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pepper brooks

2019 Little League Thread

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19 hours ago, F250 said:

Oh, that's probably just an age issue. Kids that age work best in small groups. Have you tried breaking up practice into 4 or 5 stations? The smaller groups prevent players from standing around getting bored and causing trouble.

How many coaches do you have for games and practice? It's been my experience that anything less than 4 with that age makes it impossible to control their behavior.

yes - we have a full team of 11. 4 6 year old, 4 5 year olds, and 3 4 year olds. at practice, i break kids up into multiple groups so there's no more than 2-3 of them at each station. 2 are hitting at a tee and i usually have 3 tees running at the same time. defensively, i work with 2 stations of 2-3 kids on ready positions, fielding the ball with two hands (alligator hands is what we call it), at this age, they're afraid of the ball and want to try and catch everything palms up, or away from their body. i don't have a pair who can play a game of catch and when it comes to game play that's where we get beat up bad. 

i wanted to focus on basic fundamentals before moving to game situation but we're just so far behind other teams, it's like, "do i work on game play scenarios or fundamentals?" the answer is probably both, doesnt help if kids don't show up for practice either. i can only do so much with about a hour of practice twice a week. fortunately, we have about 3 additional coaches who help and have been there all the time, other fathers are starting to become more active. so that's helpful. we play tomorrow and will practice on thursday before playing again saturday. 

i told my wife to buy me a candle from fiesta for the team, looks like i might have to light it before our games, lol 

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I wouldn't get too worked up over any of it at that age.  If you can make it enough fun where they all play again next year then you have done your job.  Most important 3 things:

1. Make sure none of the dip$hits cracks anyone with a bat

2. Make sure they have enough fun that they all play again

3. If they happen to learn something about the game and get better that is a bonus.  

Whatever happens to them in 4-6 year old baseball is not going to affect their ability to be drafted in the first round by the yankees 12 years from now.  

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6 hours ago, pepper brooks said:

I wouldn't get too worked up over any of it at that age.  If you can make it enough fun where they all play again next year then you have done your job.  Most important 3 things:

1. Make sure none of the dip$hits cracks anyone with a bat

2. Make sure they have enough fun that they all play again

3. If they happen to learn something about the game and get better that is a bonus.  

Whatever happens to them in 4-6 year old baseball is not going to affect their ability to be drafted in the first round by the yankees 12 years from now.  

Fuck the Yankees!

And yeah, you hit on every one of my goals for the kids this year, something I told my wife to make me remember after the end of the season and when things are "bad". 

I hate losing in baseball more than just about anything else in life and it fucking kills me out there, but remember and have to consciously remind myself, it's not about any of us coaching or managing a team, it's the kids. 6 months from now these kids won't remember if they won a certain game versus whoever. I read the Mike matheny book twice, same with augie's prior to the season, highly recommend them for anyone involved in coaching, mentoring, leading kids. Lots of good stuff there I've taken with me with my son's team. 

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my son pitched 4 innings last night, team won, he only gave up 3 runs in Majors. Has been really exciting to see kid who for years has said he didn't want to pitch start to like doing it.

He is a tall lefty so coaches have always been asking, first year he has done it.

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On 3/30/2019 at 7:52 PM, F250 said:

Why do so many coaches use verbal cues during games without ever having explained their meaning to the players?

My biggest pet peeve is when coaches fire off these verbal cues at kids in the middle of a game and the poor kid just ends up confused and distracted.

Verbal cues are great if they are explained and used often in practice. They serve as a type of shorthand for quick communication. But if they are not used to reinforce what has been previously taught, you might as well be giving instructions in Mandarin.

 

 

I hated that as a kid, and I hate it now. I had a coach that used to give hand signals....with no explanation. I guess he thought they were clear as day, but many guys on the team didn't agree. I try to be very clear, simple, and direct with the 9/10s I coach now. 

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Have coached ages 3 to 6. With about 10 players each team. Its a difficult task to keep all involved. You have about 3-5 who dont want to be there at all. Biggest joy was when i was able to find what got them interested in baseball and saw them improve each game/practice. Alot of thier intrest has to be started at home.

Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk

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With the young ones just laugh and howl and encourage when they mess up and yell positively and clap when they do right. Keep it easy. Even now at 12U I’ve got dad’s droning on and on with kids not listening. It’s a lot more primal than that keep the chit chat and the instruction low and keep the energy and non verbal and indirect communication high. Lots of repetitive stuff too. Even now we do infield to “first” ground balls (stationary positions) and outfield pop ups (stationary) positions) to cut off to “second” (stationary position) with only two stations for a quarter of our fielding practice. Stay at fundamentals, even when you move to more complex parts of the game. No matter what level, being the better team at fundamentals wins.

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This is the first year (coaching 9/10s) that we're really trying to get into the details of baseball. At ages 5/6 - 7/8, most of our coaching was positive, general, and fun. Our goal was to teach the kids high-level fundamentals so they could experience some improvements, but mostly to make sure they wanted to play again the next season. I rotated kids all over my infield and outfield during both practices and games. I silently judged the coaches who put the same kid at P and 1B every freaking inning, especially when we beat them. It's too easy to overcoach, but it can be so detrimental. Some of the kids I ended up with this season have only ever played for coaches who didn't help them, instead choosing to focus on the 4 good kids. Meanwhile, my kids are scattered throughout the league and contributing. Keep it light and fun, boys. It's a game. Let the boys play. You might even see better results.

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Even now we do infield to “first” ground balls (stationary positions) and outfield pop ups (stationary) positions) to cut off to “second” (stationary position) with only two stations for a quarter of our fielding practice. Stay at fundamentals, even when you move to more complex parts of the game. No matter what level, being the better team at fundamentals wins.

this x1000.  Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals.  Every regular season and all star team I ever coached we spent the first part of practice hitting loads of grounders and fly balls.  I always told the players before every game to just make the play in front of them - field the grounder and make the throw, catch the routine fly ball and hit the cut off man.  It's great if you make a miraculous play, but the team that makes more of the routine plays usually wins this game.  

 

also practice plans should involve as many stations as you can manage - especially when they are young.  No more than two kids at a station - lots of reps.  Little kids will start chasing butterflies if not engaged.

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20 minutes ago, jkates said:

This is the first year (coaching 9/10s) that we're really trying to get into the details of baseball. At ages 5/6 - 7/8, most of our coaching was positive, general, and fun. Our goal was to teach the kids high-level fundamentals so they could experience some improvements, but mostly to make sure they wanted to play again the next season. I rotated kids all over my infield and outfield during both practices and games. I silently judged the coaches who put the same kid at P and 1B every freaking inning, especially when we beat them. It's too easy to overcoach, but it can be so detrimental. Some of the kids I ended up with this season have only ever played for coaches who didn't help them, instead choosing to focus on the 4 good kids. Meanwhile, my kids are scattered throughout the league and contributing. Keep it light and fun, boys. It's a game. Let the boys play. You might even see better results. 

The only thing is you want someone at first who can catch.  Because if you put certain kids there at 7 or 8 years old that can't, they are going to get busted in the nose.

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1 minute ago, Johnny Sack said:

The only thing is you want someone at first who can catch.  Because if you put certain kids there at 7 or 8 years old that can't, they are going to get busted in the nose.

Yes, you can't put kids where they have no chance and risk getting hurt. But I "hid" kids at 3B and 2B all the time by playing them deep and praying the ball wasn't hit to them!

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On 3/6/2019 at 8:49 AM, pepper brooks said:

if it makes you feel any better, our majors team of 11-12 year olds looks like most of them have never played before either.  I don't get how kids, most of whom have played baseball for since they were 5, can be so fucking terrible 6-7 years later.  

genetics

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2 hours ago, jkates said:

Yes, you can't put kids where they have no chance and risk getting hurt. But I "hid" kids at 3B and 2B all the time by playing them deep and praying the ball wasn't hit to them!

I've always practiced rotating players in different positions with the caveat that the player is capable of protecting themselves with their glove. This is something I emphasized to the parents.

In LL Minors, I once had a dad request his son play third base for a game when the grandparents would be attending. I said I would but I was concerned about the kids ability to protect himself at third. Dad insists the kid would be fine. During the game a ball is hit deep into CF with a runner on third. The CF who would normally play SS, chargers in an fields the ball off of the hop and throws a frozen rope to third. The third baseman wasn't prepared to receive the throw and gets tattooed on the forehead. Ouch!

 

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34 minutes ago, F250 said:

I've always practiced rotating players in different positions with the caveat that the player is capable of protecting themselves with their glove. This is something I emphasized to the parents.

In LL Minors, I once had a dad request his son play third base for a game when the grandparents would be attending. I said I would but I was concerned about the kids ability to protect himself at third. Dad insists the kid would be fine. During the game a ball is hit deep into CF with a runner on third. The CF who would normally play SS, chargers in an fields the ball off of the hop and throws a frozen rope to third. The third baseman wasn't prepared to receive the throw and gets tattooed on the forehead. Ouch!

 

Same.  Had a Mom in fall ball insist that her son would feel more a part of the team if he got to play first base.  Background - at this point I've played the kid at every position in the field except 1b and SS.  The kid was a total head case, who COULD NOT CATCH A BALL, but used some of the most colorful language I've ever heard in a dugout - he would've made Billy Martin blush.  I brought it to the  Mom's attention about the need to be able to catch and play first base......of course that leads to ten minutes of her complaining about what a terrible father her husband was and it wasn't her fault he couldn't catch.

So.....I put the kid at 1b for an inning late in a game.  Well the first play the ball is hit to my SS (who by the way is left handed and has a rocket for an arm....maybe best arm in the league).  Well I see it all in slow motion....the kid at first base is watching the runner come to first and not looking for the throw, rocket armed SS unleashes a strike which misses 1b head by no more that a few inches.  I look over at the Mom in the stands who gives me the universal hand gesture for "get him of off first!".  

Sigh.

 

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17 minutes ago, MAROON said:

Same.  Had a Mom in fall ball insist that her son would feel more a part of the team if he got to play first base.  Background - at this point I've played the kid at every position in the field except 1b and SS.  The kid was a total head case, who COULD NOT CATCH A BALL, but used some of the most colorful language I've ever heard in a dugout - he would've made Billy Martin blush.  I brought it to the  Mom's attention about the need to be able to catch and play first base......of course that leads to ten minutes of her complaining about what a terrible father her husband was and it wasn't her fault he couldn't catch.

So.....I put the kid at 1b for an inning late in a game.  Well the first play the ball is hit to my SS (who by the way is left handed and has a rocket for an arm....maybe best arm in the league).  Well I see it all in slow motion....the kid at first base is watching the runner come to first and not looking for the throw, rocket armed SS unleashes a strike which misses 1b head by no more that a few inches.  I look over at the Mom in the stands who gives me the universal hand gesture for "get him of off first!".  

Sigh.

 

Yeah, very similar situation including the slow motion effect. I remember looking at the third baseman and the trajectory of the ball and couldn't seem to yell a warning fast enough. The kid just stared at the incoming ball with his hands down. I think the play just happened too fast for him to process everything that was happening.

 

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Yesterday was an ugly day for baseball with the constant drizzle keeping everything soggy and humid.

Anyone have their game rained out?

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31 minutes ago, F250 said:

Yesterday was an ugly day for baseball with the constant drizzle keeping everything soggy and humid.

Anyone have their game rained out?

Had one game stopped after 2nd inning and another one canceled altogether. Very frustrating. Practices today canceled as well,

 

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On 3/30/2019 at 7:52 PM, F250 said:

Why do so many coaches use verbal cues during games without ever having explained their meaning to the players?

My biggest pet peeve is when coaches fire off these verbal cues at kids in the middle of a game and the poor kid just ends up confused and distracted.

Verbal cues are great if they are explained and used often in practice. They serve as a type of shorthand for quick communication. But if they are not used to reinforce what has been previously taught, you might as well be giving instructions in Mandarin.

 

 

Yeah I always try not to tell them things in the game that I haven't already explained in practice. When I'm using what I think might be new terms in practice, I try to always remember to ask "Do you know what I mean when I say that?"

Half the time there will be kids who have no idea what I said even if I ask them 5 minutes later, but the better kids usually get it. That's usually why they're better.

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On 3/30/2019 at 11:35 PM, Mez2 said:

Man. We're not good at all. How do you discipline players to not hit each other and keep their hands to themselves? 

I feel like butter maker right now.  Fml

 

On 3/30/2019 at 11:37 PM, Mez2 said:

I can't threaten to not play them because most of them don't want to play. Is it possible to coach the uncoachable?

I have 11 kids,  8 have never played before 

It's pretty brutal these days trying to get rec league players to do what you want. Like you said, there are always a certain number who are only there because mom or dad are making 'em and who would rather be at home playing Fortnite.

You can run 'em, but if they don't run, then what do you do? You can't spank em lol. You can sit em down, but that's what some of these types wnat anyway.  It sucks. Sorry I don;thave any answers for you. Just commiserating...

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On 3/31/2019 at 1:19 PM, Mez2 said:

4,5, 6 which makes it even more difficult. I have no qualms about teaching them the fundamentals and just understanding the basics of baseball, or close to what it should be at that age. I get it. I guess my frustration is more to do with the behavior of these kids, fighting pushing each other. I would pop my kid there if he pulled any of this, I guess it's more to do with just general parenting than game play. 

4-6? Whoa, yeah. You have a lot more patience than I've ever claimed to have, and are to be saluted. 

Re: the kids' behavior, yeah, you can only overcome so much of their parents' shitty parenting. The examples of bad parenting that get exposed to you as a coach are just mind-numbing.

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Posted (edited)
Quote

genetics

Yep. There's loads of parents out there who think they're gonna 'make' their kid a college or MLB ball player. Guess what ... we don't have that power. First, they need to be blessed with a talent, then it's up to them to develop it. Or not.

Edited by wood

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1 hour ago, F250 said:

Yesterday was an ugly day for baseball with the constant drizzle keeping everything soggy and humid.

Anyone have their game rained out?

 

1 hour ago, BrazilHorn said:

Had one game stopped after 2nd inning and another one canceled altogether. Very frustrating. Practices today canceled as well,

 

Ours was cancelled 1 pitch into the bottom of the first. We were Home. Furk.

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On ‎4‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 12:18 PM, F250 said:

Yesterday was an ugly day for baseball with the constant drizzle keeping everything soggy and humid.

Anyone have their game rained out?

Yes.  Ours was.  Which was fine with me because I was out of town.  We are in Post Oak LL.  They rarely cancel games.  We play fall ball in WULL so I get their rainout notification texts.  They cancel a lot more frequently.

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1 hour ago, Johnny Sack said:

Yes.  Ours was.  Which was fine with me because I was out of town.  We are in Post Oak LL.  They rarely cancel games.  We play fall ball in WULL so I get their rainout notification texts.  They cancel a lot more frequently.

Yeah, our league will try and play through the game unless the lightning detector goes off. Rescheduling can be a major pain if your league has a ton of teams and isn't overflowing with extra fields to play on. Plus some leagues are very particular with their field maintenance.

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My younger son has been asked to play catcher. We bought him a glove and he’s been having me pitch to him. I’ve thrown what feels like 80-100 pitches 4 straight days to him. 

The tendons in my arm are sore. 

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2 hours ago, BrazilHorn said:

My younger son has been asked to play catcher. We bought him a glove and he’s been having me pitch to him. I’ve thrown what feels like 80-100 pitches 4 straight days to him. 

The tendons in my arm are sore. 

That's funny. I used to pitch batting practice for years as a coach plus do it for my son's at home with no issues. Several years later without pitching I started up again and I felt like I needed Tommy John surgery. It took a couple of weeks to get back into rhythm of things but all is well now.

Regarding catching practice. You don't need to pitch that much to him as much as work on drills for proper footwork, receiving the ball, stances, form, blocking, etc...

 

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Baseball was canceled today due to the wicked weather that blew through this morning. We were out at the fields for 45 minutes when what looked like a black blanket rolling over the sky. It was crazy how quickly it changed from light to dark.

I hope this isn't one of those Springs where it only rains on weekends.

 

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We played today,  we scored 5 runs! A new team high!

They scored 21, but whatever

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Baseball was canceled today due to the wicked weather that blew through this morning. We were out at the fields for 45 minutes when what looked like a black blanket rolling over the sky. It was crazy how quickly it changed from light to dark.
I hope this isn't one of those Springs where it only rains on weekends.
 

Weather was crazy. We had a 9:45 game at Doss by the racetrack cancelled. We drove into the rain and it was pouring. But the little league fields on the west side at I-10 and the beltway were dry until after 3.

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4 hours ago, Hanrahan said:


Weather was crazy. We had a 9:45 game at Doss by the racetrack cancelled. We drove into the rain and it was pouring. But the little league fields on the west side at I-10 and the beltway were dry until after 3.

Is Doss still a dump?

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Our school has a bumper crop of second grade players and we're putting together a tournament team to play this summer - 8u.  I've been told to sign up with USSSA or Nations Baseball, get some unis and that's about it.  What else do I need to know?

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1 hour ago, Hanrahan said:

Our school has a bumper crop of second grade players and we're putting together a tournament team to play this summer - 8u.  I've been told to sign up with USSSA or Nations Baseball, get some unis and that's about it.  What else do I need to know?

You'll need to get copies of birth certificates, purchase the insurance, figure out which tournaments to register for, figure out when/where you're practicing, order uniforms, etc. And, above all, clearly communicate with the parents on expectations, scheduling, competitiveness, playing time, roster management, money, etc. 

USSSA runs better tournaments than Nations, IMHO. But Nations isn't a bad place to start because the competition is weaker. 

My son is on a 9AAA team in USSSA. Most of the boys have been together since 7AAC. This fall/offseason the coaches bungled some roster management and parent communication. A formerly tight-knit, fun group has turned into an awkward, not-as-fun group. Be careful with that dynamic. Hard decisions that hurt feelings are one thing. Unnecessary decisions that aren't communicated and then hurt feelings are another thing, and much harder to get over.

Select ball can be fun. Our particular group usually doesn't play during the local league season. We pack 4 or 5 tournaments into June and that's it. 

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The kid we expected to be our ace pitcher finally put it together last night. He'd been averaging ~28 pitches per inning in his first 4 outings. Last night he went 4 innings in just 44 pitches. 2 hits, which both came around to score on FCs and WPs, and 4 Ks. This kid throws as hard as anyone else in the league, but last night we asked him to throw at 80% effort. It looked like he only backed down to 90-95%, but he found his control. Really fun to watch him make adjustments and have success.

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4 hours ago, Hanrahan said:

Our school has a bumper crop of second grade players and we're putting together a tournament team to play this summer - 8u.  I've been told to sign up with USSSA or Nations Baseball, get some unis and that's about it.  What else do I need to know?

Are you the coach, or just helping get the team organized and registered? If you're embarking on a summer of tournament ball, and are going to be a spectator, then it is essential that you procure the following: 

bf56a3b7-3371-47a9-a596-e5dbb00e8a19_1.c

REI%20Camp%20X%20Chair.jpg

 

image981.jpg

950_thumb.jpg

 

I miss the days when I was coaching/watching my son play. It goes pretty fast, so enjoy it while you can. Can't say I miss some of the absolutely brutal heat though, but the items above helped make it bearable. Try to find a couple of side panels for your shade tent - lifesavers when you're dealing with the setting sun. And be sure to put some tent stakes in your bag (along with a hammer) in case you get a storm. The REI camp-x chair is unsurpassed for comfort in hot weather. 

 

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I'm already watching a 10u team but will coach the 8u.  If they do well and want to stick together into 9 and 10u we'll find them better coaches at some point.  And, yes, I recognize that this time is going to fly by and am enjoying it.

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On 4/14/2019 at 10:42 AM, Hanrahan said:


Weather was crazy. We had a 9:45 game at Doss by the racetrack cancelled. We drove into the rain and it was pouring. But the little league fields on the west side at I-10 and the beltway were dry until after 3.

I've seen something like this at a baseball tournament in Boerne a few years ago. The fields in Boerne are right off of the east side of I-10. A big rainstorm passed along the west side of I-10 for nearly two hours without ever crossing the highway. The best part was getting that cool air that blows in before a storm but without the actual storm. It felt like God turned on the A/C in the middle of a really hot July afternoon.

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10U my son (finally) asked to pitch so they put him in... two strikeouts in his first inning of pitching. 7440cc97d693692e3dc9e8572b769228.jpg

This momma was smiling ear to ear and hooting and hollering with him. They won big and are now in 1st place and way out in front.

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Yeah there’s a lot of fundamentals still to be taught with this crew and they are the best team too.

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Ours is two seasons - spring and fall with spring being longer and more teams. Two leagues, based on skill with a draft. Playoffs is every team double elimination for the championship. Spring has all-stars too. All rec league, not select.

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11 hours ago, troph said:

Ours is two seasons - spring and fall with spring being longer and more teams. Two leagues, based on skill with a draft. Playoffs is every team double elimination for the championship. Spring has all-stars too. All rec league, not select.

So how do teams qualify to make it to LL World Series? 

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Dunno, but we aren’t close to making that cut.  My guess is the more competitive leagues then their all-star programs and probably less select pressure in those communities creating a more robust LL program and then a massive tournament with super serious business dads and backbiting moms and some shit.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, El Diablo said:

So how do teams qualify to make it to LL World Series? 

First if all they need to be the 11/12 year old team.  Then they have to win their district, sectional, state, and regional tournaments.  Win all four and you go to Williamsport.  Realistically you need to win about 17-18 games without ever losing more than one game in any of the tournaments leading up to Williamsport. 

also the teams that make it to the World Series are full of kids who all play summer, fall and winter select. They just play LL in the spring (although some play both LL and Select in the Spring - crazy parents).

Edited by MAROON

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23 hours ago, troph said:

10U my son (finally) asked to pitch so they put him in... two strikeouts in his first inning of pitching. 7440cc97d693692e3dc9e8572b769228.jpg

This momma was smiling ear to ear and hooting and hollering with him. They won big and are now in 1st place and way out in front.

Looks like a nice deep centered stride. Kinda hard to tell from one picture but the mechanics look solid for a 10 year old.

F6 is a statue back there. Maybe he knew your boy was throwing nothing but K's.

 

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Looks like a nice deep centered stride. Kinda hard to tell from one picture but the mechanics look solid for a 10 year old.
F6 is a statue back there. Maybe he knew your boy was throwing nothing but K's.
 


Yep was going to say same. Got a boy who plays 12U select ball up here in Keller and I see so many arm injuries waiting to happen with these AAA and Majors teams. Kids can hum it and spin it but they are using football throwing mechanics and stressing the hell out of their elbows.

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Looks like a nice deep centered stride. Kinda hard to tell from one picture but the mechanics look solid for a 10 year old.

F6 is a statue back there. Maybe he knew your boy was throwing nothing but K's.

 

 

Thanks man. This was the 3-0 count. Haha. SS might have been an outfield normie, we were up more than 5 with only 20 mins left in the game.

 

He struggled with two walks first two batters then struck out two and got the ground out. He’s got a natural motion for sure but his follow through and arm speed needs work. But hell he’s 9. His bat speed and swing mechanics are pretty natural too. He’s finally really into the sport.

 

I really don’t want to do select, we aren’t that type of family but I would like to get him some more practice - one because he wants to and two - he’s a bit of an athlete.

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4 hours ago, El Diablo said:

So how do teams qualify to make it to LL World Series? 

Blood, sweat, tears and money.

One summer we made it to the championship game of sectionals. By that point we had been on the road for 2 weeks. Had we won, we would have had two days to be in Dallas for the state tournament. I remember being stressed out about having to take off another week of work and glad to be done with it.

Some teams that make it to the LLWS have been on the road for a month by the time they get to Williamsport.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, troph said:

 

Thanks man. This was the 3-0 count. Haha. SS might have been an outfield normie, we were up more than 5 with only 20 mins left in the game.

 

He struggled with two walks first two batters then struck out two and got the ground out. He’s got a natural motion for sure but his follow through and arm speed needs work. But hell he’s 9. His bat speed and swing mechanics are pretty natural too. He’s finally really into the sport.

 

I really don’t want to do select, we aren’t that type of family but I would like to get him some more practice - one because he wants to and two - he’s a bit of an athlete.

Oh, 9 even better mechanics for that age. 

Just my opinion but select is unnecessary for 9/10. Probably benefit more from lessons at that age.

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