PRACTICE PLAN INFORMATION & PHILOSOPY

* THE PURPOSE OF THIS DISCUSSION IS TO RELAY TO ALL PLAYERS OF THE GAME OF BASEBALL WHAT THE PURPOSE OF PRACTICE IS AND TO EXPLAIN THE NEED FOR EACH ACTION PERFORMED AT PRACTICE. I WOULD LIKE TO DO IT IN SUFFICIENT DETAIL & IN A LOGICAL & COMPLETE WAY SO EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS IT AS THERE MAY BE THINGS YOU WILL NEVER HEAR AGAIN. THIS IS AN EFFORT TO GET EVERYONE ON THE SAME PAGE AND PULLING TOGETHER. I FIRST WOULD LIKE TO EXPLAIN WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO AND WHY WE ARE DOING WHAT WE ARE DOING. WHENEVER WE DO SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE HAVE NOT SEEN DONE BEFORE, WHICH IS ALMOST EVERYTHING WE DO, WE GET MULTIPLE DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS OF WHAT IT IS WE ARE DOING. I HOPE THISWILL CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOR AND YOUR ATTITUDES CONCERNING WHAT SANDLOT BASEBALL IS.

1. WHAT IS & WHY PRACTICE?

......ANY SPORT REQUIRES ITS PARTICIPANTS TO USE THEIR BODY TO PERFORM CERTAIN ACTIONS IN A RELIABLE , PREDICTABLE MANNOR. THIS IS ACCOMPLISHED BY USING ONES MUSCLES TO MOVE THE BODIES PARTS. WHEN AN ATHLETE REPEATS AN ACTION WITH SUFFICENT REPITITIONS THE MUSCLES REMEMBER HOW TO ACT. ONCE THE MUSCLE DISCOVERS WHAT YOU WANT TO DO IT DOES IT USING 'MUSCLE MEMORY' RATHER THAN YOU HAVING TO CONTROL THE MUSCLE USING YOUR BRAIN. THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO PERFORM THE ACTIONS OR TECHNIQUES REQUIRED BY, IN OUR CASE, BASEBALL. AS AN EXAMPLE THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO GET A BASEBALL FROM ONE SPOT ON THE FIELD TO ANOTHER. EACH WAY OR TECHNIQUE HAS A DIFFERENT PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS. IF YOUR A RECREATIONAL PLAYER A SUCCESS RATE OF 50-70% IS WONDERFUL, BUT ATHLETES WANT TO BE AS CLOSE TO 99% AS POSSIBLE. THERE ARE TECHNIQUES THAT HAVE PROVEN TO BE THE BEST WAY TO DO THINGS. IT DOESNT MEAN THAT SOMETHING ELSE WONT WORK BUT SOMETHING ELSE WILL FAIL YOU & YOUR TEAMMATES UNDER PRESSURE AND STRESS AT TIMES WHEN THE FINAL RESULT IS ON THE LINE. THAT IS WHEN THESE REFERED TO AS 'OTHER' TECHNIQUES' USUALLY FAIL. EVEN WHEN YOU HAVE DEVELOPED THAT POORER TECHNIQUE PERFECTLY AND IT WORKS FOR YOU FOR YEARS AS A PROFESSIONAL IT WILL STILL FAIL YOU. IT DID FOR CHUCK KNOBLOCK OF THE NY YANKEES, WHEN A GREAT SECOND BASEMAN THREW SIDEARM PERFECTLY FOR YEARS HAD HIS CAREER END EARLY BECAUSE JUST A SLIGHT CHANGE IN TIMING DUE TO GETTING OLDER CAUSED HIS MUSCLE MEMORY TO NOT FUNCTION PERFECTLY AND HE COULD NOT GET THE BALL ANYWHERE NEAR THE PERSON HE THREW TO. YANKEES TRIED TO FIX IT. THEY COULDNT. WHY? TOO MUCH MUSCLE MEMMORY TO OVERCOME. AGE DOESNT AFFECT PROPER THROWING TECHNIQUES NOR IS PERFECTION REQUIRED WHEN USING THE PROPER TECHNIQUE.

..... FOR MANY YEARS NOW VERY GOOD COACHES TOLD THEIR ATHLETES THAT 'PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT'. BUT PRACTICE DOES NOT MAKE PERFECT - PRACTICE MAKES PERMANENT. ONLY PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT AND THATS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN VERY OFTEN. IF YOU WANT TO PLAY HAVING THE GREATEST SUCCESS POSSIBLE FOR YOUR NATURAL SKILL LEVEL THEN YOU MUST USE THE TECHNIQUES WITH THE HIGHEST PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS, AT A HIGH REPITITION RATE AND TEACH ONLY THOSE ACTIONS TO YOUR MUSCLES TO MAKE THOSE REACTIONS PERMANENT.

...... PRACTICE IS NOT 9AM TO 11:30AM ON SATURDAY MORNING. PRACTICE IS EVERY TIME YOU PERFORM THE BASEBALL ACTION WETHER ITS AT PRACTICE, AT A GAME, PRE GAME WARMUP, PLAYING IN THE SCHOOL YARD, THROWING A PAPER PLANE, ETC. EACH TIME YOU DO IT YOUR MUSCLE IS REMEMBERING WHAT YOU DID AND IS MAKING THAT ACTION PERMANENT. IF YOU DO IT WRONG, WRONG MEANING WITH A TECHNIQUE THAT HAS A LOWER PROBABILTY OF SUCCESS, THEN YOU ARE GETTING BETTER AT DOING IT WRONG WHICH ALSO MEANS ITS GOING TO BE THAT MUCH HARDER TO GET IT CORRECT IN THE FUTURE.

...... AT PRACTICE WE DO DRILLS WHICH USE REPITITION AT HIGH RATES. WE BREAK DOWN EACH TECHNIQUE INTO ITS PARTS AND DRILL EACH PART SEPARATELY. WE SLOW THINGS DOWN TO GET IT CORRECT AT EVEY POINT ALONG ITS PATH. THIS IS WHERE YOU ARE USING YOUR BRAIN TO TELL YOUR MUSCLES WHAT TO REMEMBER. IT TAKES A LOT OF REPS TO GET EVEN THE SMALLEST IMPROVEMENT. IT TAKES 10 TIMES AS MANY REPS TO UNDO WHAT THE MUSCLE HAS ALREADY LEARNED. AT PRE-GAME YOU PREPARE PROPERLY TO REMIND YOUR MUSCLES WHAT TO DO AND HOW TO DO IT. IN THE GAME THERE IS NO BRAIN NOW TELLING MUSCLES WHAT TO DO THERE IS JUST MUSCLE MEMORY REACTING AT HIGH SPEED. EVEN THAT ACTION THAT YOU JUST TOOK WILL AFFECT HOW YOU REACT THE NEXT TIME AS IT GOES INTO THE MUSCLES MEMORY. IF THOSE GAME REACTIONS ARE WRONG THEY WILL BECOME PERMANENT.

..... EVERY REP COUNTS AND SO WE CORRECT EVERY REP. UNCORRECTED REPS CAUSE NEGATIVE GAIN. WHEN YOU ARE ON AN ATHLETIC FIELD EVERY MOMENT YOUR THERE YOUR LEARNING HOW TO ACT, REACT, PERFORM PROPERLY AS AN ATHLETE OR IMPROPERLY AS A RECREATIONAL PLAYER. I CORRECT EVERY ACTION INSTANTLY. WHEN I DONT I HAVE DONE YOU A DIS-SERVICE. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RESPECT OR ANY OTHER SUCH NONSCENCE. THE PRINCIPALS LEARNED OVER TIME BY THE GROUP OF PLAYERS THAT HAVE EVER PLAYED THE GAME DOES NOT CHANGE WITH TIME. WHEN YOU DO SOMETHING AND YOUR COACH SAYS NOTHING IT MEANS HE APPROVED OF WHAT YOU JUST DID AND YOU WILL, TO PLEASE HIM OR TO PLEASE YOURSELF, DO IT THE SAME WAY AGAIN, AGAIN AND AGAIN. WE HAVE SOME GREAT EXAMPLES OF THAT SIMPLE PRINCIPAL ON THIS TEAM. AS A FAMOSE BISHOP ONCE SAID IN HIS DEFENSE AT HIS TRIAL FOR HIS LIFE IN THE TIME OF KING HENRY VIII BECAUSE HE KEPT SILENT CONCERNING SOME DECREES THE KING ISSUED .....'SILENCE CONSTRUES CONSCENT NOT OPPOSITION'

2. WHAT IS AN ATHLETE?

...... A RULING, IN A COURT CASE CONCERNING EVOLUTION AND CREATIONISM BEING TAUGHT IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN THE SOUTH, SAID THAT 'SCIENCE IS WHAT SCIENTISTS DO'. 'IF SCIENTISTS DOESNT DO IT, ITS NOT SCIENCE'. SIMILIARLY IT CAN ALSO BE SAID THAT 'ATLETICS IS WHAT ATHLETES DO' , RECREATION IS WHAT PEOPLE ENGAGED IN DAILY ROUTINE RELIEF DO' AND THEREFORE AN ATHETE IS SOMEONE WHO DOES WHAT ATHLETES REGULARLY DOES AND IS NOT WHAT RECREATION PEOPLE DO. IF WHAT YOU DO IS NOT DONE BY ATHLETES THEN YOUR NOT AN ATHLETE PLAYING BASEBALL BUT A RECREATIONAL PLAYER PARTICIPATING IN AN ACTIVITY THAT HAPPENS TO USE THE RULES OF BASEBALL. YOUR PLAYING BASEBALL AS IF ITS JUST ANOTHER VIDEO GAME WITH THE RESULTS HAVING NO MORE IMORTANCE OR BENEFIT TO YOU THAN THAT VIDEO GAME YOU JUST PLAYED FOR THE 100TH TIME DID.

...... ATLETICS CAN & DOES HAVE DRAMATIC AFFECTS ON ATHLETES LIVES EVEN THOUGH THEY NEVER HAVE PLAYED IT PROFESSIONALLY. RECREATION HAS NEVER BENEFITTED ANYONE EXCEPT TO RELIEF THE STRESS OF DAILY LIVING OR TO KILL TIME. ATHLETICS CREATES STRESS AND TEACHES YOU HOW TO HANDLE STRESS SO YOU DONT NEED REACREATION. YOU GET YOUR RECREATION AS PART OF YOUR ATHLETICS.

...... LETS TAKE A HYPOTETICAL CASE. SO YOU THEN SAY TO ME ' I AM ON A RECREATIONAL TEAM, PLAYING WITH REACREATIONAL TEAMMATES, IN A RECREATIONAL LEAGUE. HOW CAN I SURVIVE AS AN ATHLETE IN THAT ENVIRONMENT'. I WOULD SAY, AS I HAVE ALREADY SAID TO A FEW OF YOU, THAT ENVIRONMENT DOES NOT PREVENT YOU FROM PERSONALLY ACTING AND PERFORMING AS AN ATHLETE. YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT UPON YOURSELF TO DO WHAT WILL BENEFIT YOU EVEN IF YOUR ALONE DOING IT. FIND OUT WHAT CHARACTERISICS OF BEHAVIOR DO ATHLETES ENGAGE IN. THEN TRY TO CREATE THOSE CHARACTERISTICS IN YOURSELF. HOW DO ATHLETES PRACTICE, OR DO THEY JUST PLAY GAMES. WHEN THEY ARRIVE AT A GAME DO THEY PREPARE OR DO THEY WIGGLE THEIR ASS, THROW A FEW BALLS AND WALK ON THE FIELD. ARE THEY READY FOR EVERY PITCH OR ARE THEY ACTUALLY ASLEEP? ARE THEY CONCERNED WHEN THEY FAIL? WHAT DO THEY DO ABOUT IT? DO THEY ARRIVE IN TIME TO PREPARE OR DO THEY ARRIVE 5 MINS BEFORE? WHEN THE GAME IS OVER DO THEY WANT TO KNOW WHAT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED TO BE MORE SUCCESSFUL NEXT TIME OR DO THEY RUN AWAY BECAUSE THEY ALREADY SPENT TOO MUCH TIME ON BASEBALL AND HAVE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO? ETC ETC ETC

...... ITS PERFECTLY OK TO PRETEND YOUR AN ATHLETE BY DOING WHAT THEY DO. THE LATEST BRAIN RESEARCH WOULD INDICATE THAT THE WAY TO CHANGE WHO YOU ARE TO WHO YOU WANT TO BE IS TO PRETEND YOU ARE THAT PERSON THAT YOU WANT TO BE UNTIL IT INFACT HAPPENS AND IT CERTAINLY WILL HAPPEN. THUS TO BECOME AN ATHLETE A PLAYER COULD START DISCOVERING WHAT AN ATHLETE DOES AND THEN PRETENDS TO DO THOSE THINGS UNTIL IT ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

3. OUR PLAN TO ACHIEVE SOME RESULTS:

...... AS AN ASIDE: ONE OF MY PLAYERS WHO DID THE DRILLS BUT PRIVATELY MADE FUN OF THEM WHO EVENTUALLY PLAYED AT A BIG TIME SEC COLLEGE DOWN SOUTH TOOK THE TIME TO SAY 'I DID BUBBY DRILLS IN NY AND NOW I AM IN FLORIDA WATCHING THE SAME DRILLS BEING PERFORMED BY THE BEST COLLEGE PLAYERS IN THE NATION.' NO DRILLS WILL WORK IF YOU DONT BELIEVE IN THEM.

..... I NOW PLAYERS TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP. THIS REQUIRES NOT JUST TRING TO DO THE DRILLS BUT SUCCEEDING AT DOING THEM PERFECTLY, WITH A LOT MORE REPS AND CONCENTRATION AND THEN EXECUTING THEM PROPERLY DURING THE GAMES. THIS WILL NOT BE EASY AS YOU WILL HAVE TO PREPARE & EXECUTE IN GAMES WITHOUT EACH ITERATION BEING FIXED. THERE WILL BE MORE REPS IN THE 5 GAMES THAN IN ONE PRACTICE. WITH THE NEED FOR 10 PROPER REPS TO UNDO 1 BAD ONE THIS COULD BECOME A LOOSING BATTLE.

4. OUR PRACTICE PLAN EXPLAINED:

...... OUR STARTUP SEQUENCE BEGINS BY GETTING DRESSED FOR PRACTICE OR THE GAME, PUT ON CLETES, PUT ON A HOODED SWEATSHIRT BACKWARDS TO ENABLE BLINDED DRILLS ( PRACTICE ONLY), AND SELECT A PARTNER. WE BEGIN WITH SWEATS ON BECAUSE WE ARE NOT DOING A TRUST DRILL AND BODY PART AWARENESS DRILL THAT REQUIRE THE SWEATS THAT WE ARE NOT USING. ANOTHER REASON FOR SWEATS IS TO MAKE YOU WORK WHILE UNCOMFORTABLE AS THAT IS THE CONDITION THAT YOU WORK VS IN GAMES WERE YOU EXPERIENCE BOTH HEAT & STRESS. IF YOU PRACTICE UNDER THOSE CONDITIONS THEY DONT AFFECT YOU IN GAMES. IF YOU DONT THEY BECOME A FACTOR IN HOW YOU PERFORM.

...... WE RUN TO THE FENCE AND BACK IN ORDER TO GET THE BODY WARM AS MUSCLES SHOULD NOT BE USED OR STRETCHED WHEN THEY ARE COLD.

...... WE PARTNER STRETCH AS ITS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO PROPERLY STRETCH YOUR MUSCLES. WE STRETCH SO THAT WHEN A LOAD IS PLACED ON THEM BY ANY BASEBALL ACTION THEY HAVE BEEN PRE-STRETCHED AND LOOSE AND SO ARE NOT DAMAGED WHEN SUDDENLY STRETCHED BY THAT ACTION.

..... WE BOTH LOOSEN OUR ARMS AND TEACH OUR MUSCLES HOW TO THROW PROPERLY BY USING THE THROWING DRILL. EACH PART OF THE THROW IS PRACTICED SEPARATELY. THE FIRST PART, WHICH I AM ADDING BACK AS TOO MANY PLAYERS ARE DOING IT WRONG, IS TO DEVELOP YOUR WRIST ACTION. THEN WE SIT TO WORK ON THE UPPER BODY PORTION OF THE THROW WITHOUT THE USE OF THE LEGS. THIS FORCES THE USE & TEACHING OF YOUR STOMACH MUSCLES. WE USE ONE KNEE TO GET THE WRIST PAST THE KNEE EASILY. WE SHOULD GO NEXT TO 2 KNEES TO GET YOUR BACK TO BEND PROPERLY. WE THEN SET OUR FEET IN PROPER POSITION AND MAKE THE FULL THROW USING YOUR LEGS. WE FINISH BY STRETCHING OUT THE ARM BY LONG TOSS AT 3 DIFFERENT DISTANCES. WE DO HALF OF THE THROWS BLINDED TO CHECK OUR MECHANICS. IF YOU HIT THE TARGET BLINDED YOUR MECHANICS ARE CORRECT. IF DONT THEY ARE NOT CORRECT.

...... WE USE THE HOOD OF THE SWEATSHIRT IN BOTH FORM AND LIVE INFIELD DRILLS TO BLOCK US FROM SEEING THE BALL WHEN IT GOES UBDER OUR LEGS. FIELDING IS DONE WITH BACK LEVEL TO GROUND AND BALL CAUGHT AT A POINT FURTHER FROM YOU THAN YOUR HEAD IS WHEN BENT OVER.

...... WE DO HITTING DRILLS THAT USE A FULL SWING AND DRILLS THAT BREAK DOWN THE SWING INTO ITS PARTS.

...... OUR SOFT TOSS IS DONE FROM BEHIND TO ENABLE THE TOSSED BALL TO CROSS THE ENTIRE PATH DEFINED BY ALL THE POINTS OF PROPER CONTACT. ( A LINE 45 DEG FROM OUTSIDE CORNER TOWARD THE INSIDE AND TOWARDS THE PITCHER )

...... DURING OUR LIVE BATTING PRACTICE NOONE IS TO BE IN THE INFIELD. YOUR JOB IS TO RETRIEVE BALLS HIT TO THE OUTFIELD. A PITCHER THROWS TO A BATTER. THEN THEY SWITCH. A BUCKET BOY IS LOCATED AT EDGE OF GRASS IN CENTER FIELD. AFTER PIT/HITTER ARE DONE THE NEXT BATTER IS THE BUCKET BOY AND THE PARTNER HE CHOOSES. A NEW BUCKET BOY REPLACES HIM. IF YOU HAVE TO LEAVE BEFORE EVERYONE HAS HIT THEN YOU MAY NOT HIT. IF ITS OUR LAST THING JUST LEAVE. THROW RECOVERED BALLS TO THE BUCKET BOY. GET EVERY BALL. WE COUNT THEM AFTER BATTING AND NOONE LEAVES UNTIL ALL ARE FOUND.

...... ALL OUR DRILLS ARE DONE BY YOU AND YOUR PARTNER.

...... IN CASE YOU NEVER WERE TOLD BEFORE: NOMATTER WHAT DRILL WE DO WHEN YOU MISS A BALL GO GET IT IMMEDIATELY AT A FULL RUN. IN INFIELD THE LAST BALL MUST ARRIVE BACK TO THE CATCHER BEFORE ANY RETRIEVED BALL IS RETURNED. DURING BATTING THE NEAREST PERSON NOT CHASING A BALL GETS THE NEXT BALL NOMATTER HOW FAR AWAY IT IS. IN ALL OTHER DRILLS EVERYONE PICK UP THE BALLS.

5. COMMUNICATIONS:

...... WE HAVE A WEB SITE FOR PRACTICING PLAYERS. YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE LINK. ON IT ALL YOUR PRACTICES ARE LISTED FOR THE COMING WEEK. IT HAS A LOT OF OTHER STUFF.

...... ON THURSDAY NIGHT EVERY PLAYER WILL GO TO THE SIGHT AND READ THE INFO AND SEND AN EMAIL BY CLICKING ON A LINK THAT TELLS US WHICH EVENTS YOU CAN ATTEND AND WHICH YOU HAVE PROBLEMS WITH.

...... IF CANT COME TO A PRACTICE THAT YOUR SCHEDULED TO COME TO YOU CALL ME.