Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Building A Pitching Machine

About this time every year as basketball season ends and Little League begins, my kids and I dust off our gloves and bats and head over to the local field to start practicing. We start off playing catch, mostly to warm up my aging and antique arm. After my arm is warmed up, I then throw batting practice to them. This has been our routine for the last 4 years.
So thanks to this unseasonable warm winter in New England we were able to get out there early this year. So after going through our normal routine, I walked over to the mound and expected my oldest to step into the batters box. However he refused to get into the batters box. When I asked him why-he says that I hit him with a pitch last year. It seems he hasn't forgotten the ONE time in 4 years of pitching over a thousand baseballs to him that I hit  him. So I tried to reassure him to no avail that it won't happen again this year but he still refused to step into the batters box. So after I pitched a whole bucket of balls to his brother, with out hitting him, we went home. When we got home we started talking and from our talk came the idea to build a pitching machine....................................... to be continued.....................................

Monday, February 20, 2012

The right way to win

I was watching a 4th grade travel basketball game today and the home team was losing by 20 points late in the second half and the away team coach still had his starters in and pressing. I thought "why?" I don't blame the kids, I blame the coach. The kids are just doing what the coach tells them to do. To often I see coaches not letting up as the score gets more lopsided as the game winds down. Here was an opportunity for a coach to teach his kids how to win with class and he was still going strong.  I think it's part of a coach's responsibility to teach their players how to win and how to lose.We have all been on the other end of a lopsided score and it's no fun.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Give the Refs a Break

This is an open apology letter to all refs and umpires.

Dear refs and umps,
As a father and a coach I would like to apologize for all of the times I yelled, screamed, and questioned your calls and non-calls in my son’s games and in the basketball games I have coached. I know you are only human, and maybe even parents of players too, and that you only have a split second to make a call or non-call.
As a parent I feel that my outbursts are more a frustration on the state of how my sons and their teams are playing and since I cannot yell at them or their teammates (bowing my head in shame) I direct my frustrations onto you the refs and umps. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those parents that you can hear yelling and screaming from the stands. Though you might occasionally hear a “WHAT!!!! He beat the throw” or “He’s been in there for 5 seconds!!!” but I have always tried to share my outbursts with the parents next to me. However, I have sat next to parents who have felt the need to openly yell and shout at you and I was embarrassed for them.
As a coach, I would yell and question your calls because frankly, my basketball team was not very good and I wanted to give my players every chance possible. My thinking was that if I brought a missed or bad call to your attention, you might not make that mistake again. However, sometimes you didn’t see it that way and let me know with stern look or a verbal warning to sit down. Hey, I had to try. But in the end, most basketball refs have been very helpful in warning me when a player has been parked too long in the paint or allowing my point guards an extra step when driving to the basket.
But most importantly without you my boys and all the other kids in my town could not play basketball and baseball and I would have no games to coach. So I want to say thank you to the parents who volunteer to be the home plate umpires and do their best to call balls and strikes and to the refs who work the youth basketball leagues and have to listen to parent- coaches who think they can see a foul from their end of the bench at the other end of the court.
I also want to congratulate Jim Joyce and Armando Gallaraga for the professional and honest way in which a missed call was handled. It should be a model for all of us.

Thanks again for making the time and taking the interest in youth sports throughout the country,

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Where does our money go ?

As the youth basketball season is passing the halfway point, I received an email  the other day from the local Little League saying that it was time to register my two boys for the upcoming season.The email stated that because the town increased the field user fee per child, the cost of registration was increasing. Little league passed that one on to us parents but it gets better, now there is a processing fee that will also be added to each registration. The total for both my sons to play is north of $300. But wait, I do get a cheap hat and team shirt. Now don't get me wrong, my boys have had a great time playing little league over the years and I have no problem paying. My problem is where does all this money go? Last time I checked the coaches are volunteers, they town fields they play on are maintained with my tax dollars, the umps are parents pulled from the crowed, and us parents have to buy the pants, socks, gloves, and bats each year. So I ask again, where does our money go?