Love the game more… by playing it less

by Darren Fenster Minor League Manager, Boston Red Sox | Founder & CEO, Coaching Your Kids, LLC @CoachYourKids CoachingYourKids@gmail.com

by Darren Fenster
Minor League Manager, Boston Red Sox
Founder & CEO, Coaching Your Kids, LLC
@CoachYourKids
CoachingYourKids@gmail.com

Major Leaguers have always been the poster example. Their every move is followed, from how they swing the bat or throw a ball, to how they wear their uniform or walk up to the plate. This all makes sense, as they are at a level of the game that amateur players dream to one day reach. While each action on the field is mimicked to a tee, it’s off the field where today’s amateur players need to take note.

Our game has changed. Over the past ten years or so, sport specialization and the explosion of travel organizations and exposure events has completely altered the way amateur baseball is approached. Between camps, clinics, lessons, showcases, travel teams and their accompanying training programs, never before have there been so many opportunities for players to play and hone their craft. Those opportunities have enabled them to play more and develop faster than they ever have in the past, which is a very good thing. But with more opportunities to stay on the diamond, there are some very concerning drawbacks that can take away from what could be done off of the field.

The 162-game Major League regular season ends roughly on October 1. Another 30 games in spring training plus 10 to 20 more in the post-season results in some big leaguers being a part of more than 200 games over an eight month period. That kind of activity takes its toll physically and mentally, and forces the vast majority of the league’s players to not even think about picking up a bat or ball for at least two months or more in the off-season. They give their bodies and minds a much-deserved and much-needed break from the game before getting ready for the next season at some point in December or January. Professional players understand the value of rest and the role that it plays in allowing them to stay healthy and refreshed when they finally do decide to put the spikes back on.

In creating all of these relatively newfound opportunities to play and train essentially nonstop, a vitally important aspect of player development is being lost: NOT playing. Getting away from the game keeps guys enthused about starting back up, while allowing achy elbows and shoulders to recover and get back to full strength naturally. Think about it… if those Major Leaguers who are best conditioned to play the game year round, then how can anyone in amateur baseball justify working at their game without a prolonged break? Continue reading

Little League World Series: Why Players Should Be Compensated

"Quick Pitch" with Eddie Comeaux

“Quick Pitch” with Eddie Comeaux

In August, I tuned in to watch the talented and sporadically entertaining players in the Little League World Series (LLWS) held in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. There were some exciting and intense moments for viewers, from an acrobatic diving catch on the warning track by Alex Barker to Pierce Jones’ three home-run game and the dominant and historic performances of star pitcher Mo’ne Davis who threw two consecutive complete game shutouts.

Just another day at the ballpark for these gifted youngsters, right? Not quite. Continue reading

One year later, ‘Ten Things’ still ring true

Watch any good coach interview and they’ll tell you, sports is all about the players. Whether it is recreational youth sports designed to keep kids active or high-level college athletics for ‘all the marbles,’ developing athletes’ maturity and work ethic is the main focus.

Or is it?

A year ago this week, MomSmack laid out ten things parents of athletes should know, and a friendly anniversary reminder couldn’t hurt.

ABCAvideos.org offers clinic videos to all

ABCAVideos now available online, with special discounts for members and free access to Convention attendees

If you attend the ABCA Convention this January, there’s a huge benefit coming your way. All convention attendees will get free online access to the Orlando clinic videos on the new ABCAvideos.org website. “It’s an initiative we’re really excited about,” said Jon Litchfield, the ABCA’s Communications & Business Coordinator. “This will really increase the availability of our coaching clinic videos from the conventions.”

The website, which launched in early October, offers every clinic video since 2008 for instant download to any device. “You pay once for access to the video, and it’s in your online library for good. You can buy individual videos or packages from the whole convention,” Litchfield said. “We’re also going to come out with some other packages as well.” Continue reading

Louisville Slugger’s 2015 performance bats now in stores

presentedbylouisvilleslugger“30-DAY PERFORMANCE PROMISE” COMES WITH EVERY BAT

LOUISVILLE, KY – The new 2015 Louisville Slugger® PRIME 915, SELECT 715 and OMAHA 515 performance bats are now available nationwide. Like these great bats, the reviews are powerful:

“Louisville Slugger – Best Bomb Dropper in the College World Series,” and “Prime 915 turns baseballs into satellites.” – What Pros Wear.  

Louisville Sluggers “hit the ball further” than other bats in the NCAA Tournament according to justbatreviews.com. The review further revealed, “Louisville Slugger bats were the best for hitting extra base hits.”

Louisville Slugger “was more than twice as likely to hit a triple and roughly 1/4 more likely to hit a home run compared to its next closest competitor.” – justbatreviews.com

Louisville Slugger introduced the PRIME 915, SELECT 715 and OMAHA 515 during the NCAA tournament with players on 16 of the 64 teams taking these bats to the plate. Players on three of the eight teams in the College World Series® swung the black, red and white family of Louisville Slugger performance bats – bats which also put on a power display during the Major League Baseball® Junior Home Run Derby. Feedback from college hitters, elite high school players and product reviewers is the same. The 2015 Louisville Slugger performance bats provide hitters with the speed, power and balance to #owntheplate. Continue reading

Enjoy the ride

article by Keith Madison

article by Keith Madison

It’s October. That means post-season play for Major League Baseball and “fall ball” for college baseball and travel teams. It also means another informative and entertaining issue of Inside Pitch magazine.

One of the themes of this issue is near and dear to my heart…recruiting. I was intrigued to read the comments about recruiting from some of the top coaches in college baseball. It’s obvious that even though you must be a highly skilled player to compete at the next level, academics and intangibles such as character, attitude and respect for the game are extremely important, as well.

One year in the recruiting process, I had a partial scholarship reserved for an outfielder. After evaluating dozens of outfielders, I narrowed my search down to two players, both left handed hitters with similar skills. On their visits to campus, one of the recruits made my decision easy. While in my office talking about a particular game I had seen him play, his very quiet and very pleasant mother made a comment. This young outfielder proceeded to tell his mother that she didn’t know what she was talking about. His lack of respect for his mother helped me to offer the other outfielder the scholarship. In the end, integrity, competitiveness and respect will make a positive impact on a college coach. Continue reading