Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bench Chaos

Today the team has a home game. The forecast is rain. Tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday's forecast is rain too. Enough already! So much damp weather and its cool too....wet and cold....yuk!

I wanted to give an update about the player who was hit in the face on Sunday. He is out of the hospital and has had his teeth re-positioned. If that sounds painful to you....I find it excruciating to think about it. Word has it, that he is back on campus. Way to go kiddo....as they say when a batter is hit...."it's OK...we have ice...."

I spoke with Buddy last night. He talked about the players in the dugout "calling each other out" with some shoving and yelling. They were getting into each others' faces and it was a bit chaotic. When I asked him what the coaches did, he said..."nothing...they liked it...." So, let's reflect on this new phenomenon that I have discovered....players punching each other when the other does not make a play....yelling at each other...calling each other out and to task on errors....oy! Let me think about it.....

Ok....Here are my BP Mom thoughts.....the kids (yes, they are still kids and are not being paid) are playing at a high level. There is a great deal at stake as they want to win the conference title and go on to the College World Series...they dream about it (in color...not black and white). The coaches want/demand accountability for the players' action and lack of action. They cannot nor do not want to police the team. They want the team to be accountable to each other. This is how they build a team and team unity. When team mates scream at each other for a missed opportunity, the coaches smile...their job is done. No need for them to say a word..the players have already done it.

I asked my son if the team got into his face. His response was "yeah...they called me out and told me that I looked scared and was not aggressive enough..." For an introverted freshman, that must have been quite intimidating as it came from the upper class men. So, what was the result? Well, the big kid has only one earned run hit against him this season and that was due to a Chicago fog and the outfielders' inability to see the incoming ball to field it. He is proof that this "in your face" coaching and mentality can and does work.

Would it work for me? Nope...I would cower in fear and hide in a corner so that I would not be picked on....I would be praying....don't put me in...I don't want the ball...can I sell some hot dogs instead? These players are big...I mean big....I am sure that their mom's food bills are sky high. Therefore, having someone that big and intimidating coming at me would result in me losing my lunch rather than the fear in my eyes.

Yet, the coaches philosophy is working for this team. The players embrace it....good for them. I coached college tennis for a few years. I never raised my voice..never called anyone out. The way that I looked at it, they were trying. No one wants to lose....except this one girl. I don't remember her name, but she was winning a match handily. During a coaching break, I told her that her opponent had twisted her ankles. This was code for "finish her off...time to go home..." An hour and half later, the match was over. I asked the player what the scores were...to my amazement, she lost! What happened? The response was...after the player was told that her opponent had sore ankles, she hit the ball right to her so that she did not have to run.....To this day, I still scratch my head in disbelief. Why do I share this odd and unbelievable story? Well, coaches have their own style that leads them to success. You have to tinker with it over the years to find out what works. It seems that chaos and street fighting between innings is effective. My only advice is to hide the bats....watch out for projectile objects such as balls and gloves and keep your head down when you make a mistake on the field....

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