What’s the earliest baseball or softball registration?

We’re looking for the youth baseball or softball league that opens their Spring 2018 registration the earliest. For most in the country this seems like a long ways away, but there are leagues in Southern California, Florida and other warm-climate states that are already meeting and planning for ’18. When does your spring registration begin? Email us at customerservice@coachdeck.com and let us know!


Encourage competition while discouraging cheating in youth sports

Youth sports area great for teaching the value of competition, but it’s important to also teach the difference between playing to win and taking shortcuts. Our friends at TrueSport have some terrific pointers on how to get young athletes to see that sportsmanship trumps winning without making them lose their edge.

Little League Dreams

What a treat this is. The staff at Baseball Prospectus spent Labor Day compiling stories about their youth baseball and softball experiences, which range from touching to hilarious. We especially recommend the one by John Eshleman. Any sports fan, especially fans of youth sports, will enjoy these immensely. Courtesy Baseball Prospectus

Ten Tips Money-Saving Tips for Feeding Hungry Athletes

Those of us with children who play sports know that grocery bills can be astronomical. Our friends at TrueSport have come through again with a terrific article providing tips for spending wisely at the market and ensuring the best nutrition while doing so.

Great nutritional advice from TrueSport

Our partners at TrueSport have written a great article for the parents of athletes traveling to and from competitions. Some tremendous “food for thought!”

Starve the Beast

By Tony Earp

There are many benefits of taking time off during the year as a competitive athlete. The obvious ones are mental and physical rest the body needs in order to stay healthy and avoid overuse injuries or “burnout.” The amount of rest needed changes from player to player depending on age, competitive level, and personal needs. In short everyone is different, and so is the need for rest and recovery. But what is the best thing about rest? The answer is the least talked about benefit and the one I found to be the most helpful as a developing young player. In short, REST STARVES THE BEAST, and when the time is right, you let the beast eat again.

Let me explain… I hated taking time off from playing soccer. I had to be pulled kicking and screaming away from the soccer field. I would even go as far as to sneak out to play or lie about where I was going when leaving the house with my friends (sorry mom). My coaches and my mom constantly encouraged breaks and stressed they were necessary, but I was a kid who loved the play and I did not care about what was “necessary” or “good for me”…. I just wanted to play.

I had a coach that finally got me to buy into the “rest” concept with the “Starve the Beast” approach. Simply, he explained that you have this beast inside of you who loves to play and feasts every time you step on the field. He will always eat and he is always hungry, but he can only eat so much at time. He told me that I needed that beast ready to eat every time I step on the field. When I rested, or when I starved the beast, he could eat a whole lot more.

It is not easy to starve the beast. The urge to let the beast eat and go play is strong and it takes discipline to ignore it. But when done right, and at the right time, when I stepped on the field to play again, the beast was hungry to eat more than he was before. In other words, the “beast” was willing to work harder, for longer, and break through any barriers that stood between him and his food. After a break, I learned that my level of play and level of training drastically increased.

As a kid, I did not care or really relate at all to the idea of stopping burnout or overuse injuries. Why? Because I was a kid! Those things did not mean anything to me, and I did not feel it was something I would have to deal with no matter how much I played. Although I could have been negatively affected by those things, it was not going to stop me from playing and training. When this coach explained the “starve the beast” concept, it made more sense to me.

Of course I saw myself as “the beast” (what kid does not want to be a BEAST), so it became something I bought into because I understood it and I related to it. After a break, I noticed the difference in my effort, attitude, and level of play after a break. I recognized how the BEAST responded when I got back on the field. When I stepped on the field, I wanted to show everyone what the BEAST could do, and I wanted to let the beast EAT.

When you have a passionate kid who loves something and pursues it relentlessly, parent and coach request to take breaks is not going to convince the kid to put the soccer ball away. It just does not make sense to the child to do that. The equation is simple… I love something, doing it makes me happy, so I am going to continue to do it. The starve the beast approach is not just fun, it acknowledges the kids passion and drive to continue to do it. It says, “I know you want to play, I know you’re a BEAST, but watch what happens when you cage the beast for a bit and then let him loose when he is rested and HUNGRY.”

My parents made it fun. When my break was up, the question would be asked, “Are you ready to let the beast eat?” I would always answer, “Oh, he’s ready to eat.” Then off to training I would head. Normally to one of my best training sessions I had in a very long time.

Make sure your child takes time to “starve the beast.” Not only will it help prevent injuries and burnout, but it will also set your child up to have more success on the field in the future. In short, breaks are good. They are necessary. BUT, you need to find a way to get your child to accept the need for a break. Just saying, “you need a break” may not do the trick. It may just cause frustration or resentment. Try the “starve the beast” approach, or something similar, and make the time off away from the game something they will welcome.

Tony Earp directs SuperKick/TeamZone Columbus’ Soccer Skills programs. Tony has a Masters in Education from The Ohio State University. Tony was a standout player both academically and athletically at The Ohio State University, earning multiple honors both on the field and in the classroom. He can be reached at tearp@superkickcolumbus.com

Open Letter to Atlee Softball Players

By Sue Enquist

You and I have a lot in common:
You don’t know me, but I am a huge softball fan. You probably think there is no way I could understand your pain, but I do, because I too have been a national embarrassment to my family, team, school, community, association and sport.
You-Inappropriate behavior (the FU sign) in the dugout, during post game.
Me-inappropriate behavior (tossed a trophy) in the dugout, during post game.

You and I have a lot in common:
I know how angry, disappointed and embarrassed you are. I know how gut wrenching these consequences are. I know you naturally want to tell the world you are good people who love the game. I understand you will want to explain what happened and what led up to it. Yikes, I know that makes your stomach turn over thinking that’s what is happening to you, right now, in this moment.
Having said that, I want you to know something, if you show remorse (even though you feel you were treated poorly), accountability (stay focused on your mistake and not that others get away with worse) and improved future behavior (you know this isn’t who you are, you know you will never let this happen again) it ends up being a GREAT learning experience and part of your story of leadership growth. I know you don’t want to hear that now, but it may get you through your long days with your friends who want the scoop: “What happened?”

Below I hope these 5 suggestions can help you during this difficult time, because you and I have a lot in common:

1. Great people/players don’t justify or deflect their mistakes. They own it and move on. I have total confidence you can do this! I don’t know you, but I believe in you.
2. Great people/players use their failure experience as part of their story to teach others, especially younger ones. Even though you are young, you are a role model for many. Use your story to teach others what you have learned. Be a big sister who knows the right way. I have total confidence you can do this! I don’t know you but I believe in you.
3. Possess the confidence in these embarrassing times, to share you know you have a pattern of good behavior, you are a good girl, who had a lapse in judgement. Trust me, this doesn’t define you or taint you for life unless you become the “Not my fault girl.” (by the way, college coaches can’t stand that “Not my fault girl”).
4. High schools, colleges and the global work force aren’t asking for PERFECT people, they are asking for hard workers, with a positive attitude and GREAT FAILURE RECOVERY SYSTEM (AKA: own your mistake and move on: don’t stay stuck in your junk).
5. Last and equally important: You will learn the sport of softball is ONE big family. You will learn many of your softball big sisters: College players, National Team Players, Olympians and National Pro Players have a story to tell about failure, accountability, and recovery. We have done some stupid stuff too. We have your back. WE STILL BELIEVE IN YOU if you show remorse, accountability and good failure recovery. It will all work out.

In summary, You and I have a lot in common
You: Signed on to being on a TEAM and agreed to be a part of a big brand called: LITTLE LEAGUE. You learned the consequences of not complying with high standards. I hope you learn that HOW you behave is VALUED MORE to LITTLE LEAGUE than access to competing for a championship
Me: I played & coached on a TEAM and agreed to be a part of a big brand called: UCLA.
I learned the consequences of not complying with high standards. I learned HOW I behave is valued MORE to UCLA than the opportunity to win a game or championship.

You will learn: Who your true friends are during this time. Remember you need your family and a close inner circle that is it. Don’t listen to the noise out there. Own it and move on.
I learned: My family and inner circle will always be there for me. To hold me accountable and get me through tough times. The same will happen for you.

You will learn: Little League, has a proven record of doing the right thing. They uphold high standards by their swift decision. I believe they will continue the investigation so all parties are held accountable, having said that, stay focused on your error in judgement, how you can show remorse, own it and move on because you can control all those things. Control the controllables and you will have greater peace of mind during this crazy time.

I hope you stay in the game a long time. It’s a wonderful community who will hold you accountable and equally important-have your back in good and bad times!
Good Luck,
Always in your back pocket, if you need me.
Coach Enquist

Sue Enquist holds more National Championships (11) than anyone in the history of softball. She is UCLA Softball’s first All-American, National Champion, and Hall of Famer. In 2006, Enquist concluded her storied 27 year career as head coach of the UCLA Bruins with a 887- 175-1 (.835) record, making her the winningest softball coach among all active coaches. She is the only person in NCAA Softball history to win a championship as a head coach and a player. Hailed a “coaching legend” by ESPN, Sue Enquist’s tenure produced 65 All-Americans and 12 Olympians. She has been inducted into the Women’s Sports Foundation International Hall of Fame, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the UCLA Hall of Fame. Enquist is also the recipient of multiple National Coach of the Year and Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors. She concluded her UCLA MVP playing career with a career batting average of .401. In her tenure as both a player and coach, Enquist has a combined 1,314 wins. UCLA Magazine lists her among the top 20th Century Bruins. A former World Champion and USA National Team coach and player, she is the only person to have played on the first Pan American gold medal team (1979) and to coach on the first Olympic Team National Staff (1996), which took home the first gold medal in the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.