Sunday, May 31, 2009

It is about the team.....

Not only can you hurt yourself by accidentally tweaking your shoulder or elbow, but you look stupid in the process. Remember, baseball is a team sport. Don't do things like show frustration or act unprofessional, which takes the focus off of the team and puts it on yourself. Would a guy like Mariano Rivera ever do this?
You're better than that! Act professional. Do your job. Pitch your best and let the chips fall where they may. But most importantly, keep it about your team. Acting like Carlos Zambrano in this pic is selfish.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Below are some thoughts on excellence. We all strive for it, but do we know what it is and what it takes to get there?

The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their committment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor. -Vince Lombardi

It isn't hard to be good from time to time in sports. What's tough is being good every day. - Willie Mays

I can't accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying. -Michael Jordan


Going far beyond the call of duty,

Doing more than others expect,

This is what excellence is all about!

And it comes from striving,

Maintaining the highest standards,

Looking after the smallest detail,

And going the extra mile.

Excellence means doing your very best.

In everything! In every way.

-Jack Johnson

A good team player......

From The Winners Manual by Jim Tressel

A GOOD TEAM PLAYER....................

1. Gives 100 percent

2. Shows courage off the field

3. Makes no mental mistakes

4. Cares about the team above all else

5. Demonstrates loyalty to all

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Focus on the process. Compete every day.

One thing some might find interesting is a sign Husker football coaches have hung on the upper level of the Hawks Championship Center with the words: "Focus on the process. Compete every day."

"It just came from us, from this staff, that's kind of what we tell our kids all the time," Pelini said. "It's about every day. It's about succeeding. It's about what you're doing today, not in September, not October. Take care of business today."

The message is simple- if you want results in the long run focus and make the most of today. A great career or season = today + today + today............

Give your best each day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


What is toughness? How do you display toughness? How do we become tougher? Here are some thoughts passed on to me by Coach Cooley from college basketball great Don Meyer.

Toughness- responding appropriately to the task at hand, being focused on what needs to be done

Direct correlation between defense and toughness. You can't have a tough team without defense.

Accepting a coach's criticism is toughness.

Toughness- you have to be mentally tough to be physically tough and vice versa

Everyone is going to make loads of mistakes fight through them.

You need a blue collar team to win it- toughness, mentally and physcially

Intensity + Technique = hustle plays

Don't get sloppy and lazy when things are going good

Conditioning is mental.

Good teams have 1 or 2 guys do the dirty jobs. Great teams have all of their guys do the dirty work.

There is always someone better than you- you have to have better technique and be tougher to beat those people.

Scared Teams don't talk

A tough team talks loudly

Thursday, May 14, 2009

You are not going to win every game.........

The Oakland A's on Monday held a hitters only meeting. No coaches, no pitchers, no fans, just the hitters. The result was a 12 run output against the Royals.

"It was just to pick us up, play hard, hustle more," Orlando Cabrera said. "I wanted to tell the young guys we're not going to win every game, but if we're going to lose, we're going to pick the way we lose. We were playing hard, but we have to hustle on every single play and put pressure on the defense."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Baseball Hitting Routine

Do you have a hitting routine?? Establishing a consistent hitting routine could help produce more consistent results. Remember hitting is a visual skill and getting yourself relaxed and focused can help you hit the baseball.

Albert and his work ethic

From Michael Northrop of Sports Illustrated

Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals is the best young hitter in baseball. Heck, the 24-year-old first baseman may be the best young hitter in the history of the game (see "Stacking Up," page 28). At the start of the 2004 season, he had a career .334 average, 114 home runs, and 381 RBIs.

But there is something behind every one of those numbers that is not recorded on stat sheets, replayed on highlight shows, or seen by the fans. "What you don't see is how hard I work, how hard I prepare," he says.

Pujols has just finished one of his daily 2 1/2-hour off-season workouts. He lifts enough weights to sink a ship, watches videos of pitchers he'll face during the season, and spends serious time in the batting cage.

Despite his star status, he was one of the first position players on the Cardinals to arrive at spring training this season. He spent much of that time polishing his play at first base.

During the season, Pujols arrives early for games, takes cuts in the batting cages to make sure his swing is smooth, and watches more video on the opposing pitcher.

"Albert is so professional in his approach, whether it's the winter, the spring, or the summer," says Cardinal manager Tony La Russa.

All that study and preparation helps explain why Pujols is a fast starter (.385 average last April) and why, unlike other hot starters, he keeps punishing pitchers as the season progresses. In 2003, Pujols hit a hefty .346 after the All-Star break and ended the regular season with the majors' best average: .359.

"God gave me this natural ability," says Pujols. "But it's even better when you work hard and you put those two things together. [Then], it's unbelievable."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I think the fates must grin
as we denounce them and insist,
The only reason we can’t win
is the fates themselves have missed.

Yet, there lives on the ancient claim-
We win or lose within ourselves,
The shining trophies on our shelves can
Never win tomorrow’s game.

So you and I know deeper down
There is a chance to win the crown,
But when we fail to give our best,
We simply haven’t met the test

Of giving all and saving none
Until the game is really won.

Of showing what is meant by grit,
Of playing through not letting up,
It’s bearing down that wins the cup.

Of taking it and taking more
Until we gain the winning score

Of dreaming there’s a goal ahead,
Of hoping when our dreams are dead,
Of praying when our hopes have fled.

Yet, losing, not afraid to fall,
If bravely we have given all,
For who can ask more of a man
Than giving all within his span.

That giving all, it seems to me,
Is not so far from VICTORY.

And so the fates are seldom wrong,
No matter how they twist and wind;
It’s you and I who make our fates,
We open up or close the gates


-George Joseph Moriarty (June 7, 1884 – April 8, 1964)an American third baseman, umpire and manager in Major League Baseball from 1903 to 1940.He played for the Chicago Cubs, New York Highlanders, Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox from 1903 to 1916.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The power of WILL!

Red Sox 3B Mike Lowell:
"Like my high school coach always said, when you feel like crap, you have to will yourself to be great."

Great quotes to think about......

Great quotes from Bo Pelini in last weeks OWH article about his coaching philosophy:

On what he has learned throughout his NFL and College Coaching career:

"Every day counts," Pelini said. "Ultimately, you have to wake up every day and look in the mirror and make a decision to compete every day. It can't be a some-of-the-time thing. You have to make that decision every single day."

On what he learned from his days with the 49ers, 1995 Super Bowl Champs:

"I learned about what it was to watch a team give it up in practice every day and practice with the tremendous speed and commitment that was really second to none."

It was an environment that demanded relentless effort and created pressure on each member of the organization to perform.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Poise and Patience at the plate

Good article forwarded to me by Coach Cooley.

Outfielder improves his mental approach to the game and enjoys the responsibility of hitting behind Manny Ramirez.
By Dylan Hernandez

May 6, 2009

The concerns that existed in spring training about whether Andre Ethier would continue to let his temper get the better of him are something of the past.

"To me, I think, last year, he let a bad at-bat sort of affect his other at-bats," Manager Joe Torre said. "I don't see that this year."

What Torre is seeing from his starting right fielder is increased production. Ethier is hitting .327 with six home runs and 26 runs batted in.

"He's able to leave it there," Torre said, referring to an unsuccessful trip to the plate. "In essence, every time up, they're going to have a battle on their hands."

Ethier said that's a result of his better knowing what to do. "I think it just comes with maturity and knowing how guys are going to pitch you," he said, "how to throw the good and the bad out."

The responsibility of hitting fourth in the lineup behind Manny Ramirez has also played a role, he said.

"I think for where I hit in the lineup, it has to be more about the approach than the result," Ethier said. "I feel that whoever's tabbed to hit behind Manny that day, their job is to be as imposing as possible. If you don't take pride in it, you're not playing the game right."

Taking more pitches

Be prepared for a long night the next time you visit Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers are taking more and more pitches.

"That is a plan," Torre said.

Patience is something Torre and his coaches have preached from the time he took over last season.

In 2007, under then-manager Grady Little, the Dodgers saw an average of 3.63 pitches per plate appearance and ranked second to last in the majors in that category, according to Stats LLC.

That number increased to 3.81 in Torre's first season and is up to 3.96 this year, which ranks second in the majors to the Colorado Rockies (4.02).

"It's just being more selective," Ethier said. "All of the young guys are comfortable with it."

The Dodgers lead the majors with 133 walks.

Ethier, who has drawn 18 walks in the Dodgers' 28 games, is one of four Dodgers with 15 or more free passes, the others being Ramirez (25), James Loney (16) and Orlando Hudson (15).

Long games were the norm for the New York Yankees when Torre managed them, so much so that they were urged by the commissioner's office in 1998 to pick up the pace of their games. Torre said he didn't change the way he managed.

"Your purpose isn't to make the games longer," Torre said. "Your purpose is to do what you need to do."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Plate Discipline

Great article from writer Jerry Crasnick about plate discipline. Here are a few excerpts and a link to the article.

To Daniel Murphy, the Mets' young left fielder, plate discipline means having the willpower to say no regardless of how much his eyes say yes.
"Plate discipline for me is swinging at something that I'm looking for and I can hit," Murphy says. "For the most part, I like the pitch down, so I try not to swing at anything up until two strikes, because if I swing at that, then I'm out."

Boston Red Sox approach on plate discipline:

Boston's approach is centered on two building blocks. First, hitters are encouraged to approach an 0-0 count with the same mindset they have at 2-0 or 3-1. If they see a fastball in their zone, they're poised to climb all over it and drive it. If they don't see that pitch, they lay off, and it's either a ball or a strike they probably couldn't have done much with, anyway.

Boston's minor league instructors also stress the importance of a consistent two-strike approach. Generally, hitters like to widen out at the plate, choke up, let the ball travel deep in the zone and try to foul it off. Some hitters expand the zone from black to black. Others might look away, since that's where most pitchers try to finish off hitters, then adjust to anything inside.

One popular misconception is that teams such as Oakland and Boston bombard their young hitters with a directive to walk more and strike out less. Instead, those clubs preach the value of a sound approach, and believe the numbers will take care of themselves as a byproduct.

"We don't want guys to strike out, but I don't think a guy strikes out less by telling him to strike out less," Cherington says.

"There's a learning curve for hitters, and there are going to be some down cycles," Lieppman says. "As you teach people how to be selective, in many cases performance will go down and you'll see an increase in passivity for hitters. It's hard to be aggressive and patient and selective at the same time."

"For me, plate discipline is being able to know what pitch you want to put in play before you step in the box and not swinging at anything else but that," Jones says. "A lot of young hitters go up there and look for the first strike. They could be sitting on the fastball, but they still swing at the curveball.

"That's where young hitters make outs, whereas older hitters might sit on the fastball, then spit on the curveball, spit on the changeup and spit on the slider until they get that one fastball in the count. If you go up there with a game plan of knowing what pitch you want to put in play, it automatically makes you a much more selective hitter."

"The more pitches hitters see, the more confident and mature they are," Lieppman said. "They're not panicked by a 2-2 sinker or a slider that's barely off the plate. They come to understand it's not a pitch to hit, or they foul it off. That's the level you're trying to get to."

Batting Practice

Batting practice is the time to practice doing what you are going to do in the game and focus on the ingredients of hitting: get prepared to hit, have a plan or a mission in mind when you step in, execute that plan. Your mission may be to hit the ball the other way, keep you head down on the ball, or simply to see the ball and hit it. The key is to have something specific in mind when you step in, some clear purpose for going to the plate.