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Baseball is a simple game, and almost everyone knows how to play the game.  The game is very simple; 1) you throw the ball; 2) you catch the ball; 3) you hit the ball with a bat, right?  But, there are people who can make the game of baseball  so complicated and technical, it will make your head spin!  Case in point:

.Many years ago, I managed a Little League baseball team, and I got my brother-in-law to help me as a coach.  I had never done anything like this before, so I didn't know what to expect from a bunch of 9-12 years olds, etc.  I had no idea how much a nine, ten, or eleven year old knew about the game of baseball or what he could learn.  To see 15 of those little faces sitting around the backstop, didn't sit well when we got started.  I felt like we were going to fail, etc.  And, I began to wonder if I should have volunteered in the first place.  But, we went on to do the best we could.  After all, it was all for the kids. 

Fifteen kids...ages 9-12, from every walk of life, were waiting there at the backstop for me to get started.  I have to say I was nervous, and I didn't know quite know where to start.  How was I going to mold these kids into a team that could win?  Opening day was about a month away, and we had to get on with practice right away.  After a few comments about the rules of the game, and our own rules as a team, I got the boys out in the field to throw the ball around and loosen up.  My brother-in-law hit a little in-field practice to get things started. 

While they were doing this, I went over to another part of the school grounds, and watched another team in our league practice.  I thought it would be good for me to get ideas and tips on how they were doing things and go from there.  I thought it would help me with my own coaching as well.  As I watched the team practice, I found out very quickly what I was NOT going to do with my team!  What I was watching here was incredible!

This team was working on things that Major League teams work on.  Things like double-plays; run-downs; bunting; signs from third base and the dugout; getting the lead run; one bounce from the plate from the outfielders, etc.  These two fathers (coaches)  were confusing these kids and getting too technical with them, in my view.  We're talking about 9-12 year olds here...they're just starting out learning the game!

I was getting irritated as I watched this team, because many of these kids don't have the strength, the coordination and the eyesight to perform like the big guys...they don't!   I really didn't know at the time what I was going to do with my team, but I knew for sure I was not going to do what these coaches were doing with these kids, etc. 

In the two years I coached Little League baseball, I only saw one double-play; no run-downs; no bunts; no stealing bases, etc.  So, why practice them!  By practicing these various things, I felt that this team I was watching would get worse as the season went on.  The only reason why I think a coach would teach the kids this stuff, is an ego trip.  Trying to show the kids how much they knew about the game of baseball.  That's all it could be!
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.
My articles published 200+ websites
"He that is good for making excuses, is seldom good for anything else."  Benjamin Franklin
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Copyright; Jerry Aragon; 2007
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To all the young people out there...STAY IN SCHOOL!
Jerry Aragon/The Humor Doctor           humordoctormd@gmail.com
Main Street/Front Page                         Free Stuff/Come see
Site Map/site contents                          The Creative Center
Writers Section                                     The Humor Clinic
The Funny Farm                                   Book: BumpyRoad of Life