Grades and Sports
Pulling A Child Off A Sports Team For Poor Grades Sends The Wrong Message By Dr. Keith Wilson Coaches and parents often ask me whether a child's grades in school should impact their ability to play organized team sports. It is a difficult question to which there are no easy answers. Playing A Team Sport Competitively Requires Commitment By the time they are ten years old, most kids have decided that, if they are playing team sports, they want to play competitively. When a child decides to play team sports on a competitive level, she, and her parents, makes a number of important commitments. They are become committed to:
• The players
• The coaches
• Practicing hard
• Playing their best
• To be self confident Playing on a competitive team, and the commitments it requires, teach a child valuable life lessons, not just about winning. Among other benefits, a child learns:
• The importance and value of teamwork
• New physical skills
• The rewards of hard work
• To be self confident But she will enjoy these benefits only if she remains committed to, and a part of, the team.
School Grades Many times a parent will take away privileges from their child when his grades are not what he is capable of. School performance is very important. It opens the doors to many opportunities, such as college and better jobs. If a talented high school athlete does not perform up to her potential in the classroom, she will have a more difficult time making the most of her athletic talent in college. A parent's job is easy when the child wants to perform well in school and good grades come easily. When school is a struggle for the young athlete, however, the parent also may struggle to find the right motivator to help the child stay focused in school. Take Away Privileges; Don't Break Commitments One strategy many parents employ is to take away privileges from the child if he is performing poorly in school. This often means taking away fun activities like hanging out with friends or going to special places. It can mean limited or no telephone/TV/computer time. Another tactic is to punish a child for poor grades by pulling him off a sports team so he can concentrate on his studies. I think that this teaches the wrong kind of lesson. It teaches the child that the commitments he made when he became a member of a sports team really are not important enough that they can't be broken. It also deprives the child of the chance to learn new skills that may actually improve academic performance. As the child reaps the benefits of hard work on the athletic field, he develops such important life skills as follow-through and the ability to work as a member of a team towards a common goal. When a parent takes the child out of an activity to which they have made a commitment, I believe it sends the child mixed messages. Whatever the nature of the activity, whether it is a church group, scouts, choir or sports team, the parent and child agreed before the child started that it was worth the commitment of time, money and energy. When one makes a commitment to a team or group, other people are counting on that person to live up to their commitment. If the parent takes away the commitment, the child begins to believe that making a commitment doesn't have value. Instead of pulling your child off a sports team for poor grades, take away privileges, such as watching TV, use of the computer or hanging out with friends, instead. Taking away privileges doesn't send mixed messages. Also, the privileges can be restored if you see improvement in your child's grades. Dropping off a sports team is a decision that isn't so easily reversed. The time to decide whether your child can juggle academics and the demands of playing a team sport, especially at the high school level, is before the season starts.
|Coach's / Manager's Role
The manager and coach must be leaders. All must recognize that they hold a position of trust and responsibility in a program that deals with a sensitive and formative period of a child’s development.
It is required that the manager and coach have understanding, patience and the capacity to work with children. The manager and coach should be able to inspire respect. Above all else, managers and coaches must realize that they are helping to shape the physical, mental and emotional development of young people.
The manager must be something more than just a teacher. Knowledge of the game is essential but it is not the only badge of a coach or manager.
While an adult with training and background in the game is a desirable candidate for manager or coach, league screening committees should look for other important qualities. Screening of managers, coaches and others at the local league level who have contact with children is also important in attempting to discover those with a history of child abuse.
The heart of youth baseball is what happens between the adult manager/coach and player. It is the manager more than any other individual who controls the situation in which the players may be benefited. Improving the level of leadership in this vital area must be a continuing effort.
Children of age are strongly influenced by adults whose ideals and aspirations are similar to their own. The manager/coach and player share a common interest in the game, a desire to excel, and determination to win. Children often idolize their managers and coaches, not because the adult is the most successful coach or mentor, but because the manager and coach are sources of inspiration.
Managers and coaches must be adults who are sensitive to the mental and physical limitations of children of young and who recognize that the game is a vehicle of training and enjoyment, not an end in itself. It has been stated many times that the program of youth baseball can only be as good as the quality of leadership in the managing and coaching personnel. New leagues particularly, should make a determined effort to enlist the best adults in the community to serve as managers and coaches.
Anyone interested in being a League manager or coach should contact their local league president in person, and be willing to undergo a screening process that may include a background check, as well as interviews of those with personal knowledge of your qualifications.
The best way to train and qualify League managers and coaches is through the a League Education Program for Managers and Coaches. A wide variety of materials are available for players and adults, as well as clinics and seminars led by experienced experts.
However, as the chief administrator, the president and his commissioners select and appoint the managers and coaches. As such, no person becomes a manager or coach without the approval of the president. All appointments are subject to final approval by the local league’s board of directors.
Only the local League board of directors has the authority to remove or suspend a manager or coach. If a parent or anyone else is dissatisfied with a manager or coach, they must present the issue to the local league president and board of directors. Because the local league president and board of directors are closest to the situation, it would be a disservice if any other organization became involved in disputes or personality conflicts between managers/coaches and parents, unless otherwise necessary in severe cases.
However, any person who believes that a manager or coach (or any other League personnel) is, or has been, violently or sexually abusive to children should report the situation immediately to A League representative as well as to the local police. It is League policy that no person who has a history of sexual abuse toward children be given any volunteer responsibilities in the League.
ARM HEALTHThis material is an excerpt from the Lifeletics Instructional Manual, Coaching the Beginning Pitcher, written by Dan Keller, founder of Lifeletics Sports Instruction and former All-American pitcher at UCLA. More information as well as purchasing information can be found at the Lifeletics Sports Instruction web site: www.lifeletics.com.
One of the most important responsibilities of a youth baseball manager is proper arm care. Especially at the early stages of a baseball season, a manager must have a plan with regard to pitch counts and arm health.
Daily and Monthly Pitch Counts
It is not the number of innings pitched which matters most. Instead, the number of pitches thrown is most relevant to significant arm health. Pitches should be counted at all times, with the manager holding strictly to a pitch limit - both per day and per week. This ensures that no young arms are compromised for the sake of winning a youth league baseball game.
Often times, leagues set guidelines to assist in monitoring athletesâ€™ throwing levels. Develop several pitchers and their arm strength, to help distribute the pitch load. A chart offering suggested pitch limits and games pitched follows below:
One of the most frustrating aspects of managing a baseball team is the topic of sore arms. Typically, sore arms are not medically serious. Instead, it is a young arm getting in shape, much like the lungs or legs of a middle aged runner after taking a considerable amount of time away from jogging. A young arm is like any other muscle in the body, it must be worked into shape at the beginning of a season. Regardless of age, size or athletic ability, a plan must be set in place to ensure that the arm has ample time to build strength and endurance.
This can be safely achieved with a simple plan. Several weeks before the first game of the season, set up a schedule designed to â€œramp upâ€ your athletesâ€™ pitch count levels. Use an increasing scale to bring arm strength from â€œout of shapeâ€ to â€œgame readyâ€ in this time. An example of pitch counts (thrown in practice bullpen sessions) follows below:
Day 1: 25 pitches
Day 5: 28 pitches
Day 9: 31 pitches
Day 13: 34 pitches
Day 17: 37 pitches
Day 21: 40 pitches
This does not mean, however, that a pitcher needs to be ready to throw 60 pitches on Opening Day. Instead, plan on working through a long-term schedule that will have your pitchers peaking near the later stages of league play. With a plan in place, your athletes will be safely ready to throw 50 - 55 pitches by the second or third week of competition. This way, as other arms are growing tired from the rigors of a 20 - 30 game schedule, the arms of your pitchers are growing stronger and showing no signs of slowing down. Remember, each pitcher should still be held to strict daily and weekly pitch counts.
Coaching the Beginning Pitcher provides youth coaches with the information to teach pitching safely and successfully, allowing room for growth and enjoyment. Chapters include Pitch Types and Theory, Coaching the Mind, Fundamentals, Coaching Beginning Pitchers (Executable Plan), etc.
This tip was contributed by Dan Keller.
Players Need Positive Role Models
by Coach Nick Dixon
You and I have read the "bad news" articles giving every horrible detail of how a coach, a league official, a parent, a teacher or a player made the headline "being stupid". League Officials have robbed their league. Coaches have fought and embarrassed their programs. Parents have attacked coaches and officials in anger. Players have assalted umpires. Teachers have abused students physically and sexually. Where does it stop? How do we prevent such "rash and irresponsible" behavior. The answers are simple, 1) HIGHER MORALS, 2) HIGHER ACCOUNTABILITY, and 3) MORE SEVERE PUNISHMENT. As a coach and teacher, I have always taken great pride in being a "positive role model" in the classroom, on the field, and in life. I want to really make a "difference". My strong Christian beliefs and high morals standards allow me to "Live the Word"! I chose this profession. This profession did not choose me! I must realize that certain ethics and desciplines come with the job! I have high expectations for my team, my staff, and myself! The following story is one of my favorite related to leaving a "thing or place" better than you found it!
"Coach, You Are The Carpenter" An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the housebuilding business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and ask if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career. When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you." What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well. So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that, we would have done it differently. Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project". Who could say it more clearly? Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.
THE BOOK OF UNWRITTEN BASEBALL RULES
by Baseball Digest (1986)
1 Never put the tying or go-ahead run on base.
2 Play for the tie at home, go for the victory on the road.
3 Don't hit and run with an 0-2 count.
4 Don't play the infield in early in the game.
5 Never make the first or third out at third.
6 Never steal when you're two or more runs down.
7 Don't steal when you're well ahead.( Be a gentleman)
8 Don't steal third with two outs.
9 Don't bunt for a hit when you need a sacrifice.
10 Never throw behind the runner.
11 Left and right fielders concede everything to center fielder.
12 Never give up a home run on an 0-2 count.
13 Never let the score influence the way you manage.
14 Don't go against the percentages.
15 Take a strike when your club is behind in a ballgame.
16 Leadoff hitter must be a base stealer. Designated hitter must be a power hitter.
17 Never give an intentional walk if first base is occupied.
18 With runners in scoring position and first base open, walk the number eight hitter to get to the pitcher.
19 In rundown situations, always run the runner back toward the base from which he came.
20 If you play for one run, that's all you'll get.
21 Don't bunt with a power hitter up.
22 Don't take the bat out of your best hitter's hands by sacrificing in front of him.
23 Only use your bullpen stopper in late-inning situations.
24 Don't use your stopper in a tie game - only when you're ahead.
25 Hit behind the runner at first.
26 If one of your players gets knocked down by a pitch, ( do NOT retaliate).
27 Hit the ball where it's pitched.
28 A manager should remain detached from his players.
29 Never mention a no-hitter while it's in progress.
30 With a right-hander on the mound, don't walk a right-handed hitter to pitch to a left-handed hitter.
Baseball Tip - December 22, 2003
Taking InfieldOf course, the most fundamental pregame ritual is taking infield. We take infield with two fungos going at once. Outfield is taken with one fungo.
First in the infield, one fungo is to the third base side of the diamond while the other is on the first base side of the diamond. The first stage, the third base side fungo hits ground balls to the second and first basemen, while the fungo on the first base side hits fungos to the third baseman and short stop and they bring the ball back to their respective shaggers.
In the second stage, the first base fungo hits ground balls to the third baseman and he throws to first base. The third base fungo hits ground balls to the second baseman and short stop who work on turning the double play. They throw to a short first baseman which can be your right fielder.
The third stage is when the first base fungo hits ground balls to the short stop who throws to first. The third base fungo hits ground balls to third and he throws to second for the double play as the second baseman throws to the short first baseman.
Finally one of the fungos leaves and the other hits ground balls to a drawn in infield. First, they check the runner at third and go to first. Second, they field a ground ball and throw home as if the runner was trying to score. Thirdly, they field a ground ball as if bases were loaded and throw to home and the catcher goes to first for the double play. Finally, they field a slow roller where their only play is at first, and come off the field.
This tip was contributed by Coach B.
How To Prevent Or Reduce Baseball Injuries
Baseball Safety How To Prevent Or Reduce Baseball Injuries By Lindsay Barton To reduce the risks that your child will be injured playing youth, middle school or high school baseball, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Consumer Product Safety Commission, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and other sports and health organizations recommend the following: Before The Season Starts
• Make sure your child is healthy before the season starts. Before your child starts playing baseball, he should get a complete sports physical, at which: o He should be tested for strength, flexibility and endurance. o His overall health should be checked for conditions that might affect his ability to play baseball. o You should discuss with the pediatrician any injuries he may have suffered in the past. o You should alert the pediatrician to any relevant family medical history, especially heart attacks in men under the age of 50, which could help the doctor spot potential heart problems, which, although rare, could be fatal. o A reminder: be sure to tell your child's coach about important medical conditions he may have (such as asthma, diabetes, food or insect allergies etc.).
• Make sure your child is in proper physical condition to play baseball. o Conditioning-related injuries occur most often at the beginning of a season when kids are most likely to be out of shape. o Many injuries can be prevented if your child follows a regular conditioning program before the season starts that incorporates exercises designed specifically for baseball, and for the position he plays (for instance, catchers, because they have to squat continuously, should do exercises, such as leg extensions, leg curls, and toe raisers, that develop strength and flexibility of the muscles around the knees, especially those of the thighs and calves). o Encourage your child to train to get ready to play baseball, rather than expecting to get in shape simply by playing and practicing. A month before the season begins, he should run or engage in some kind of physical exercise one or twice a week. He should gradually increase the number of workouts to three or four times a week by the time team practices begin. o Many injuries in baseball involve the throwing arm and shoulder. "Most pitching injuries are caused by overuse, which may be the result of insufficient conditioning of certain muscles," says Thomas J. Gill, M.D., Department of Orthopaedics at Massachusetts General Hospital and co-author of a study of pitchers conducted at the Steadman-Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation in Vail, Colorado, the results of which were reported in the Georgia Tech Sports Medicine newsletter. o All players, but especially pitchers, should incorporate conditioning and stretching exercises for the shoulder into an overall conditioning program. The muscles in the front of the arm are naturally stronger. Because many shoulder injuries result from weaker muscles in the back of the arm that are used to stop the pitching motion, the conditioning program should emphasize building up those muscles. "Exercise routines such as cross-body curls, using light dumbbell weights, and wall push-ups are useful for strengthening shoulder muscles," Dr. Gill says.
• Teach proper throwing mechanics. If your child is a pitcher, make sure he learns how to properly position his throwing arm during all phases of the pitching motion. According to Dr. Gill, researchers found that "pitcher's arm movements during different phases of the pitching motion, if performed incorrectly, can cause injury." They identified four problem areas: o Maximum shoulder rotation: A pitcher needs to rotate his body more to avoid placing too much stress on the arm and shoulder which occurs when his arm is positioned too far behind his body. o Improper elbow angle: The pitcher's arm needs to be away from his body when the ball is released; the closer the arm is to the body, the more potential for injury. o Arm lagging behind the body. When a pitcher gets tired, his arm tends to lag behind his body, placing undue stress on the shoulder. o Excessive ball speed. Trying to throw too hard can be harmful, especially for young players, warns Dr. Gill.
• Make sure your child's coach is qualified. A youth baseball coach should know how to teach proper throwing, batting and catching mechanics, if possible be trained in first-aid and have an emergency medical plan in place for reaching medical personnel to treat injuries such as concussions, dislocations, elbow contusions, wrist or finger sprains, and fractures. Make sure your child's coach teaches players how to avoid injury when sliding (prohibits headfirst sliding in young players), pitching, and batting (including how to get out of the way of a pitch aimed directly at them or, if being hit is unavoidable, how to at least turn away from the pitch).
• Buy your child a mouth guard and make sure he wears it. Mouth guards not only protect the teeth, but the lips, cheeks, and tongue and reduce the risk of such head and neck injuries as concussions and jaw fractures. Before Practices And Games
• Make sure your child always takes time to warm up and stretch. Research shows that cold muscles are more injury prone. While a proper warm-up is important for all youth athletes, it is particularly critical during a growth spurt, when your child's muscles and tendons are tight. Experts, including the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, recommend that your child warm up by: o Doing jumping jacks, jogging or walking in place for 3 to 5 minutes to get the blood moving through the muscles and ligaments. o Then slowly and gently stretching, holding each stretch for 30 seconds. Have your child do stretches for the position he plays: for instance, pitchers should concentrate on stretching their arms, shoulders, neck and wrists, in addition to stretching their legs; catchers should concentrate on stretching their legs, knees, feet and back.
• Make sure that your child eases into throwing and swinging. Your child shouldn't start throwing the ball or taking full swings during batting practice right away, especially in cold weather. He should begin by "soft tossing" and then gradually increase the distance and velocity of his throws as his arm gets loose and warm.
• Inspect the playing field. The playing field can pose a risk of injury. Before every game or practice, a parent or the coach should check for holes, ruts, glass, or any other unsafe conditions. Players should be reminded to bring any holes that they encounter on the field to the attention of the coach or umpire. There should also be screens in front of the dugouts. During Practices And Games
• Make sure your child wears all required safety gear every time he or she plays and practices. Protective equipment is one of the most important factors in minimizing the risk of injury in baseball. According to a June 1996 study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), baseball protective equipment currently on the market may prevent, reduce, or lessen the severity of more than 58,000 injuries, or almost 36% of the estimated 162,100 baseball-related injuries requiring emergency-room treatment each year. Because most organized sports-related injuries (62%) occur during practices rather than games, your child needs to take the same safety precautions during practices as he does during games. Your child should wear the following: o Helmet. A player should wear a properly fitted, certified helmet when batting, waiting to bat, and running the bases. Helmets should have eye protectors, either safety goggles or face guards made of clear plastic that attach to the sides of a batting helmet and covers the chin to the tip of the nose. These devices can help reduce the risk of a serious dental, facial or eye injury if a ball hits your child in the face. According to the CPSC, batting helmets with face guards may prevent, reduce, or lessen the severity of about 3,900 facial injuries suffered by batters in organized youth baseball. o Protective eyewear. For kids who wear glasses, you should obtain protective eyewear from an eye-care professional who is aware of sports-safety standards, says Dr. Paul Vinger, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at Tufts Medical School in Boston and head of the Protective Eyewear Certification Council. Prescription glasses should be fitted with shatterproof lenses and sports frames that hold the lenses tightly in place. o Catcher's gear. When catching, your child must always use a catcher's mitt and wear a helmet, face mask, throat guard, long-model chest protector, protective supporter, and shin guards.
• Shoes with molded cleats. Most youth leagues prohibit the use of shoes with steel spikes. Instead, wear molded, cleated baseball shoes. Make sure the shoes fit properly . Poorly fitted shoes, particularly those that allow movement side-to-side, are a major cause of injuries to the feet, knees, and ankles. Avoid hand-me downs, which are likely to fit poorly, and may have worn down cleats. Check the laces frequently for wear.
• Sunscreen: Apply an SPF level 15 sun screen on your child's face, neck and arms before your child goes outside and reapply if he is sweating.
• Clean uniform. Don't let your child leave his dirty uniform in his locker at school or on the floor of his room. Wearing unsanitary clothing poses a risk of staph infection, not only to your child but the rest of the team.
• Use softer-than-standard baseballs for younger players. Softer-than-standard balls may prevent, reduce, or lessen the severity of the 47,900 ball impact injuries to the head and neck, according to the CPSC. Be sure the ball is a softer, lighter baseball; softer, heavier baseballs do not, according to studies, reduce the risk of injuries.
• Do not conduct batting practice until everyone on the field is ready and paying attention. Especially with younger players, who are easily distracted, it is very important that, when they are in the field, they are paying attention to the batter at all times so they are prepared to field a ball hit in their direction.
• Make sure that players stand out of harms way. When your child's team is batting, they should stand or sit behind screens or fencing in front of the dugout and the on-deck circle should also be behind a screen so players don't get hit by wild pitches, foul balls, and flying bats. Also, make sure that equipment (bats, balls, helmets) is placed where players can't trip on it.
• Modify the rules for younger players. Leagues with players 10 years old and under should alter the rules of the game to include the use of adult pitchers or batting tees.
• Make sure players drink enough fluids. As parent or coach, you are responsible for taking precautions to prevent heat illnesses in exercising children and making sure they drink enough fluids
• Make sure your child's team/club/program has a weather policy. Guidelines regarding playing or practicing in bad weather, such as lightning storms or extreme heat should be established well in advance of the season, and followed by all coaches, players and spectators. In the event of lightning, teach your child to stay away from open fields, trees, and water and to get indoors or inside a car, if possible, until the storm passes, and, if caught out in the open, to lie down and curl up in a fetal position.
During The Season
Talk to and watch your child's coach. Coaches should enforce all the rules of the game, encourage safe play, and understand the special injury risks that young players face. Coaches should never yell at players or engage in any other form of emotional abuse
Limit pitching. To decrease shoulder and elbow problems from excessive pitching: o Limit the number of innings pitched. Follow the rules about the number of innings pitched set by the baseball league in which your child plays (usually a maximum of between 4 and 10 innings a week) not by the number of teams played on. For instance, to prevent overuse injuries, KHO has set a limit’s of pitching per week and requires pitchers to rest between appearances. o Limit the number of pitches thrown. While there is no set guideline for the number of pitches allowed, a reasonable approach is to count the number of pitches thrown and use 80 to 100 pitches as a maximum in a game, and 30 to 40 pitches in a practice (get a counter so you can keep track). According to Dr. Lyle Micheli, Director of Sports Medicine at Boston's Children's Hospital, a young player should be throwing no more than a total 300 pitches a week (games, practices, and throwing sessions at home) because studies show that throwing more than that number dramatically increases the likelihood that he will develop elbow problems. o Prohibit younger pitches from throwing breaking pitches. A curveball is probably harder on the elbow than other types of pitches. Asked by Sports Illustrated the age at which a young pitcher could start throwing curveballs, Dr. Micheli recommended that kids not throw curveballs until they are 14, and then only if they have been pitching for at least 3 years. His advice: start with 3 training sessions a week, each consisting of no more than 15 breaking pitches. o
Never allow players to play through pain. Any persistent pain is a sign of a chronic (i.e. overuse) or acute injury that should sideline a child from playing until it subsides. Teach your child not to play through pain. If your child gets injured, see your doctor. Follow all the doctor's orders for recovery and get the doctor's (or physical therapist's) OK before allowing your child to play again.
Above all, keep baseball fun. Coaches and parents can prevent injuries, including emotional injuries by creating an atmosphere of healthy competition and de-emphasizing a "winning-at-all-costs" attitude. Putting too much focus on winning can make your child push too hard, ignore the signs of injury and risk injury by playing in pain.
OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE AND THEIR COACHES AND TEAMMATES.
Rain out procedures
1. Parents/Players contact your manager/coach, do not call the league or the park concession stands, information will not be available on time.
2. Managers or acting Managers please contact your Division commissioners for information regarding rainouts or weather conditions.
3. Information is usually provided with ample time on our web site; there will be a league audio voice message informing everyone as to any cancellations of games. Also provided will be a ticker scrolling across the screen notifying you of the same information, like this=
4. Commissioners and only commissioners contact Al Engle or Juan Pujol for field conditions and then proceed to notify your managers in your division.
Please do NOT assume your game is canceled unless it is so stated on here or you have spoken to your team managers and they have spoken to the division Commissioner.
It is league policy that rain outs will NOT be made up, a rain out is a canceled game and will not be re-scheduled.