For those of you who don't know, I coach the Frosh/Soph baseball team at BHS. This will be my second year coaching. As practice gets set to start on Monday, I am looking back at the lessons I learned from last year.
#1- Not everyone who tries out for the team has played before.
Growing up I played a lot of baseball by the time I started high school. I learned last year that some guys are ready to start their career during their freshman year of high school. I must admit, I was not prepared to answer the following question, "Coach, can you teach me how to throw?"
#2- At the frosh/soph level there are no easy plays.
Every time the ball was put in play, there was a feeling (sometimes weak, sometimes very strong) that something might go wrong. Lightly hit grounders right at someone (through the legs), back to the pitcher (thrown over the 1st baseman's head), high fly balls (you name it, it happened) were all adventures at times.
#3- Throwing strikes is pure gold...no matter the speed.
If you can throw strikes consistently, whether at 80 mph, 70mph...50mph, you will do well at the FS level. I didn't have anyone who threw hard, but I had a few guys who could throw strikes. It seemed that the slower the better...especially against good hitting teams. They were so use to hitting faster pitches that they had difficulty adjusting to the slowness of our pitchers (at least a few times through the order, which hopefully wasn't after 2 innings.)
#4- The mercy rule is my friend.
After 4 innings the mercy rule went into effect in the first 7 games last year (twice in our favor), 14 out of 25 games overall.
#5- There is no such thing as a single.
Or a one base walk for that matter. We had 277 stolen bases (in 25 games), while only being thrown out 8 times. We threw out ZERO base runners (although we did pick off a handful of guys). In one game we stole over 30 bases, while the other team swiped over 20.
Despite many challenges, I had a blast last year. I'm living the dream...teaching/coaching baseball. After home games, Jackson ran out on to the field and helped me drag the field (and by helped I mean he rode shotgun on the cart.) We'll see how Brooklyn does this year now that she's mobile.
So Monday the adventure begins. We'll see how the talent is this year.