Season half-over

Baseball season is in full swing and the Coach Pitch Oxford Angels have now played half their season. They’ve done incredibly well and sport a record of 4-1. I gotta say, I think they’re having a great time. Of course, it helps when you’re winning.

I am also having a very good time. It has created some very good memories for me, and I hope they stick with Brett as well. I know that I feel much better about coaching these boys in baseball than I felt coaching Upward Basketball. Oh, I love the Upward program, I just don’t feel that I know much about basketball. I was never that good, and when the coach put me in, it was usually with the comment “you can foul that guy if you want to. And if you foul out, I won’t be upset.”

My baseball team is comprised of 7-8 year olds so it is a little different from the 8-9 year old basketball team. A couple of boys started the season acting like they had never thrown a ball before.

But having been a part of little league programs for nearly a decade now, I’ve formed certain opinions on how things should be done—and how coaches and leagues should function. Of course, those opinions get hardened when I see coaches making what I think are serious errors.

Like what? Well, a few years ago Brett played on a team in which a total of 2 boys were very good…and the rest—including Brett—were all still trying to figure the game out. The coaches stuck the 2 “good” players on 1st and Pitcher, nothing wrong with that. However, during the games, if the ball was hit to left field, he told the left fielder—IF he happened to outrun the pitcher to the ball—to just HAND the ball to the pitcher so that he could handle it. Same thing with the first baseman in right field. The “good” player who wasn’t chasing after the ball in the outfield would then stand at the pitcher’s mound to receive the ball and stop the runners. My problem with that was that it was not teaching the other boys how to play the game. At that age, they should be learning how to throw the ball into the infield, not how to hand it to the pitcher who has a better arm. Truthfully, I don’t think Brett or most of the other boys learned much at all that year. However, a few of the parents hailed the coach as a good one because he often won. How, I’m not really sure.

I don’t do it as often as I’d like, but since the Angels are still 7-8, I try to move them around some and let them play different positions. Yes, I’ve got a few go-to players, but even they take a turn sitting on the bench. Yes, I think winning is important, but less so at this age. This age should be for learning. Yet—when you put a score up on the scoreboard…we all want to win. Baseball is a lot of fun…but winning makes it even moreso.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Season half-over

  1. Tracy Crump

    I wish all coaches had your attitude, Roland. When coaches and parents lose site of the real value of sports—learning team play, sportsmanship, and the basics of the game—it can get ugly.

    My husband coached soccer for years. A soccer player himself, Stan was a great coach. But winning, though nice, was not his only goal. For years, we had a group of parents who supported their kids. If they won—great! Everyone celebrated. If not, that was okay. There was always next time.

    When Stan began coaching our younger son’s team, all that changed. These parents came to see their kids win—period. Once, when a parent thought his child didn’t try hard enough, he grabbed him when he came off the field and chewed him out. That initiated a kind of feeding frenzy, and a lot of the parents started doing that. It was sad.

    Oh, by the way, these kids were on an under-six team—they were four and five years old.

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