Archive for Parents – Page 2

What’s Best & Common Sense

IMG_6460What’s best for their safety? What’s best for their development? What’s best for their future? What’s best for the athlete? What’s best for their character? Ask 100 different grown men and you are likely to get 100 different opinions. And with those 100 opinions, you will too often find no plan or wiggle room for adjustment in those beliefs.

Here we are, not even to mid March yet, and the messages and stories have started rolling in. With our followers who have been with us from the beginning, you all know our feeling on Development. You know our passion behind what we feel should come first. You know how we feel about how young pitchers need to be handled. You know our approach to developing and maintaining confident and HEALTHY young men on the mound.

After receiving multiple messages and hearing multiple stories already, I feel it’s necessary to bring this to the attention of everyone again.

As I have spoke on before, tournament baseball is a great situation for hitters to see a ton of pitches and get in a lot of reps. On the flip side, it may be the worst possible situation I can think of for Pitchers and Catchers who are in a situation where those in charge lack a feel for the demand on a players body while playing a full game, let alone 4-5 games over a two day period. **There are some out there who know how to do it right and will do everything possible to take care of their players arms and bodies.**

A pitcher going out and throwing 30-40 pitches in their first game of the year is a reasonable number. If they have trained to be able to throw more than that, great! Truth is, most have not. Most have not been built up to that number. And no matter the age, pitching back to back days is a no brainer, shouldn’t happen until we are deeper into the season, and even then, it should NEVER happen on a regular basis and shouldn’t happen unless they are at least a mature teenager. These are kids, not professionals who have trained their bodies and arms for this amount of work.

Let me add that an amateur pitcher going out and throwing nearly 100 pitches in their first outing of the season, (yes, multiple stories have been shared with me in the last week on this) is just absurd! This should be common sense coaching. Unfortunately, it seems that most tournaments do nothing to protect the pitchers from coaches who lack that common sense in these situations. **There are youth leagues that do though!!**

And let’s not ever forget about that kid behind the plate. For every pitch made in a game, he throws the ball back to the pitcher and he squats that many times. One game is enough for the day. A team headed into a tournament needs a least 3 catchers to share the time back there, it should NEVER be put on one player to squat and throw for every pitch made over the course of a tournament over a 2-3 day period!!

It seems the desire to win leads to poor choices when it comes to what’s best for that child, their safety and their development.

As always, I will end with, Parents, this is on you to educate yourself between right and wrong. Do some research and see what is happening out there with the rest of the baseball world right now. We are in the middle of an epidemic right now and it stuff like this that is the leading cause.

NO ONE is immune to this. NO ONE is bullet proof. NO ONE is un-touchable. It’s time to wake up everyone. It’s time to get our minds right and stop these habits and foolish decisions.

Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.

5 Observations & Perspective

As I reflect on life, as I hope you all do often, the future is always a focus. Be it family, business, our students or those that follow us, the idea is always, “How can we get better?” “What do they need?” “How can we help them?”

My personal, life, business and baseball experiences have taught me a lot. From work ethic, to reality, to perseverance, to the value of relationships and to the one thing that matters most “Character”, I feel we as adults need to get a better grip on “Perspective” and the reality of life and the young ones in front of us.

Here are a few things I am seeing we ALL need to be better at realizing…

1) The relationships we have with our children are precious. And when we push our personal desires and unrealistic ideals onto them, we very easily may be creating tension, stress, resentment, anger and pain that could lead to a lifetime of heartache in your relationship. And all because we couldn’t control ourselves and tried to force something on them that they simply didn’t have a passion for but we, their mentor, couldn’t accept that.

2) Making an impact on young lives should be our number one goal. I may be mistaken, but in the end, I feel most of us would feel much more joy in thinking about all those that we helped rather than how many games we won during our time as a coach. I think this is an important question that all teachers and coaches should frequently ask themselves. “Am I giving them what they need or are my actions and thoughts geared towards making me feel and look better?”

3) A group of talent is awesome. They may see a lot of result oriented success. Lots of oohs and aahs! Building a superstar team may make for a tremendously successful season on paper but as we see too often, these teams fall apart because of poor leadership. BE CAREFUL of looking to be a part of that team that’s going to win 90% of their games. Take 1st or 2nd in every tournament they play in. We must learn from others mistakes and choose the coach. That one person, or persons, and their approach is the difference maker. Sub .500 season or winning season, your ball player learning baseball skills and, more importantly, life skills IS what matters most.

4) One day these kids will be parents, leaders, business owners, employees, teachers and possibly serve our country. THAT is their future and THAT is what we are helping them prepare for. All of these people need to be able to think for themselves. Problem solve. Have mental toughness. Have leadership skills and have people skills. My question is, is our approach preparing them for all of these? Are we encouraging our players to think and observe, or do they look to us for some sort of sign before every pitch? Are we allowing selfishness and poor sportsmanship, or are we helping them improve on these flaws with the best teacher of all, “The Bench”? Are we teaching them how to handle adversity with our attitude of moving on or are we behaving in a manner of complaining and poor sportsmanship? We are their leaders, it’s time to lead them.

5) Smarts vs. Instincts. Too much talking and not enough working. Instincts are developed with reps. We most definitely will see more reps in practice than we do in games when it comes to the fundamentals of the game that lead to better fundamentally played games. Young players need at least a 1:1 ratio of practices vs. games if not more practices. But what we see are older teenage players who have acquired smarts, they know what to do in this situation or that because of what they have been told to do, but lack instincts in game speed situations because as a youth player, games played out numbered their practice time. Games are fun, they take less planning and quite frankly, less effort on the adults part. Our goal should be to prepare them for HS baseball. Practice, Practice, Game. Practice, Practice, Game. Practice, Practice, Game. Parents, find these situations and realize that more games does not mean better when it comes to their future.

We must ALL be looking to get better. To help them learn, improve and be prepared, we must first learn, improve and become prepared.

Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.


“Let us do the coaching.” “Trust us.” “No parents allowed at practice.” “Don’t come to us with playing time concerns.” “I’ve dealt with parents like you.”

These are all terms used out there to send a direct message that the coaches will coach and the parents need to be fans.

Are there overbearing and controlling parents who coach from the bleachers? YES! Some just can’t help it. Do they make it tough for the coaches to do their job? ABSOLUTELY! Are they a problem in you and amateur sports? Without a doubt.

Coaches, here are a few reasons why parents need to pay attention and be more involved…

1) You are most often a temporary personality in their lives. If your choices and actions are causing mental harm and/or putting that child in a position where injury risks rise, then understand this, that person who gave birth to that child, raises them, spends every morning with them, spends every night with them, fixes them meals, does their homework with them and has heart to heart talks with them…has some concerns, then guess what you need to do? Listen! Listen to their concerns, show them respect and you guys need to get on the same page. If you can’t make changes for the betterment of the children, don’t blame the parents when they remove their child from an abusive situation. There’s only one person to blame.

2) When amateur pitchers break, it’s a direct result of how their youth coaches handled them as pitchers. First problem here is that the coaches will do it, second problem is that the parents allow it. If a parent is on you about the amount of pitches you are throwing them, then there is obviously an issue. If they give you a number of pitches they will allow for their child to throw in a game, your answer should be “Okay”. Remember who that person is and who they are to that child. If you are out there doing things the right way, this wouldn’t be an issue in the first place.

3) Never forget you are a coach. Coach = Mentor, Role Model, Teacher and Leader. If how you relate to them as players, the umpires, your opponents and your players parents doesn’t resemble ALL of these roles and you have a difficult time leading by example, then stop blaming it on the parents for being the issue and take accountability for your actions and character. It’s time to make some changes.

If you are doing your job, helping kids get better and gain confidence. Providing opportunity for growth no matter age and ability. Holding poor attitudes accountable and teaching life lessons. Then you wouldn’t have any parents with concerns to begin with. When it’s laid out from the beginning and you stick to your word, there will never need to be any explaining. You either do your job with integrity or you don’t. One will come with complaints while the other won’t.

Coaches, stop complaining about parents who are looking out for their child. If you are finding that year after year you are having issues with parents, it’s time to realize that it may be you who needs to make some changes.

Integrity, communication, professionalism and leadership.

Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.

5 Ways we are Failing to Prepare THEM

Raising and developing people…

THIS is what our job is as adults. Realize it or not, most everything that happens on a ball field can be related to life in some way. The problem is, many are failing to see what this is all about. We have become so obsessed with the outcome that we are failing to recognize and believe in the process. We often hear “Trust The Process” used but then find that those who frequently use this term simply do not understand what it really means.

“The Process” requires patience. It calls for us knowing what the end goal is. It takes us ADULTS teaching, then stepping back and letting them figure it out while resisting the urge to step in at the sign of failure. Failure is THE key to long term success. They are moments disguised as disappointment and embarrassment but are actually blessings in disguise. The problem though lies with the adults, parents and coaches, who lack patience for failure and see our player’s and children’s failures as a reflection of our ability to teach and lead. That’s when we see the adults making it about them when we all should know what this is really all about…THE KIDS.

Here are 5 things that are happening on fields across the nation that are stunting player and individual growth…

Pigeon Holing Players:
We need to stop viewing them as “The Shortstop” or “The Center Fielder”. They are Baseball players. They are “Athletes”. The goal is for them to be able to confidently tell their HS coach at their freshman year tryouts that they can play wherever they need them. A player who played only SS his whole youth life is limited. Sure not everyone can pitch or catch but know this, we are not helping them develop their baseball IQ and “Options” when we develop them as a one dimensional player. Teach them and help them learn the game from multiple angles on the field.

Calling Pitches:
Robots don’t think, they wait for commands. Why do we feel the need to call every single pitch from the dugout? It’s great that you know how to get youth hitters out but that’s not your job. The ball is not in your hand. Relinquish control, teach them how to observe the situation and the hitter AND LET THEM PLAY SOME BASEBALL. Will they make some poor choices on pitch selection…You bet! That’s where we help them between innings to learn so they are better prepared for the next time that situation comes up. Not only is this not good for them to develop as thinkers and observers, it’s horrible for the pace of a game. Talk about a tempo killer. Teach them, pitchers and catchers, to work together, work fast and get their boys back in the dugout as soon as possible. Bosses tell people what to do, leaders teach people what to do. Which one are you?

Undeserved Playing Time:
When a player is involved in too many things at once and continually fails to attend team practices…When a player continually displays poor body language…When a player is disrespectful towards the umpires, their teammates or coaches…Playing time is NOT deserved. By rewarding these behaviors with the privilege of seeing the ball field, we are making a huge mistake. Talent shouldn’t matter…Opponent shouldn’t matter…The importance of the game shouldn’t matter…RAISING AND DEVELOPING THAT PERSON MATTERS. You ARE instilling ego and entitlement and you may not even realize it. Many things are bigger than the game and this may be the biggest of all. The greed of wanting to win is taking over common sense and blinding many to what this is really all about.

Ignoring Defensive Fundamentals:
Knowing how to read the play. Knowing what their job is. Knowing where to back up and where to throw the ball. Knowing how to properly execute and rundown. Developing instincts through repetitions. Too many games and not enough practice. Many HS players know what they should do on a play but when it comes down to it, in the moment, they have underdeveloped instincts as they simply have not practiced these fundamentals enough. Pitchers working on their craft is often ignored because “It takes too much time”. The fact is, pitching and defense is what wins and loses most ball games. If you can’t take care of the ball (throw strikes, field and catch the ball) the other team will make their way around the bases whether they are a good hitting team or not. There should be just as much defensive work as there is offensive work, if not more.

Instilling Ego, Entitlement and Un-Coachable Attitudes:
Help them develop confidence but keep them humble. Take ability out of the picture and treat them all as people. Help them understand there are many ways to be successful in this game (and in life) and for them to grow as much as possible, they must look for as much information as possible, ask questions whenever possible and NEVER go into a situation of opportunity with a closed mind. Talking down about their teammates and coaches is a HUGE parenting mistake. It’s the good old fashioned term, “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all!” Realize it or not, you are teaching the skill of gossip, you are instilling a sense of being better than everyone else and you are instilling habits that WILL get them in trouble at some point later in life. Lastly, teach them that success is earned. Find different ways to make them earn their keep. Teach them that talent will only get them so far, that their work ethic, their character, their dedication and perseverance will all be the deciding factor as they grow.

ALL of these things happen on and off a field during a baseball season. Some may read this and take it personal, that’s fine. Some may read this and feel pain as they have, or are, living this. I’m nearly 40 years old, have been blessed with a life where I got to play, and now teach, the game of baseball. I understand I have been able to experience things that most will never get to and that keeps me humble. Now I have the privilege to teach what I have learned, and am still learning, every day. It’s up to you if you want to be coachable (yes adults should be coachable too), or if you read these words and disagree. However you take it is fine with me. I’m here to help and teach from what I have experienced, that’s it.

I’ll end with this…”The Big Picture”…Our one purpose as adults is to provide for the young. This happens in many different ways. PLEASE don’t ever let pride and greed blur your thoughts and cause you to miss out on the countless character development moments that happen on a daily basis. Lead by example, pour into THEM and help them prepare for LIFE.

Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.

Certain Truths…

img_9279There are some things in Life and Baseball you simply can’t argue…

– You won’t grow if you are always talking.
– Development will not happen without opportunity.
– Velocity will only get you so far.
– You can’t teach experience.
– Playing and coaching are two very different things.
– Parenting IS the toughest job in the world.
– Athleticism is temporary, character is forever.
– Missed calls will always even out in the end.
– There’s a difference between a “Throwing Coach” and a “Pitching Coach”.
– There’s a difference between a “Swing Coach” and a “Hitting Coach”.
– There’s a difference between a “Manager” and a “Coach”.
– Entitlement is instilled by parents.
– Overuse injuries in children are result of the adults choices.
– Academics ARE more important than sports.
– All it takes is one coach to take the love of the game away from a child.
– All it takes is one coach to help the love of the game grow in a child.
– The mentally weak have a habit of making excuses.
– The mentally tough have a habit of accountability.
– For long term fulfillment, give more than you receive.
– Winning 3 of 4 games is a great achievement, not a failure.
– Never a failure, always a lesson.
– It’s easy to take generosity for granted but the truly grateful will always show their gratitude.
– Everyone starts with trust from on another, but it’s your attitude and your choices which will either see that trust build or fade away.
– Being coachable and open minded is one of the best traits a person/athlete can possess.
– Being un-coachable and closed minded is one of the worst traits a person/athlete can possess and means you will have less to give.
– Strong physically but weak mentally equals limited success.
– Those who read are those who seek information and are those who will have more to give and offer.
– Confidence in children can either be built up or broken down by the words and actions of the adults.
– Greed and Ego are major issues in youth sports.
– Mistakes made as a young person are inevitable but not the end of the world. They make for great learning experiences and character building moments.
– In the end, it’s about the impact you had on others.

Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.

13 Ways to Protect Your Pitchers From Injury…

img_9877First, let’s be real, injuries happen. Throwing something overhand puts a lot of stress on the shoulder and elbow joints. Coordination and genetics often play a role in a sore arm.

With that, there are things we can do to promote healthy arms and put them in a position to be strong from the beginning to the end of a season. Dedication and commitment to arm health needs to be taken seriously, especially in this generation with so much baseball being played.

1) Core strength. Baseball is a rotational sport. Developing and maintaining the strength of your core, front and back, puts the body in a position to use your whole frame to create power. Develop a daily routine that includes multiple core strengthening exercises.

2) Lower half strength. Power, power, power. Most of a pitchers power will be determined in how they move down the mound. From the glutes, to the quads, to the hammies, become a beast.

3) Hand and wrist strength. How strong is their grip? Every time they throw a baseball, they are using all these muscles. Develop these to protect all the tendons and ligaments underneath. Use a hand gripper, racquet ball, rice bucket, gyro ball exerciser, etc.

4) Shoulder and elbow strength. Resistance bands, light weights, body weight movements. There are lots of different products and routines out there. Many different exercises. I don’t care which one you do, just do something! Find something you enjoy. Develop stability in these joints. Develop and maintain strength and endurance in those decelerator muscles.

5) STAY CLOSED! It doesn’t matter how good you are in the areas listed above, if you start to rotate open too soon in your delivery, you will lose momentum and lack torque which in turn will put all the pressure on your arm joints to try and create power. Momentum all the way down the mound and late turn/torque creates most of the power and takes the strain off the arm.

6) Learn proper mechanics. Everyone looks different and some can get away with not being perfect. Focus on stride length, body position at front foot contact, body movements from there to release and what happens after release (aka, how does your body decelerate).

7) Listen to your body/arm. If it needs a break, then give it a day off. Twenty-four hours can do wonders. This can take years to fully understand but when it comes to endurance and being able to finish the season just as strong as you were when it started, this is a major key.

8) Tendonitis and dead arm is fatigue. These happen when your body wasn’t prepared for the amount you have been putting on it. Getting through a whole season at the professional level without coming down with either of these at some point is pretty much impossible, simply because it is so much, no matter how well you are prepared. With the demand at that level, it’s inevitable. If a youth player is experiencing these, there are most likely issues in the areas listed above and there needs to be adjustments made to their non-competitive and competitive workload.

9) Develop routines. Catch, long toss, bullpen, arm care, core work, strength training, speed training. Strengths and weaknesses are determined in the strengths and weaknesses of our routines. Thoughtout and detailed routines make sure that everything that needs attention, gets the attention it requires.

10) THROW MORE! Condition the arm for the demand. “Saving bullets” by taking it easy on your non pitching days and never throwing bullpens at near game speed, is putting your arm in a weaker position in regards to strength, stamina and endurance. Thus when you go out and demand 70-100 pitches from it, and it’s essentially been hibernating for the past however many days, it won’t be fully prepared for what you are about to put it through. Don’t be afraid of throwing the rock daily. Never go more than three days without getting on the mound to refine your delivery and continue to develop feel for your pitches. Throw your changeup daily, spin the baseball daily (if you are there in development).

11) Establish limits. Once a player hits their threshold of reps in a game that they are conditioned for, each rep from there on out puts them in a weaker position thus elevating the risk for injury. Understand progression when it comes to pitch counts. And when there has been too much time between competitive pitches, stamina and endurance is lost quickly and you need to back track a little in the workload that arm will see in their next game pitched.

12) Put your pitchers on a rotation. Allow for consistent work. You should know right now who will start that game that you have three weeks from now. Development is in consistency and we are here to help them develop…PERIOD!

13) Play multiple sports. Take AT LEAST 12 weeks off in the winter from throwing. Take time to focus on overall strength and develop an active rest routine for your throwing arm. Put the gloves down, put the baseballs down. Read a book on mental toughness. Read articles on how big leaguers achieve their success. Train your mind. Sit down and write out some new routines. Evaluate your season and determine weaknesses and strengths and make a plan to improve on them and perfect them. Establish goals.

Most have a goal to play this game beyond high school. The question is, are we hindering their chances of achieving those goals with the way we are using them, or not using them? Are we putting them in a position to succeed or are we risking their future by with the decisions we keep making?

Injury is the number one cause for players never reaching their full potential. Let’s do a better job at making decisions that put them in a better position to not become a statistic.

Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.

We Preach it, But We are NOT Teaching it!?

img_8098You won’t find a coach out there that doesn’t use the word “Development” when referring to their goals, approach or program. Here are 8 things we hear from across the country that completely contradict this important word…

1) Players are told to “Fake Bunt”, nearly every time, on the first pitch when a runner gets on 1B so they can steal second. These players who end the season with record setting SB numbers, are missing out on countless opportunities to learn how to run the bases and history is showing us that when the game catches up with their ability, they are proving to be underdeveloped on the base paths. This is when playing “real baseball” rules on a small field loses its genuine feel. It’s not realistic. So many development opportunities missed.

Development: Primary and secondary leads, read the ball angle out of the pitchers hand, hit and run, how to go first to third and how to read pick off attempts from righty and lefty pitchers.

2) Coach calls all of the pitches from the dugout. Often, this happens and the players have no option to shake it off and call something they feel more confident in. Even when they do have the option, they rarely will as the thinking part has been taken out of their hands. When they are trained to look to the dugout before every pitch to be told what to do, they become robots and stop thinking. They need to be given freedom and encouraged to think out there. Taught to observe and make educated decisions based on what they are seeing. There’s nothing better than a battery (pitcher & catcher) working together to keep the game moving quickly, keep the hitters off balance and to see them build confidence in themselves.

Development: Let them call what they want and go from there. Remember, any pitch in any count can be successful when executed. If they throw/call a pitch that may not have been the best option based on the situation, then talk about it in the dugout and see if they make a better choice next time. They will never learn to think if they aren’t allowed to.

3) Yanking a player off the field in the middle of an inning because of an error. Talk about a confidence killer! I can’t think of anything worse for confidence than this. They are embarrassed, scared to make a mistake and now losing trust in their coach because they talk about having confidence but then do this. This creates a culture of players playing scared because of what coach may do if they make a mistake.

Development: They need to be able to fail with confidence and know that their leader has their back and will be there for them to help them learn. Learn how to move on quickly so they can be fully focused for the next pitch. This breeds fear, the exact opposite of confidence.

4) Pigeon holing players to 1 or 2 positions all season. Great players have game awareness. Complete game awareness can only be developed when you see action from all over the field. Now, not every player can pitch, catch and there are safety concerns sometimes with infield positions, but when there isn’t and the same kid is at SS or 1B all season, not only are they not learning the game, but neither are their teammates. Needless to say, you are setting the team up for failure when those players are absent, or unable to play, and you haven’t developed anyone else to play those positions.

Development: The goal is for them to be able to go into HS and be able to say, with confidence, that they can play wherever they need them to. Chances are that there will be multiple players vying for the same positions. DEVELOP OPTIONS!

5) Pitching and defense is known to be what wins ball games. Yet, from LL to HS baseball, coaches don’t have pitchers throw bullpens and players consistently don’t get enough work on fielding the baseball and learning how to move around the field. Believe it though, everyone is taking batting practice. Sure, everyone loves to go out and mash but if the goal is to develop good ball players and play fundamentally sound baseball, we need to work on taking care of the baseball. When your pitchers are walking too many batters and leaving too many pitches up in the zone and your fielders are constantly having trouble doing their job, it may be time to adjust your priorities and routines.

Development: Pitchers should never go more than 3 days without getting on the mound, in a game or for a bullpen session. Their delivery and feel for that delivery is who they are. Feel and arm strength can go very quickly when you go beyond that number of days without work. Maintain a routine that allows for consistent high intensity mound work. Reps, reps, reps! Practice on fielding, backing up bases, cut off positions, PFP, receiving and blocking balls behind the plate. The list goes on and on. Put the bats down and focus on some defense.

6) All games, no practice. When do we get to work on the mistakes we are making on the field. Talking about them after the game is great, but we are foolish to think that will fix the issues. You need reps. You need to work on it over and over and over. Often, there is too much talking but not enough work.

Development: Better programs have regularly scheduled practices. It’s very hard to work on things in a competitive setting. Practice is where you can recreate the situation, slow it down, discuss it, work on it and put your team in a better spot to succeed when the opportunity arrises again, because you know it will.

7) No individual feedback. No evaluation. When a pitcher’s done, there’s no coach discussing how it went. When a player makes a mistake, there’s no coach explaining what went wrong. When a hitter has a rough day, there’s no coach helping to keep their spirits up.

Development: Coaches, this is in our job title. Evaluate and give feedback. See where their mind is at and go from there. Good day or bad day, what can we learn from it? The teaching should never end.

8) Rewarding poor sportsmanship and poor attitudes with playing time. This may be the biggest one for me. This comes down to developing qualities and characteristics in a person that will carry them through life. Pouting, sitting on the bench while everyone else is on the fence, disrespecting umpires, talking trash to opponents, disrespecting teammates and coaches and poor decisions off the field. Letting it slide because they are one of the better players and then treating the less talented players differently when doing the same things. This may be leadership at it’s worst. Ignoring the behavior by giving playing time because there is no one else to play that position is a horrible excuse. All that means is we didn’t do our job in developing others for that position.

Development: Focus on developing quality people. What we allow in these situations is what we are teaching. Realize it or not, you are developing entitlement in that child. One day, that kids’ actions and selfishness will come back and bite them. We are setting them up for failure by allowing it now, and all for what?

When we accept the position as “Coach”, we are accepting the position as a motivator, an encourager, a leader, a mentor and a teacher. Teach them the game. Be more focused on developing and preparing them for their future. These are kids and too often we see, and hear about, adults treating them like they are adults. They are kids who are trying to figure out life. When the game is over and they are at home, they want to watch cartoons and play “I spy” or some silly video game. We are more than a baseball coach, we are a life coach. I beg you to please take it seriously. Understand your role and never forget how old they are, how fragile their minds are, no matter how big and strong they appear, and be a compassionate leader.

Development…What does this word mean to you?

Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.

13 Things Life Has Taught Me

2014-09-26-16-30-49I am 39 years old. Grew up in the Bay Area until the summer before I started High School. We moved to Vancouver, WA which is where we have been ever since.

Let me give you a little history…

My parents recently did the parent thing and broke out old video to enjoy some laughs and some memories. There was a lot of great video that was great to see. But one thing I realized was that I didn’t remember any of it. Video from when I was 11/12 years old to video of me playing ball in HS. I remember the people of course, but the moments…Well the memories are few and far between.

One video showed me acting like a complete fool towards my sister. In a teasing manner but when I see my actions, it’s quite embarrassing. In another video, I watched myself pitch in a Freshman HS game. Though I was tall and had a decent arm, my delivery left a lot to be desired compared with what I know now.

Through HS, I wasn’t the best son or student. Especially those first couple years. When I look back, this was right after we moved. The biggest reasoning for this was who I chose to spend my time with. My grades were awful. I spent most of my time around unmotivated people and I constantly disrespected those who had provided the most for me my whole life, my parents.

Blame it on puberty, blame it on moving, blame it on whatever. All I know is that I was going down the wrong path.

Through all this, my parents had faith. Things started to turn around and it all revolved around Baseball. The possibility of being able to play beyond HS started to become a reality but I had to make some big adjustments and improvements, starting with my school work. It was a big uphill battle but I was able to make enough changes to sign a scholarship to a major college.

I was drafted out of HS and chose to go that route. Three days after graduating, I was off. I had to learn how to take care of myself in a hurry.

Seven years into my career, our first child was born. He is now 14 years old and looking back, that was the moment in my life that everything changed. All of a sudden I had someone else to provide for and take care of. I realized that there was more to life than myself and baseball.

We were blessed with seven more years of traveling and playing baseball. During those years, we had two more beautiful children. We spent a lot of time apart but we also traveled the country and even overseas together. During all those years, I’m always surprised at what I remember most. Not the games I pitched or the championships we won but the ups and downs of being parents.

After my playing days were done, we found ourselves still fortunate to travel the US but now it was because of coaching. We did that for three years until we decided to step away from the pro game and focus on teaching, guiding and mentoring our local ball players and their families.

During those years as a player and coach, all the traveling, being around so many different people with so many different upbringings and experiences while raising a family in the process… Let’s just say it has all taught me so much.

13 things life has taught me…

1) Relationships are first and foremost. With your family, spouse, friends, students or players.

2) As adults, we most likely won’t remember many of the details of our youth, but all the moments along the way molded us. Think of it like this, in youth Baseball, it’s not the games and the outcomes that a child will remember, it’s the little things like someone showing faith in them when they fail or someone belittling them and pushing them to the side when they make mistakes that will develop their self esteem and teach them how to trust or not trust.

3) Puberty sucks. It hits everyone different. My parents persevered. Realizing what I put them through will help me as a parent when we get to that point.

4) Baseball is a game. A game that should be fun and played to win. But the life lessons it can teach you, 1000% outweigh one’s physical ability, how many trophies or rings they win, how many homers they hit, how many guys they strike out, how hard they throw or where the game takes them.

5) Character > Athleticism

6) Playing the game is tough. Coaching the game is tough. Parenting is tough. Growing up is tough. Play it the best you can. Teach it the best you can. Raise them the best you can. Learn as much as you can.

7) You can’t teach experience but experience doesn’t always mean better. It means you may have more to share from but not everyone is a teacher. Playing and coaching are two very different things.

8) Knowledge is power. Gain as much information on the subject as you can before you start making choices and decisions.

9) We are a product of what we surround ourselves with. Do the things we choose to have in our life provide positive and encouraging thoughts or do they breed negativity and put us in a place of constant bitterness to what is happening around us? I suggest filling your head with as much motivation as you can. Life is tough enough!

10) Everyone has different opinions. Different feelings on topics. Different ideas and different approaches. IT’S OK! We don’t all have to see eye to eye on everything.

11) There are two kinds of coaches. Transactional and Transformational. Learn the difference between the two. Personally I strive to be Transformational and breathe to help others become this type of mentor.

12) Too many adults often forget how hard it was growing up and how hard this game is. Many have lost perspective that the number one goal is raising people. Developing quality people. They get so caught up in, and become obsessed with, the outcome of a game, that they become blinded to the children that are standing before them learning how to live.


The game is called “Life”. In our world, Baseball is an amazing tool we get to use to teach with. The lessons that it teaches are endless. It’s not for everyone and very few in this world understand the passion we all have for it, but I recommend we all learn to use it for goodness and not greed.

What the game of Life has taught me.

Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.

10 Keys to Development…

IMG_80911. Provide players with playing time at multiple positions throughout the season to enhance baseball IQ. DON’T play them at just 1 or 2 positions all season.

2. Dedicate practice time each week to continuously work on the little things. DON’T only play games once the games start.

3. Take away playing time for poor sportsmanship, disrespect, lack of attendance due to commitment, selfishness and poor choices. DON’T turn a blind eye because it’s your more talented players but follow through only when it’s a player with lesser talent.

4. Allow and encourage pitchers and catchers to call their own pitches while teaching them to observe and evaluate each situation to make better, more thought out choices. DON’T call each pitch from the dugout and even worse, with a message that they are not allowed to shake you off.

5. Promote thought and encourage aggressiveness. DON’T dictate as to say it’s your way or no way.

6. Constantly promote self evaluation, ask them questions and force them to think. DON’T solely speak at them without ever looking for feedback.

7. Have pitchers on a rotation for consistent time on the mound in games and between games to continually refine and develop consistent feel for their delivery and pitches. DON’T let it go more than three or four days without them getting on a mound or only pitch them in games without ever providing time for them to work on their weaknesses and maintain their strengths.

8. When a player makes a mistake, coach them up, rebuild their confidence and let them go back out there. DON’T take away playing time immediately or even worse, yank them off the field in the middle of an inning simply because you, the adult, have seen enough.

9. Create a team atmosphere and camaraderie through sportsmanship, respect, compassion, leadership and positivity where everyone supports and believes in each other because they all see each other as equal. DON’T create a division amongst players, parents and coaches because one group of players is treated differently than another group of players because of talent, skill and who their parents are.

10. Create a team full of leaders by leading by example and motivating, inspiring and encouraging them to act as leaders amongst themselves, towards their opponents, towards the umpires, towards their fans AND away from the field. DON’T be a poor example of how to carry yourself in moments of adversity, play favorites based on ability and talk down to them in a belittling manner because things aren’t going the way you think they should.

Development is such an important word when it comes to our youth and their leadership. As adults, at home and on the field, we must keep refining our leadership, evaluating our ways and understanding the big picture. This is all so much bigger than Baseball. This game, when viewed correctly, can be one of the most amazing life coaches there is.

Let’s stop being blinded by the “WIN” and start adjusting our thought process to focus on DEVELOPING PEOPLE through Baseball.

Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.

Developing and Protecting Arms

IMG_7894It’s been asked so many times, it’s hard to keep track of.

“How do you protect arms and stick to pitch counts/limits in tournament situations?”

My answer:
Put your pitchers on a rotation. Stick to it, not matter what. Have hard limits. Being so concerned with who’s going to pitch in the championship game hinders a pitchers development as it’s not always guaranteed you will get there.

Coaches who plan like this will find that they end up pitching that kid, they are saving, in an earlier game, the day before and even worse, in the same day, so they have a better chance at getting to that championship game. And then starting that kid, sometimes in the same day, in that championship game.

What also happens is that pitcher who is being saved, ends up not pitching at all and then that pitcher misses the opportunity to develop.

Plan with the players development in mind. Stop planning for the win!!

This is one difference in Development based coaching and Win based coaching.

Coaches, stop being 50/50. If there is even a hint of you that makes decisions based on what is best for you and your ego, then it’s NOT all about the kids. If you want to develop at all costs, THEN BE ALL IN!! You either have a decided and committed heart to the kids or you don’t.

Once again, this is youth baseball, not the big leagues.

Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.


IMG_7897A former teammate of mine posted on social media the other day with a short but powerful message…

“Professionalism. This means a great deal to me.”

To some, this may not mean much. For me personally, this is what it all boils down to. I’ve been around so many different types of people since I graduated HS in 1996. People from different parts of the US, different countries, different ethnicities, different upbringings, different educations, just so different.

As I reflect now on where I am and nearly 40, I realize that my circle, those I trust and confide in, is pretty small. When I think about why that is, this one word sums it all up…


This means different things to many of us, but here are a few areas that describe what it means to me…

1) How you speak. How you talk to others and even more importantly, how you speak and relate to our young ones.
2) How you dress. For me, coaching is my job. So when I go to work, I will dress like the Baseball coaches I have had since 1996. If I look sloppy, what message am I sending to my players.
3) A firm hand shake.
4) Social Media is such big part of our youths life now that this needs attention. Your social profile is so important and telling these days that business owners, scouts, recruiters, etc. routinely use it as a reflection of ones character. It’s so important with this generation that we spent a whole week discussing, and will continue to discuss, this with our students.
5) Adults acting mature and responsible as fans and coaches.
6) Adults leading by example with Integrity, Sportsmanship and always being concerned with the mental and physical well being of those around them and those they lead.
7) Being prompt.
8) In this “Me” generation, being selfless and gracious.
9) Being Humble and not feeling the need to let everyone know where you have been and what you have done. If they want to know, they can ask or do a little research.
10) Being Coachable. Seeking information, being open minded and wanting to constantly learn.
11) Showing Respect on and off the field. Even when someone else is acting unprofessionally, you have no need to retaliate.
12) Being organized, prepared and original.
13) Moral Compass. What you deem acceptable and unacceptable behavior. What you teach and allow.
14) Humility. No matter who they are, where they have been and what they may have accomplished, they understand there are more ways to do things than their way and are always open to information.

Again, these are a few examples of what it means to me. You don’t have to agree with any or all of them and that’s ok. You create your own definition of Professionalism.

Just because you may have not played or coached professionally or ever had the phrase “Professional” attached to your name or title, it doesn’t mean you can’t act and behave like a Professional.

Be a Professional Parent, Fan, Spouse, Coach, Teacher, Instructor, Business Owner, Employee, Student or whatever it is that you do. Do it with Class, Honor and Integrity.

When you lack Professionalism in what you do, don’t be surprised when you constantly have to explain yourself, redeem yourself, back track and see people come and go in your life.

“Be Professional”

Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.

What are they Conditioned for?

IMG_7604Who is available to pitch today? Who is going to start on the mound? How many pitches can they throw? How many innings can they throw? How many innings would we like them to get on the mound this year? These are legitimate questions that run through the mind of professional pitching coaches and managers on a daily basis.

With arms breaking, major injuries occurring, across the nation at an alarming rate, from youth baseball to professional baseball, experienced baseball minds are working through this daily to try and figure out how to slow it down and get it back to where it used to be. And word is, from those in the professional game, that things are starting to show some signs of improvement. From more rigorous arm care to better approaches on work loads, the number of injuries, though still too high, is showing signs of improvement.

With that said, it’s become an unfortunate truth that the biggest number of major arm injuries are in those who have the word “Teen” in their age. So what is the difference? Professionals throw way more innings than amateur pitchers do. They throw way harder than 99% of amateur pitchers. They throw the baseball dang near every day for 9 straight months from the start of their off season throwing programs in the winter until the end of their regular seasons in September or October.

The difference is…

– Consistent Daily Arm Care.
– Consistent Daily work on keeping their delivery on point.
– Consistent Daily work in-between appearances.
– Consistent Daily strength training.

They are consistently CONDITIONING their bodies to be prepared for the demand they are putting on their arms and bodies. Yes, sometimes even they need to give their body a day off, but unless they have endured a major injury which requires them to take complete rest, they work DAILY to prepare. And since this is their job, there is ample time each and every day for them to do this.

So, if that is how a professional player prepares for the demands the game puts on their body, how does this compare to how a youth/amateur player prepares? Truth, they can’t compare. With the daily schedule of a young persons life, it just doesn’t allow for it, plus, mentally, they just aren’t there yet in life. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just the process of life.

That leads to the next point. If professionals, mature men physically, train daily (arm care routines, catch routines, long toss routines, strength training routines and bullpen/mound work routines) to prepare for 1-2 starts a week where they will throw approx. 80-110 pitches **IF THAT’S WHAT THEY ARE CONDITIONED FOR** and relief pitchers prepare for 2-3 appearances SPREAD THROUGHOUT a week where each time they are available to pitch, and how many pitches they will be allowed to throw, is determined by when and how many pitches they threw in their last appearance, THEN WHY ARE OUR YOUNG ONES BEING PUSHED TO THROW THE SAME AMOUNT OF THROWS/PITCHES THAT A PROFESSIONAL TRAINS TO THROW, OVER A WEEKS PERIOD, IN A 2-3 DAY SPAN? Common sense says this doesn’t make sense. It makes even less sense when these young arms don’t train between appearances the way they need to be training to establish and maintain arm strength and stamina. Many young arms are pushed to the max over a weekend, then proceed to take 2 weeks off without regular mound work, regular catch play, regular long toss sessions and most likely limited to no arm care. BUT…These are kids. Their job is to be kids. Their job is not baseball. If there is a strong desire when they become teenagers to excel at this game, you will see them start to take on this type of work ethic on their own. These are the ones who will most often go further in the game, but let’s be real, this passion isn’t in all of them, and that’s OK.

For an arm to maintain arm strength and stamina, it needs consistent work. When an arm isn’t used, it will quickly start to lose those after about 3-4 days. For example, if a professional pitcher is forced to take some days off because of biceps tendonitis (fatigue), and that rest turns into a weeks time, they will need to follow a 2-3 week throwing routine before they are allowed to pitch in another game. They need to build the strength and stamina back up. If that rest were to turn into a longer period than a week, then you could be looking at that rehab throwing routine lasting longer and longer. Each day that the arm sits idle, strength and stamina is lost.

Along those lines, here is another article I wrote on “Conditioning a Pitcher’s Arm”.

Let’s also discuss effort. This is a great benefit of long toss. To throw the ball a long distance and with command, you need to use your body properly and with extreme effort, effort like which you would use while competing. Long toss routines take time. Good ones can last 20 minutes. But what we often see are programs that ignore the importance of catch play and limit their players to 5-10 minutes of catch as they feel it’s not as important as the other things on the agenda. To be honest, the first 25-30 minutes of a workout should be dedicated to preparing the body and arm to work.

So we have a lack of arm care, a lack of consistent catch and long toss play, a major lack of quality mound work (these should be performed at a high effort also) and a lack of weekly game action with competitive pitches, but then push immature arms to the max for a short period of time during an inconsistent weekly/bi-weekly/monthly schedule, and we wonder why there’s a major problem with arm injuries in youth arms?? We have to educate ourselves parents and coaches and turn this knowledge into common sense. I don’t care how big or strong looking a young man appears, we are talking about tendons, ligaments and soft tissue. Let’s smarten up.

Every day, every week, we should be asking ourselves, what are they conditioned for?

Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.

Tournament Baseball: Pros & Cons

IMG_7281Before I get into it, let’s get some things very clear right out the gate. Baseball is the best game on earth. If you can’t tell by now, I am very passionate about teaching it and feel very strongly about the life lessons it can teach. Respecting the game, our opponents, the umpires, our teammates, the fans and our players and their parents is a big deal to me. It’s a game that’s played to win but that shouldn’t be the end all. The safety, future and health of our young players bodies and arms should be a major concern. Through experience, I have seen that health is the number one cause of most players never reaching their full potential. And last, this is about more than just developing ball players, this is about developing people.

My Disclaimer** The points brought up below are facts and truth about what’s going on out there. I will add my opinion of why I see it as a “Pro” or “Con” and please understand it is simply my opinion and you don’t need to or have to agree.

Okay, let’s get into it. Tournament Baseball. Yes, I know, now many are thinking “Here we go again!” I’m not going to bash it. I’m not going to call anyone out (but if you take something personal, then maybe it’s something you need to think about). And I’m not going to shy away from truth. Some things just need to be brought up.

Here we go…

• Work Ethic.
My Opinion: This style of Baseball is taken more serious. With the amount of hours put into training, some will develop very strong work habits over the years which as we as adults know, is a necessary trait for long term success.
• Reps for Hitters.
My Opinion: With so many more games scheduled to play compared to local Little Leagues and Rec Leagues, hitters get way more swings thus leading to more experience and a better chance at reaching their potential quicker.
• More innings for Pitchers.
My Opinion: Just as with the hitters, this style gives pitchers a better opportunity to throw more innings thus gaining more experience.
• Life Experience.
My Opinion: Getting to travel your state, your region and sometimes other parts of the country can be such a fun and special experience for those involved.
• Better Coaching.
My Opinion: Overall, this style is more serious simply because you have more coaches who have some sort of experience in the game. You may see better hitters, better pitching and better fundamentals.
• Teamwork.
My Opinion: To be successful tournament after tournament, a group needs to work as one (unless there is a handful on a team that is so overpowering against their competition, then a team can get away from riding their talent for a weekend). Learning to work together, picking each other up and becoming selfless can be taught a lot quicker in this atmosphere.
• Family Atmosphere.
My Opinion: When on weekend trips as a group, often we hear about team functions and gatherings. When asking players what was their most enjoyable time of the weekend, many will talk about their time together with their friends/teammates. When you sit back and look at a young persons life, it’s moments like this that they will remember most.

• Accountability.
My Opinion: There is no one making sure that the adults are not overusing and abusing players bodies and arms. From catchers catching way too many pitches/games in a weekend to pitchers throwing too many pitches in a single inning, a single game, pitching twice in a day, pitching back to back days, pitching 3 days in a row, catching and pitching in the same game/day and throwing way too many breaking balls taking away from the development of fastballs and change ups.
• Innings and outs limits and not pitch count limits for pitchers.
My Opinion: Adults will, and are, completely abusing this. Even if they know their stud pitcher shouldn’t be pitching that day, they want to win so badly, they will push common sense to the side and make poor decision after poor decision while showing no concern for that players arm health and future.
• No inning/pitch limits for catchers.
My Opinion: Again, common sense. For every pitch made, that’s a throw back and a squat for that catcher. The age and physical strength of a KID doesn’t matter. Just as a pitcher should be limited to pitches thrown in a game/weekend, so should a catcher and the number of pitches/games caught.
• Infatuated with getting to third base.
My Opinion: Wanting to get to third base so badly so we are that much closer to scoring. A walk or a single turns into that runner on third base within the next two pitches. On a small field, the chances of throwing out a runner are so slim that the adults are abusing the opportunity. With this, we are seeing that players are missing out on learning valuable base running skills like primary and secondary leads, reading the angle of the ball out of the pitchers hand, anticipating the ball in the dirt, being prepared to read the ball off the bat and going first to third or second to home.
• Water downed coaching.
My Opinion: With so many teams you need so many coaches and with this there seems to be a major lack of experience leading the players.
• Water downed competition.
My Opinion: Many leave Little League and Rec baseball because of the quality of talent but now we are seeing teams, with there being so many teams, that may have a few of those talented players and then the rest are just like those in the other leagues that these families left. With this, you see teams with overwhelming win/loss records because they may have better coaching, or faster athletes to steal more bases, and a few more of those talented players.
• Not enough pitchers and catchers.
My Opinion: A team should never go into a tournament with any less than 8 pitchers who can give you multiple innings and at least 3 catchers. Unfortunately, many will ride just a handful of pitchers and 1-2 catchers for a whole weekend, 2-3 days, which will undoubtedly lead to overuse and fatigue.
• Too much.
My Opinion: 5 to 7 games over a 2 to 3 day period is simply too much or even worse, playing 10+ games in a 5 day period. Pitchers throwing too much (innings pitched on top of all of the other throws made during the weekend), catchers end up catching too much and kids end up being out in the heat too long. We hear stories about those championship games on that last day and the quality of Baseball being so poor because of how much baseball these kids have played the day(s) before and earlier that day. Again, common sense. Doesn’t anyone seeing this happen think that something doesn’t seem right? Do we really think this is quality baseball? Why are we forgetting about the young athletes bodies that are out on the fields?
• Too much time between tournaments/games scheduled.
My Opinion: For pitchers, having more than a week off between outings, let alone 2-3 weeks, is just flat out bad for the condition of their arms. Stamina is a major concern and for pitchers to maintain it, they need to be pitching weekly. Maxing out once (a weekend full of throwing the baseball) every 2-3 weeks is too much all at once and can lead to fatigue which is the number one cause of arm injuries.
• Seeding based on total runs scored.
My Opinion: Running up the score as much as you can to gain a better spot in the tournament rankings is awful when it comes to teaching the players respect of their opponents, sportsmanship and showing compassion. We are trying to build character in our players and I can’t think of much worse of a situation to instill bad qualities. Great coaches will look past seeding opportunities and do what’s right for developing that young person.
• Rain or shine play.
My Opinion: Baseball and wet do not go together. Add in near freezing temperatures and you have a miserable situation that’s not fun, not good baseball and flat out unsafe. From the pitcher throwing a slick ball and putting the hitters in danger to the pitcher not being able to get a good plant with his stride foot resulting in throwing with more arm than legs which puts more strain on the arm and players slipping all over the field. Not safe and bad baseball. These tournaments are so concerned with possibly having to refund money that these ridiculous rules of playing no matter what the conditions are set and once again the kids health and what’s best for them is an after thought.
• Trophy Chasing.
My Opinion: GREED & EGO! Adults being so consumed with winning some tournament or some national ranking, that decisions are made and actions are taken that are not good for the players physical and mental well-being. Berating, belittling, benching because of an error, pulling players off the field in the middle of an inning, limited to no playing time, adding players to the roster when there is no need for additional players and then giving those new players playing time and benching the players that have been with the team since the beginning and the blatant overusing of players all for a win. These are kids playing a game but too many adults treat it like they are running a MLB team. A month, year, 5 years from now they will most likely barely remember, if at all, this year of their life. But we know the adults will! My question is, what’s more important for their future? The lessons, skills and character traits they can learn and develop from this game and their time on the field OR winning a youth game, tournament or what their national ranking was when they were 12?

These are just a few things that come to my mind at the moment.

Bottom line, the right coach WILL make all the difference in the world. Their approach, true Development OR win at all costs, is the game changer. Everyone is seeking something different and when you get yourself into a bad situation, which you knew was a possibility, there’s only one person to be frustrated with. Word of mouth is key. Ask around. Hear what others are/have experienced. Observe, go and watch them practice and play. Do your due diligence.

There are programs out there that teach the kids the game. They provide opportunity at multiple positions so that they (the players) can see and learn the game from multiple angles so to be better prepared, and have more options as a player, when they reach the high school level and possibly beyond. They take care of their pitchers and catchers arms and bodies. They teach the kids how to run bases properly. They give heavy focus on the fundamentals. They instill confidence daily. They are out there but unfortunately, they are few and far between.

Parents, be patient, beware of status, take your time and find one. While searching, always remember this…Without opportunity, development is impossible. Find those that provide it!

So in closing, someone asked, “Is Tournament Baseball a good or bad thing?” The answer is no, it’s not a bad thing, but it creates situations that if handled poorly can be detrimental to your players mental and physical well being.
I can’t stress enough the importance of finding the right situation. Don’t be so quick to go with just anyone.

I hope this helps some of the young parents out there just getting into the youth baseball world and I hope this opens some eyes of those currently in this world about some of the bigger issues that are happening every weekend in cities across the nation.

Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.

What Opened My Eyes

IMG_6323In 2012 I accepted a minor league pitching coach position with the LA Angels. I spent the next 3 years around some great Baseball minds, learned a ton about development but was slapped in the face when over 50% of our new draftees each year came in with a zipper on their arm (that’s a name for the Tommy John surgery scar). What the heck is going on??

Before my third season, I informed them, the Angels, that would be my last year. I would be committing my time to my family, and the families I worked with back home, full time. They needed me home and my students and their families needed someone to not just help develop their kids as players but they needed someone to help educate them.

While in the pro game, the more and more I got to know my players, build relationships and helped them achieve their dreams, the more and more I started to learn why these kids were coming in as damaged goods.

The odds of a full recovery from one TJ are pretty good now. The odds from a full recovery after your second drops from around a 90% success rate to 65%. The odds of recovering from a third, well let’s just say it’s not that good.

So that means that these young men are coming into pro ball one major injury away from a dream shattered. Let’s remember that this is a wear and tear injury (sure there are cases where a healthy ligament breaks) that should only happen to grown men who have been playing baseball for a living for many years. Not something that kids who have just started shaving are having to go through.

Overuse as a pre-teen, teenager and college player. Not enough rest for their arm in the off season. Attending showcases in the off season months. Training to throw harder but lacking an arm care program. Poor mechanics but no one suggesting a fix for them because the player is having success and generating wins. Pitching in multiple games in the same day. Pitching multiple innings and catching multiple innings in the same day or pitching a high number of pitches one day and then catching multiple innings the next day. Continually throwing more pitches than what their arm is conditioned for year after year. The overwhelming desire to throw fast, faster and to be the one who throw the fastest. Too much down time, no mound work or pitching competitively, between tournament weekends where the arm loses stamina and strength and then making an extraordinary amount of throws over a 2-3 day period and then repeating this cycle week after week, month after month and year after year. There are so many different factors that are leading to this that weren’t present in the youth baseball world before this injury epidemic.

Bottom line, they came in damaged because of what they went through and how they were handled as a young player. Between their 9 year old season through the college years, something went wrong.

When I was drafted in 1996, it was a truly rare thing to hear about a major injury. Fast forward 5 years, the game changed. It slowly started to become the norm to see more and more of these major injuries each year. The more and more I learned about the timeline, the more obvious it became that it all started around the same time that tournament style and showcase baseball exploded. These two things can absolutely be done right, but they obviously are not. There is no one holding anyone accountable when there obviously needs to be. Adults are playing with kids’ future because their desire to win supersedes their common sense.

We will continue to talk about this. As I have said, there is no argument that anyone can bring up that will make any of this ok. It’s abuse, it’s ignorance, it’s ridiculous, it’s absurd, it’s nonsense and it’s flat irresponsible. Adults, it’s time to wake up.

It’s time to make some changes…

Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.


IMG_6512Last Saturday after my oldest sons game, he’s 13, we had our usual post game discussion to cover areas we need to keep working on and areas that they are improving at and doing well. There are three of us coaches (I’m not the head coach, just there to help when I can) and it makes me very happy to hear the message the other coaches are giving these young ones.

Here is the message that the head coach left them with after we discussed the game…

You boys have a very unique opportunity this season to have three coaches on the field that are not going to be mad at you when you come back in the dugout after a mistake. You won’t find us angry, mad, or upset. It’s just not how we roll. There may be times that we are frustrated with a decision made, but it would only be used as a teaching moment.

You boys need to take advantage of this opportunity to learn how to deal with failure. You are going to strike out looking, you are going to go down swinging, you are going to make the wrong decision on when to steal and be thrown out. You don’t need to hang your head, get mad at yourself, tear up, or pout. You need to learn to just say, “ah, crap!” and own your mistake, keep your head high, say “yes coach” when being taught, and go out on the next play and take one back for yourself and the team.

We are giving you the freedom to make your own judgement calls on the field a lot of times, and we do expect you to fail. We also hope we’ve coached you well enough that most of the time you are succeeding. You’re going to have way bigger failures, face way bigger disappointments, and struggle through much more difficult things later in life, and this is a chance for you to learn how to deal with those times on a small, safe scale.

There should be no doubt in any of your minds that all the coaches out here care greatly about you as young men, not just about you as players with talent. This is so much more than just baseball!


Parents & Coaches, let’s not ever forget that this is just a game. The bigger picture is life. Build them up. Let them fail and then help them learn from it. Be a positive leader. Be a mentor. Be the reason they enjoy going to the field each day.

As I have said before, if at the end of the season, they have a new found love for the game and some new found confidence, Thank You for you are doing a great thing.


Chris Gissell (140 Posts)

Founder of Baseball Dudes. Blessed with three beautiful children and an amazing wife. Baseball is my life, after my family, and I love sharing what I have learned from it. Thanks for taking the time to view what we offer here at Baseball Dudes.