My Little League team (the Twins) had their first practice today. We'd had quite a bit of rain and nastiness in Houston over the past couple of days, so I wasn't sure we'd be able to do much of anything, but in typical Houston fashion the weather today was totally different - bright, sunny, moderate temps. The practive field was even reasonably dry, though with some large puddles scattered around.
There are twelve kids on my team, eleven boys and one girl. Nia has never played before and is the smallest kid on the team. She probably belongs in the 7-8 year old league, but she turns nine during the season, so league rules say she has to be in the 9-10 year old group. I'm going to do what I can to get her up to speed, but it won't surprise me if she drops out. Her parents were at the practice and told Tiffany that they were concerned that she's too little. We'll see how she does.
Ten kids showed up for practice. One had a prior engagement, the other was home sick. The sick kid's dad had agreed to be one of my assistant coaches, so he was there. I know Logan, his son, played last year so I expect he'll be one of the better players. Both he and the other assistant coach would likely have made fine head coaches, but apparently neither could commit to it time-wise. Both will be very helpful to me, though I'm a little concerned about there being a too-many-cooks problem. Not too worried, just a little.
Most of the kids had decent throwing mechanics, though they will definitely benefit from drills. I attended a baseball camp every summer as a kid for eight years, and I can still remember most of the workouts they put us through. The best part of that was playing the games, of course, but that'll have to wait here. Practices are going to be an hour to an hour and a half, which hopefully isn't too long to hold their attention through this sort of thing.
Today we ran an infield/outfield drill. Each kid was at an infield position, and I'd hit them a groundball and have the throw to first. I then moved some kids to the outfield and we went through cutoff man drills. That's a complicated thing to do, and it'll require a lot of repetition. The kids were all pretty rusty as well, and when you toss in the various water hazards on the field, it got a bit comical at times. At least I didn't whiff too often hitting the ball to them.
Next practice is Tuesday evening. A bunch of the boys will be on a Cub Scout campout this weekend, so we'll have a Thursday practice as well instead of next Saturday. I'm going to start auditioning pitchers on Tuesday, and let them get some hitting in also. That ought to get them excited.
I'm still working on matching names to faces. I know all of the names, but I can't tell who's who yet for the most part. Next practice, I'm going to make a point of using names when I can and making the kids say their names when I'm unsure. That ought to do it for me.Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 22, 2003 to Just call me Coach | TrackBack