Category Archives: Mental Game

What is Your Number?

Young players seem to dwell on their “positive” statistics…hits, batting average, home runs, runs batted in, wins on the mound, strike outs, and other numbers that reflect success. They also tend to practice and work on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. The “Klouter Way” is to find YOUR number; one that is reflective of something YOU must work on to improve your game and better help the team. It is not a negative number but one that needs work. Each player knows what facets of his/her game are lacking and need the work…practicing one’s weaknesses is the sign of a good athlete and one that wants to be the BEST that he/she can be!! A good example of a NUMBER is hitting the cutoff man only 50% of the time. The number 50% must improve to a higher number. This might not occur at once and in fact, it may even go lower. It does not matter!! Focus on your number and improve it!

When you do reach your number then improve on it. Do not be satisfied with improvement but work to be perfect. Perfection is not attainable but is well worth the effort. The “secret” is to keep working on YOUR number and you will improve if you practice and work on the skill(s) you wish to improve. This is the case not only in baseball but also in life…school, your job, relationships, and earning a living!!! A common failure of many athletes is that they reach their number and become satisfied with the new one…why not improve on it and see how good you can get!! The challenge of life is to not “leave anything in your tank” and try to be the BEST you can be at everything you undertake. It does take work and the “secret of success” is hard work and what you will do to succeed!!!!

What is YOUR Number????????????

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Another Kind of Number!!

Each Klouter wears a number on the back of their uniform. This is YOUR “other” number. What does it signify? Why do players wear numbers? Why did you choose the number you wear as a Klouter?
Your Klouter written assignment is to answer the above questions AND research your number. How is your number important in the history of baseball? How is it important in history in general and in your daily life? What Hall of Famers have worn your number? What other baseball players have worn it? What other great athletes have worn it? Tell us about YOUR number!! It is due at the next meeting.

REPUTATION

The word Reputation refers to how other people regard you and what you are. It is the opinion of others as to your character, your qualities, and what you do and how you do it! Each person evaluates other people as to how they act, how they make decisions, and how they are as a person. Sometimes a reputation can be for a single quality a person has; examples: A youth may have a reputation as a good listener or good ball player or as a thief or liar! It is very important that you have a good reputation, one that people admire and look up to. YOU control YOUR reputation, and whether it is good or bad. Think before you act or speak, as others are watching and listening!!!

  1. What do you think your reputation is with others?
  2. Do you know anyone with a BAD reputation? What is their reputation? Without naming names, is the reputation true?
  3. What would you like to be your reputation?

As a ball player?

As a student?

As a person?

Remember: You are GIVEN your name, BUT, you MAKE your reputation!!

54 Reasons Why Baseball is the “Coolest” Sport!

Baseball, America’s Pastime, has always had the lure of its endless game ethos and players who were bigger than life. Coupled with the fact that it is unique in so many ways, especially in that when you are on offense the defense has the ball, and is genuinely a true American sport, substantiates its everlasting popularity. It is the “coolest” of all the sports and here is why:

1. Home is where everyone wants to end up!
2. Wrigley Field
3. An unassisted triple play
4. The reverse K..strikeout looking!
5. Creative and colorful(and sometimes profane) nicknames.
6. “Double knocks”
7. The Eephus pitch
8. Moe Berg
9. Hitting for the “cycle”.
10. The intentional and “un”intentional intentional pass.
11. The infield fly rule.
12. Yogi-isms!!!!
13. The Curse of the Bambino
14. The Cardinals’ logo
15. The *!!
16. A “game of inches”!
17. .400
18. Little League
19. Twenty-five ways to first base..yep, 25!
20. Vin Scully
21. The Subway Series
22. 1/8
23. Get to wear a cup and body armor!
24. The Green Monster
25. The “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”!
26. Inside-the-parkers
27. Sandlot, the Movie…and the game!
28. THE CATCH!!!
29. Junior Baseball, THE magazine!
30. “Hit it Here” signs
31. The Alous
32. Da Bums and “Wait until next year”…1956, next year!
33. Ball park franks and mustard
34. Syd Finch
35. Satchel Paige
36. “Whose on First?”
37. The Gas House Gang
38. The Sultan of the Swat
39. The Natural
40. Topps baseball cards, especially ones prior to 1989!
41. The STREAK!
42. “Chin Music”!!!
43. The Indianapolis Clowns and barnstorming
44. “Web gems”
45. The 7th inning stretch
46. Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma “Buster” McLish
47. Scooter, PeeWee, Duke, The Mick, Say Hey!, Joltin’ Joe, Jackie
48. Roberto Clemente
49. FDR’s “Green Light” Letter
50. Tinker, Evers, to Chance!!!
51. Stealing home
52. The College World Series
53. The Pride of the Yankees
54. And, of course, the next season…………………………………….!!!!!!

Like the game, the list could go on and on, BUT that would not be “cool”! GAGPTH!

The Value of Baseball

A Simple Essay

Having gone to college “way too long”, living over six decades, and believing that baseball is the truly only real educational game/sport, I deem it time to declare officially that “Baseball is life”(or vice versa). There is NO doubt that baseball is the national pastime and a very FUN game to play. More importantly, it allows everyone, especially young players, to learn many of “life’s lessons” in a fun, active, and outdoors environment. Parents and coaches should facilitate the learning of the game with empowerment the goal rather than enabling or just to try winning the game. The achievement proxy syndrome(living through one’s kids) should be avoided at ALL costs! All players should be able to experience significant “growing pains” by participating and watching baseball, the game. Moreover, the game of baseball creates a generational value as it does change periodically(players, teams, equipment, etc) and this encourages parents, grandparents, and their children to engage in lively “discussions” as to which era, player, team, etc. was the best of all time!

The intrinsic value of baseball and its preparation for a productive life begins with tee ball and proceeds through vicarious playing later in life. As a youngster, one learns, hopefully, to “play fair”, how to cooperate with others, self-discipline, a good solid work ethic, how to relate and deal with other races and types of people, to live with intention, to learn to deal with results(good or bad), not to quit no matter what, and of course, that the umpire IS always right!! These “lessons” are invaluable in developing good marital, parental, and societal skills, and are generally applicable in everyday living. Baseball and life are cooperative ventures that are predicated on creating positive relationships and perpetuating the great American way

Baseball and life are heterogeneous and demand the understanding of all types of people, and necessitate “moving your cheese” within an organized societal structure. Without the ability or patience to change or adapt within our community leaves one “hitting below the Mendoza Line”, and with little self-esteem or personal success. It is imperative that each person plays by the rules and learns the over riding precept that we are ALL on the same team but as individuals, we have an obligation to work together, be accountable and responsible for our actions, while at the same time developing our own personality, career, and individuality. No can do? Hence, you are out in both baseball and life…

Baseball and life both require proper preparation and hard work in order to be a success. Moreover, one needs to “get a good pitch to hit” after the preparation/practice and the real skill, or trick, is to determine which opportunity will be the most satisfying in its rewards. In baseball one has to choose the pitch to hit and in life one must travel through the rites of passage and find a path to success. Neither is easy nor has a secret to success, but both require hard work, perseverance, passion, and practice. Even if a person does “stick to his/her guns”, does everything correctly, it does not guarantee nor insure success as “baseball is not fair and neither is life”!!

“Baseball is a lot like life. The line drives are caught and squibblers go for base hits. It’s an unfair game.”  Rod Kanehl

Fear of Being Hit by the Ball

The two biggest fears in baseball for young players are getting hit by the baseball and failing in front of a group of people. The latter of the two is the key to learning how to play the game, in that baseball is a game of failure and one must learn how to deal with it in order to be successful. Being hit by the ball is a fear that requires learning the proper mechanics to avoid being hit. The key is to remind the player that, “You are bigger than the ball!”!

There is no question that if you are hit by a thrown/pitched ball, it will hurt or sting, but generally just for a few minutes or so. NO player, including Major Leaguers, want to be hit by the ball(or pegged), but it is part of the game. One must overcome this fear and learn the proper way to avoid getting hit! Being afraid of the ball will reduce confidence, affect the development of a proper stance/swing, and not allow the play to enjoy the game.

The first and most important thing to remember as a batter, is to keep your eyes on the ball at ALL times. A batter must learn to focus on the ball and to not think, but react to it! Proper training and preparation will teach a player to focus on the ball and “track it”, allowing his/her hitting mechanics to successfully swing. A “full head equals an empty bat”: in other words, if you are thinking as a batter you will be too slow and not hit the ball!

Preparation and repetition are the keys to learning any skill set/mechanics. A player must be prepared in the batter’s box to avoid being hit by the ball. A player must not jump out of the box; in fact it is recommended that the batter get up close to the plate and learn how to properly avoid being hit by the ball. Jumping out of the way or stepping out of the box will adversely affect the hitter in that they will always be on their back heels, and not be able to take a good solid swing. Moreover, the tendency will be to lose confidence and over-think the situation rather than on “seeing and hitting” the ball! If the ball is headed directly at the batter, he/she should turn away from the ball(head and shoulders) with the bat, so that that the head, upper body and bat, are down and away from the flight of the ball; this will put the upper half and bat parallel to the ground. Being in this position creates a smaller target and exposes only the fanny and lower part of the body. These parts of the body are rarely injured by a pitched ball and the player will have “taken one for the team” and get a “free pass” to first base. “Bailing out” or leaving the box is a common deterrent to learning how to hit and with practice/repetition may be overcome.

Some drills to eliminate the fear of the ball:

  1. Using tennis ball, throw balls at the batter and have he/she work on the proper mechanic of avoidance. As they begin to overcome the fear, gradually use “softie” balls and eventually real baseballs.
  2. Place the player behind a fence and while you are on the other side, throw balls at them at full speed. Start slowly and gradually increase the speed. After several reps, do the same thing without the fence using tennis balls and “softies”.
  3. Throw balls to and at the batter, mixing them up so they can practice the proper mechanics explained above.

There is no question that a player may be injured by a thrown/pitched ball. Teaching the proper mechanics and mental approach will overcome the fear of the ball and allow the player to enjoy the game!!

GAGPTH!!