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Baseball Discussion Group / Head Games / Managing Quicksand??
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Managing Quicksand??

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mjbsc
04-21-2006 @ 9:45 PM                          
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For those that have not seen the Replacements, Quicksand is when you are competing and are in control.  Then all of sudden, something bad happens.  That bad event leads to another, then another, soon the feeling of quicksand.  The more you try to get out, the more it feels like you are sinking even deeper.


Last summer I was coaching a group of great kids.  We were a team of primarily 14yr olds and a few 13’s.  They were a bunch of good athletes, but not necessarily good baseball players.  In any case by seasons end we became a team with some pretty good baseball players.  We finished 4th in league, but we made it to the final game in our district playoffs to qualify for the state championships.  We were facing a team that we had not beaten in 3 attempts.  We were facing their No 2 pitcher, who had beat us 2 times prior.

But, like I said we were peaking at the right time.  Due to weather issues we had an early start of 9am.  Our kids showed up @ 6:30am for pre-game hitting.  I could tell they were ready to play.  They all believed that this day would be theirs.  Even though it was 6:30, they were alive and engaged.



We started out fast scoring the first 2 runs as the visitor and held them to 0 in the first inning.  We repeated the same in the 2nd.  The 3rd and 4th showed 0’s for each team.  In the 5th we also scored 0, but our pitcher was tiring and we changed.  It was a struggle, but got out of the inning with the score 4-3.  In the 6th their pitcher tired and they brought in a reliever, but not before we answered with 3.  They posted 0 in their half.

So, now we have three outs to go and we go to the state playoffs!  The score is 7-3.

The first batter up K’s on a nice curve in the dirt, our catcher does a nice job of blocking the ball.  Collects it, gets space from the runner and air mails the ball down the right field foul line.  The runner advances to 2nd.  The second batter walks.  The third batter hits a taylor made DP to short.  The short stop sits back on the ball and the ball goes under his glove into the outfield.  The score is now 7-4.  

I can see what is happening, they are playing “Not to Lose vs To Win”.  I call time out, go out to the mound ask all my infielders to close their eyes and visualize the next play that they will make for an out.  I encourage them to take the win, play aggressive to make the outs.

The Next pitch is hit to right center for a double to plate both runners.  Score is now 7-6.  The next batter bunts the runner third for the 1st out.  We bring the infield in and they hit blooper just over the short stop to plate the runner.  The runner steals 2nd on a strikeout.  We now have 2 outs with a runner on 2nd.  The next batter hits a grounder to short, the shortstop collects the ball and air mails it over 1st for the loss.



Now, I have reviewed my strategy issues within the game and probably would have made some different strategic decisions.  

However, my question is do you think Quicksand can be managed in a game?

Or is this something that is managed during the season, and over a player's career?

Bob_Byrd
04-22-2006 @ 9:37 AM                          
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Things happen in baseball, there is no denying that. Your SS had a
rough game. Was he your regular SS? As a coach I have to take
responsibility for the loss. Here are some questions I would have asked
myself.
Physical:

  • Did my infielders get enough ground balls during practices? They
    should field around 50 ground balls a day.
  • Do my infielders move through the ball as they field it and walk
    behind the ball after release?
  • Does my catcher have good footwork on throws?Does he get his
    elbow to shoulder height?
  • Have my players made all the routine plays during the season?
  • Needing only 3 outs for the win did I have my best pitcher in the
    game?

Mental:

  • Did I get too excited during the game? Did I focus on the overall
    win-loss thing? If I did it would rub off on my players. I want them to
    stay focused on each pitch, not the win or loss. A win comes from
    making all the routine plays.
  • Do they understand that the game is played "One Pitch at a Time"?
  • Have I worked hard on preaching mental toughness during the
    season? (See our article in Instructions and Fundamentals)
  • Do I talk to my players after they come off the field every half
    inning? If the other team scored we need to answer back, what do we
    need to do situationally, etc?
  • Do my players understand that they are playing against the game
    and not the other team?
  • During the season have they learned how to "Close the deal" with
    2 outs?
  • After we score it is very important to shut the other team down
    the next half inning. Do my players understand that?
  • Do my pitchers understand the importance of strike one?


Even after all that, stuff happens in games. You got to the
championship game. That's a very good thing.






Bob Byrd

treylortrache
08-12-2006 @ 11:27 PM                          
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Excellent reply Bob....I was perusing this forum for the first time in a long time and came across this gem....I will copy/past/print this info to add to my "Game Day Planner" book.



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