Thursday, December 1, 2011

Good Stuff from new LSU Pitching Coach Alan Dunn

“I want pitchers to establish a mound presence so there is no question in anyone’s mind who is pitching on that particular day. This starts with their mound tempo, which is showing the ability to work fast and keep the pressure on the hitter. Body language is huge regardless of what is happening in the game. They have to show the ability to control the game and not the game controlling them.” Next he points to the pitchers attitude towards throwing strikes and attacking hitters, “It is a must that pitchers show the conviction in attacking the zone and pitching to contact. We want to make the action happen early in counts and to do this they must throw the ball in the zone.”

“The fastball is still the most important pitch a pitcher has in his arsenal. Whether it is 82mph or 98mph a pitcher must pitch off of his fastball to be successful. What I mean by this is that the pitcher must “command” his fastball. Commanding the fastball means he has the ability to make quality pitches with his fastball in fastball counts and get the hitter out. In this game if you are a hitter and you can’t hit the fastball and you’re a pitcher and you can’t pitch with the fastball you will never be successful.

Was today your best?

"At night when I go to bed, I ask myself, 'If I don’t wake up tomorrow, would I be proud of how I lived today.'”

-Muhammad Ali

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Importance of preparation

"To this day, I consider preparation the most enjouable part of my work, and the most challenging. to the extent my teams have succeeded, I'd say that solid preparation -- not talent or strategy -- was the primary factor."

-Bill Parcells

Thursday, November 10, 2011


This list was developed by Kevin Eastman:

Let’s take a look at some things that both coaches and players need to bring each day:


•must bring great energy and enthusiasm (and not just the first week, but every day)
•must bring the preparation needed to make sure that what he’s working on is what’s most needed for that day
•must bring a keen eye to spot the mistakes that will keep the team from improving that day
•must organize the practice so that he gets maximum work in the allotted time
•must know his system so well that he actually has the answers before the players ask the questions


•must bring great energy and enthusiasm
•must walk onto the floor “clutter free” — all outside distractions must be cleared up or at least put to the side for that time period
•must always seek to “get from” practice not just “get through” practice
•must bring great focus, as the first month is always filled with teaching and learning
•must have a “get in great shape” mindset for both physical conditioning as well as mental focus (being able to stay focused even through fatigue)
This is a short list of what all players and coaches must bring to make sure they’re holding up their end of the “practice bargain” and the “improvement bargain.”

One final thought — both groups must jump on every opportunity to help someone else get better, learn faster, go longer. That’s a sign of a great team!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


"The best teams are teams in any sport that lose themselves in the team. The individuals lose their identity. And their identities come about as a result of being in the team first."
Coach Krzyzewski

Friday, October 28, 2011

A. V. E

Each at-bat I have a plan and an approach. I constantly A.V.E (A=analyze, V=visualize, E=execute) after each pitch.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Edge must come from outworking your opponents

Our edge has to come from outworking our opponents in every phase of the game and this certainly includes off-season conditioning. The program is in your hands…. If you are self-motivated and dedicated, you will go to work immediately and work each day to get better. We are going to win in Philadelphia. It is just a matter of being persistent. Go to work."
From the first letter Dick Vermiel wrote to his first team in Philadelphia

Friday, October 14, 2011


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


"It always comes down to little things once the competition steps up."

Friday, September 16, 2011


Greatness is made in empty stadiums. It's revealed in full stadiums.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Each and every off-season workout, you have a choice to make. You can choose to work hard or you can choose not to work hard. Not working hard is a choice. You are 100%in control of the effort you put forth. For this off-season to be as productive as possible, you need to choose to work hard all of the time!

You need to choose to have a strong ‘want to.’ I want to jump higher or I want to start on varsity next season. Most player’s ‘want to’ is just lip service. They say they want something but they don’t make the sacrifices necessary to make it happen.

Think your ‘want to’ is strong? Let’s say your goal is to gain 10 lbs. this off-season. If I weighed you on May 1st and told you on September 1st I would weigh you again, and if you were 10 lbs. heavier I would give you $1,000,000 cash, would you accept my offer? Of course you would! Think you would achieve your goal? I guarantee you would. You would be so focused and determined you would probably gain 15 lbs. Your ‘want to’ would be unstoppable!

To maximize your off-season you need to find a way to tap into your ‘want to’ with that type of conviction (even though there isn’t a million dollar prize involved).

Too often players’ ‘want to’ gets weakened by the little voice in their head that says…

"I don’t ‘want to’ work out today. I will get up extra shots tomorrow. I will lift weights tomorrow.”

If you let that little voice win, your ‘want to’ is weak. If you let that little voice win, you won’t be successful.

How strong is your ‘want to’?

Strengthening your ‘want to’ is not easy. It is OK if you need some help. In fact, I recommend you get some help. Find someone who pushes you to be the best you can be. Someone that holds you accountable. Someone that motivates you, inspires you, and encourages you. Someone that tells you what you need to hear; not what you want to hear. Someone that gives you energy. Someone who supports and strengthens your ‘want to’.

Do you have a person like this in your life?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Leaders can't get down

Good stuff from Husker player Brandon Kinnie. He has not had the start to his senior year that he had hoped and prepared for:

"I can't get down because I'm a leader on this team, a leader on this offense," he said. "If I get down, that'll bring a couple other people down, and that'll start a little epidemic, and I don't want to do that.

"That's selfish, and I'm nowhere near that

He said he'll remain humble and do "all the little things" to break out of his mini-slump.

"Adversity, the best way to face it is head on. I've got too much pride not to get better."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


"You must be smart enough to be able to practice on your own."

-Coach Don Meyer

Thursday, September 1, 2011

No "off" nights

Players need to know they may not "play well" one night, but they should never have an "off night". Never be "off" in focus, effort, energy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


To Have mentality .vs. To Be mentality
You work to be the best you can be and then the rest follows. It’s not To Have first. It’s To Be first. You shouldn’t work to have the cars, the money, the houses. Play to be the best you can be and the rest will follow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


"If the coaches tell me to do something that's going to help our team, then that's what I'm going to do," Eric Martin said. "That's why I play hard. I figure if you play hard, you're always helping your team no matter what."


A group may wear the same uniform or work in the same building, but that does not mean it's a team. They must give up the "me first" first!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Being Resilient

"History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats."
-B. C. Forbes

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Great article

Great article from SI about Trevor Bauer and his path to becoming an MLB 1st round pick.

Here are a few excerpts with a link to the entire article.

"Look, I'm not that big," says Bauer, who is 6'1", 185. "I'm not that strong. I'm not fast. I'm not explosive. I can't jump. I wasn't a natural-born athlete. I was made."

Bauer throws at least six days a week with baseballs, weighted balls or medicine balls. He long-tosses 380 feet, even before starts. He warms up for his outings with about 45 pitches in the bullpen, and during especially long innings when his team is at bat, he heads back to the pen for more work. On his first warmup toss between innings, he crow hops across the mound and unleashes a fastball more than 100 miles per hour.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Difference in winning teams and losing teams: losers stab your back. Winners have your back! In it "with" and "for" one another!


Failure can paralyze you or re-focus you. Everyone experiences failure--don't ever think it's just you. Refocus and move forward!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What do the great do in the off-season? WORK TO BECOME BETTER

The following comes from an article on LeBron James.

He's working out twice a day, trying to erase some of the sting that's still there after the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA finals.

"Right now I've just been focusing on being a better player, working on my game every single day," James said at a news conference before the AP interview. "Like I said, the Dallas Mavericks were a great team and they deserved to win that championship. And I'll just use that as motivation coming into this season."

He's also trying to deliver on his vow to be even better whenever the Heat resume play, saying he's been in Houston at times this offseason to learn post play from one of the game's all-time greats, former Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon.

"I look at what he was able to do throughout his career," James said. "Unbelievable talent. Multiple champion. Just to see how he was able to dominate in the low post, for me as an individual, I just try to look at some of the things I feel I need to get better at and hit home at it. Our team becomes better if I continue to get better and that's what it's about."

Read the entire article:

Friday, August 5, 2011


"One day during practice, a visitor observed legendary Coach (Paul "Bear") Bryant doing something that aroused his curiosity. From time to time during practice, the coach would reach into his pocket, pull out a crumbled little piece of paper, read it, and then put it back in his pocket. The visitor watched him do this several times during practice, and finally mustered up the courage to ask the coach what was written on the paper. Coach Bryant simply smiled, pulled out the paper, and let the visitor read it himself. It said: It's the itty bitty, teeny tiny things that get you beat."

In sports, the little things can be the difference between a sub par year and a championship season. In baseball, taking those five extra swings every day and taking those ten extra ground balls can be the difference between a good player and a great player. In life, doing the little things can also change our lives tremendously.

"If you take care of the little things, you never have one big thing to worry about." - Cal Ripken Jr.--

Planes crashing - teams crashing

from Bob Starkey

Those that know me best know that I'm deathly afraid of flying. That's right -- I've chosen a profession that takes to me through the airways on a regular basis! So last week I was reading a book, "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell and as my plane was taxing down the runway for takeoff I turned the page to a chapter titled "The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes."

Even I had to chuckle at the irony!

But it ended up being an amazing chapter that has thoughts and theories that translate to a team that may "crash" and some of the reasons. Here is some of what I learned from that chapter. My thoughts are in blue:

In a typical crash, for example, the weather is poor -- not terrible, necessarily, but bad enough that the pilot feels a little bit more stressed than usual (a little adversity usually is behind a team that "crashes" and it usually isn't as bad as the team crashing thinks).

In an overwhelming number of crashes, the plane ie behind schedule, so the pilots are hurrying (Coach Wooden -- "be quick but don't hurry").

In 52 percent of crashes, the pilot at the time of the accident has been awake for twelve hours or more, meaning that he is tired and not thinking sharply (teams that over train or are not fresh are possible "crash" victims).

And 44 percent of the time, the two pilots have never flown together before, so they're not comfortable with each other. Then the errors start -- and it's not just one error. The typical accident involves seven consecutive errors (how many times does a team fall apart -- not because of one turnover, but because of extended poor play and mental mistakes).

The kind of errors that cause plane crashes are invariably errors of teamwork and communication (I repeat "errors of teamwork and communication). One pilot knows something important and somehow doesn't tell the other something pilot. One pilot does something wrong, and the other pilot doesn't catch the error.

The whole flight-deck design is intended to be operated by two people, and that operation works best when you have one person checking the other, or both people willing to participate (know and executing your roles).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Postseason Attitude






Friday, July 8, 2011


Check out this link for more info:

Area Infromation and no hitter pics

Here is the link to the district bracket and district seeds.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Have you noticed the recurring theme?

Pointing fingers, making excuses, deflecting criticism, it’s all very much en vogue.

Call it the “LeBron Generation.” From the basketball player whom Scottie Pippen anointed “better than Jordan,” to Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, to our elected officials in Washington, everyone seems to have mastered the art of blaming their shortcomings on circumstance.

Evidently Ray Tanner’s South Carolina Gamecocks didn’t get the memo.

USC could have folded when two-thirds of their outfield went down within a week of each other this spring.

Left fielder Adam Matthews (a 23rd-round selection of the Baltimore Orioles) was lost on April 16 to what was described only as a “very serious hamstring injury.”

At the time of the injury, he was not expected to return this season.

On April 23, All-American center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (the 40th overall selection of the Boston Red Sox) tore tendons in his left wrist after landing awkwardly while diving for a fly ball.

The injury required surgery. Bradley’s season appeared to be finished.

“Win anyway,” demanded Tanner.

After losing to the sub-.500 Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC tournament, South Carolina—still without Bradley and Matthews—could have simply resigned to the notion that this just wasn’t their year.

“Battle,” insisted Tanner.

The Gamecocks could have thrown in the towel when Texas A&M jumped out to a four-run lead in their CWS opener.

Or, when Virginia loaded the bases vs. closer Matt Price in the 10th inning… or the 12th inning… or the 13th inning of Friday’s CWS semi-final. Or, when Florida loaded the bases with no outs vs. Price on Tuesday.

Instead, they “battled”—and won anyway.

So, when first baseman Christian Walker fractured his left wrist in his final at-bat during the Gamecocks’ win over Virginia Friday night, it should come as no surprise that “no one expected (him) to sit.”

Such was the explanation from Walker regarding his presence in the lineup on Wednesday.

Of course it was.

Jackie Bradley Jr. returned to the lineup in time for South Carolina’s Omaha opener vs. the Aggies.

Adam Matthews scored the winning run vs. Virginia on Friday.

Walker roped a double down the right field line in his first at-bat vs. the Gators on Monday.

Price and the Gamecocks escaped every single jam along the way, always coming up with the big pitch and the big play in the big moment.

South Carolina didn’t win their second consecutive national championship on Tuesday night because they were the most talented team in the country. They won because they refused to lose.

They won because they rejected any and all excuses. They won because they believed in the concept of team, and the old-school mantra of fighting for a championship.

In doing so, they have provided each of us with a battle cry worth rallying around.

“Win anyway.”


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Life lesson from Rocky

Jerry Rice Talks About "the Hill"


Friday, June 24, 2011

Attitude and upsets

"I think the final outcome of most football games is affected more by attitude then by talent. I once heard someone say that an upset is really in the mind of the favorite. If the favored team plays to the best of their ability, the underdog probably isn’t going to win. But if there’s an upset, it’s probably because the favorite didn’t have the right attitude. A team that has the right attitude and happens to be blessed with the greater talent and ability is not likely to be upset. As a football team, we have to understand that our thinking affects everything we do."

-From Jim Tressel's "Winners Manual"



" If you get caught up in things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect those things over which you have contol." - Advice to John Wooden from his father

You know it when you feel it. The momentum is shifting the other way. But remember -- that is just a thought. It does not have to be a self-fulfilling prophesy. Momentum is just a few poor actions that lead to a negative mental shift that in turn leads to more poor actions. You can turn it around because you can control your thoughts. If you want to stop momentum focus on positive thoughts, which will lead to positive actions. The old saying holds true that "the team that loses its poise, loses the game."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Being Perfect

Monday, June 13, 2011

TEAM sports

“Team Sports are really difficult things. Sometimes your team wins because of you, sometimes in spite of you, and sometimes its like you are not even there. That’s the reality of the team game. Then at one point in my career something wonderful happened I don’t know why or how but I came to understand what “team” meant. It meant that although I didn’t get a hit or make a great defensive play, I could impact the team in an incredible and consistent way. I learned I could impact my team by caring first and foremost about the team’s success and not my own. I don’t mean by rooting for us like a typical fan, fans are fickle. I mean care, really care about the team…about “us”. I became less selfish, less lazy, less sensitive to negative comments. When I gave up me, I became more. I became a captain, a leader, a better person and I came to understand that life is a team game…and you know what?…I’ve found most people aren’t team players. They don’t realize that life is the only game in town. Someone should tell them. It has made all the difference in the world to me. “ Don Mattingly/All Star first baseman


"You must be smart enough to be able to practice on your own."
-Coach Don Meyer

Pain of discipline vs pain of regret

“Most people want to avoid pain, and discipline is often painful. But we need to recognize that there are really two kinds of pain when it comes to our daily conduct. There’s the pain of self-discipline and the pain of regret. Many people avoid the pain of self-discipline because it’s the easy thing to do. What they may not realize is that the pain of self-discipline is momentary but the pay-off is long lasting.”-John Maxwell

Thursday, June 9, 2011

High Standards

"Set higher standards for you own performance than anyone around you, and it won't matter whether you have a tough boss or an easy one. It won't matter whether the competition is pushing you hard, because you'll be competing with yourself."
-Rick Pitino

Monday, June 6, 2011

I always want to get better

Five years ago, Tim Lincecum was on his way to earning Freshman of the Year honors at the University of Washington. Today, he's getting ready for his first season since winning the Cy Young Award in November of last year. Nicknamed "The Freak," the 5-foot-11, 174-pound Lincecum isn't resting on his laurels.

"I always want to get better," said Lincecum, who had a league-high 265 strikeouts last season for the Giants. "I come into this year, I'm not just sitting on my ass hoping everything's going to be all right because of last year. I've got to come out here and work and become better. That's what it takes to be a good major-league baseball player."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Forward Thinking

previously posted by Coach J.F. Cooley

Florida coach Billy Donovan is big on bringing in other players and coaches to talk to his team. A couple of years ago Bill Belicheck met with the team shortly before the SEC tournament. Florida was #1 in the country and Donovan wanted to make sure the team did not get full of themselves.

Belicheck showed them a video of the Breeders' Cup (which is a horse race) and paused the tape halfway through the race with the outcome still up in the air. He asked the team "Who will win? The horse with the most experienced jockey? The horse who has won the most money? The horse with the best odds prior to the race?" The team was puzzled, "No, it's the horse that runs the best race from here on out. You can't focus on prior accomplishments/failures, you must only foucs on the present and doing your best the next play."

Erstad's Respect for the Game- Intensity

Darin Erstad- New Husker head coach

There goes Darin Erstad, the roughest, toughest, grittiest player in the major leagues. Did you see what he did this time?

It's 2002. On a Tuesday night in April, Erstad runs face-first into an outfield wall chasing a fly ball. (He doesn't catch it.) The collision knocks him senseless, but he still gets the game-winning hit in the 10th inning.

Then, on Friday night, Erstad dives for a line drive. (He doesn't catch it.) His chin smacks the turf so hard that he spends the night in a hospital.

A teammate — an Anaheim Angels pitcher — walks into his hospital room late that night and scolds him. There isn't a player in baseball who, three nights after a potential concussion, would've dived head-first again.

“You don't need to be catching that ball,” Troy Percival recalls saying.

Erstad is woozy. His head throbs, but he rebuts.

“Uh-uh. Too much respect for the game. Too much respect for you. If I can catch it, I'm catching it.”

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why emphasize the bunt game?

In all of baseball, both professional and amateur, management and players do not place enough importance on the bunting game; consequently the players cannot execute this phase of the game. The end result of poor fundamentals is the player cannot bunt for base hits nor sacrifice at critical times to get runners into scoring position.

In failing to have a good bunting game players lose the other values of hitting that come from bunting concepts. The threat of the drag bunt keeps the flanks (third and first basemen) playing close to the hitter. This increases the hitter's advantage to drive the ball past them. In sacrifice bunt situations, the good bunters have the ability to slash hit from a bunting stance, once again taking advantage of the drawn-in infield. The ability to drag bunt, sacrifice bunt and slash hit from a bunting stance will increase every player's batting average at least 100 points. I did say 100 points! Coaches armed with a good bunting game have the weaponry to attack and score in adverse weather conditions, wind blowing in, cold and wet weather. The bunting game helps you create offense no matter what the occasion or condition.

Bunting in baseball is as important as blocking in football. In football if you can't block you won't move the football, you won't generate any offense, and you will lose. In baseball, there is a "ho-hum, don't ask ME to bunt" attitude.
In building a house you start with a good foundation. A coach must treat the bunting game as the foundation of hitting and offensive weaponry. There are many aspects of the bunting game, including the drag bunt, the threat of the drag to keep the flanks up, the sacrifice bunt, slash hitting from the sacrifice bunt stance, the safety squeeze and the suicide squeeze. All of these concepts place tremendous psychological pressure on the defense, which can cause havoc with the pitcher and can force errors by the opposing team.

Bill Madlock, former major league all-star, related that the year he won the National League batting championship by one percentage point, he was successful in 22 of 23 drag bunt attempts. This added quite a few points to his batting average. We can only guess how many other balls that he hit went by the drawn-in third baseman.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Prepare to meet the best

Great quote from Bob Knight on preparation:

“I’ve always felt you can beat average, mediocre teams in a lot of ways. You can only beat good teams with good, solid basketball. My whole concern with everything we do is how will it work against the best teams — not in most games against most teams but in the biggest games against the best teams.”-Bob Knight


The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights. --Muhammad Ali

"Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation."

Robert H. Schuller

Thursday, May 19, 2011


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

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


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 4, 2011


In a preseason goal meeting before the Chicago Bulls season Michael Jordan stated to his teammates:

“I have no individual goals. We play for one reason and that’s to win the title. Practice is more important than the games, and I will practice when I’m hurt, when 95 percent of the players in this league would sit out. I expect all of you to do the same thing. You will follow my lead.”

In terms of handling a defeat, Jordan said, “Accept a loss as a learning experience and never point fingers at your teammates.”

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cuts and Relays- TEAMWORK

How important are cuts and relays? Execution like this clinched a national championship. Great teamwork! Little things make a big difference.

2 reasons the Royals are struggling

Two reasons the Royals are getting beat
Wow, this looked familiar. OK, there are two things pitchers do that get them whacked (actually, there are probably quite a bit more than two, but that’s all we’ll talk about for now).

1.Pitching up

2.Pitching behind…and you’re seeing both on this road trip.

Pitching up is pretty simple: “Up” is about mid-thigh to just above the belt. The hitter sees (and has a great chance to hit) the side of the ball, and that means line drives. Any higher and the hitter still sees the side of the ball, but has a hard time hitting it.

The barrel of the bat is above the shoulder and descending, so it’s hard to stay on top (a term you’ll hear) of a ball up around the letters. When a pitcher needs a pop-up or strikeout with a runner on third and less than two down, he can go up (but he better not miss) to get the desired results. So the Royals pitchers are “up”, but not up so high they can’t be hit. When a pitcher is “down,” the hitter sees the top of the ball and is likely to hit the top half for a grounder. (Here’s looking at you, Fausto Carmona!)

And grounders tend to be outs or singles: One has to be right down the line for extra bases. That’s why teams like tall pitchers and obsess about pitching on a downward plane. (It’s also why, when baseball wanted to give offense a boost, it lowered the mound.)

As for pitching behind: Good pitchers throw strike one (the best pitch in baseball) and then work toward the corners. Each pitch getting harder to hit. Bad pitchers throw ball one and then have to work back toward the middle of the plate, each pitch getting easier to hit.

Jeff Francis got lit up in the first inning of Wednesday’s game. Here are the counts when the ball was put in play and the results:

1-2 out/2-0 single/1-0 single/3-1 single/1-2 single/3-1 double/1-0 out/1-1 single/2-1 single and 3-2 out. Notice any pattern? With the exception of the 1-2 single (A flare Travis Hafner muscled in) and the 1-1 single, all the hits came when Francis was behind and had to bite off a bit more of the plate.

But if you start grooving fastballs 0-0 to get ahead, won’t hitters jump on them? Well, they can try, but in one five-year study of Division I baseball, the batting average on the 0-0 count was .186.

The longer a hitter stands there, the more information he gets about velocity, movement and location. Forcing the hitter to swing the bat as early as possible is to the pitcher’s advantage, but a lot of them fall behind in the count while trying to make perfect pitches.

And force is the right word. Good pitchers don’t avoid contact, they don’t allow contact, they force contact. (That’s right out of the Mental ABCs of Pitching, a guide to the thought process of successful pitchers.)

Ned Yost thinks the Royals have gotten sloppy about pitching up: getting away with it at home in a big ballpark and paying for it on the road. Geez, I hope he’s right, they need to get away with* something* in this next home stand.

These next nine games will tell us a lot about this season.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How do you play the game?

George Brett's Last Out

How George Brett Wanted To Be Remembered:

As he neared retirement, Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett said, “In my last at bat, I would like to hit a ground ball to the second baseman and run it out as hard as I can, because that is the way I have played the game; that is who I am. That is what I want people to remember.”


Greg Maddux--Making Each Day A Masterpiece

Greg Maddux is the only pitcher in Major League Baseball history to win at least fifteen games for seventeen consecutive seasons. Re recalls some advice he once received from then-Cubs manager Tom Trebelhorn. "You know what the problem with players these days? Trebelhorn said. "They are always looking forward to something. They're never trying to do something today. They're always looking forward to the next off-day, the All-Star Break, the end of the season. They never stop and enjoy the day that's here."

Maddux says that he thought about that and saw that Trebelhorn had a point. In fact, Maddux realized that he had the same mind-set of looking only to the future and never enjoying the present moment. From that day forward, Maddux concluded, "I started enjoying each day...and really started loving the games from that day on."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Josh Hamilton on mechanics

Audio is not great but there are some great hitting points made in the video.

Can you focus and concentrate?

In an April 16, 2007 Sports Illustrated article titled "Second To One" by, Michael Farber, ace pitcher Roy Halladay discussed how he uses the concentration grid as a part of his mental preparation for pitching. He completes the grid twice on the day before he starts and once more on the day that he pitches.

The purpose of the exercise is to narrow the focus of a lively mind to nothing but the next number, which helps Halladay sharpen his concentration on nothing but the next pitch when he reaches the mound.

When Halladay began working the 10-square-by-10-square grid five years ago, he needed 17 to 20 minutes to finish. Now he has become so proficient that he sometimes amps up the distractions, turning on the TV or listening to songs that he likes. Halladay’s average time was reported to be around 3:30.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

12 simple thing you can do to be a good leader


1. Be the hardest worker at practice today.

Without fail, one of the quickest ways to impact a team is with your own work ethic. Choose to be one of the hardest workers on your team today. Not only does it set the tone for the work ethic of your program, it is also one of the best and quickest ways to enhance your leadership credibility with your teammates and coaches.

2. Be a spark of energy and enthusiasm today.

Let your passion for the sport shine through today. Spread a contagious energy and enthusiasm amongst your teammates. Think about how lucky you are to be able to play and compete. Remember back to when you were a young child and reconnect with the joy you played with back then. Make your sport fun again for yourself and your teammates.

3. Model mental toughness today.

Because your teammates will look to you under pressure, adversity, and stress, be sure to model mental toughness today. Bounce back quickly after errors to show your teammates how to respond to negative situations. Maintain your poise and optimism despite any mistakes you might make so that your teammates can trust and rely on you to get them through the tough times.

4. Connect with a teammate today.

Leadership is all about relationships. Invest the time to build and strengthen the relationships you have with each of your teammates. Inquire about their day, challenges, and goals. Make a special and ongoing effort to get to know every athlete on your team, not just your friends and classmates. The relationship building you do each day will pay off immeasurably down the road.

5. Compliment a teammate today.

Be on the lookout for teammates who are contributing to your team. Call out a teammate for making a hustle play, pushing through a weight workout, recovering quickly from a mistake, getting an A on an exam, etc. Praise the actions and attitudes you want to see repeated. As Mother Teresa once said, "Kind words are short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless."

6. Challenge a teammate today.

Challenge at least one of your teammates today. Positively push them and yourself to make the most of your workout. Make a friendly wager to see if they can be successful at least 4 out of 5 times in a drill. See if you both can improve your times in conditioning. Offer to stay after to help if there is anything they want to work on. Good leaders consistently invite, inspire, and sometimes implore others to greatness.

7. Support a teammate today.

Odds are, at least one of your teammates is struggling with something today - it could be a performance slump, a rocky romantic relationship, a disagreement with a coach, an unglamorous role, struggling with a class, or a sick family member. Good leaders are consistently on the lookout for teammates who might be struggling and are ready to offer an ear to listen, an encouraging word, a pat on the back, or a shoulder to cry on.

8. Constructively confront negativity, pessimism, and laziness today.

As a leader, have the courage to constructively confront the negativity, pessimism, and laziness that will crop up on your team from time to time. Instead of fueling the fire by joining in or silently standing by, be sure to refocus your teammates on solutions rather than dwelling on and complaining about the problems. Left unchecked, these problems can quickly grow to distract, divide, and destroy your team.

9. Build and bond your team today.

Team chemistry naturally ebbs and flows throughout the course of the season. Take the time to monitor and maintain your team's chemistry. Let your reserves and support staff know how much you appreciate them. Stay connected and current with each of the natural sub-groups on your team. Douse any brush fires that might be occurring and continually remind team members about your common goal and common bond.

10. Check in with your coach today.

Invest the time to check in with your coach today. Ask what you can do to best help the team this week. Find out what your coach wants to accomplish with today's practice. Also discuss if there is anything your coach is concerned about regarding your team. Discuss your collective insights on your team's chemistry, focus, and mindset. Work together to effectively co-lead your team.

11. Remind your team how today's work leads to tomorrow's dreams.

It's easy to get bogged down during your season with monotonous drills, tiring conditioning, and demanding workouts. Remind your teammates how all the quality work you do today gives you a distinct advantage over your opponents. Help them see and even get excited about how today's hard work is a long-term investment in your team's goals, rather than just a short-term hardship or sacrifice.

12. Represent yourself and team with class and pride today.

Leaders have the awesome privilege and responsibility of representing their teams. Take advantage of this opportunity by representing your team with class and pride today. Hold a door open for someone, sit in the front rows of class and actively engage in the discussion, say please and thank you, dress in respectful attire, etc. These tiny pushes represent you and your team with class and distinction. And they ultimately set you up for a lifetime of respect and success.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

PRACTICE...... the secret to getting to the top

Coach K on his USA basketball team that included LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, and many other great players:
“I never had one second of problem with any of them. They truly are professionals,” Krzyzewski said. “It’s the way they conduct themselves and practice. It’s also what they do when you’re not practicing.

People would be shocked at how hard they work away from practice early in the morning, after practice, late at night. They may have one or two workouts they do every day in addition to practice to keep themselves prepared.”

If you want to get to the top, you have to OUT WORK others.



I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot. Why? Because when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.

I realized that if I was going to achieve anything in life I had to be aggressive. I had to get out there and go for it. I don’t believe you can achieve anything by being passive. I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it’s an illusion to me.

That’s why my advice has always been to “think positive” and find fuel in any failure. Sometimes failure actually just gets you closer to where you want to be.

I think fear sometimes comes from a lack of focus or concentration especially in sports.

I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.

I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don’t do things halfheartedly. Because I know if I do, then I can expect halfhearted results. That’s why I approached practices the same way I approached games. You can’t turn it on and off like a faucet. I couldn’t dog it during practice and then, when I needed that extra push late in the game, expect it to be there.

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.

From: "I Can't Accept Not Trying" by Michael Jordan

Monday, April 18, 2011


"What carries people to the top? What makes them take risks, go the extra mile, and do whatever it takes to achieve their goals? It isn't talent. It's passion. Passion is more important than a plan. Passion creates fire. It provides fuel. I have yet to meet a passionate person who lacked energy. As long as the passion is there, it doesn't matter if they fail. It doesn't matter how many times they fall down. It doesn't matter if others are against them or if people say they cannot succeed. They keep going and make the most of whatever talent they possess. They are talent-plus people and do not stop until they succeed."

From "Talent Is Never Enough" by John Maxwell

Preparation and confidence

The following comes from "Mental Toughness: Baseball’s Winning Edge" by Karl Kuehl, John Kuehl, and Casey Tefertiller:
In the bullpen and between innings, Greg Maddux spends most of his time working out of the stretch. The toughest pitches during a game come from the stretch, and Maddux wants to be ready, both physically and mentally. Knowing that he can make his best pitches from the stretch in the bullpen builds a confidence that carries over into the game.

Practice is a time to build confidence.

Consistently doing it right in practice builds confidence that carries over into the game.

Being prepared also means being well conditioned. Added strength and stamina from workouts give an athlete confidence in his physical abilities to meet the challenges of competition.

It may sound almost circular, but confidence breeds success, and success leads to confidence. The trick is to use success to build a level of confidence.

A process of replay and pre-play enhances confidence. A player can replay past successes in his mind, recalling past successes that have led to his current level. The pre-play is the process of visualization, in which an athlete envisions every situation in his mind in order to prepare for what will actually occur on the field. Curt Schilling goes so far as to acquire his own personal computer program that plays his previous outings in order to help him prepare for upcoming games. In visualization, as we shall see, every thought should be positive.

Confidence does not always mean achievement—it means believing in the ability to overcome challenges and adversity. A confident player can fall into a slump and know that he will somehow find his way out rather than folding in despair.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


By DARREN EVERSON There are aces, closers, sluggers and Gold Glovers. And then there are the really important people in a ballclub: the glue guys.

“Glue” guys, in baseball parlance, are the players whose oft-overlooked performance quietly holds winning teams together—and without which, presumably, the team would fall apart. Statisticians don’t buy that they exist, but psychologists do. And players and managers swear by them.

“He’s the scrapper,” says Charlie Manuel, manager of the defending World Series-champion Philadelphia Phillies. “The guy who plays every day. Who gets big hits. Hustles. He’s the guy who, in his own way, whether it’s quiet or spoken or whatever, he leads.” Jason Bartlett is a glue guy. Before he joined the Rays last season, Tampa Bay had baseball’s worst record in 2007, due greatly to having the majors’ worst defense. Then Mr. Bartlett came over from the Twins and took over the shortstop position. The Rays’ defense became the best in baseball last season and they reached the World Series.

Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox’s knuckleball pitcher, is a glue guy. As Boston’s pitching staff has evolved over the past 15 years—with youngsters coming, veterans going and pricey additions like Daisuke Matsuzaka not always delivering—the dependable constant has been Mr. Wakefield, a first-time All-Star this year at 42 who has made at least 15 starts each season.

As baseball enters the second half of the season Thursday, the top contenders all have a glue guy or two whom they attribute part of their success to. With the Tigers, it’s All-Star third baseman Brandon Inge, who not only has a surprising 21 home runs but is also hitting .348 in close, late-game situations. With the Yankees, as usual, it’s shortstop Derek Jeter, who owns the highest on-base percentage among the American League’s starting shortstops despite being its oldest (35). And the Phillies insist slugger Ryan Howard is a glue guy—despite not fitting the tag’s small, scrappy stereotype—because he quietly never takes a day off.

“They’re the reliable guys,” says Braves president John Schuerholz, “who, in the toughest of circumstances, in the biggest of moments, deliver the goods.”

The legend of the glue guy is an extension of the age-old question in sports over whether natural “winners” exist—players who are greater than their statistics indicate, who win in part because of their force of will or ability to perform under pressure. Whether it’s with superstars who make clutch plays or unknowns who have a knack for being in the right place at the right time, fans and observers ascribe special talents to these players—often exaggerating their actual contributions.

Michael Jordan famously said in a 1997 Nike commercial that he’d missed 26 potential game-winning shots. “He’s probably been successful about 50 times,” then-Bulls coach Phil Jackson said at the time. But when Mr. Jordan retired from the Bulls in 1999—seven months after making his iconic shot to beat the Jazz for the championship—the total number of game-winning shots he’d hit was 25.

Skeptical about whether winners exist, statistician Scott Berry of Berry Consultants studied the matter in 2005. Taking the statistics of more than 14,000 players who had played in Major League Baseball, he created a formula to find the ultimate winner: the player whose teams exceeded their win-loss expectations the most when he happened to be on them. The winners’ winner? Dennis Cook, a journeyman lefty reliever in the 1990s. Several players whom fans widely regard as winners and glue guys did fare well: Mr. Jeter, the Yankees shortstop, was in the 97th percentile, and David Wells, a noted big-game pitcher in the 1990s and 2000s, was in the 99th. But the presence of the relatively unknown Mr. Cook at the top, Mr. Berry says, proves his point. “Announcers refer to players who just have the will to win,” he says. “The fact that he comes out on top pokes fun at that notion.” But Mr. Cook does believe in glue. Although he admits he was lucky to bounce from one winner to the next—including the 1996 division-winning Rangers, the 1997 world-champion Marlins and the 2000 National League-winning Mets—Mr. Cook says his teams won in part because they invested in overlooked roles like middle relievers.

“A long man who eats up 100 innings a year, he saves the rest of your pitching staff,” he says. “Those guys don’t get recognized, but they’re every bit as important. Baseball people see that, but number-crunchers don’t.”

Psychologists say there is indeed a spill-over effect with glue guys that helps their teams win, one which goes beyond quantifiable contributions. John F. Murray, a sports psychologist in Palm Beach, Fla., says that teams are much like fraternities or high schools in that players spend a massive amount of time in close proximity to each other. Because of this, “they’re constantly influencing one another,” he says. “One of the keys to confidence is social support and modeling. If you have some outstanding role models who deal with pressure effectively, that glue is going to spill out of the bottle and help everyone.”

A huge hole in the reasoning of glue believers is that it’s impossible to know in retrospect how teams would have fared without their glue players. For example, the Rays won 58% of their games (11 of 19) earlier this season when Mr. Bartlett, their slick-fielding shortstop, was out with an injured ankle. They’ve won 54% overall. But the first-place Phillies’ abundance of glue, according to both them and their opponents, appears to be what’s put that franchise over the top—just a few years after it had a reputation for underachieving. “It’s not about just one guy,” says All-Star second baseman Chase Utley.

The Phillies’ most-talented players also happen to be their glue guys, including Mr. Utley, who has led the majors the past two years in times hit by pitch, and Mr. Howard, who has played in 362 of Philadelphia’s last 363 games. Unlike many left-handed hitters over the years, he even refused to take a day off against Randy Johnson once last season.

“He’s definitely a leader, just by keeping his mouth shut,” Mr. Manuel says. “I call him the Big Piece. As in the big piece of the puzzle.”