Tonight was the third game of the season for the baseball team I coach. I’m still not quite sure what to make of it all. Our schedule only allowed for one practice unless we want to hold some on our own (and find a place to hold them, since every park is full up with some sport or another). But the majority of our team hasn’t even played before.
For that matter, we’re not even really a team. We started the season with seven kids on our roster, and two dropped the first week (they never even came to practice, so it can’t have been me). So on a good day we field five kids. That’s actually an advantage in some ways. The other teams we’ve played have had all nine, and it’s chaos any time we get a hit as they all fight over who gets the ball. We usually have only one kid even in the vicinity.
Unfortunately our team really needs some help with the basics. There’s no time to work on it during the games, and while I’ve been calling an extra practice each week they’ve been poorly attended. It’s been my son and one other boy every week. That’s good for the other boy, as he gets some personal instruction, but there are other kids who need it as much or more who aren’t going to get much help.
The other coaches are great. At this age group (6-7) there’s little point in adding in a competitive element. It’s all about helping the kids learn. We help each other’s kids, turn a blind eye to the rules from time to time (not that they insist on many at this level–for example, everyone gets to run all the bases, even if they got out), and generally try to make it a learning experience as much as possible. It’s low stress.
I just wish there was more time to help the kids. There are still some who can’t hit the ball unless we bring out the tee. Some of them can’t throw hardly at all. And there’s not much I can do about it. We can’t stop the game while I have a quick ten-minute coaching session with someone who really needs it.
But we’re halfway through the season. They do make some slow progress from just playing every week, but they’d do so much better with some focused practice. Oh well. I can only provide the opportunity and hope someone takes me up on it. It wouldn’t bother me so much that almost no one comes to my practice sessions, except that I’m usually skipping one of my own kids’ games in order to make time.
I think part of the problem is that the experience we had last year in another city is still fresh on our minds. That program was better organized and better funded, and the expectation was that each team would have at least one full practice per week. Our kids developed very quickly in that program. Not so much in this one.
Oh well. Like most things in life you do the best you can and hope for the best. And take some small delight that nearly everyone on the team got a hit tonight. And that my son made all the outs that we got (but didn’t count for anything). As long as he’s having fun, then I should be happy. That’s why I volunteered in the first place.