggest thing we need to focus on in terms of staying positive is not getting down on ourselves so easily, as I saw guys hanging their heads after watching a first-pitch strike go by, you have two more chances to get a hit don’t take yourself out of the at-bat before it’s even halfway over! Lastly, any team can be loud and energetic when they are winning and trying to mount a comeback, but I want to see this group loud in the moments when we are down 15-0, picking our guys up, getting loud in the dugout. Some teams will simply be better than us and that is okay, but like Coach Mike said yesterday, the majority of the wins and losses in 13U come from who has more energy at the end of inning seven.

Area of Focus For Next Week’s Practice: Our next steps in development will focus on: Fielding, Situational awareness

Area of Focus Explained:  This is why we need to take these next steps: The biggest focus for us in practice will of course be grinding out a lot of reps in the infield and outfield, errors are inevitable, but by prioritizing our fielding and footwork, I have confidence our pitchers will have to work a lot less next time we suit up against another team. Getting used to the long throws as well as knowing who is the cutoff and where is vital to our success because teams will use any excuse to take free bases, so we need to be quick and efficient to the ball and make good relays as every run matters in terms of advancing in these tournaments. Due to the weather lately, we haven’t had much opportunity to implement some situational plays so spending time there and getting the guys on the same page will really help us out in limiting runs while we are in the field. To be two runs away from a championship game, with very few on-field experiences together is an unbelievable first weekend, but we have the ability to compete for a title for these last two. Let’s spend these next two weeks grinding and I am sure we will see the results.


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