In my earlier career, coaching 18+ year olds (pro/college), I had many equations for the players to use as reminders of the commitment and work it takes to be a winner. These were important, not just on the diamond, but also useful reminders to help them forge ahead and make their dreams come to fruition and to remember they were the masters of their destiny. When the Klouter organization was created I simplified these and created acronyms(the Klouter Way), adding one each year. After this past weekend’s games, I have decided to pull one “out of the past”:
or in words:
One Run equals a Loss, One tiny Change equals a Win!
Probably the toughest thing to do in life is to make changes in behavior, attitude, and/or how one plays the game(any game). The equation simply reminds us that in any loss”(not just games), one little tiny change can mean a complete reversal of fortune. Although we had a VERY successful tourney as an organization (2 titles and 2 runner ups) , we need to revisit the equation. ONE thing…a glove down earlier, a successful bunt, holding the ball rather than just throwing it, covering a base, waiting for YOUR pitch to hit, and all the other things that we know we should do…but do NOT!! Just stop a minute a think of one tiny thing YOU could have done to change the outcome, even in a win…it is that simple. Life is also that simple. Work hard to put yourself in a position to be successful, make adjustments, and VOILA! you are on your way to making dreams reality! The most common little thing is the way we approach hitting. Too many of us are still “married” to the loooooooooong swing. You must remove this from your mechanics as it will end your career faster than any other single skill set. Short, quick swings, using your core, are the cherished strokes of a good hitter. It is essential to adjust with two strikes (review your ”two strike hitting” sheet…again!) and make contact…that will not happen with a long swing. Work on it and make it a habit!!
Winning or losing a game is not the most important outcome of a competitive effort. The most important thing is the “takeaway”…what did we learn? Hopefully, each player will go back and think about the ONE tiny thing that he could have done and will DO IT in the next game/competition. If we do that, then we are true winners!! Also, the alleged incident regarding sportsmanship is probably the most important takeaway this tourney. Although it proved to be unfounded it is an important reminder that we must do the right thing and play with intensity but after the contest, we are good sports and gracious winners/losers!
Overall, our play was stellar…a change here or there and we would have had a perfect slate. Our pitching has vastly improved as has the defense in general. We still need to work on mechanics and skill sets with each player investing in working between games/tourneys on their weaknesses. Throwing each day, hitting off a tee, mirror drills, bunting mechanics, etal should be our practice goals! It is up to YOU..KWTP!
- Defensive MVP of the Tourney: Aiden A.(10U)..superlative play!
- The two plays of the Tourney: Wes G.’s throw(12U) to get a runner and the double play executed by the 12Us in the Championship game.
- Defenders: Tommy (TD) B., Will K., Mathias B., Zach H., Blaine S., Seth B., Jojo E., Jake B..
- Hitters: Chandler T., Seth B. and Aiden A….clutch. Ryan L., Tommy B., Cooper Y., Zach H., Davis F., Evan G..
- Pitchers: 11U staff: Gave up one(1) earned run in five games and had 3 shutouts and a one-hitter; 10U: Aiden D., Easton T., Seth B., Blaine S…8 runs(4 earned) in 5 games. 9U: Grant O., Tommy B., Will K., Taylor F.. 12U: Preston P., Trishan A..
- Home Runs: Zach H.(12U)-2, Ryan L.(11U), Wes G.(12U), Preston P.(12U), Dylan O.(11U), and Cole D.(11U).
- Triples: Cole D.(11U)-2,Spencer B.(9U), Parker C.(11U).
- Web Gems: Mathias B.(9U), Kincaid S.(12U), Aiden A.(10U)-several.
- 9-3 Club: Jake B.(11U), Logan P.(10U), Kemper M.(10U). 9-6: Jake B. 8-6: Steven W.(10U)
- Other: Clutch Hitter Aiden A.(10U) against Kennewick, Tommy B.(9U) 3 doubles in a game, Ben N.(12U) two doubles in a game. Jake B.(12U) and Evan M.(9U) won gold with other teams, hence, Klouters had a gold in every bracket..cool!
THINGS to WORK ON:
- Preparedness: Many players are just showing up. It is very important to keep in “baseball shape” until we are done with our season. We realize that other sports are beginning and you must work on these, BUT, you have a responsibility to your Klouter team and teammates to be ready for our games. Keep your arm in condition and work on all your skill sets to keep prepared for the next baseball tourney..KWTP!!
- Defense: As always: Need to begin moving to the ball as the pitcher winds up. TOO many of us wait til the ball is pitched and we are in BIG trouble. “Run through” the ball…that means do not stop and get it, but get it on the run and keep going as you are throwing it! USE TWO Hands to catch the ball. Cover your base! MUST GET BALL!!!
- Hitting: Still having problems with 2 strikes: Widen your stance, choke up, and short, quick swing….you have the info, practice the swing. MUST make contact!! Too many hitters are taking FULL swings when a short quick one will suffice.
- Bunt a strike and on a sacrifice, do not run til the ball is on the ground..it is a sacrifice!!
- Pitchers: Follow your pitches and release the ball in front of your eyes with a downward flick!! Cover home on WP/BP.
NOTE: The failure to bunt cost us in key situations: a player missed the bunt sign and others were too worried about getting on..that is not the goal in a sacrifice bunt..get it on the ground THEN run!! Also, with the bases loaded, put the pressure on the pitcher…take a pitch and let him give you your PITCH to hit!
ALL players need to work the on their fundamentals. Throw 3-5 times with proper mechanics and long toss…keep the arm ready to go for “Last Licks”. PLEASE do email us if you will not be here for the tourney!
Special thanks to the Austin family for the repeated loan of the tent for the Auction booth, to the Michael (10u) and Bolton(9u) families for masterful running of the K Kitchen for their teams (and all of us, really), to the Kunz and Akiyama families for tourney ice, to Addie and Maya (sisters of Klouters) for their very cheerful time commitment to the Auction Booth and to Sue W., the Edwards family and Amanda and Adam K. for setting up the Auction Booth on Saturday (a HUGE help to Carla).