Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Strength training: OK for kids when done correctly

With the summer season winding down, for some players (depending on age) it may be the time to start thinking about how to prepare for next season. I came across this article published by the Mayo Clinic on strengh training for kids. Since the Mayo Clinic is a recognized health authority I thought this would be appropriate to share. The advice in the article seems to be well grounded in common sense. Please note that you should always consult with your child's doctor before beginning any strengh training program.

Coach Bob


Strength training: OK for kids when done correctly

Strength training offers kids many benefits, but there are important caveats to keep in mind. Here's what you need to know about youth strength training.
Strength training for kids? You bet! Done properly, strength training offers many bonuses to young athletes. Strength training is even a good idea for kids who simply want to look and feel better. In fact, strength training can put your child on a lifetime path to better health and fitness.

Strength training, not weightlifting

For kids, light resistance and controlled movements are best — with a special emphasis on proper technique and safety. Your child can do many strength training exercises with his or her own body weight or inexpensive resistance tubing. Free weights and machine weights are other options.

Don't confuse strength training with weightlifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting. These activities are largely driven by competition, with participants vying to lift heavier weights or build bigger muscles than those of other athletes. This can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and areas of cartilage that haven't yet turned to bone (growth plates) — especially when proper technique is sacrificed in favor of lifting larger amounts of weight.....

READ entire article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/strength-training/HQ01010

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Preparing Your Team Mentally For The Big Game

An all star or travel team’s mental state is a major contributing factor of whether or not they reach their goals. Whether the opponent is weak or strong if your team believes they can win they will be up for the game. Coaches sometimes mistakenly try to pump their team up for a big game. I believe players (and coaches) should treat each game the same. Provided that you prepared them physically through solid practice… If they believe they are good enough to be successful that is all the game prep they need.

When coaches tell players that they have to “play the best game they can in order to win” that’s when teams usually get into trouble. When players try to push it past what they are able to do… that’s when you start to see the mistakes. Good teams lose because most players don’t react well to pressure from parents and coaches. Kids will “check out” when you put it in their minds that they have to perform flawlessly to succeed... that they have to play the best game possible.

So what to do? Keep it light but focused. Reinforce that they are a good team. Tell that player who’s struggling at the plate that “you know he’s trying hard… relax, have fun and the hits will come”. If you’ve practiced and prepared your team for the big game then they are ready. After that the two “C’s” are the most important factors to success.. Concentration & Confidence. So before the big game lighten things up with a fun team activity and think of creative ways to bring out the two “C’s”. Then rest assured you are giving them the best prep you can.

Coach Bob


Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Courage Of An 11 Year Old

A must read article for all players, parents and coaches....

Coach Bob


Girl without left hand pitches in Little League

By REX BARBER • Johnson City Press • July 2, 2008

JOHNSON CITY — "Can't never could." Eleven-year-old Emily Moore has heard that simple, yet meaningful, phrase ever since she can remember. Heeding that mantra has served her well, too. The highly active youth is a pitcher for Johnson City National Little League baseball team Dental Arts despite being born without her left hand.

This past season, she struck out two batters in her first appearance on the mound and later belted an inside-the-park home run, resulting in several RBIs. Her fast ball is mean, and the other teams know it. But her skills are not limited to the pitcher's mound and batter's box.
"I pitch, I play third base, and sometimes I play center field and sometimes first base," Emily said.

She also plays soccer and basketball when those seasons come around. Next baseball season she could be a starting pitcher.

Emily has had to adapt to play the games. As a pitcher, she has learned to catch the ball, slip off her glove, catch the glove in the fold of her left arm, grip the ball with her right hand and heave it where it needs to go. The whole process takes mere seconds. And she does it with a grace bespeaking years of practice, though she has only played two seasons.

"It's actually pretty awesome," Emily said of pitching in baseball games. "I started to learn to pitch when I was 9. I pitched my first game when I was 10," she said, adding that she struck out two batters in that game. "This year I've pitched every other game."

Emily got the idea to play baseball after watching others play the game. Always up for a challenge, she went for pitcher.

"Because when I saw my friends do it, I thought it would be more of a challenge to play an all-boy sport. I thought it would be neat."

Her mom, Penny Moore Osborne, said even though the majority of the league is made up of boys, Emily keeps up with them.

"She knows how to be a girl, but she can hang tight and tough with the boys," Penny said.
Emily's mom, and her whole family for that matter, have encouraged her throughout her life.
"If they feel like they're handicapped then they're going to feel like they're not going to be able to do something," Penny said. "But we've always taught her that 'can't never could' and if you put your heart and mind to something, no matter what condition, you can always do anything you want to do."

In fact, Emily's mom told her to utilize her handicap naturally.

"Players on the other teams would, like, stare at me, so when I pitched they would watch me instead of the ball so that I would strike them out like that," Emily said.

That tactic's effectiveness is wearing off as teams get used to her pitching, but the sport is not only about trophies and statistics, Emily said.

"It's a challenge," she said of the game. "It's fun because it's not all about winning. It's about having a good time."

Betsy Cunningham is on the league's board and also has a son who plays on one of the teams.
"She's a sweet, very sweet, roundabout child," Cunningham said of Emily. "They see her as a Little Leaguer and they all love her."

Cunningham said Emily's sportsmanship is admirable. She has never heard or seen Emily get upset at a game's outcome or an error. Cunningham thinks others can learn a lesson from her; that it is a gift just to be able to play the game.

"You know, there's lots of kids with bad attitudes and they get upset if they get out," Cunningham said. "They take it for granted."

Emily said she did get some negative comments about her ability to play ball when she first began. Those comments were unfounded. She has a life lesson for those who may or may not have a disability.

"I would say that everybody can do what they want to do if they put their mind to it, but if they put their mind to it that they're handicapped then they can't do it," she said. "I say put your mind to it and do it. And always keep practicing."