Our approach to the game would be different, and it would be to keep the game simple and practice, practice and more practice, until the kids got it right and made few errors. They would learn to catch the ball until they got it right; learn to throw the ball until they got it right and, at the plate they would learn to hit the ball, in a relaxed way, and not to be afraid of the ball.
We were going to make the game as simple as we could make it. There would be discipline on this team, and that would be another key to winning, and the first thing that dissapeared, was the bubble gum! Chewing gum and blowing bubbles was too distracting, and the kids were not allowed to chew gum while at practice or at a game.
There would be no complex, technical blah...blah on this team. There would be no double-plays; no run-downs; no signs, etc., and I think the key to winning would be good pitching. If the opposite team does not get on base, then we would need less defensive practice, and we could focus more on hitting. I was lucky, I had good pitchers and they were very good, and we worked with them every chance we had.
As the season opened and progressed, my pitchers struck out an average of 14 batters per game. So, why would we need all that practice on defense? Not many on the other team were ever going to reach base.
I felt like it was a good practice months, and now the proof was in the pudding. Opening day came, and we would soon learn if we were a disciplined team that could win. It was discipline that made these kids organized and look and play like a baseball team. The other ingredient in winning was praise. The kids would be showered with praise, when they did good, and the better players had to teach the not-so good players about the game, and to encourage them to do their best! There would be no selfishness on this team! I wanted a team effort from all the kids.
With a good month of practice, I've felt that this team was going to win more than it lost, but the jury was still out.
When the season started, we won our first eight games in a row, and we won them on simplicity, and not making errors. And, then we lost two games in a row, which had me a little worried. But, to make a long season short, the kids came back and, for the season they won 17 games and lost only three.
Sadly, the team that I watched practice early on, won only 2 games and lost 18 games! I felt sorry for this team because they were in shambles. In Little League, there is a 10 run rule. If a team is 10 runs ahead of the other team, the game is stopped. That's so the kids are not humiliated...that's not the purpose of Little League baseball. We beat this team by more than 10 runs both times we played them and the games were stopped.
The kids on this 2-18 team, were confused by the coaches (fathers); they used to much technical terms and as a team...were awful. At the end of the season, the fathers were nowhere to be seen, and the team finished the season with a 14 year old coach. Pretty sad!
As far as I was concerned, I enjoyed working with the kids so much, that I came back to coach the following year. Surprisingly, it was a repeat of the first year, as again, we finished winning 17 and losing 3, for a two year total of 34 wins and 6 losses. And, we did it all of simplicity, discipline, and praise! I was very proud of the kids.