7-3-24

“No Defense”

 

You have all heard the phrase, “Defense wins Championships”.  No! Defense does not win championships – offense does.  Defense is resisting or preventing something from happening.  Offense is attacking.  What would our game look like if we only played offense during both halves of the inning?

Offense at the Plate: When we are up to bat everyone would agree that we are on “offense”.  Players should be attacking the ball and looking to advance runners.  Base runners should be working to take extra bases and cross home plate.  Putting up runs = offense.  This is easy.  But what about the other half of the inning?

Offense in the Field: When we grab our gloves and head out to the field we take on the role of a “defender”.  No wonder we get so upset when the other side breaches the gates and starts to reach base and put up runs.  But what if we changed to an offense-minded approach in the field? Attack the ball, attack the glove, and hunt outs.  The goal is the same, but the approach is different.  Defense tends to be preventative, while offense tends to be aggressive.  If we took offense to the field then the days of looking for someone else to make a play would be over!! We would be the ones going after the ball – we would be the ones looking to create outs where they typically aren’t found.  An offense-minded fielder is a dangerous fielder…in a good way!

As they say in football, the only thing the Prevent Defense does is prevent you from winning.  Let’s stop playing preventative baseball in the field and let’s start playing offense – on both sides of the ball!

Here are the Coaches Notes from this past event:

Positives – Let’s look at some of the positives from the past event: This was a weekend to forget to say the least. We showed a side of ourselves we do not want to see going forward. I was proud of the accountability guys took at the end of it all. We’ve seen major success we have now seen major failure. We have the ability to bounce back and I fully expect this group to do so.

Areas of Improvement – Here is what we need to improve upon: To lose in blowout fashion can only be a result of a Lack of focus, aggressiveness and attitude. We played very timid on the defensive end which resulted in a lot of errors, offensively we were very passive early in counts that resulted in a lot of strikeouts, and we were very careful with the strike zone which resulted in a lot of walks. Put all of those together and add in low energy and negative mind sets and we saw what the outcome will be every single time. This team is built to win. We were a game away from a PG chip last week and this week we were out of contention from the jump. The players on the field did not change, the lineup did not change, but somewhere along the way our mentality changed. As coaches we cannot want to be out there competing for you, it should come naturally. If you truly want to play at the next level you need to be obsessed with this game. And if you’re obsessed with the game there should be a fire and intensity in your body language that tells everyone watching this kid wants to be out there. I as your coach can teach you the fundamentals, I can teach you and guide you in the right direction, but I cannot teach you aggression and passion. Those come from within and without those you will find it very difficult to succeed in anything you pursue in life whether it be on or off the field.

Overall Attitude Rating (1-5 with 5 being the best): I’d give our attitudes this tournament a 2

Attitude Explained: Here’s is why you received that rating: There are times where we are up and loud and plenty more times I have to beg for guys to get off the bench and root for your teammates. Your teammates success is your success. You have to build up the guys around you in order to build team chemistry and a family atmosphere. No matter the time period you play for a baseball team those will be friendships that can last a lifetime. Embrace that and let it take this team in the right direction. Encourage each other lift each other up and never drag anyone down. The game becomes a lot more loose and fun when you know you have guys behind you that want you to succeed.

Area of Focus For Continued Development: Our next steps in development will focus on: Other

Area of Focus Explained:  This is why we need to take these next steps: Take this week to really self reflect and understand what it takes to WIN. It may not be going 4-4 with 2 doubles and 3 RBIs. It may not be throwing 5 shutout innings or turning a double play in the clutch. Everyone has a role whether you’re on the field or not. Your individual statistics do not determine the outcome of a game but the way you approach the game mentally absolutely can and will. The only way to move on from a weekend like this is to grow as individuals and grow as a team. Learn from your mistakes, build off of them and come to Boston ready to run through a wall for this group of guys.


6-26-24

“Experience > Results”

Who doesn’t want to win? If you raised your hand to that question you can stop reading.  My guess is everyone kept their hands down.  We all want to win – that’s a good thing.  But there is something we should prioritize over winning (especially at this age).  Experience is more important than winning right now.  As we have talked about in the past this season is a merely a brick along the path to your ultimate goal in this sport.  The more experiences you have now the better off you will be when it comes time for college recruiting and professional scouting.  A college coach wants to see how a pitcher can navigate his way out of a bases loaded jam.  How are you supposed to learn how to do that if you are never in one?! Therefore, don’t get down or disappointed when you find yourself on the mound with bases loaded and no outs.  Instead, embrace the moment and value the experience you are gaining. This perspective will not only serve you well down the road, but it will also make you more effective in your current situation.

The above example is just one of many experiences that upset players when they find themselves in it. They equate these moments with having “failed”.  But, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  These experiences are tools used to sharpen you as both a player and a person.  While you don’t plan on them happening, or ask for them during your performance, you still must embrace them when they inevitably do arrive.  Embrace the experience and see a rise in your growth.

Here are the Coaches Notes from this past event:

Positives – Let’s look at some of the positives from the past event: Was really impressed with the offense this tournament. 1-10 contributed offensively from day 1 to day 4 and it allowed us to go on a serious run. We were able to drive the ball with authority, play small ball when we need to, as well as swipe bags on a consistent basis. An all around great effort on that end after some inconsistencies around the offense coming into this week.

Areas of Improvement – Here is what we need to improve upon: Pitching and defense were a bit inconsistent, especially with leads. Pitchers have to improve on attacking the strike zone. Walks were a big killer in games that got away from us along with a lack of aggressiveness to fly balls and ground balls that extended innings. Especially with a lead it is vital to put up zeros and keep the other team mentally out of it. Nothing is more defeating than giving up runs and then going down in order. Once we start having innings like that on a more consistent basis We won’t be coming up short in semi final games

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 we were really fired up from game 1-7. It could get grueling and tiring playing that many games in such a short amount of time but I thought we handled it well mentally and guys really wanted to go out there and win the whole thing.

Area of Focus For Continued Development: Our next steps in development will focus on: Pitching

Area of Focus Explained:  This is why we need to take these next steps: Controlling the run game and consistency in the strike zone.


6-18-24

“The 3 B’s”

Many players learn at the youth level the concept of the “3 B’s”: Go for the Ball, Cover a Base, Backup a base.  Young players are notorious for “watching” the play as opposed to engaging in the play.  It would be nice if this was only at the youth level, but we see it with older players as well.  Standing and watching is a sure-fire way to find yourself on the bench or getting your name crossed off a college scout’s recruiting list.  It speaks to a deeper issue: Either player does not understand the game OR he is too self-centered to adapt and apply himself when things start to happen.  The most glaring position we see this is on the pitcher’s mound.  Of course no one wants to give up a line drive in the gap, but in that moment the pitcher can either 1) move on and move to backup a base or 2) stand there and feel sorry for themselves.  Do we need to really go further with what option you should choose? Of course not.  But which option best describes you when this happens??

Do you go for the Ball (i.e. are you aggressive)?
Do you cover a Base (i.e. do you have awareness)?
Do you Backup a base (i.e. can you quickly move on)?

If you have one or more areas you struggle in it’s time to start making adjustments.  Once you are instinctively getting down each of the B’s you will not only see your performance rise to a new level, you will also find the game is more enjoyable!

Here are the Coaches Notes from this past event:

Positives – Let’s look at some of the positives from the past event: Pitching and defense were stellar all weekend. A lot of innings that could have opened up the score were shut down by pitchers making good pitches and the defense making timely plays. That’s a testament to how disciplined we are in those areas.

Areas of Improvement – Here is what we need to improve upon: Offense on Day 2s so far has been quiet. We tend to tire out and lose focus and our at bats become a bit less competitive than day 1. Tournaments that are coming up are going to be long and our mental and physical strength will be tested. If we want to play deep into tournaments we will have to be able to handle those extra days and come out as competitive on day 2 3 and 4 as we do day 1.

Overall Attitude Rating (1-5 with 5 being the best): I’d give our attitudes this tournament a 3

Attitude Explained: Here’s is why you received that rating: Same as our offense approaches we have to stay as energized on day 2 and 3 as we are day 1. Obviously this format was a bit different but we should treat every game and situation the same. Everyone up in the dugout staying behind your teammates will go a long way.

Area of Focus For Continued Development: Our next steps in development will focus on: Hitting

Area of Focus Explained:  This is why we need to take these next steps: Have to get out of pop up mode. Hitters should work on hitting hard hit line drives to the opposite field. Big swings will only result in an uncontrolled, unbalanced swing. Keep a simple approach and our power will show.


6-13-24

”Eval-YOU-ation”

When it comes to being evaluated, most people concentrate on measurable such as throwing speed, exit velocity, running times, etc.  Some take it a step further and consider personal measurements such as height, weight, and muscle mass.  These are all areas of a coach’s evaluation, but they are only part of the whole.  The whole evaluation comes down to YOU.  In addition to the things we can all measure are areas that can only be observed.  Hustle, emotions, demeanor, communication, focus, awareness, anticipation, attitude are all factored in.  Handling adversity, being a good teammate, showing that you are coachable, and having an approach are extremely important areas of consideration when a coach is deciding if you are a right fit for their program.

When you are at a game you may see a coach hanging out behind the backstop.  Sure, he may have a radar gun and a stopwatch.  But the most valuable piece of “equipment” he has that day is his own eyes.  What he SEES will create a THOUGHT that he will begin to INTERPRET in order to come to a CONCLUSION about YOU.  When it comes to what a coach can measure, some of that may be out of your control.  Certainly at the game all of these numbers are what they are – nothing you can do about it in that moment.  But, the parts of the evaluation that are observed are totally in your hands!! Be prepared to get an A+ on what a coach observes and allow them to decide if what they can measure is good enough for their program.  This is the best recipe for a positive evaluation.

Here are the Coaches Notes from this past event:

Positives – Let’s look at some of the positives from the past event: We showed how versatile we can be with the way we beat teams. We can either run you off the field or complete a come from behind win. That’s what makes this team special and why we will be competing deep into these tournaments. Starting pitching defense and offense all clicking was special to see in our first day out.

Areas of Improvement – Here is what we need to improve upon: We learned real quick what can happen if we’re not sharp in the playoffs. A lack of offense and pitchers unable to throw up zeros can allow a game to get away from us in a hurry. Starting the game off with early offense and defense throwing up early zeros will be the way this team flourishes and we absolutely have the ability to do just that with this group. Hitters need to improve on their breaking ball recognition and arms need to learn how to adjust on the fly.

Overall Attitude Rating (1-5 with 5 being the best): I’d give our attitudes this tournament a 3

Attitude Explained: Here’s is why you received that rating: We just have to make sure we’re consistent with our energy and intensity. We tend to go out in and out where we can be the loud and energized team for a little bit and then next inning we can be having side conversations and lose that edge. Energy and intensity can win or lose games and we cannot allow that to be a reason games get away from us.

Area of Focus For Continued Development: Our next steps in development will focus on: Situational Awareness, Hitting

Area of Focus Explained:  This is why we need to take these next steps: Hitters work on recognizing a breaking ball and hitting it with authority. Have to clean up first and thirds did not execute play 1 as practiced last week.

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