From The Desk of Coach Mike ...
In the ongoing effort to always enhance our education of the game of baseball for our boys, I wanted to shoot this quick note out to the Batting 1000 Universe!
Over the past month, I have been able to attend a couple of my little brother’s college games around the area. He plays for a very good Division II St. Thomas Aquinas team. First of all, I want to recommend to all 225 of our parents and players to get out and attend at least one, if not more, of any local college game. The goal for many of our players is to continue playing at the next level. Therefore, we should know what it is all about. There are tons of things you will learn by just observing the game if you know what you are looking for. First of all, you DO NOT have to be a superstar to compete at the collegiate level. I have seen many average ballplayers over the past couple of weeks that I know the majority of our high school players could compete with. I have seen pitchers throw in the mid 70’s with average off-speed pitches. I have seen batters not be able to get bunts down, have poor approaches mentally to at bats and fielders make tons of errors.
I will say, though, that while observing these games, there were many consistencies from each player and team. All players shared a very common approach physically to the game. Baseball is a game in which one must “master the monotony”. All batters got to good hitting positions while hitting; all pitchers had very similar basic mechanics; all fielders had similar prep steps and fundamentals making plays; all base runners were sound with their primary leads, secondary leads, reads from pitcher and balls in dirt and steal breaks; all catchers, for the most part as you will see below, had similar set ups, receiving skills and throws; and so on. Each team was proficient in the areas of team baseball. They all knew situational baseball, where they were supposed to be on each pitch and were always looking to take advantage of the other team’s mistakes. They were well coached and it showed.
The point I am trying to make is that all of these talented players, some definitely more than others, all played the game, again for the most part, the right way. It is a lesson we try instilling into the kids every time we meet with them that we genuinely cannot emphasize enough. Of course we want the boys to have fun and enjoy playing the GAME of baseball, but that doesn’t mean we cannot play it the right way. I would love for all of our players, coaches and parents to attend one of the local college games once the weather gets nicer. An even better idea is to have all the coaches and parents plan on attending a game together as one of their practices. Ideally, get there about an hour or two before the game to watch how both teams approach pre game activities (team stretch, run and throw, on field Batting practice and Infield-outfield). Then observe the intricacies of the game together and start seeing the game on a deeper level. Many of you all know the game already, but most would be surprised, and possibly scared, at how I watch a baseball game!! There is so much more than meets the eye when watching baseball. Each pitch and every play has so many different parts that can be analyzed and improved upon. I always tell the players and coaches baseball is a game of inches, and the better we get with our fundamentals and skills, the more inches we will win. We win more inches, we have better chances of winning the game.
To conclude this message, I want to share a bird’s eye view of how I view the game! On the left hand side of the website, under “Links” are just two of many videos that I take when watching baseball. They are titled “Good Pitching vs Bad Catching” and Good Catching vs Bad Catching". The analysis with the videos will give you some insight into what I see each pitch. Hopefully, all of our parents and players can start to see the game like this a little bit as it will give everyone much more clarity as to why certain things are happening. This is just one example of one area of the game. I have video of many at bats, pitches and, like this particular video, catchers. Again, I know many of our parents have a great understanding of the game, but I do hope notes like this help further enhance everyone’s knowledge to give us the best chance on properly educating our boys. I will see you all soon on the field at some point! Good luck.