Archive for July, 2012

Little League Baseball vs Midget Football – Who has it right?

If you have a son who is playing or who has played youth football (pee-wee, pony, or midget), you are aware of the weight limit restrictions. Conceptually, I ¬†understand why the restrictions are in place. Safety. F=ma (Force = mass x acceleration) and if a player has significant “m” he puts the other kids at risk if he can generate an age appropriate “a”. But, are there unintended consequences to this line of thinking? We’ll get back to that question shortly.

Let’s look at Little League Baseball. The only restrictions placed on players is age. As long as you meet the leagues age requirements, you are “good to go”. There are no safety specific restrictions placed on individual players. I do concede that it would be almost impossible to regulate the safety component of baseball, but for the purpose of this blog, let’s consider it. There’s absolutely nothing more dangerous in all of sports than an above average fastball approaching a batters head. Often times, little league players have not developed the reaction times or technique (yes…there is a proper technique to getting hit) to limit their risks from a “beanball”. The bottom line. Pitchers who throw really fast put other kids in danger. Why hasn’t Little League Baseball addressed this obvious safety concern? Why hasn’t Little League Baseball disqualified pitchers who throw more than 15% above the age average? Short answer. Because it’s part of the game. Developing hitters need to overcome the fear. Developing hitters need to improve their bat quickness. Developing hitters need to develop against developing pitchers. Even if they throw really hard.

Back to football. Are there unintended consequences to the weight limit restriction? I’m not a football guy, but I’m a thinker. I think there are. To name a few:

1. The bigger kids simply get bigger because they aren’t allowed to “play”
2. Smaller kids are forced to play a position (offensive / defensive line) that they might not play once the bigger kids are eventually allowed on the field.
3. Development of offensive and defensive lineman is limited.

I’m sure there are others that I’m not even thinking of.

Full disclosure here. My son just signed up for pee-wee football and he is currently 10 lbs overweight. Am I just a frustrated parent or do I have a point here? I’d love to hear your feedback.

Full Reps!

Bret Wagner

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Fall Instructional League – Sign Up Now

GoWags will be offering a Fall Instructional League beginning September 10th and running through October 18th.

With the success of our summer camps, we have decided that the Instructional League will take on a similar format of our camps. Half on-field instruction. Half games.

Little League players will be on Tuesday and Thursday nights, while older players or players wishing to play on the 50/70 field will be on Monday and Wednesday nights. The fee is $100. Come as often or as little as you like. No commitment required except that you register for each session you will be attending.

Sign Up Here
Full Reps!

Bret Wagner

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I’ll see your self-esteem and raise you accountability

I sent my brother a text the other day that read, “List two things you’d rather do than coach Luke.” Luke is his 10 yr old son. It didn’t take long to receive the reply. “Sorry…Nothing”.

I totally agree. There’s literally nothing that I find more rewarding than helping my son develop his baseball skill set. And, with that said, that’s why I’m so cautious about pushing him too hard. Because the last thing I want is for him to lose his passion. Forget about him. It would kill me. I love the time we spend together.

My last blog was titled The Way I See It and explained how I see the game a little differently than most parents. Not because I’m some know-it-all pompous ass, but because I have a lifetime of experience in the trenches. One thing I didn’t mention is how I see training and practice differently too. Baseball is physical and mental. Perhaps more mental than any other sport because of the necessity to handle failure. Up until now, my training and practice time with my son has been primarily focused on the physical. Develop the fundamentals. Lay the foundation. Build the engine. Sure we talk about focusing on the process and not getting caught up in results, but we haven’t trained the mental side.

A conversation with my son last night convinced me he’s ready. Really ready!

Cole: “Dad, have you ever had a parent complain that his / her kid is playing too much?” (He’s not stupid. He hears real conversations with parents)
Me: “No. Why?”
Cole: “I don’t know. Just wondering.”

He’s only 9. He probably couldn’t articulate what he was thinking. But what a thought!

Are you worried about your kids self-esteem? Are you worried about his self-confidence?

I’ll see your self-esteem and raise you accountability to his teammates.

Full Reps!

Bret Wagner

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The Way I See It

If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of friends in varying professions and hobbies. School teachers, accountants, lawyers, engineers, construction workers, auto professionals, medical professionals, gardeners, cooks / chefs, information technology, etc… It always interests me how they see things differently than me when it comes to their line of work or expertise.

I don’t remember where and when it was, but my Doctor friend and I were people watching. Maybe we were at a ballgame. Anyway, we were literally just watching people walk right in front of us.¬† I saw people. He saw poor posture, poor walking gaits, poor hip mobility, etc… I was amazed at how much he saw simply by watching people walk. Where I saw people, he saw maladies. Where I saw a guy with a couple of tats, he saw a future customer. Interesting. Very interesting.

Or when I visited a buddy of mine who has become quite the gardener. He was taking me on a quick tour of his garden and explicitly told me “don’t step on anything important!”. He had a little chuckle when I proceeded to step over a patch of weeds that had popped up. I saw veggies. He saw weeds.

The point is that all of us see things in our own paradigm of reality. Our worldview.

When I watch a youth baseball game, I see things differently than most. I’m looking for degrees of freedom. I’m looking for intent. I’m looking for good posture. I’m looking for plate coverage. I’m looking for core strength. I’m looking for “adjustability”. I’m looking for awareness.

I’m not looking for hits or walks. Those things actually mean very little to me. They don’t translate to hits or walks as the opposing pitcher starts to develop better command.

That’s the way I see it.

Full Reps!

Bret Wagner

 

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Not all players are created equal on the baseball field.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. I love the use of the word pursuit. The founding fathers did not say that one of our unalienable rights is happiness. They said “pursuit of happiness.” We have the right to use our talents and skills to pursue happiness. It’s not given to us. Nothing is given to us. Nor should it be. (This is not a political commentary. Please no comments on the road our government is currently taking us down.)

I’m putting together a winter training program for my son. A program that will require a ton of hard work. Medicine ball throws, Plyometrics, Pulling a weighted sled, Burpees, and more… That’s the pursuit of happiness. My goal is to teach him that if his pursuit is better than his competitors (that includes teammates wanting to play his position) pursuit than they will certainly not be equal.

There’s a fine line between teaching your kid the value of hard work and pushing so hard you kill the fire within. But, if your kid is playing competitive sports and he wants to continue to play competitive sports it’s a line you have to approach.

I’m reminded of a great quote by Vernon Law. An ex big league pitcher.

Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.

Do you know what the lesson is? I’m talking about the baseball lesson.

If you can hit, you will play.

If you can pitch, you will play.

If you can field, you will PROBABLY play.

If you can’t hit, can’t field, or can’t pitch, you MIGHT NOT play.

Full Reps!

Bret Wagner

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Red Light Hitting

So I’m sitting at an 8u little league game listening to a well intentioned parent repeat one of the following:
“Don’t swing at balls…”
“Make it be a strike…”
“Just make contact…”

Any wonder the ball is in the catchers mitt when they “decide” to swing?

Should I introduce him to green light hitting?

No. I don’t think I will. It’s good market research.

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