For the second year I'm going to be managing an Upper Minors Little League team. Last year we had at least three forfeits due to lack of enough players, but this year we have a roster of fifteen.
At yesterday's practice, twelve made an appearance, and nine or ten seem to have some clue.
Managing playing time will be a challenge, but I will aim to communicate with every player individually, with the team as a whole, and will reward good efforts as well as good performance.
I do believe I know a fair amount about baseball, including how to play the game fundamentally well, but whether my excellent teaching skills with M.B.A.'s and executives translates into this team will be the question :-).
Yesterday we focused on safety, skill development, having fun, and by doing those things, having a winning season.
We started off with taking a "two-step lead" off of first on each pitch, and being ready to dash to second if the pitcher misses it, or continue on if it's a hit that the runner should be running on.
Then we had a scrimmage, with hitters hitting off a tee for starters (until the tee was battered beyond repair, at which point I pitched live to the last two batters, who actually probably need it most).
Finally, I timed them running to first and running around the bases, watching to see whether they touched the actual bases (deducting points if they didn't) and whether they "ran through" first base. My goal is for each to improve over the course of the season in each of those, as well as in other performance dimensions I'll keep track of.
Last year, I developed a points system that includes traditional statistics but also rewards more fine-grained things we're working on, like number of pitches per plate appearance, discretionary hustle points, and so on.
I need to figure out a prize for points leaders, though.
More later (maybe),