Monday, June 27, 2011

Youth Baseball: Crazy Mom Threatens League Official

What do you do when your son or daughter gets cut from a select team or is overlooked for the all-star team?

1) Talk to your kid about the realities of life. Help them understand that to excel and play on the best teams he or she will need to work harder. Help them devise a plan to improve their game for the next tryout.
2) Help your kid understand that sometimes the best talent is not selected in life. It's not fair but sometimes politics, friendships, nepotism, money or influence can work against very capable players.
Help them maintain their confidence and look a more favorable situation.
3) Sit them down and have a honest talk about their abilities vis-a-vis other kids. Perhaps help them find a sport that is more suitable to their strengths.
4) Hire a lawyer and sue the league and the coach.
5) Threaten the league official and his family with bodily harm.

Crazy Youth Sports Parent Series

The Main Point

The answer is 1, in some special circumstances 2, and sometimes 3. Sadly the kid of this crazy mom chose number 5. Now her son will not only have to learn to live without playing on the select team, he will also have to learn to live without a mom.

Parents, less than 5% of kids will play in college and less than 1 percent will play in the pros. Keep this in perspective.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Youth Sports: How a Mom Prepares for a Game

Many weekends, my wife and I divide and conquer. For example, last weekend, my wife was in Columbus, Ohio at a baseball tournament and I remained at home with my daughter who was playing in the GBA Nations Basketball Tournament. 

I have to admit, my wife is much better at getting my daughter up and ready. She understands that it take time for my daughter to get her hair just right. She knows where every uniform piece can be found. She never forgets the camera, the sunscreen or the water bottle. She manages the details. I always seem to get my daughter to the games on time (being late is never acceptable for team sports), but I usually forget something important. That usually leads to shopping for Gatorade or a pair of cleats.

In this blog, I give tips and tricks to youth parents from dad's sports perspective and add in tips I learn from my wife. I stumbled across a Youth Sports Blog, called TrophyMom that gives tips and tricks from a mom's perspective. Trophy Mom brings managing the details of Youth Sports to a whole new level with some witty writing.

She has a post called They All Laughed Until the Port-a-Potty Ran Out of Toilet Paper that gives a 25 tip list on what to every parent should bring to a youth sports game to be totally prepared. Here are the six suggestions.

  • sunblock, the spray-on and rub-on variety, as well as a some formulated for faces
  • bug spray and some bug repellent wipes
  • hand sanitizer
  • dental floss in case you need to go MacGyver
  • a couple dollars in coins
  • and of course, a roll of toilet paper

The Main Point

Youth Sports Moms are probably more detailed oriented than Youth Sports Dads.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Youth Basketball: GBA Nationals

AAU Basketball conducts a huge tournament to crown a national champion for youth athletes 9-17, but it is not the only organization that crowns a National Champion. Over the last 10 years, The Girls Basketball Association (GBA), the largest girls basketball association in the mid-west, has grown in prominence. They currently host tournaments all over Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, but they draw teams from many states. I heard the the Nationals being held in Cincinnati this year has attracted teams from 21 states.


The GBA national tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio is a 4-day national tournament that includes a opening ceremonies at King’s Island amusement park.

My daugther's team is playing in the GBA Nationals this week. They qualified for the tournament by winning a GBA Super Satellite Tournament this Spring. They have aspirations of winning the event. 

If you follow this blog, you know that they have won all but one 4th grade tournament, but the competition in this big super regional event is much stronger. 

They won the first game against a very good team from Dayton. A team we have beaten before in finals of other tournaments. We suffered a rare loss in the second pool play game. A small team from West Virginia out hustled and out shot our much bigger team. 

After the game, the entire team enjoyed a day at King's Island, a huge amusement park 20 miles north of Cincinnati. They were entertained by Jim "Basketball" Jones, a motivational speaker.

The Main Point

The GBA is a strong and growing girls basketball association. Their events draw strong competition. Just the kind of competition that is going to get our team tournament ready for the AAU Nationals.

Youth Basketball: GBA Nationals Last Second Shot

Is your young athlete ready for the pressure of a last second, do or die shot?

Yesterday, my daughter CC played a pool play game in the 2011 GBA Nationals Tournament. While her team does not really have established positions, CC typically plays the 2 guard or shooting guard. My daughter is one of the smallest players on the team and really needs to be on her game to get playing time against teams that play an aggressive, physical man to man defense. She shines when teams play a tight zone to prohibit our big girls from getting the ball inside. 

Yesterday, CC struggled to get minutes, but she did get involved in the most important 3 seconds of the game. The team was losing by 3 points with seconds left on the clock. The team forced a turnover and the coach called timeout with 3 seconds left. The team huddled around the coach. The coach picked out 4 of the biggest girls on the team then looked around for CC. She then pulled CC by the uniform and said, "CC you are in". Then she devised a play to free up CC for a potential game winning shot. CC is regarded as one of the best outside shooters on the team. The thinking was that our star player would be double teamed and CC would be open. The play did not work as planned, CC's path to the planned shooting spot was block as she ran toward the inbound passer, so she improvised and went the other way. She got the ball and had time and space. A defender flashed out. CC rushed the shot. She did not get her legs under her and the ball hit the backboard.

The Main Point

That was a new situation for my daughter. A learning situation for my daughter. She was not upset about missing the shot, she was proud that she was selected to make it. After the game I told her that 3 seconds is really a long time. I had her say out loud - one, one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand. Each time she will get better. We have never practiced the last second shot at home. We will start doing that now.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Youth Sports: Lessons Learned from Youth Sports Tryouts

I write about the drama and the pressure of youth sports all the time. There is nothing more emotionally and politically charged than tryouts and cuts. No matter the age U10 or HS, it can be a traumatic process.

Note to parents: Do not avoid the tryout process by opting for rec sports or not playing at all to protect your kid. Make it or not, this process helps teach young kids about life in the real world. A world which is very competitive.

More importantly there are three ways the process may just help a young kid find him or herself.

  1. It may make a young athlete dig down to try harder and teach them what it really takes to succeed.
  2. It may lead to a new team and a new coach. A better coach who connects with the player to help the player get to the next level.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Youth Baseball: How to Block the Plate to Avoid Injury

Some say that the triple is the most exciting play in baseball. I say it's a close play at the plate. Last night during my son's youth baseball game, there were three plays at the plate. Each resulted in a crucial out.

As a parent of a youth baseball catcher these types of plays are both exciting and a bit scary. Even though the runner is required to slide in youth baseball, plays at the plate are often rough.

In the pros, the catcher is allowed to block the plate without the ball and the runner is allowed to knock the catcher over. Super Star catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants knows this all to well. He was recently involved in a nasty collision at home plate and broke his leg. In youth baseball, the runner is required to slide or he / she will be called out automatically. If the runner knocks the catcher over the player will be called out and may be suspended for a game.

How to block the plate

My son, Nic, demonstrates an almost text book execution of how to block the plate without getting hurt in the following 5 pictures.

Hot grounder down the line. Runner moving on contact. Nic moved up the first base line slightly to give the 3rd baseman a direct line to throw the ball pass the runner. The ball was thrown in the dirt. Nic was able to pick up a tough hop because he was waiting for the throw in an athletic position (like a SS would await a ground ball).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Youth Baseball: Cooperstown Dreams Park Keeping the Scorebook Tips

This website has become one of the top sources of information for Cooperstown Dreams Park. Often people find the site through Google searches. I watch the search key words to see what information people need. If my site does not answer the question I add new information to help my readers. This is the latest question:

Who keeps the scorebook during the games at Cooperstown Dreams Park games?

  1. The Cooperstown Dreams Park Official Scorebooks are given to each coach prior to the event. 
  2. Each team keeps a book for each game. 
  3. The home team is considered the official book. 
  4. Prior to each game, the home coach receives a form to record the final score, the pitchers involved and the notable players or plays in the game. 
  5. The visiting scorekeeper meets with the home scorekeeper during the games to confer. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Youth Baseball: The Politics of All Star Team Selections

I recently received the comment below (truncated for this post) that intrigued me regarding the selection of all star teams in youth league baseball. (Follow this link to the full comment). This comment piqued my interest because I have not been exposed to the politics of the all-star team selection process in youth baseball since I was a kid. My son plays AABC baseball in Southern Ohio and they do not have an all-star game or all star-post season. I guess since he plays at the highest level of select each team is considered an all-star team.

But I do remember playing in an All-Star game when I was a kid. I was one of the better players in the league, but my dad was the coach and on the selection committee. Did I make the team because of my dad or because of my ability? 

The coach who posted the comment below shared how the Dixie Youth Ozone League picks their all-stars. The league put rules in place to mitigate the politics or so they thought. I think that the process they they follow seems fair but not full proof. How does your league determine the all-star team?

My reader shared this story
I am a coach of 11-12 year old Dixie Youth Ozone league. I am about to embark on coaching Allstars because my team won the league. My league has tried to put bylaws that would prevent politics from taking place. For example, the first round of all star slection each coach will submit 15 players from teams in the league NOT on his team. The kids who receive the most votes move on to the top 15 in the 2nd round. in the 2nd round you can then vote on your kids, and then the top 9 from the 2nd round automatically are on the all star team. The third round was my decision on who the next three pics would be, however if you did not receive a single vote during the first round you are unable to be selected for all stars. This year we went 18-2 and won the league by 5 games.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Youth Sports: My Daughter is a Better Athlete Than I am

I was approached by to write a guest post for the site. I was honored to do so. I wrote an honest post called Confessions of a Youth Sports Dad.

The story was inspired by a simple question that my daughter asked me just the other day.

"Daddy, if I were a boy, what was my name going to be?"

The question brought back memories of when my wife was pregnant with our daughter. I remember process of figuring out two names prior to the ultrasound appointment. We selected a name for a boy and a name for a girl. I also remember how I wanted another potential Major League Baseball player, not a girl. The story details my ignorance about women's sports.

The Main Point

My wife and my daughter have taught me that women can be great athletes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Youth Baseball: Nations Baseball Memorial Day Tournament

My son's baseball team participated in the Nations Baseball Memorial Day Weekend Invitational U13 baseball tournament this past weekend. It was a really well run tournament at a great baseball facility. This post provides tips and tricks for the event.

The Facility

The Tournament was held at The Summit of Softball / Baseball complex which is amazing. It is a beautiful complex that sits on a big hill next to the retired Summit Landfill. (There is no odor at all and it was hot.) The complex consists of eight adult softball fields. The infields were made from crushed bricks that have been laser graded to optimize playing conditions. The fences are unmarked but I would guess that the fences were 300' from home plate to all fields.

Tip 1 - Bring detergent and stain remover to wash the uniforms. The crushed red brick infields leave red stains on the uniforms. Find a hotel that has a laundry facility.

Tip 2 - There is a sign that prohibits bringing in coolers and outside drinks, but it was not enforced during the tournament and lots of people ignored the sign. There is a Walmart less than 2 miles away to load up on Gatorade. We bought PowerAde at the concession stand. ($2 / bottle)

Tip 3 - The complex has a pretty good concession stand that serves Hot Dogs and Hamburgers to feed the athletes between games.

Tip 4 - Park far away from the fields. Lots of cars got pounded. Fast pitchers tend to induce lots of foul balls.

Tip 5 - The crushed brick looks great, but it is a little rough on knees, elbows and forearms when sliding and diving. Neosporin came in handy.

The Competition

This tournament attracted some really strong baseball teams from a 400 mile radius. Our team traveled the farthest. The only disappointment of the event was that only 5 teams competed. We heard that one super team from Texas cancelled out at the last minute. This caused some other super teams to opt out too. That probably worked out well for our team. Regardless, the remaining teams were strong baseball clubs and made our team looked like a bunch of 7th graders playing against high school teams. I have never seen so many 6' 2" 210 pound 13 year olds in my life. 

Our team was outclassed in the tournament although we did beat the eventual tournament championship team from Alabama. 



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