Sunday, June 28, 2009

More thoughts from Paul Mainieri- LSU Baseball

-Baseball is a humbling game- you must concentrate and focus

-As soon as you think you have this game figured out it will jump up and beat you down

- Be loose but not lackadazical
Be confident but not arrogant
Be intense but not tight

- Hitting will always be up and down. Pitching and defense must be consistent

-In the first inning it is not that important to score runs, it is more important to make the pitcher throw pitches and show him that you mean business and he is going to have to work hard to get us out

-To win championships you have to have everyone 'locked in'

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Pitching Rubber- RESET BUTTON

To me the pitching rubber is a giant Reset Button. Think about the last time you played video games, especially by yourself and against the computer. If you were playing a football game against the computer and it returns the opening kickoff for a touchdown, what are you most likely to do? If you’re honest, you’d probably push the Reset Button and start over…right?

Why can’t you take that same approach into pitching?Every time a pitcher toes the rubber it doesn’t matter how good or bad his last pitch was. It only matters what he does from this point forward. Essentially, when he toes the rubber he has reset the game and is playing from the beginning all over again. Another way of saying it is that the next pitch is always the beginning of the rest of the game.

Pitchers control ALL action on the baseball field. No other person on the field acts independently. Only the pitcher has the ability to control what every other person on the field does. The pitcher controls whether the umpire yells “Strike”, he controls, to a great degree, if the batter hits the ball and where that ball goes (should he be lucky enough to make contact). Therefore the movement of the defense is predicated on where the ball is hit which is ultimately controlled by where the pitcher locates the pitch. On a basic level the pitcher is in control. Hitters, catchers, centerfielders, umpires, coaches, fans and announcers all react to the pitcher’s action. Once a pitcher understands his ability to control a game he can use a device, such as the Reset Button, to help him focus on the task at hand.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Profile of a winning team

The difference between playing to win and playing not to lose is often the difference between success and mediocrity.

Team members believe in themselves, their teammates, and their dream. And they don’t allow negative thinking to derail them.

The highest reward for their efforts isn’t what they get from it, but who they become because of it. Team members know intuitively that if they’re through improving, they’re through.

Winners are empowers. As Charlie Brower says, “Few people are successful unless a lot of other people want them to be.”

From “Teamwork Makes The Dream Work”
by John C. Maxwell

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Staying Relaxed at the Plate

Ripken's Rules

Cal Ripken's Rules:
Love The Game
Love Your Team
Play At The Highest Level

Monday, June 22, 2009

The competior to be feared the most..........

"The competitor to be feared the most is one who never worries about others at all, but goes on making himself better all the time."

-That is a quote that Blake Griffin has used to stay motivated. In an interview with ESPN, Griffin spoke of how he tries to control only what he can. He is set to become the #1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hitting with Confidence- LSU Baseball

Great stuff from Coach Paul Maineri on hitting with confidence.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


by Steve Pivovar

OMAHA, Neb. – Texas' latest postseason dramatics reinforced the teachings of two of baseball's great philosophers – Augie Garrido and Yogi Berra.

The Longhorns moved into Friday's Bracket Two championship game by pulling off another great escape in beating Arizona State on Tuesday night. Texas fell behind by six runs three innings into the game. The Sun Devils had the pitcher that Garrido considers the best in America on the mound.

But the Longhorns scored 10 straight runs and got a shut-down effort by freshman reliever Taylor Jungmann to snatch the win.

At a point when some coaches might have gone ballistic after watching their teams boot balls and squander opportunities, Garrido gathered his team around him in the dugout before the fourth inning and calmly preached a message of hope.

"How you perceive yourself has more to do in what you become than your skill or your talent," said Garrido, whose team plays today's North Carolina-Arizona State winner at 6 p.m. Friday.

"So if you perceive yourself as a loser, you're going to lose. We had just finished three innings as the Bad News Bears. I reminded them that even the Bad News Bears were good by the end of the movie."

The Longhorns are 7-1 since the tournament started and 48-14-1 overall. They've won games in NCAA play in 25 innings, on a walk-off grand slam and a walk-off walk. They've won on nights when they've had great pitching and meager hitting and when the hitters rescued faltering pitchers.

They beat Arizona State by scoring six runs in the fourth inning against Sun Devils ace Mike Leake, the No. 8 pick in last week's Major League draft and the owner of a 16-1 record and a 1.36 ERA. Catcher Cameron Rupp ignited the rally with a three-run homer, then put Texas ahead with his second homer of the game to lead off the seventh. The Longhorns tacked on three runs in the eighth.

Garrido has coached five national championship teams – three at Cal State Fullerton, two at Texas. He declined to compare the run Texas finds itself on to any of the championship drives his other clubs have made. After all, each team has its own identity, its own soul, its own karma.

He would say this is a team that is learning its lessons.

"We have not had an easy game in our eight games in the tournament," Garrido said. "Each one has demanded different things of this team. What we've done proves to me that there is a certain spirituality, and it's all about attitude and what you have to give to each other and that sense of responsibility you have to each other."

Asked what he and his teammates have learned in their wild ride through the postseason, Texas second baseman Travis Tucker borrowed from Berra's baseball philosophy: It ain't over 'til it's over.

"You can't give up in this game," Tucker said. "No matter how far you're down, there's always a chance to win if we really trust each other and have confidence in each other. That's all you can ask for."

Tucker and Rupp praised Garrido's restraint when Tuesday's game sank to its darkest moment. They've seen that from their coach before, but his reaction on college baseball's grandest stage kept the players from panicking, Rupp said.

"I'm sure coach was upset after the way we had played for the first three innings," he said. "But he stayed calm and he stayed with us."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

State JV Baseball 2009

Memorial Field in Kearney. Host to state JV Baseball 2009

* Built in the early 1950's
* Once home to a New York Yankees minor league team
* Natural Grass outfield; FieldTurf infield
* Dimensions (355 Left, 395 Center, 325 Right)
* Building behind the home dugout includes player locker rooms and indoor hitting cages

LSU- Patience at the plate pays off!

Great article on how LSU has stayed patient at the plate this year.

Here is the story by Gary Laney:

OMAHA, Neb. — Ryan Schimpf said he was just trying to get a pitch to hit.

He never got it, so his first plate appearance of the night turned into a marathon, 13-pitch walk and an early turning point in LSU’s 9-1 win over Arkansas on Monday that put the Tigers among the final four teams at the College World Series.

The epic battle between Schimpf and Arkansas starter Brett Eibner included seven two-strike pitches that Schimpf fouled off before Eibner finally blinked and threw ball four.

Before that, there were an array of balls that were batted into souvenir status or into the net that protects the fans behind home plate.

“I thought Ryan Schimpf’s at-bat was really one of the better at-bats of the year,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “That was amazing. He just kept battling. And give credit to Eibner, he just kept pumping strikes in there and he ended up getting the walk. And I think that set the tone for the game.”

It also set a pattern. Three batters later, Mikie Mahtook also spoiled a two-strike pitch before belting a three-run home run into the left-field bleachers. In the sixth inning, Jared Mitchell fouled off a two-strike pitch before delivering a full-count, RBI single.

LSU finished with 13 hits, three home runs and all nine runs scored with two outs, a sign the Tigers weren’t just swinging from the heels and knocking the cover off the ball. They were also scrapping at the plate.

“When we get deep into counts, we are not worrying about it,” Schimpf said. “We’ve just been fighting and battling and we are doing a good job seeing the ball in Omaha so far.”

Schimpf’s walk came after DJ LeMahieu led off the game with a single. Three batters after Schimpf, Mahtook slammed a hanging slider into the left-field bleachers. By the end of the inning, Eibner had labored for 39 pitches.

“The more pitches he throws, Mahtook said, “the more likely he’s going to make a mistake.”

And get tired. The long first inning guaranteed LSU would get into the Arkansas bullpen early.

“That’s the key to being successful,” said right fielder Jared Mitchell, whose three hits included a two-out, two-strike RBI single in the sixth inning that came after he fouled off a two-strike pitch. “Get that starter out and get to somebody else.”

That is something LSU is doing exceptionally well in the postseason. Monday was the sixth straight game where the opponent’s starter didn’t get out of the sixth inning. In five of those six games, the other guy hasn’t made it out of the fifth inning.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Committment to the TEAM

"Players who are committed to the team first will find a way to help when things are going bad, they will do whatever it takes. Kids that are more into themselves will not do that. They will take care of themselves and get more individual when things are tough."-Dick Bennett-


Pat Murphy on DEFENSE

Take pride in defense!
-Everyone takes responsibility for a bad play
-Team Defense Saying: "Hit it to me and your out!"
-Keep it simple, go get the ball, keep your feet under you
-Anticipate live balls off bats, get good jumps
-What types of balls are hit to your position?
-Play with passion, have fun

Hitting a wall??

Great stuff I want to pass on from

Although Kobe Bryant won't admit he is tired after a long year with both the Olympics and the grueling NBA season, there is little doubt that his body is feeling fatigued. However, Bryant won't even yet tired enter his thought process:

"I'm aware of bouncing back after a tough loss," Bryant said Wednesday. "Hopefully we can do it again. As far as me hitting the wall, so what if I did? I didn't, but so what if I did?"
"What does it mean if you did?" asked reporter Ken Berger.
"It means nothing because I'll run straight through it."

It is all about attitude, which a player or coach can control.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people thing or say or do. It is more important than appearance or skill. It will make or break a team, a company or a home. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day about the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. The only thing we can do is play on the one string that we have and that is our attitude."
-Chuck Swindoll-

Monday, June 8, 2009

Slaying a SLUMP

You and Mr. MLB have one thing in common: slumps. They’re inevitable, frustrating and inexplicable. So, to keep your mind sound to pound the ball consistently, here is some compiled advice from three MLB stars on how to deal with failure in the batter’s box:
Dustin Pedroia

1. It’s not you, it’s everyone. According to Wieters, “You just have to realize that everyone’s going to go through [a slump] at different times.” Wieters’ advice is to keep the slump short. “Don’t let it go on six, seven or eight games,” he says. “Try to make it two or three games.” Easier said than done, but it’s important to treat every at-bat as a fresh start.

2. Don’t over-think. Try not to turn every at-bat into a complicated chess match, since the pitcher isn’t Bobby Fischer (though it’s rumored he had a wicked slider). Sizemore feels your slump pain. He says, “It’s tough because it seems when you’re slumping, nothing you do is right. Every time you think ‘inside,’ [the pitch] is away. Or every time you think ‘get the ball out in front,’ you’re [way] out in front.” Sizemore recommends reverting back to the mindset you had when you were successful at the plate—how did it feel?

3. Take one for the team. If you’re having trouble making contact, do whatever else you can to get on base and help your squad. Be more patient at the plate: take ball four or man up and get hit by a pitch. “I just go up there and try to get on base…that’s my job,” Pedroia says.

4. More BP. Wieters advises, “Mentally, sometimes you might need to get in the cage and swing until you feel comfortable.” Then, if your bat continues to feel like Swiss cheese, take a breather. Wieters continues, “Sometimes you might need to step away from baseball for just a little bit. Relax, and wait for that one hit, because once it comes, you’re out of the slump and it’s gravy from there.”

5. Don’t tinker with your swing. Getting in the cage doesn’t mean you have to drastically alter your swing. Sizemore says, “Nine times out of ten, it’s not really your swing. More times than not, when you’re struggling with your swing, it’s timing and not mechanics.”

6. Don’t obsess with personal goals. Pedroia warns, “In our game, there’s a lot that can go wrong with setting goals, because a lot of little things can happen that could prevent [you from achieving them].” Baseball is unique in that it’s a team sport that relies on individual accomplishments. But keep in mind it’s all about winning. “The only goal that I set [was] trying to help the team win the World Series, and [that happened],” Pedroia says.

Texas and their bunting game

Here is a link to an article on Texas and how they use the bunt game to be consistent.

Here are a few excerpts from the USA TODAY article:

The Longhorns' strategy runs contrary to the major league approach to offense, which practically states that no player can ever be asked to lay down a bunt, save maybe in the World Series.

"They don't bunt until it's important. Here, every game is important. We do have a player development responsibility," Garrido said, before adding, "but with a priority of the University of Texas winning."

Back when he was at Cal State Fullerton trying to succeed in the West against baseball titans USC and Arizona State and their power pitchers, Garrido's batters bunted them into a fury.

"They'd scream at us, 'Swing the bats, you midgets,' " he said. "The more they yelled, the more we bunted."

His teams excelled at it. He won three national titles at Fullerton in three different decades.

Once in a College World Series game against Miami, five Fullerton batters in a row bunted. "We scored five runs," Garrido said, "and not a ball went over 60 feet."

Fullerton's still doing it. Dave Serrano's Titans have 75 sacrifice bunts, the third most nationally.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thoughts from Joe Torre......

"I do love the feeling of a big win. But you don't have to have a world series ring to be a winner. A winner is somebody who goes out there every day and exhausts himself trying to get something accomplished. Being able to get the most from their ability. That's what characterizes a winner."

"After 25 years of managing teams, the last 11 with the Yankees, I have learned not to live in the past and dwell on something that failed. I believe anybody who is not afraid to fail is a winner."

"The great UCLA basketball coach John Wooden told me once that you can be prepared and ahve the best talent that there is, but you can't necessarily control the outcome."

"It all comes down to respect. To me, its the golden rule: Treat others as you want to be treated."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

David Wright on Batting Practice