Such an important piece as our young ones are preparing for their baseball life on the big field and their High School career and hopefully beyond.
The more and more I see big field rules played on a small field (46/60 and 50/70), the more and more I am seeing this skill not being taught. It seems so many are so concerned with stealing 2nd and then 3rd within the first two pitches, that we aren’t teaching the game. When you play these teams, if you watch close enough, you will see how under developed most of these players are with these two skills when they don’t steal on a pitch.
It’s so bad that in many situations players are told to fake bunt on the first pitch every time so the runner can take second or third. We all know the odds of a successful steal are often above 90%. How about teach them how to execute a hit and run? Or how about we stop taking the bat out of the hitters hands in that great hitters count…0-0? How about we teach them to look for patterns in pitch selection on that first pitch and teach them what to do and when to do?
Yes, pitchers and catchers need to get better at holding runners, varying hold times, getting rid of the ball quicker behind the plate but these skills take so much longer to develop than learning how to steal on first move that we see these completely normal weaknesses being taken completely advantage of by coaches who care more about the score board than teaching and preparing. Teach them to be aggressive and when to be aggressive but understand development.
Many leave Little League style ball because they want to play by the regular rules and “Real” baseball. I understand that but if you want to play by the regular rules and play “Real” ball, then let’s teach them how to play real/realistic baseball like they will when they get to the big field.
They won’t be able to do this stuff when they get to HS. But what they will need to be good at is taking a good aggressive secondary, reading the ball out of the pitchers hand, anticipating the ball in the dirt and having that right foot coming down as the ball is crossing the hitting zone and learning how to read and what to look for in both pick off moves from right handed and left handed pitchers.
Coaches…Are you teaching this?
I don’t care if your opponent playing this style of so called “baseball”. This is about your approach. About you teaching your players the game. About you preparing them for what the real game is like. Why are we so concerned about winning and teaching habits that are just short term? Teach them the REAL game. A game that will give them some value as a HS player. Our job is preparing them for the next level and EVERY player on a small field should be preparing for the game on the big field.
Coach’em up coaches!!
Player Development 101