Tag Archives: club ball

How Often Should You Have Private Lessons?

With youth sports being the key ticket to athletic stardom and riches, early specialization is one of the hottest topics of discussion these days.  You’ve seen plenty of articles about the negatives of specialization at young ages.  If you haven’t send me an email and I’ll provide you with some links.  However, as long as the carrot is still hanging on the end of the stick, there will be plenty of young players trying to reach that carrot, with or without specialization.

So in an attempt to be the best player you can be, you are bound to take your son or daughter to a private skills coach to improve their skills to the max so they can make their high school or travel ball teams, or reach that goal of an athletic scholarship.  Sometimes these lessons are a part of a travel or club organization.  Sometimes you will have a high school coach let you know that if you aren’t taking lessons you won’t make the team.  The variables to this equation are many.  So how often should you have these lessons?

In the softball world, there are lessons for hitting, fielding, and pitching.  You can also get lessons for catching… not just catching the ball but being a catcher.  Many players go to lessons each week.  Many go to multiple lessons, such as pitching and hitting.  Obviously the skills coach wants to see you each week as that means more money for them.  Please understand – I have no problem with coaches making money for private instruction.  A coach is spending his or her time with your son or daughter to help them improve their skills.  They deserve to be paid.  I give lessons myself.

So is it absolutely necessary to go to lessons each week?  That depends upon a few things.  1.  What are your child’s goals?  2.  How quickly do you want to reach those goals?  3.  What skill are you getting lessons for?

Some coaches will tell you that you need lessons each week so that bad habits won’t set in.  I would say that this is more true when a player is starting out but not necessarily when they are “first” starting.  In other words, give your child a chance to enjoy the sport before hauling you 8-year-old off to weekly lessons.

I tell the parents of the players I coach that if they really want to see me every week, I’m glad to help them.  However, I try to teach the player not just how to perform a given skill but how to be their own coach as well.  I teach them not just how to correct certain details but how to recognize what needs correcting.  I tell them that the more they can become their own coach, the less they’ll need me, and the better player they can become.  One of the key issues I see with a lot of player today is that they do not think, they do not learn the whole game.  They can replicate the skills the coaches have given them but they don’t always know why or when.  I don’t want robots.  I want players.

Parents will like it too if they don’t have to mortgage the farm to pay me.  There are plenty of players out there to fill up a schedule.  I try to always put the player first, not my need for the all elusive dollar.

Next post I will talk about how to pick your skills coaches.

One Weekend Off

I had posted a challenge for travel/club coaches.  I’ve invited coaches to let me know if their team gives their players one weekend off per month.  So far I’ve heard from two teams.  Another I’m waiting for some details.  So as I hear from more coaches, I will add them to the list.

Softball

Lakewood Hustlers Coffman 16U – Mario Coffman

USSSA Pride – Indian   10u-16u teams – Steve Indian
Encinitas, CA.

I do more than give them one weekend off a month. We also right after nationals take the rest of August (approx 3 weeks) off. We will also be shutting down in another week until Dec 30th so the players and parents can enjoy their holiday season. I do believe in down time for the players and for the coaching staff, so they can regenerate not only their bodies but their minds too.

Steve Indian

 

How Has Elite Club and Travel Sports Affected the Family?

A few weeks ago, my friend Rich Trujillo asked me what has travel ball done to the family?  Rich just retired this last year as the head softball coach at La Mirada High School, where he had been at the helm for seventeen years.

I think back to when my daughter played travel ball.  I remember that there were times where I questioned our schedule as we were missing Sunday after Sunday from our church.  Part of me didn’t worry too much as my daughter still was active in the youth group. But I still wondered if there wasn’t a better way.  A few teams we were on tried to give the team off one weekend per month.

This week I’ve talked to two other travel coaches who said they give their teams one weekend off each month.  This is not just a religion thing either.  The coaches on my daughter’s first team were Catholic. Catholics usually have many more options as far as attending mass.  As Lutherans we were primarily a Sunday option.  But even if you do not attend church at all, there can still be time for your families.  For us it wasn’t a big deal there since we only have the one daughter.  But for families who have three or four children, especially if their ages are close together, this can be a challenge too.

I spoke with one coach this last week who said his one daughter had been invited to join a travel team.  They declined at this time because he has another younger daughter and a son who plays a different sport.  I’ve seen families where Mom is taking one of the kids to one tournament, Dad taking another kid to their sport, etc.

Lastly there is another reason to have some time off.  Our bodies need healing.  Any sport can take a toll on our bodies.  So much more so with our kids who’s joints may not be fully developed yet.  The body needs time to rest.  Studies have shown that not giving our athletes time to rest and recover leads to more overuse injuries.  And if you ignore those, you are going down the path to more severe injuries, even career ending injuries.

So let me issue a challenge to all travel and club coaches, regardless of sport.  I challenge you, if you are not already doing so, set your schedules so that your team can take a weekend off each month.  I know that, for example, with softball July-August can be tough to take that weekend off because you have all the national tournaments and showcases happening.  But even there, one weekend off might just keep your players healthy enough to make a difference when it really counts.

Parents, this also goes out to you.  It’s also up to you to let your child’s coaches know that your son or daughter needs a little r & r too.  The kids work hard.  Some travel teams practice or play long hours.  They need some rest.  Perhaps you’ve been one of those parents who are seeing your kids having a chance to play in college.  It’s easy to worry that if you aren’t there another player will take your spot on the team.  It’s your call.  I think, however, that more and more people are seeing how important this is.

Coaches:  If you are a team that gives your players a weekend per month off, or at least a Sunday each month, send me an email to coachmike@kidznsports.com.  If you haven’t been doing this and you’re willing to try to make that change, send me an email.  In a few weeks, I’ll write another post on this subject and I’ll list any team that tells me that they are putting their player’s health and families first by giving them that weekend off each month.  If you just do this at least 9 out of 12 months out of the year, I bet it will make a difference.

Tell me your team name, you city that you hail from, and the head coach’s name, and your sport of course.  We all love our sports.  Our kids love to play.  Let’s help them play longer and stronger.

Please share this post with other parents and coaches that you know.

The Cost of Travel Ball and Early Specialization

This last week, all of our high school coaches received a message from CIF- Southern Section Commissioner of Athletics, Rob Wigod. This message is also posted on the CIF-SS web site.  Rob talks about the effect that elite travel ball/club ball and early specialization has had on high school sports.  This of course, goes along with the early recruiting epidemic that we have talked about on Kidz n Sports.

PARENTS:  I think you should pay attention to Rob’s message.  There are many “costs” of playing travel/club ball.  It is not just the fees you pay the team.  Nor is it just the money spent on private lessons or the expenses of traveling such as food and hotels.  There is a cost of time, a cost of your son or daughter sacrificing a good portion of their social life during their high school years.  And with all of the promises and opportunities of travel ball the results are still the same.  There are a very limited number of scholarships given out.  According to the NCAA web site the percentage of high school seniors that actually receive an athletic scholarship is only a few percent.

I am not against travel or club ball.  I think that travel ball can be a good experience even if you don’t get that scholarship.  My daughter played travel ball for about six or seven years.  She probably could have gotten a scholarship but at that time she didn’t want to go out of California, which limited her opportunity greatly.  But she wanted to play softball.  (Now she lives out of state….go figure).  We didn’t spend as much as many people do.  The teams we were on didn’t charge an arm and a leg.

I also think that the high school experience is being changed, and not necessarily for the better.  I’ve always said there is a different “pride” of winning a national title with your travel or club team and of winning a local or state title for your high school.  When you go back for your ten year reunion, your high school teammates can share the stories of your time together.  Ten years from now, your travel team may or may not still be there.  I see one team that we play against in our league where parents take their kids there when they should be at our school.  Then they are complaining to the coaches about playing time.  The high school experience is about sharing life, just like the band, or ASB, or any club you are part of.   It’s not always about just winning.  Parents, if you are having your children transfer two or three times during their four years what experience will they remember?  I still remember the bus trips with our cross country team chanting “We are the Lions, Mighty Mighty Lions, Everywhere We Go, People Want to Know Who We Are, So We Tell ’em”….  The trips after a race were often as fun or more so than running in the race.

So before you enter your child into high school, or before you put in for that next transfer because the coach didn’t put your son or daughter in the position you thought they should play or given them the playing time you think they should have received, I encourage you to read Rob’s letter.  I challenge you to go online and look at the NCAA stats.  Do a Google Search on early recruiting and athletic scholarships.  Talk to several parents: not just the one who’s kid received a scholarship, but to the others who didn’t.

And make sure your child’s youth sports experience is their experience first, not just yours.

Commissioner’s Message 6 – December 15, 2015

 

Are Scholarships Worth the Price?

For those of you who missed last week’s show, you might want to go to www.RantRadioNetwork.com to check it out.

My guest last week, VJ Stanley, sent me a link to information given by the NCAA regarding the number, amount, and distribution of athletic scholarships. This information is as of September of 2011.

http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/ncaa/pdfs/2011/2011+probability+of+going+pro

I kidded VJ about the credibility of the information since softball wasn’t included.  But please note, this information if directly from the NCAA.  I think it’s great if your son or daughter should be able to get an athletic scholarship and an opportunity to play in college.  But it is not all glamor and glitz.  There are many factors to consider.  Time away from home and family; limited social life (if any); taxation on your body due to many hours without sleep to get caught up on homework, etc.  Here are a few more links to articles in a New York Times series published back in 2008.

 It’s Not An Adventure, It’s a Job!

Expectations Lose to Reality of Sports Scholarships

Recruits Clamor for More From Coaches with Less

Again, I think it’s fantastic if you can gain an athletic scholarship.  But before you go out and start dragging your kid around to several different instructional coaches, sign up for a travel or club team, and buy that big box of cigars, you might want to sit down and look at the real price of getting that scholarship.  I’ve known players who have received scholarships both full ride and partial.  Many love the experience.  But there are many also who choose to give up their scholarship because the demands placed on them were to great to bear.

Keep those grades up.

Coach Mike

 

This week on Kidz “n” Sports

This week on Kidz “n” Sports we are going to be talking about Stopping the Tsunami in Youth Sports. What is the Tsunami you ask?

My guest will be Vincent J. (VJ) Stanley, the founder and president of Frozen Shorts. Stanley is on a mission to help change the paradigm of youth sports. He is a former college hockey player who later became a broadcaster and author. Stanley values the benefits of sports for our kids but also would like to see a change in the way competitive sports are run these days.

Do you think youth sports is too competitive?
Vote on the Weekly Poll page.

If you are a travel ball player, coach, parent, or just a lover of youth sports you want to tune into Kidz “n” Sports, airing from 9 AM to 11 AM Pacific time on the Rant Radio Network. (www.rantradionetwork.com). If you miss the live show, you can pick up the on-demand audio/video from the Rant Radio Network web site.

Tune into Kidz “n” Sports every Tuesday for more information on youth sports topics.  If you want to call the show, the number is (855)96-Rant (7268).