And so it came to pass that before our first game, I realized I hadn’t covered warmups between innings. For pre-game warmup, we had rehearsed in practice as I wanted it to look like we had a clue.
But the pre-inning warmup is a thing I usually forget about and just show the first baseman how to roll a ball to the other fielders once the game is underway and after a game or two they get it.
Well yesterday’s game I realized it before the game and decided to EXPLAIN it instead of SHOW IT. I went over it — everyone was confused and I said “Don’t worry I’ll show you.”
And so one key thing is to get the 3B player to come over toward 2B so the pitcher doesn’t get hit by rolled balls from the pitcher. Well here we were in inning 5 and my 3B was still locked into 3B and the 1B was happily rolling it.
I yelled — “HEY I COVERED THIS IN THE PREGAME LIKE FOUR TIMES!!!!”
They all had no idea what I was talking about and I went and showed them.
I view my shouting “HEY I COVERED THIS” as one of the low points of my coaching during the game. First of all I know that verbal cues are just not as good in baseball as experiential ones and there was no point in me getting frustrated. I’m coaching 7, 8, and 9-year-old kids and they are taking in a TON of new information and their bodies are undergoing huge changes.
Just consider the average height for a five-year-old is 42 to 49 inches and an eight-year-old is 47 to 54. So they have grown at least 4-8 inches in just 2-3 years. That is a lot for their brain to process and here I am covering a thing that they probably haven’t thought about before and it is in the midst of their very first game of the season.
It’s just good to remember that sometimes it’s best NOT to cover stuff in the pregame speech. Talk about a few key cues that can help them during the game. Things like “check your stance” when you go up to bat, feet wide, toes straight, knees bent are great checkpoints if you have talked about it, and make sure they have experienced it with a LOT of hitting reps.
Anyway, all ended well, we played fine and everyone enjoyed their snack at the end of the game so there was no crisis, but I had to share a thing that I knew, but it’s always good to get a refresher, that verbal instruction is just often not so great when kids are involved.
Check out this article in nature that studies it further https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-021-00925-4