Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Selected Reading Material 5-30-12

How Efficient Pitching Mechanics Can Produce More Velocity With Less Stress To the Arm by Dick Mills  -  Great analysis about keeping your mechanics simple and eliminating unnecessary movements.

10 Reasons Dad May Not Want to Coach a Youth Baseball Team  -  Not just the obvious reasons.

How To Deal With the Sports Parents Social Pecking Order by Bob Cook, Forbes  -  You don't have to be friends with the other parents on the sidelines.

Local Man Brings 'Hoosiers' Back to Life by Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star  -  Because this is the best sports movie ever and there can't be a real sequel.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Advice From the All-Time Hit King

ESPN has announced another 30 for 30 volume of films set to begin this fall. Beginning this week, Bill Simmons and will stream "30 for 30 Shorts" on a monthly basis. The first short film is called Here Now, an eight minute look into the current life of Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader banned from baseball for gambling.

The story of Pete Rose is a sad one, but you have to respect the way he played the game: "all out," as we are currently seeing from Bryce Harper. And in the middle of this short film, Rose offers some great advice for young players:

1. Be aggressive.
2. Be more aggressive.
3. Never be satisfied.

I love that approach to baseball and would love to see my team playing like that right now. We've been saying it all season: "Go for it." You have to plan on ripping the ball, or the ball being ripped to you in the field. And when it happens you have to go for it, not even considering the possibility of failure. If you play the game trying to avoid mistakes, you'll never accomplish anything. Play aggressively and there should be no regrets after the game, no matter how many times you fail.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Selected Reading Material 5-14-12

How Much Training Is Too Much for Young Athletes?  by Jill Barker, Montreal Gazette  -  More on specialization, overuse and mental burnout.

Game's Top Two Pitching Prospects May Be Igniting a Revolution  by Albert Chen, Sports Illustrated  -  Dylan Bundy and Trevor Bauer will be prominent test cases for or against extreme long-toss, depending on whether or not they have healthy careers.

Rocket Science Alert: Strength Training for Pitchers STILL Improves Throwing Velocity  by Eric Cressey, Cressey Performance  -  A new study shows that any type of strength training is beneficial to pitchers.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Little League Approves 50/70 Division for 2013

Little League International has announced voting results from its Regional Round Table agenda items. As was expected months ago, a permanent 50/70 baseball division was approved for play in 2013.

Since two thirds of voting District Administrators supported the measure, it was automatically approved by Little League's Board of Directors. Complete voting results on all agenda items are posted here. Among the items that failed was a proposal to ban the slash play (fake bunt / swing away) in Majors and Minors. This and any other items can be revisited in the future.

While the specific rules of the new 50/70 division are yet to be determined, the approved agenda item dictates that it will be for ages 11-13. Should leagues choose to do so, it appears that it can co-exist with the Major League division. It will include a postseason international tournament and World Series.

We'll have to wait and see about some important details.... Will big barrel bats be allowed? I hope not. An additional four feet of pitching distance is not enough to safely allow big barrels. Will the fences have to be backed up to beyond 200 ft? Perhaps, with 13-year-olds playing, but many leagues will be unable to do so. Will there be any restrictions on stealing bases? I hope so. If the base runner can take a lead of any distance and steal before the pitcher releases the ball, and the catcher has a longer throw, then an additional 10 feet of base path is not enough. It will be a flawed game with way too many easily stolen bases.

It will be interesting to see what the rules end up being. That will help determine how many leagues choose to participate. But judging from the voting results, I have to think that this is the direction that most leagues will go. I wouldn't be surprised if within 3-5 years, the Williamsport/ESPN show is a 50/70 game. It's just a matter of hammering out some details that work.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bryce Harper Swing Mechanics

The "Chosen One" has arrived and is here to stay. Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 MLB Draft, is the most exciting player in the game. Watch the guy play, kids. He makes great catches. He throws laser beams. He turns singles into doubles. He steals home. He even wears his socks well.

Bryce Harper plays the game the right way. All out, 100% all the time. He is electric on the field and it's going to be contagious in the Nats dugout.

His swing generates an amazing amount of power. He loads his hands to the max. His braced front leg sends every bit of energy into his hip rotation. And he hits to all fields, pulling his hands and staying inside the ball. Check it out:

Friday, May 4, 2012

Selected Reading Material 5-3-12

The 8 Most Annoying Sports Parents by Kevin at Sports Dad Hub  -  Some familiar characters to watch out for here.

Roundtable: Is 155 Pitches Too Many? at ESPN Boston  -  A lengthy discussion about when to say when, in response to a recent high school game with very high pitch counts. I attended a game this season where a high schooler threw 120 pitches in a meaningless game, and it was uncomfortable to watch.

Youth Sports Are Expensive? by Rick Wolff  -  Yes, we all know youth sports cost money.