Little League is not so little. Over 25 million children played baseball in 2018. That's roughly one-third of all children in the United States.
Little League baseball can provide some great memories, but it can also be disappointing. At some point, you will encounter flagging morale on your team, including before the season has begun. You need to keep things upbeat.
What should you do during outings and practice drills? What kind of language should you use to stimulate positive feelings? How can you help players cope with losing?
Answer these questions and you can get your season started with good vibes. Here is your quick guide.
A Little League team is about more than playing youth baseball. It's about trusting each other and forming relationships that will last for years.
Try to engage in some team-building activities that have nothing to do with baseball. You can take your youth baseball team camping, or you can go to the movies.
Send the contact information for each player out to everyone on the team. Everyone should know each other's names and favorite things before the season starts.
Do a few icebreakers during your first practice for the year. Start with name games, then select something like "show and tell" that allows children to talk about themselves in detail.
Many coaches focus on batting practice. It is important to teach players how to hit a ball, but that is just one component of baseball.
Make sure the players know how to pick up a ground ball. Line your players up and put some distance between yourself and them. Roll a ball toward them so they have to pick it up and toss it to you.
Teach them about catching a ball that is falling toward them and being thrown at them. They should learn to place their gloves in front of themselves and close the ball as it reaches the palm. Toss balls gently so they don't get hit too hard.
Many players feel discouraged because they can't perform one skill. Performing a bunch of drills will let them show off their various skills and encourage them.
You can encourage friendly competition amongst your players. An easy way to do this is to have an award ceremony where you give out fun prizes like baseball trading pins. Give an award for the best dancer and singer on your team.
You can also create a competition for fundraising. Whoever raises the most money for your team wins a special prize. You can give awards to the person with the most creative fundraising pitch.
You can get serious as well. Give a prize to the player you think showed the best sportsmanship.
But try to keep things as light as possible. If you are doing an award ceremony, give all the players on your team a fun prize. Then give out the serious ones toward the end.
You should praise your players as much as possible. Whenever they do something right, acknowledge it.
Be specific when you talk. "Great job" is okay, but "great job making that catch" encourages them to pursue a particular action.
You can give a child a reassuring pat on the shoulder or ruffling their hair. Some children do not like to be touched, or they prefer a high-five. Figure out if that would work for the child before doing it.
Other children do not like elaborate praise. A smile or a thumbs-up may be enough to give them encouragement. Be as personalized as you can be when you offer praise.
If you need to give critiques, keep them as soft as possible. Give the child some praise, then slip in your critique. Before they walk away, give them another word of praise or advice.
If someone is causing trouble, pull them aside and talk to them individually. Scolding them in front of the entire team can make them feel isolated.
The more you involve the players in your decisions, the more empowered they will feel. There are certain choices you should make on your own or with adults.
But you can consult the players on rules of conduct. You can ask them questions about what is and is not acceptable behavior. This teaches them how to handle responsibility and deal with ethical questions.
On a lighter note, you can ask them where they want to go to eat or sleep for overnight stays. They can also decide what drills they want to do on a given day.
If you want to give them more choice, you can set up a few different drills. You can then let the players go to the ones they want to go to. This lets everyone do what they want when they want to do it.
The single biggest detractor of morale in youth baseball is losing a game. It will happen sooner rather than later, and it may happen very often. Adopt a number of strategies to prevent your children from becoming sore losers.
Demonstrate good sportsmanship in front of your players. Play a few practice games with other teams, and walk up to the opposing coach and shake their hand. Tell your players to do the same thing with the other team.
Make it clear that games are a group effort. No one player can lose a game for their team, and several mistakes result in a defeat.
Do give your players an opportunity to deal with their emotions. They may feel very sad, and they may want to cry or talk to someone. This is okay, and it helps them come to terms with the loss sooner.
Little League can be an emotional rollercoaster. Create a unified atmosphere on your team through group-building exercises and drills. Have your players practice many different skills.
Give out fun awards and prizes throughout the season, and praise your team whenever possible. Allow your players to exercise some power in group decisions.
Tell your team it is okay to lose. Encourage good sportsmanship and promote a group mentality. But do not scold players for showing emotion, even negative ones.
Little things can help create a positive environment. Baseball Trading Pins offers premium trading pins. Get a quote today.
Little League baseball has been around since 1939. Since that time, it's evolved into the main outlet for young boys and girls to play organized baseball with other members of the community.
Today, Little League is the largest organized youth sports program on the planet. In 2017, nearly 2.5 million children in more than eighty countries played in the divisions of Little League sports.
The children who participate in Little League don't just learn how to hit a ball or steal a base. They learn valuable lessons about teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership.
Did you grow up playing Little League sports? Or are you playing them now? Either way, keep on reading and you'll learn the fascinating history behind Little League Baseball.
Baseball is a sport that's intertwined with the history and culture of America. There are even records of soldiers of the Continental Army playing ball games at Valley Forge during the American Revolution.
Through the early part of the 1800s, American citizens played more modern versions of the British games of rounders and cricket. They usually referred to these games as "town ball."
In the 1840s, Alexander Joy Cartwright of New York played a game called "base ball" with his friends. It was very similar to the game that we all know and love today. While some people claim that Abner Doubleday invented the sport, historians generally regard that assertion as a myth.
On June 19, 1846, the very first scheduled baseball game took place.
A few years later, during the American Civil War, soldiers on both sides of the war would play baseball to pass the time.
By the end of the 1800s, baseball was so popular that it was already considered "America’s Pastime.”
Starting in the 1880s, leagues were created for pre-teen children in New York. However, most kids played "pickup" baseball games on their own in the streets. Children-sized equipment was hard to come by during this time.
In the 1920s, a baseball program for teen boys was formed by the American Legion. Schools in America also started their own baseball programs. Many pre-teen children were still left out of organized baseball, however.
A man by the name of Carl Stotz came up with the idea of an organized baseball league for boys in 1938. He didn't have any sons of his own but he had some nephews that he would often play baseball with. He wanted to give them a way to play organized baseball of their own.
Carl gathered several of the kids in his hometown of Williamsport, Pennsylvania and experimented with different kinds of equipment. During that summer, he also messed around with different field dimensions.
That first year, no games were played and the program still didn't have a name.
In 1939, Carl and his wife enlisted the help of some of their friends. Carl and his two friends, brothers Bert and George Bebble, became the managers of the first three teams. These teams were called Jumbo Pretzel, Lundy Lumber, and Lycoming Dairy.
After some more people joined the program, the league had its first board of directors.
After talking it over with some people in the community, Carl finally settled on the name "Little League." His goal was to have a wholesome baseball program for the children of Williamsport as a way to teach them about the values of teamwork and fair play.
Sponsorships for the league cost $30 at the time and the money was used to pay for the uniforms and equipment for the league's thirty players. Since that time, sponsorships of Little League, both at the Headquarters level and the local league level, have helped to keep costs to parents at a minimum.
There are also plenty of fun fundraising ideas that parents can utilize in order to support their local teams.
In 1939, on June 6, the very first Little League game ever was played. At the end of the game, Lundy Lumber beat Lycoming Dairy, 23-8. Lycoming Dairy managed to come back later, however, and won the first-half title of the season.
Lycoming then faced off against second-half champ Lundy Lumber in a best-of-three series. In the final game of the series, Lycoming Dairy beat Lundy Lumber 3-2.
In the years following that first season, other programs emulating the first Little League started to spring up. Boundaries for each Little League program were created in order to make sure that each league could flourish without worrying that neighboring programs would steal their players.
From its humble beginnings, Little League Baseball is now the largest organized youth sports program on the planet. Starting with just three teams, the league now has more than 200,000 teams and millions of alumni.
Hopefully, after reading the above article, you should now have a much better understanding of the history of Little League. As you can probably see, what started as a smalltown youth sports program has grown into an international phenomenon that children are enjoying nearly a century later.
Little League has thrived for all these years partly thanks to the fact that it manages to bring people together and teach children the value of teamwork and sportsmanship.
One way to establish a sense of community and camaraderie among your players is with baseball trading pins. These are intricately designed and expertly produced enamel pins that are unique to your child's team. They make for great collectibles and end-of-season gifts.
If you'd like to learn more, then contact us today and see what we can do for you!
While at least one of the Little League World Series Championship winning teams from Japan practices eight to 10 hours a day on weekends, Little League is made up of all kinds of teams and kids (over two million of them!) with all kinds of practice schedules. There are also all kinds of kids that start in Little League and become MLB players.
It's probably safe to bet they all are dedicated, hard-working, and committed to practicing, but who are some of these Little League baseball players that played in the Little League World Series (LLWS) and went on to become professional baseball players?
We've put together a list of baseball players that started out taking a swing at Little League, made it to the LLWS, and then made it all the way to The Show. Keep reading for some fun origin stories, then be inspired to sign up your kid for Little League or feel confident encouraging your current Little League player to keep going for it.
Jim Barbieri takes dibs as being first to play both the Little League World Series and the MLB World Series, sort of. Boog Powell played the MLB World Series the same year as Barbieri but played the LLWS one year after, so he's a very close second.
Barbieri's first trip to the LLWS was in 1953 when he played with his Schenectady, New York, team. They were defeated by a team from Birmingham, Alabama.
His second trip to the LLWS was in 1954 with the same team. They won the championship the second time around, ousting a team from Colton, California.
Barbieri played the MLB World Series in 1966 with the Dodgers, losing to the Orioles. He was a pinch hitter.
Like Barbieri, Boog Powell pitched in the 1966 MLB World Series. He played for the Orioles and beat Barbieri's Dodgers.
Powell made it to the 1954 LLWS as a power pitcher. His team from Lakefield, Florida, lost to Barbieri's Schenectady team.
At the time, kids could pitch as many games as they wanted to or could. Powell pitched 11 games as his team came into that 1954 LLWS.
Todd Frazier had his eyes on The Show already as a kid. His hard work and River East Little League team out of New Jersey got him to the LLWS at age 12.
The team was called "The Beasts of the East." They had power hitters - like Frazier who went 4-4 during the tournament with a leadoff homer - and went undefeated. Frazier also pitched for the win against the Kashima, Ibakari team out of Japan.
Frazier kept at it, working his skills, and stepped onto the MLB scene 13 years later on May 23, 2011, playing for the Reds.
Cody Bellinger is another big hitter that worked hard in Little League and played in the LLWS at age 12 in 2007.
Bellinger was on a Chandler, Arizona all-star team. They fought their way into the LLWS though pool play and made it all the way to the semi-finals.
In 2013, Bellinger made it all the way to The Show. He got drafted by the Dodgers and was on the field that April 25th vying for MVP in the National League as first baseman.
Just six years after that LLWS debut, he made it and is considered a sensation. That first season at 22, he scored 34 home runs and had 79 RBIs.
At just the ripe young age of 11, Jurickson Profar helped pave the way for his Little League team - Pabao Little League - to garner the first win ever of a Championship for Curacao, his small island home. This is a testament to the support and encouragement Little League gives to kids from all over the world.
He was a star on the mound and at the plate, batting .313 and striking out 19. That was in 2004.
In 2005, Pabao Little League and Profar made it all the way to the LLWS International Championship.
Profar made it to The Show in 2012 with the Rangers. His first time at bat, he hit a home run. In 2013, he was the team's starting shortstop.
These brothers out of Phenix City, Alabama, came up together on Little League fields. They both played the 1999 LLWS with the Phenix City team where they lost in the Championship game to the Hirakata team from Osaka, Japan.
Colby is the older of the two and was a phenom at the 1999 tournament, helping the team battle back from the loser's bracket to the Championship and going 5-for-10, scoring three runs, and hitting a home run. He also hit three RBIs and got seven strikeouts
He got picked by the Cardinals in 2005, played in the Olympics in 2008, was NL Rookie of the year in 2009, and now is an Astros outfielder.
Cory watched, learned, worked hard in Little League, and followed in his brother's footsteps. In 2013, he made the big leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays.
It's pretty inspiring to see these stories of MLB players that started out just where your kid is today: in Little League!
It surely took a lot of hard work and encouragement in Little League to get to the LLWS and then the pros. But even the kids that play Little League for fun get so many of the great life skills needed to succeed and be happy, whether that's in MLB or any other career or part of life.
So, high-five yourself for encouraging your kid to play ball. High for your kid for doing their thing in baseball, whatever that is. And keep doing it!
If you feel like giving an extra boost of encouragement, check out some things you can do to boost team spirit and confidence like how to make custom baseball pins to unify a team. We have those pins so also check out how to make them for your kid's team. We're here to answer any questions!
Someone thought long and hard about your baseball team's logo. They probably envisioned it being printed on shirts and hats and maybe even as a bumper sticker. But have you thought about turning your team logo into a baseball pin?
There are a few good reasons why adding trading pins can work in your favor on many levels for your team.
A good baseball pin is durable, painted and sealed so that the colors don't fade or chip with use. And that's great considering so many people will have the chance to see your team's logo because of the pin!
Pins are an easy way for kids or other fans of your baseball team to show support. A baseball pin can be attached to a collar or a shirt; it can be pinned to jean pockets or stuck onto a bookbag or other luggage.
Supporters of your team will likely sport their pins on gamedays, traveling from the stands to the vendors and back again while showing off your baseball trading pin.
Even when they aren't at the games, team supporters can wear a baseball pin out to strike up conversations and draw a little more attention to your team. Regardless of where it's worn, the pin is like a traveling marketing piece showcasing the ongoing support of your baseball team.
If you haven't heard of the world of pin trading, then you have been missing out on a practical addition to the sporting world.
You might have heard about pin trading at theme parks, birthday parties, and even the Olympic Games, but baseball games are a perfect time, too.
Pin trading allows for kids (or adults, we're not judging) a chance to interact with either fellow supporters or those from another team. Pin traders will meet before or after a game and trade pins for others that they prefer.
Pin trading is especially popular for little league baseball teams, where kids build their own networks of friends based on the trading game. Similar to any other collectible (like coins, cards, toys, etc.), it's something to take pride in.
Players and fans can get involved and develop relationships with people they might not have otherwise. And if you do your trading pin right, you might discover that your team can become a trend during baseball trading season.
Players endure a lot during baseball season: the physical aches of practices and games, the time and energy required for the sport, the taunts of rival teams, living up to expectations... it's a lot.
What wyou can do to help your baseball team is bring out their fans and show love and support by making customized pins for their team.
When they feel they have fans who support them and are wearing their customized baseball pins, you might find that their performance goes up.
If you're interested in taking your baseball pins to the next step for your baseball team, definitely consider a reliable pin company that makes quality products. Our company, Baseball Trading Pins, has been a leader in pin manufacturing since 2003. We have helped thousands of baseball teams! We have a talented team of artists and knowledgable customer care team to help you every step of the way with your next pin design.
Contact us today for a quote or browse through our blog to learn more about trading pins! You can also call us at:
If you're a sports mom, you've been there at least once, or twice, you pull up to your kid's soccer or baseball practice only to find you've forgotten to pack something necessary.
Most of the time it's not a big deal. But every once in a while you forget something major like the ball or cleats.
Well, the old adage, "Preparation precedes power," - Gordon B. Hinckley, is still true, especially for sports moms. That's why having an all-in-one bag with all your possible needs and essentials already packed is key to surviving (and enjoying) baseball season.
Here are a few essential must-pack items to have already in your sports survival kit so you don't have to remember to pack them every time.
In your sports mom survival kit, you should include everything you might need. Even items like bandaids that you may only use on rare occasions are important to feeling totally prepared.
Items like snacks and drinks will have to be replenished regularly. However, once your kit is assembled, your ability to leave in a hurry and not worry will be enhanced.
As we said, first aid kits are a must for sports mom kits. You can't always depend on a coach, umpire, or safety officials, to be prepared.
People are human and they forget or they run out of necessary items.
It always pays to be prepared with items like:
You get the idea. If you want to go ultra sports mom and be super prepared you can even throw in gauze, medical tape, and other items. When in doubt, better to have it than be ill prepared.
If you're a mom of teenagers you already know that a huge portion of your monthly budget is going to feed the insatiable beast: your kids. Sports practice is no different. In fact, your kids are working up an even greater hunger while they're out there on the field.
This is why having an extra snack, (or ten), in your survival kit is a staple.
Still, the type of snack you choose for your survival kit is important. If you plan on leaving your kit in the trunk of your car for easy access, or you're simply spending hours on the sideline in the hot sun, chocolate snacks are probably not the best idea.
Good sports practice snack ideas can include:
*Fruit is a healthy snack and always a good option for giving your little athlete an extra boost of energy.
However, some fruits fair better than others when placed in a sports survival kit. Just think about it, if you throw bananas or a bag of strawberries in along with your kid's cleats and baseballs, they aren't going to survive as well as a bag of apples or oranges.
Whatever snack items you choose to pack for your kiddos, be sure to either pack a lot or replenish them regularly. Nobody likes dealing with hangry kids on the drive home.
Huh? We don't mean bring your kid's favorite stuffed animal. We mean for you. You're the awesome, supportive momma sitting on the sidelines for hours while your kid runs conditioning drills. You need to be comfy!
So, when you're packing your sports mom survival kit, don't forget the following comfort items:
We realize not all of these items will be necessary. Just pick and choose those that will best meet your needs and the location of your child's practice/games.
We also threw a camera in this list because you're going to feel mighty uncomfortable if your child asks you, "Did you get a picture of my home run hit?" and you forgot the camera... Yea, camera=definite "comfort" item.
Wait, why is "water" an entire point of its own? Because it cannot be overemphasized. Aside from the ball and bat, it may be the top most essential thing your child needs for baseball.
Rarely will you find you've packed too much water.
We recommend bringing it in different forms. You can pack a few disposable water bottles to be easily consumed or shared. It's also wise to include one or two plastic or aluminum water bottles that can be refilled if emptied or if you simply didn't have time to fill them before leaving the house.
Along with the water itself, it's a good idea to pack ice or some other means of keeping the water cool.
Do this by bringing along an actual cooler, or simply opt for something like a Thermo flask to keep your water cold. A cold drink is always preferable to hot or even lukewarm.
You're thinking, "duh." But honestly, sometimes the thing you're most apt to forget is the most obvious. Like socks.
So when you're packing your survival kit, don't forget:
You know what to do.
To be totally prepared, there are always going to be those little miscellaneous items that just don't fit into any one category.
Things like extra hair ties, an umbrella, and pen and paper. Just about anything you think you, your kid, or their teammates might need come game time.
One of our favorite miscellaneous items to be sure to include is a game, book, or toy if you have other children joining you as supporters on the sideline. Can't forget to pack for everyone!
Know that you are ready to become the most prepared sports mom with this complete survival kit, it's time to step up your "fun sports mom" game.
Browse our baseball pin designs gallery and see the variety of baseball pin designs we can create for your favorite little gamer and their friends.
Did you know that the Little League World Series represents the largest elimination tournament in the world? During the course of the Little League season, hundreds of thousands of games get played to determine which teams make the cut.
And when the excitement converges on Williamsport, Pennsylvania, get ready for the time of your life. Over the course of the month leading up to the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania, 935 Little League players between the ages of 10 and 16 years old will compete. They come from 78 different teams all over the world.
Read on to find out more about this amazing event and how to get to the Little League World Series with your kids this summer.
Founded in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1939, Little League marks an important rite of passage for kids in the US and around the world. The first Little League World Series happened in 1947. Held in Williamsport, the event has since moved to the Susquehanna River, a major sports complex located in South Williamsport.
Every year since 1947, the event has remained in the same place, a testament to the longevity of this amazing family-friendly experience. Today's competition happens every mid-August. That's when 16 of the best teams in the world coalesce on the area. Eight come from the US and eight come from around the globe.
Over 11 days, the World Series narrows the field culminating in a face-off between the top American team and the top international team. And this comes with lots of good old-fashioned fun for the whole family.
Here are the highlights from the 2018 Little League World Series.
What are two of the best things about the Williamsport Little League World Series? First, the event proves family-friendly. Second, admission remains 100 percent free. In other words, experiencing this Little League event represents one of the best and most affordable options for families in Pennsylvania. And it's a magical one at that.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you attend. First off, the food served at the World Series proves affordable and tasty. But since this is a family-friendly affair, no alcohol or tobacco use is permitted in the stadium. Second, in order to ensure everyone's safety, you'll need to go through security before entering. This includes metal detectors and mandatory bag checks. So, give yourself some extra time to get through the lines and secure your seats.
Because of the high numbers of kids who participate in the event, two stadiums house the games:
The Howard J. Lamade Stadium's relationship with Little League began in 1959 when it was first used for a World Series. And it remains the main field for the event.
Although smaller than Lamade Stadium, Volunteer Stadium also provides great accommodations. It holds approximately 3,000 people in the stands and 5,000 when the nearby berm gets counted.
Because of its limited seating, only early-round games for the series' international teams are held there.
Of the 30 tournament games held during the Little League World Series, 20 happen at Lamade Stadium. These include the nail-biting last few days of competition.
The Lamade Stadium can accommodate up to 15,000 observers. But this number fluctuates based on how many people squeeze into the bleachers. It also features hillside viewing that can hold up to 40,000 people on the grounds.
In fact, the hillside represents one of your best bets when attending the World Series. Seats are almost always available, and from the hill, you'll enjoy excellent views of the outfield.
The hillside includes two tiers accessible via a walkway. On days when crowds prove more sparse, your kids can even share in the local tradition of riding down the hillside's slopes using cardboard boxes. (Sleds are not permitted.)
Besides the two baseball stadiums, great family activities abound at the Little League World Series. Just walking around the sports complex and taking in its sights and sounds will keep you and your kids busy for hours.
And if your kids need a serious outlet for their pent up energy? Don't forget to visit the Family Fun Zone located near the two stadiums. The Fun Zone offers activities for kids of all ages including:
Just remember that on busy days, the Fun Zone fills up quickly. So, it's highly recommended that you pre-register in order to avoid long wait times.
Your family will also want to check out the Peter J. McGovern World of Little League Museum. The museum is located along Route 15 at the top of the hill.
It explores the history of Little League baseball while showcasing famous players. Your kids will also find plenty of interactive activities to help them explore Little League's fascinating past.
During the Little League World Series, a few thousand bleacher seats are usually dedicated to the public. For early round games, admission is free, and you don't have to secure tickets. But you'll want to arrive early to get a good spot.
That said, in rare instances, Little League may deem it necessary to issue tickets. You can get these tickets on a first-come, first-served basis.
In the event that tickets get issued, you may obtain them at "Will Call" or from an usher. But here's the caveat. Each member of your party must be present at the time that these tickets are issued.
Each stadium opens one hour before game time. But you should arrive even earlier in order to secure a good spot. Seats fill up quickly.
Note that for each of the championship games, no public seats are available. All seating remains reserved for ticketed VIPs alone.
Few moments hold as much excitement as the umpire's proclamation, "Play ball!" at the beginning of a game during the Little League World Series. Watching the best kids in baseball from around the world strive to win will captivate your whole family.
With the guide above, you now know how to get to the Little League World Series. Will this summer be your year?
Want to read more about Little League? Check out our post on five lessons that can be gleaned from Little League baseball.
In recent years, youth baseball has been forced to compete with several other sports while trying to win over the hearts of kids everywhere. Basketball and football have become increasingly popular and have cut into the total number of kids playing Little League baseball.
However, baseball is still the most popular sport in the country as far as kids are concerned. A 2016 study showed that baseball and softball actually combined to be the most popular team sport that year. And it doesn't look like that's going to change anytime soon.
There are so many great reasons to sign your child up for youth baseball if you haven't done it already. Let's take a look at 8 of those reasons now.
It might not always look like it when you're sitting down and watching a game. But there are many movements that take place in youth baseball that will benefit your child's health.
From swinging a bat to throwing a ball to running around the bases, your child will be in motion all the time while playing baseball. This will get their heart rate going and help them build up their endurance. It will also help their muscles get stronger and make them more flexible.
Kids aren't born with good hand-eye coordination. They need to learn how to be coordinated, and playing youth baseball is one of the best ways for them to do it.
Just about every single aspect of playing baseball involves some level of coordination. Whether you're judging where a fly ball is going to land or keeping a close eye on a pitch coming towards the plate, you need to be able to demonstrate good coordination to be a successful baseball player.
Kids who play baseball at a young age are able to develop coordination skills that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.
There are far too many kids today who spend their entire lives playing on electronics. And while there are some benefits to doing it, there is also a long list of negative effects that kids can suffer from if they spend too much time looking at a screen.
Some of these negative effects include:
It can feel almost impossible to get kids to put their electronics down these days. But offering them the opportunity to play youth baseball is one effective way to do it.
When kids grow up, they will likely need to be a part of a team every day at work. But unfortunately, many kids don't learn how to demonstrate teamwork when they're younger.
Baseball is a sport that requires teamwork during each and every inning. You need to be able to rely on others to do their job out on the field, and you also need to make sure you're reliable and your teammates can trust you to do your job.
From the moment your child starts playing baseball, their coach will preach about the values of teamwork and show your kid why teamwork is such a beneficial part of the game.
Not every kid is going to be a star Little League player. There will be some kids who, quite frankly, don't blossom into excellent players. But that doesn't mean they won't walk away from the game with something!
There are many kids who make lifelong friends by playing youth baseball for even just a few years. When your child plays baseball, he or she will need to communicate with others on and off the field. This will help them form strong bonds and will, in all likelihood, translate to them making good friends.
There are going to be times when your child wins in life. There are also going to be times when they lose. They need to know how to act in both scenarios, and more importantly, they need to know how to be good sports.
This is another thing your child isn't going to be able to learn without experiencing both winning and losing from a young age. Playing baseball will allow your child to see what the highs and lows of life feel like.
It will also give you the chance to talk to your child about showing good sportsmanship at all times. It will show you how your kid handles winning and losing and allow you to step in and speak about the importance of treating everyone with respect, regardless of whether you win or lose a game.
While youth baseball players will ultimately decide the outcomes of games, there will be several adults who will play a part in their success. Coaches and umpires will be at every game to help guide the way, and it will be important for kids to show the proper respect to these adults.
When your child plays baseball, he or she will need to learn how to listen to instructions from the coach. Your child will also have to learn how to listen to what umpires say and treat them respectfully, even if they make calls that don't go their way.
While all of the reasons listed here are important, this is really the most important one of all. Youth baseball can teach kids a lot about life. But at the end of the day, it's the fun that kids have that they will remember for a long time.
If your child doesn't have enough fun in their life, sign them up for baseball. It won't be long before they're having a great time every time they step on to the baseball diamond.
Do you want to make sure your child has as much fun as possible when they start playing baseball? You can do it by being a great Little League parent. You can also do it by providing your child with pins that will allow them to show off their love of the sport.
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For many baseball enthusiasts there is nothing more beautiful than a well-executed sacrifice bunt or a batter deftly hitting behind a runner with nobody out to move his teammate to third. Manufactured runs that result from small ball tactics such as these can be a pleasure to behold because they involve skill, teamwork, and the willingness of a player to give himself up for the good of the team. But are these strategies still the best way to win ball games, and what do these trends tell us about the way the game of baseball should be taught to youngsters these days?
Many of the elements we associate with small ball are essentially methods of a batter giving himself up in exchange for increasing a baserunner’s odd of scoring. So does it work? Do teams that follow the small ball strategies score more runs or fewer runs than teams that play what some consider a more modern version of the game - playing for the three-run homer or scoring a runner from first with a double in the gap? Do sacrifice bunts, stolen base attempts, and the hit and run equal greater run production than playing for the big hit?
An argument some use in favor of small ball is that of consistency. While teams that play small ball may not score more runs than those teams that go station to station waiting for a bit hit, they are more likely to score runs consistently. A small ball team may average five runs per game by consistently scoring three to six runs a game while a team that avoids small ball techniques may average five runs a game by scoring ten one game and getting shut out the next. Which of these scenarios equates, though, to more wins over the course of a season?
Let’s look at the stats and see what they say. Specifically, let’s look at the correlation between run production and stats like stolen bases and sacrifice hits by American League teams in 2014. Were the top run producing teams the ones playing small ball, or were they the ones playing for the big hit?
According to Baseball-Reference.com the two top American League teams in runs scored for 2014 were the Los Angeles Angels with 773 runs scored and the Detroit Tigers with 757. These same teams were also the two top teams in the AL in OPS+ (On Base + Slugging Percentage) with 109 and 111 respectively. OPS+, of course, is perhaps the most anti-small ball statistic out there. It measures and rewards both getting on base and hitting for power. Hitters and teams who give themselves up via sacrifice hits or hitting behind runners are neither getting on base nor hitting for power. How did scoring the most runs in the AL and having the highest OPS+ in the AL translate to wins for LA and Detroit in 2014? The Angels finished first in the AL West with 98 wins, and the Tigers finished first in the AL Central with 90 wins.
Let’s examine the other side of the coin as well. How did the teams who led the AL in sacrifice hits and steals fare in terms of run production and wins? The two top teams in sacrifice hits were Cleveland, which finished third in the AL Central with 85 wins and scored 669 runs - good for 7th place out of the fifteen AL teams, and Tampa Bay which finished 4th in the East with 77 wins and scored a league low 612 runs. In terms of stolen bases, the two top AL teams in 2014 were the Kansas City Royals and the Houston Astros. Kansas City was the one exception to the small ball data. They led the AL in steals with 153, finished second in the AL Central with 89 wins but advanced all the way to the World Series before losing in seven games to the San Francisco Giants. Houston, on the other hand, was second in steals with 122 but finished fourth in the West with a paltry 70 wins.
Nearing the halfway point of the 2015 MLB season Toronto tops the AL in runs scored with 325, they lead the league in OPS+ at 118 and they are near the top of the league in both steals and sacrifice hits. Currently, though, they are only in third place in their division, so their statistical dominance hasn’t translated into wins so far. The New York Yankees are second in runs scored with 275, have a third-place 106 OPS+, and are right around the league average in both steals and sacrifices. They are currently holding down first place in the AL East.
At the major league level, the data seems to suggest that teams who shun the small ball philosophy win more games. Playing for the extra base hit with runners on clearly seems to result in more runs scored and more wins at the MLB level. So, what is this information saying about the way the game of baseball should now be taught to Little Leaguers and other youth players? Should coaches stop spending time teaching the fundamentals of bunting or executing a hit and run or a stolen base? Should they instead simply teach station to station baseball while they wait for the big hit?
Little Leaguers are not major leaguers. In fact only a very small percentage of youth players will ever have a chance of becoming a major league player. The skill sets of big leaguers are vastly different from those of youngsters. Therefore, the game is very different, and, other than the old school philosophy of learning to play the game the right way, there are some practical reasons for youth teams to learn and employ small ball strategies.
There are far more ways to score a runner from third with less than two out than scoring that same runner from second base - a passed ball or wild pitch, an error on the infield, a balk, or a missed third strike, for example.
Defenses shift in bunt situations. These shifts create holes for hitters and make fielders feel uncomfortable and out of position. All of these factors equal opportunities for the offense.
Bunt situations change a pitcher’s focus. They make the pitcher think differently. Instead of focusing on pitch selection and location, the pitcher can get out of rhythm and think about things like keeping a pitch up so the bunter will pop it up or what his responsibility is in various bunt coverages.
Bunts force the defense to move, catch the ball, and throw the ball. Every one of these tasks creates an opportunity for the defense to make a mistake that the offense can capitalize on. There really is no such thing as an easy out at the youth level.
Not everyone is proficient at hitting the ball at the Little League level. Most teams probably have just a couple hitters they can consistently count on to hit the ball hard. Using strategies like the bunt or the steal gives those players who have not yet developed as hitters a way to make a positive contribution to their team’s offense.
At the big league level teams that get more runners on base and pick up more extra base hits seem to be the most successful teams these days. If a team only gets 27 outs a game, why give them up so easily with sacrifice bunts, easy ground outs, or unsuccessful stolen base attempts? Major league teams appear to be better off moving up one base at a time and waiting for someone to come through with a big hit. There does, however, still seem to be value at the youth level both strategically and fundamentally in continuing to teach small ball skills.