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Hank

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About Hank

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    Kingsville, ON
  1. Travel Teams / Competitve Sports Parents

    Great article, thanks for posting. Reading the comments is hilarious. So many parents on there obviously don't realize they're the kind of parents the author is making fun of. One guy was arguing with the author's points but while doing so he kept using words like "elite" and "advanced" for his sons development while talking about how much money he spends on tournaments, gear or when MLB talent comes in to run a few practices. What a joke. All of those kids will end up where I have, and my boys will - playing rec league softball or 35+ hardball. And nobody's going to care if anyone in those leagues used to be an elite 9U player. Congrats, you're parents spent thousands on your baseball career while I was on a cruise, at Disney land or ski resort with my parents and siblings. Oh, and I still got to play lots of 'lowly' baseball.
  2. That sounds really cool. I wish I knew how to program for phones. I'd love to build a baseball program for coaches. It would have drills, tips, a working scoresheet, scheduler, etc - all the things a coach could use to manage a little league club.
  3. I tried this drill with my 5-year-old last night and it worked awesome. He's only been able to catch using the basket method and with two hands, but after only 5 minutes using the method from the video, he was catching overhand from over 10-feet away.
  4. Fun Baseball Drills

    LOL, I'm ready for spring to get here too. I'm all hockey-d out and want to get back on the fields. Glad to hear that your drill went well. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, in my opinion baseball is the best sport to think of fun drills. Especially when you can involve the coaches vs the kids. I think I have just as much fun (or more) than the kids out there, hahaha. Good luck this season!
  5. Need Help With Hitting Drills

    This! We used this technique as well and it makes a huge difference. We've also used water balloons on warm days. Kids want to smash those. On the flip side, if you have kids that are having trouble throwing hard, introduce target games, or dodge ball. That gets them to throw hard and straight too.
  6. Staying Engaged In The Game

    I think enforcing the rule of nobody leaves the dugout is a great one. I run that for my kids too (7-9). I grew tired of kids not being on-deck because they're sitting with Mom having a snack. At 12 and 14 kids shouldn't be wandering out of the dugout, but I'm not sure how to get them to focus on the game. I'm in my 30's and during my games I will lose track of how many outs we have. But I think rewarding kids a few times a game for knowing the count, who's up next, etc is a great idea. It certainly can't help. But with today's A.D.D. issues, you may be fighting a losing battle, hahaha. Good luck!
  7. Draft And Practice Plans

    Totally agree. We usually ended practices with the kids against the coaches. We'd challenge them to score 3 runs against us and we would actually try our best to get the kids out. We never hit, only fielded. With only 3 or 4 coaches in the field, I think we got worked as much as the kids, haha. We were allotted 90 minutes of practice time but we never tried to use all 90. It's a house-league team so we didn't want to ram the sport down their throat or overwork them on hot afternoons. So we usually tried to wrap it up after 70 or 75 minutes. But most of the time the kids refused to leave. Almost all the kids would stay till the very end because they were having so much fun. When that happened we knew we were on the right track. And you're not kidding about being prepared. My first year coaching rookie ball (7-9 year olds, with pitching machine) I was supposed to be an assistant but our head coach went AWOL two weeks into the season. So me and another father took the reigns and did our best. It was a sloppy year, to say the least, but I learned from my mistakes. For starters, we only had 3 practices all year (you can thank the convener for that). But in our 3 practices we did the worst thing any baseball coach can do - we ran the infamous pitch-and-field drill. You know, where one kid hits and the rest field? Every other team was doing that. No wonder so many kids quit ball. That's a terrible drill. So for Season Two I created a complete 8-week practice well in advance to make sure I was prepared for the year and I made sure to never run that old, horrible drill again (side note: the league added way more practices. We would have had 11, but with Holidays it wasn't possible). I can't describe how much smoother things went. The kids paid attention, skills were developed faster and we had a lot of fun too. In fact, we got accused of stacking our team because we trounced the other team most nights. The other coaches and myself are hardly experts. But because we got ourselves very well prepared and had a plan in advance, the kids improved a great deal. We had kids that had never seen a baseball bat in their life suddenly going 4-for-4 or 4-for-5 by the end of the season. It was great to see. Meanwhile, the accusing teams were still running terrible practices, and most canceled theirs in the last month of the season. No wonder their kids never improved. But like you said Coach, running stations, being prepared and ending with a fun competition can make a huge difference in developing the kids skills. We did our best to make sure every station was FUN. By the end of the year we were still getting 90% attendance at our practices while others were getting only 2 or 3 kids, or like I mentioned, even cancelling them. With kids that age, if it's not fun, they won't come back.
  8. Draft And Practice Plans

    I love this site. It has some great tips on how to structure a practice: http://www.qcbasebal...ticePlans1.aspx My practices run like this: 10 min - warm up by playing catch with partner 10 min - running the bases drill 30 min (10 for each station) - 3 stations (hitting, fielding, throwing, catching etc) 10-15 min - Full team drill (situational drills, throwing contests, dodgeball (great for teaching kids how to throw hard) 10-30 min - Scrimmage or scrub or hit against coaches, etc. I love using the station method. Kids don't get bored, there's no standing around and you can get in all the fundamentals inside a 30 minute window. The only downside is making sure you have lots of help. It's like pulling teeth getting some parents to volunteer for a few minutes each Saturday.
  9. Why Kids Suck At Baseball

    That was a great article! Thanks for sharing!
  10. 2Nd Year Coach Needs Advice!

    That's quite a wide gap in the age group. It's too bad it couldn't be split into two, but it sounds like your area doesn't have much of a choice. Coach's advice is great. You have to set the tone early of what you expect and the repercussions for certain behavior. On the first day of any season, I sit the kids down and tell them what kind of team we're going to be; good teammates, encouraging, if someone gets a hit we congratulate, if someone strikes-out we lift them up, etc, etc. This also applies to the parents as well. I talk with them as a whole before the season begins and lay out my expectations of the kids and what my goals are. So they know well in advance if one of their kids is acting-up, bullying or has a poor attitude they will be sat or punished to some degree. Another thing that helped me was to be very prepared for each practice. I've seen kids eat coaches alive who were disorganized or didn't have any confidence in what they were doing. I'm not saying you're like that. I'm just throwing that out there for other new coaches who may be looking for advice. I come into each practice very ready with a gameplan and stick to it. The kids feed off of that and they pay better attention for it. Good luck!
  11. Fun Baseball Drills

    I've been coaching 7-9 year olds the last couple of years and I've managed to find a few drills that the kids seem to enjoy. I think they're favorite is using a pitching machine to practice catching fly balls. I aim it real high and set the speed to a reasonable level and then have the kids track it down. (Because my kids are young, I use tennis balls to keep the concussions to a minimum). At the beginning of the year I have them stand right where the balls will land. As they gain some skill, I'll use an orange cone as a starting point, and place it a few feet away from the landing zone. This way they learn to run into the fly ball and learn how to track while on the run. One practice, I think we did this for over 20 minutes. They couldn't get enough. Another drill I have is where I place a number of balls in the dirt between 2B and 3B and then setup targets (stuff animal on a stool) against the first-base fence. I separate the kids into 3 or 4 lines and then have the front player start on their belly. On my command they jump up, run to a ball, scoop and fire at a target. The team that hits the target most wins. A good running drill that I start off every practice with is races around the bags. I split the team into 2 and have half the kids line up at 2B and the other half at home. On my signal, the runner at 2B has to get to home before the kid from home gets to 2B. Hitting water balloons on a hot day is always a popular drill. Another drill that I really enjoy because I think it targets a lot of different skills is a situational infield drill. I split the kids into 3 teams. One squad goes to 2B, one to 1B and one as runners starting from home. As soon as I hit a grounder to 2B, the runner takes off and 2B tries to throw them out. For the age group that I coach, this really helps the kids learn how to play a bag properly. They start off 1B, then have to run to cover it. Not only that, but the runners learn to run through 1B instead of stopping on it. It's amazing to me how many kids who start at this level forget to run through first-base. Or, how many first-basemen forget to run to the bag to cover it in-case of a throw. So this drill will help the kids in fielding, throwing, catching, running and covering a bag. Over the course of the year, when the kids get comfortable with that, we'll shift over to covering 2B with a squad at SS and 2B and a runner at 1B. It's a bit painful at first because most of these kids can't catch a ball (which is why I wait to introduce it by week 3 and I still use a soft-core ball). But it was amazing to me how many outs we made by the end of the year. We're only house-league, but we were making plays other teams weren't. It was a highlight of my season last year when one of our most inexperienced kids made a great play to get a kid out at 1B and afterward said "Just like we practiced!" She was extremely proud of herself. And I always finish a practice with a scrimmage against the coaches. The coaches never hit, only field. We challenge the kids to score x-amount of runs against us and we don't take it easy on them. After a 45-60 minute practice trying to hit all the fundamentals this is drill that seems to help the kids unwind and have fun. It also gets them lots of reps off the pitching machine. I hope some of those ideas help.
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