If you’d like to be moved about someone you may have heard of but not known much about, read the LA Times’ Bill Plaschke’s great article about Tennessee Lady Vols coaching legend, Pat Summitt, who passed away Tuesday.
Want to know 12 signs of good baserunning? Or have you given much thought to how we teach young soccer players to be more creative and less automatic? This and much more can be found in this month’s OnDeck Newsletter which you can download for free here!
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By Brian Gotta, President of CoachDeck
After ten years, my daughter’s involvement in club soccer finally concluded as her U18 team finished its season. All the girls, some who have been together the entire decade, will be moving on to play at various colleges. It was sad for the girls and sad for the parents to see it end. At their final practice, their coach asked them all to name their favorite memory from their time with the club. He was surprised by what he heard.
The girls had been through an incredible journey in these ten years. They’d won state championships, played for national championships, been ranked consistently in the top ten in the nation and sometimes as high as number one. Annual playoffs took them to places like Seattle, Chicago, Richmond, Denver, San Francisco and New Jersey. Their regular-season games had them traveling throughout Southern California, Arizona and Nevada.
The coach was expecting these “hardened veterans” to all relay their favorite moments on the field of competition. He was certain he’d hear about the game-winning goal scored or the championship trophy hoisted. But not one girl mentioned anything about scoring or winning. Their favorite memories were the fun things they did together, usually having nothing to do with soccer.
One girl recounted the time they were on a trip at a regional tournament and they kidnapped a teammate while dressed up and disguised in towels. Another chose the time when they made a video to the “Call Me Maybe” song and posted it on YouTube. One girl’s favorite memory was when she was nine years-old and won a sweatshirt from the club President by hitting it down off the goal net while a bunch of others were also trying. She mentioned that it was particularly special as the President awarded it to her in front of everyone and told her great job.
What does this tell us? Seems to me it means there is a whole lot more to youth sports, even at the highest levels of competition, than the result on the field. While we parents often measure a team’s success in terms of wins and losses, that is just the tip of the iceberg. There is much more below the surface we often don’t see.
We talk to our kids about how they played, how they feel, what they could have done better, differently. We often forget that the bonding that takes place before and after games, the friendships forged while sharing a common purpose might be just as important. We often forget that these are really just kids, after all.
When the final game ended and the girls knew their club career was over, they all got into a huddle, arms around each other’s shoulders, and shared one last thing – a good cry. At the time we parents thought the girls were sad they’d played their last game together. What I realize now is that they were sad to be losing so much more. They hadn’t just been teammates. They had been best friends. They were saying goodbye to their family.
Brian Gotta is a former professional youth baseball coach and current volunteer Little League coach and board member. He is the President of CoachDeck and also author of four youth sports novels which can be found at www.booksbygotta.com. He can be reached at brian@
By Doug Bernier
The great thing about base running is that everyone can be good at it. Different from hitting, fielding, and throwing, running the bases is more about knowledge and effort, not just technique and talent.
Speed is not the most important factor in baserunning. How much heart, effort, and savvy you put into your baserunning determines how good of a base runner you will be. Putting pressure on the defense creates mistakes and can turn into runs for your team.
When do you become a base runner?
Baserunning begins once you put the bat on the baseball. Once the ball is hit you are no longer a hitter, you are a runner.
12 Signs of a Good Baserunning
When answering the question of how to run bases, here are 12 things you can focus on learning or improving.
1. Being able to go from 1st to 3rd on a base hit to the outfield (when possible).
2. Reading a line drive while on 2nd base and being able to score on a single.
3. Running hard all the time.
4. Knowing how and when to break up plays by sliding hard into base.
5. Not missing any signs put on by the coach.
6. Being able to read and anticipate pitched balls in the dirt and advancing when possible.
7. Knowing your speed and understanding when to take a chance and when to play it more conservative.
8. Not making the first or third out at 3rd base.
9. Knowing where your defense is playing behind you, especially the outfielders so you can react to the ball and not have to wait and look to see what happens.
10. Not getting doubled up on a line drive to an infielder.
11. Always running hard through home, especially with two outs. If a runner gets thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double and you are taking your time touching home and the out happens before you score, the run does not count.
12. Getting good secondary leads so you can try to get that extra base on a hit.
Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 13 years. Most recently, Doug signed with the Minnesota Twins in 2013, where he logged time at every infield position except 1st base in 33 Major League games. Currently Doug is with the Twins’ AAA team in Rochester, NY. Originally published athttp://probaseballinsider.com/baseball-instruction/fundamentals-of-hitting/baseball-situations-and-hitting/