Wednesday, September 17, 2008

From a Coach to the Parents:

This fall, I've been helping with a Fall League Prospect team. I was shocked at the lack of defensive skills. They didn't make an inordinate number of errors but they didn't make very many plays either. They didn’t know how to properly start or turn DP’s. I don’t think I saw anyone go to his backhand, field the ball, plant and throw. I have yet to see an infielder charge a ball and throw on the run. The outfielders took bad angles to balls and couldn't go back on flies.

Why is this? I contend that although parents spend thousands of dollars on private hitting and pitching instruction, they don’t get defensive instructions. Everyone is told when the kids are young, they must be allowed to play all the positions but none of them learn how to play “A” position. No one has taken them to a field and hit hundreds of balls to them at “A” position. No one has shown them proper techniques on various different situations that arise and then drilled them. You probably have all the knowledge necessary to teach any player ALL the defensive skills necessary at each position. I have taken our son to the field and hit him dozens of balls at shortstop. He did reps on each kind of play, to his right, to his left, charging and throwing on the run, starting and turning DP’s. If he started booting a few we would start over fielding simple 2-hoppers to regain confidence. Never practice failure. At the end of a session, I would tell him to feel free to “put some mustard” a few. By this I meant to be creative and “hot dog” a few. This is fun and what is important isn’t that proper mechanics be utilized, but that sometimes the play must be made as the circumstances dictate. This might mean a whirling 360 on a ball fielded way up the middle, a leaping “Jeter” in the hole or a flip behind the back to start the DP on a chop up the middle fielded in front of the bag. These plays were seldom ever called for in games but they are FUN to practice!

BTW, you are going to need a fungo bat to hit your young ballplayer quality defensive reps. Stop using his 29 inch bat! You are denting an expensive bat and look like a dork!

Catching skills are particularly important. Spend the time to help your young ballplayers to be quality defensive players. Seek out the knowledge necessary to train your young ballplayer in all the skills of the game.

There is more to defense than just catching the ball. He must make PLAYS!

Monday, July 21, 2008

NOT the finish ...

... but just a mile completed in our players' marathon.

The 12U Bandits completed their 2008 season in tremendous fashion last weekend in the Cincinnati World Series. They entered the Championship Bracket undefeated (3-0) and barely missed moving onto the Championship game in a loss to a Goliath-sized team.

That seemed representative of their whole season in that, although they didn't always match up to the best of the best, they made great strides over where the team has been in years past.

I'm sorry to use this phrase again, but remember - it's a marathon, not a sprint. And no college recruiter ever asks or looks at a player's resume to see how their 12-year old team did.

Players - trust me, you are at the head of your age group regarding your baseball playing knowledge and ability. And for that, your coaches and parents are so very proud!

Stay in "the race," and we will see you at next month's 13U Bandits tryouts.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Called because of rain?

Well, yes, some of this past weekend's games were called because of rain.
But thanks to many dedicated individuals, the Bandit Yard Summer Heat Tournament was saved and produced some fun and outstanding games with the Wells County Hawks taking home the first place trophy in the 12U Division (check with Coach Christopher of the 9U Bandits for their Division winner).
If you were there, we hope you enjoyed your experience!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What do you think?

In the middle of the season (as every pitcher's ability is being tested), the below comments came across my computer.
What do you think?
Everyone is looking for a magic pill to keep young pitchers from hurting their arm. The current voodoo answer is “pitch counts” and “don’t throw the curveball.” Well, Dun S, Loftice J, Fleisig GS, Kingsley D, and Andrews JR. of the American Sports Medicine Institute, Birmingham, Alabama have done a study that puts that myth to bed.

A Biomechanical Comparison of Youth Baseball Pitches: Is the Curveball Potentially Harmful?

BACKGROUND: The curveball has been anecdotally considered as a dangerous pitch among youth pitchers, especially for their ulnar collateral ligaments. No biomechanical studies have been conducted among youth pitchers comparing different types of pitches. HYPOTHESIS: The kinetics of the baseball throw varies significantly between the fastball, curveball, and change-up for youth pitchers. Kinematic and temporal differences are also expected. STUDY DESIGN: Controlled laboratory study. METHODS: Twenty-nine youth baseball pitchers (age, 12.5 +/- 1.7 years) pitched 5 fastballs, 5 curveballs, and 5 change-ups with maximum effort in an indoor laboratory setting. Data were collected with a 3-dimensional motion analysis system. Kinetic, kinematic, and temporal parameters were compared among the 3 pitches. RESULTS: For elbow varus torque, shoulder internal rotation torque, elbow proximal force, and shoulder proximal force, the fastball produced the greatest values, followed by the curveball and then the change-up. The fastball also produced the greatest elbow flexion torque. Shoulder horizontal adduction torque and shoulder adduction torque were the least for the change-up. Several differences in body segment position, velocity, and timing were also found. CONCLUSIONS: In general, elbow and shoulder loads were the greatest in the fastball and least in the change-up. Kinematic and temporal differences were also found among the 3 pitch types. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The curveball may not be more potentially harmful than the fastball for youth pitchers. This finding is consistent with recent epidemiologic research indicating that amount of pitching is a stronger risk factor than type of pitches thrown.Now how about pitch count? Some people think that if a young pitcher throws less than a certain number of pitches in a game he is safe. Let’s say he is limited to 50 pitches. But then he throws 50 on Tuesday, pitches for an hour with his private instructor Wednesday, throws 50 on Thursday, 50 on Saturday and sucks it up on Sunday to help win the tournament championship and his arm hurts. How can that be (he doesn’t throw a curve and is only allowed to throw 50 pitches)?

A SEC pitching coach has come up with an interesting formula to protect pitchers’ arms. Multiply the pitcher’s age by 100. That is the maximum number of pitches a pitcher should throw in a year. So if he is 12, he can only throw a maximum of 1200 pitches in a year. He can throw 80 pitches a game if he doesn’t tire, but let him rest for a week between starts. He can pitch 15 times in a year. He can throw curveballs. His arm should be fine. Having said that, understand that throwing overhand is an unnatural motion for the human body. It places strains on the arm and shoulder and stuff can happen. But if you follow that formula, you will minimize the risk.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Webster's Dictionary defines maximize as making the most of an opportunity or situation.

After a lackluster performance a couple of nights ago, we had our doubts about our chances against last night's impressive opponent - kind of a David against Goliath scene - even on our home field.

But our pitching and hitting especially shined and met the challenge, and we managed to turn a tie game in the bottom of the last inning with two on and two out into a great victory - definitely one for the memory books!

Focus and confidence highlight ability and performance on any given game!

Thanks to the team!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Food for Thought

Family files lawsuit in metal bat injury case

The family of a boy who suffered brain damage after he was struck by a line drive off an aluminum baseball bat sued the bat's maker and others on Monday, saying they should have known it was dangerous.

The family of Steven Domalewski, who was 12 when he was struck by the ball in 2006, filed the lawsuit in state Superior Court. It names Hillerich & Bradsby Co., maker of the 31-inch, 19-ounce Louisville Slugger TPX Platinum bat used when Steven was hit.

The lawsuit also names Little League Baseball and Sports Authority, which sold the bat. It claims the defendants knew, or should have known, that the bat was dangerous for children to use, according to the family's attorney, Ernest Fronzuto.

"People who have children in youth sports are excited about the lawsuit from a public policy standpoint because they hope it can make the sport safer," Fronzuto said after filing the suit Monday morning. "There are also those who are skeptical of the lawsuit and don't see the connection between Steven's injury and the aluminum bat."

Little League denies any wrongdoing, as does the bat manufacturer. Sports Authority has not responded to several telephone messages seeking comment.

Steven was pitching in a Police Athletic League game when he was hit just above the heart by a line drive. His heart stopped beating and his brain was deprived of oxygen for 15 to 20 minutes, according to his doctors.

Although he was not playing in a Little League game, the organization is being sued because it gave its seal of approval to the bat, certifying it as safe for use by children, Fronzuto said.

Friday, May 16, 2008


We had a great practice this week, and we needed it (contrary to what some of the players think, we can’t get better by just playing games). We worked on some simple things (see your copy of Chapter 9 of Joe’s Baseball Playbook) and the players seemed to “get it.”

But why?

I’d say that practice allows us to focus. And here’s my random thoughts:

Focus defined - directed attention, a point of concentration, or a center of activity. In other words, it’s the focal point - the task, person, or event you place above all others for a specific time. For instance, being focused means looking past minor distractions so that you can see clearly the major issues at hand. It means putting on hold the little problems that come up in order to concentrate on solving bigger problems.

For players, the following equation is a simple way to think of focus:

Concentration + Intensity = Focus

We can focus on talking about the good accomplishments that we’re attaining (and we are), but it sure helps to have unexpected opportunities to apply them in a practice setting. There they can choose to either work at improving and get better, or they’ll slip back and get worse.

We want the players to focus on our two goals: first, "Play a little bit better every game (PLAY HARD)," and second, "Baseball will be fun for us (HAVE FUN)."

We have brief team meetings before or after each practice to recap what we want to accomplish. This week we asked the players to spend the ride home from practice thinking about what we worked on, in an attempt to make it happen more instinctively in game situations. That helps them to be as prepared as possible so that they can perform as well as possible.

If everyone understands (the individual’s role in) the team’s mission, goals, and expectations, then everyone can look in the same direction and see the same big picture. They must see it not only on paper but also in their minds so that they understand it. Ideally, it is also in their hearts!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Travelled far for good reasons

Hey baseball fans - how about those Indiana Bandit teams that travelled all the way to Columbia, Missouri this past weekend and the results were fantastic!

The 14U team won the Consolation bracket, the 12U team barely lost in their Championship game, and the 11U team made their presence known, too! All in all, it was well worth the bling! Great job Bandits!

A special thanks has to be mentioned to the Gibson family - Kyle, Sharon, and Harold - for allowing us to see Kyle pitch his Missouri Tigers to a win on Saturday, show us the Missouri sports complexes, and visit with them and talk about college baseball and life at the next level.

Keep up the hard work, everybody, and we'll see you at the next "Play Ball!"

Monday, April 21, 2008

Now hiring ?!

The Bandit Yard Spring Swing Tournament this past weekend was loaded with 11U and 14U teams! As the famous Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Carey used to say, "Holy Cow!"

Frequently, there was no place to park. I think we should start looking for a parking valet service to hire!

Anyway, congratulations to the 11U winners, the Indiana Saints who beat the Lakota Diamond Dawgs by 8 runs. The 14U championship score was Indiana Prospects 12, the Majic City Orioles 5.
Thanx to all who came and supported the teams in the Tournament!

See you at the Bandit Yard's next tournament, the Bandit Classic (May 2 - 4) !

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hard work pays off

We all know how much and how hard we've been working to be ready for the season to begin. And now that it has begun, the rewards are already showing.
The Indiana Bandit 13U team won the Bandit Blast Tournament this past weekend and the Hoosier Early Bird Tournament at the end of last month, both in their age division.
And our other teams are starting off the regular season in winning fashion - just visit the Bandit Yard and see for yourself!
You want specifics? Tell us about your team and your players right here in this blog forum.
Hope to see you playing hard and having fun!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hoosier Early Bird Tournament Results

Apologies for not posting results sooner - maybe it took this long to dry out and thaw out!
All the Bandit teams did very well. Extra congratulations go to the 14U team for making it to the semi-final game and to the 13U team for winning their age group!
Here's comments from a couple of coaches:
"I just wanted to let you all know how well things seemed to go this past weekend and how much I appreciate your teams and parents efforts. The fields looked good and you were all able to fight through the weather and get the tournament in. Though we did not have the number of teams we would have liked to for the tournament, I think that all who came and participated are appreciative of your efforts and loved being able to play baseball. Congratulations to all the teams. In my attendance on Sunday and watching some of our teams’ games I thought you represented our club well and played good baseball. It’s early in the season and I know you all want to work out the kinks . . . it will come . . . just keep preaching the same things and the boys will come along. Thanks again and keep up the good work. You’ve set a good standard at which to follow for the rest of the season."
"We really appreciate your patience, good humor and sportsmanship given the conditions. Doing the work was no fun, but having teams like yours at the Bandit Yard is a pleasure, no matter what the weather. Good luck to everyone with your seasons."
I agree and I couldn't have said it better!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Playing hard and having fun

No, this wasn't really a loyal fan at today's games, but the temperatures and winds were challenging for the fans and the players at our Bandit Yard's season opening Early Bird Tournament.
All in all, we were very proud of our players.
Juust remember - "... it's a marathon, not a sprint!"
Everybody play hard and have fun, and we'll see how the tournament results are at the end of the day tomorrow (prayers for the rain to hold off might be a good idea, too).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

One week from now ...

... the opening day of our first home tournament will begin!
But first there's lots of work to do.
And those scheduled "field preparation" days are this coming Wednesday the 26th and Thursday the 27th from 5:30 to 8:30.
We will have our duties assigned when we arrive. Please bring your families, your boots and work gloves, and any equipment that you think would help get our fields as nice as possible.
As the now more Irish Coach Boos said: "There are only a couple times a year when we impose on the families, so I hope you can lend a hand."
And while you're there, check out how nice the concession stand is looking. The menu looks wonderful!

Monday, March 17, 2008

If you see this before you get to practice tonight ...

... then you'll have a heads-up on what tonight's practice will be - straight pitching and catching workouts.

Catchers will go through their usual sequence while pitchers do their lead-in work.

When it becomes time to throw live - catchers catch and pitchers throw 20 from in front of the mound and then 20 from off the mound.

Pitchers: PLEASE STOP AND TELL THE COACHES IF YOU'RE EXPERIENCING ANY TYPE OF DISCOMFORT! We will evaluate you and (hopefully) progress from there. But there's no shame in stopping the throwing this early in the year.

We'll then finish with catchers making live throws down to second base with infielders covering the bag and taking throws. If time is left, ground balls.

See you at the Yard!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Practice today was spirited! And the turnout was high.

Props to the boys for working hard (I wonder if they know that outside practices are going to be more frequent and the season begins in less than two weeks).

Uniforms were distributed today, so we're starting to look like a team.

Just work on knowing the signals - there will be a test!

Friday, March 14, 2008

While the manager's away ...

... Coach Boos is taking a well-deserved week long vacation to Ireland!

While he's away, we're going to continue our practices with our pitchers and catchers increasing their skills.

We'll also be doing some ground balls, some outfield work, some situations with fielders and runners, and hitting, hitting, hitting (did I mention hitting?).

Now, if we can just get the weather to allow us to practice outside (bring your outdoor gear, just in case)!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How can my son qualify for the Bandits?

I'm a single mom with a twelve year old son named Ethan who would rather play baseball than anything. I guess you'd say his baseball skills are only average, but I think he would show real improvement if he had a little guidance and encouragement. I've been reading about the Indiana Bandits Baseball Club on their website. How could Ethan qualify for that program?
Mary Templeton 
Fishers, Indiana
(this blog is a test)