The Ole Ball Game

What can I do to keep my kids motivated after loosing the first 6 games?

Anonymous asked: What can I do to keep my kids motivated after losing the first 6 games? New team.


Rick answered: Thank you for your question.

One of the first things to look at, is there a common theme that exists in each, or at least a majority, of the losses.

Things such as:

1. Poor fielding

2. Base running mistakes

3. Lack of hitting

4. Pitchers unable to throw strikes

5. Over matched

6. Lack of enthusiasm

7. Lack of focus

8. Incorrect reaction to situations that come up

9. Team work or team chemistry

If you have an area that shows up more than others, you can make a concerted effort to spend extra time in practice to smooth out the issues.

With repetitions and recognition will come increased confidence, thus improved execution.

The links below are to some pages on the site which deal with baseball's mental game, a large part of team building:

1. Baseball's Mental Game.

2. Coaching Confidence

At the bottom of both of these pages is a list of additional mental game topics and their links, all a large part of individual and team building success.

I have found it best to downplay the loss situation and concentrate on getting the players focus on the pitch by pitch process, both on offense and defense. If their focus is on the outcome, quite often the desired result never happens.

Focus on the process, the results generally take care of themselves.



This season we lost our first 5 region games, ones that determine whether you get in the State Tournament or not. Our best estimate was that we could not afford to lose 7 overall, thus our backs were to the wall.

Our talent level was as good as anyone we would play. Our trouble was we took it for granted we were going to win, before we played the game.

After losing # 5 they changed their individual and team approaches and won 14 of 16 the rest of the way. Got in the tournament, beat a higher seed in the first round and lost in the second round by one run, in extra innings.

As their approaches changed, their results changed. That led to increased confidence throughout the team and it went like a snowball rolling down hill.

Good decisions = good results.

Simply the best turn around by a team I have been associated with in 38 years of coaching. They took it and ran with it. They won games in most every way imaginable.

In contrast, I had a team one year that was mostly over matched by everyone we played. Inexperienced older players and younger players not yet ready for that level. We went 0-25. I didn't think it was possible to have that happen in baseball. That particular team never developed a team chemistry that season.

A full third of our games were decided by 1 run. Competitive; but never could get over that feeling that, when something went wrong, we wouldn't be able to over come it.

There is certainly no magic bullet. Every team is different. A constant that does help is to stay positive, do things to alleviate the stress.

If they seem lost in the situational aspects of the game, work on situations in practice. You can put a team in the field, the balance of players as base runners and a coach to hit fungos. That puts you in control of what situations come up, created in a live environment, where defense as well as base running is getting a lot of repetitions.

By rotating players and positions on a regular basis, every member of the team learns where to go and what to do for all positions, as well as base running decisions and repetitions.

You can stop it at any point, and go over what just went right, or what could have been done better, or another way to accdomplish it and why. The more of it they do, the more confident they become and the snowball is slowly starting to roll.

Those free moving, think on the run athletes that are so much fun to watch are created by the confidence developed in drills such as this.

When players know what to do, they do it ~ When they don't, they hesitate!

Good luck as you go forward. I would be interested to know more about what you have seen in your games.

Yours in baseball,

Rick


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