Team USA’s take on the ITB

Stayed up way too late last night to watch the first medal round game for Team USA versus Japan. I didn’t get to bed until 2:00 AM, which was worth it then but a little rough this morning.

One thing I found interesting was the approach to the ITB that Coach Candrea took — mostly because it was similar in philosophy to what I’ve done in them (although not always with that level of success; have to be careful with that kind of comparison).

Of course, the conventional wisdom says the team on offense should bunt the runner on second to third, then take two shots at bringing her home. The Japanese team certainly followed it, at least in the bottom of the eighth when the score was tied.

Team USA, however, had a different plan. Rather than expend the out and play for one run, Coach Candrea elected to keep the extra out and play for more than one run. After not having it work out in the eighth, he put his faith in the top of the order and had them swing away. He wound up with four runs instead of one, which in a game that had gone eight innings with a 0-0 score was a huge mountain to climb.

No question about it — you have to have the bats to do it. Not to mention the nerve, especially if it doesn’t work since you’ll be facing a host of fans and parents who will want to know why you didn’t play it safe and bunt. But if you can pull it off, it’s quite a feat.

The point is don’t always get yourself stuck in the rut or feel you always have to follow the “book.” No guts, no glory.

NOTE: This post was edited for accuracy. I’d kind of let the eighth and ninth blend together. Told you I was tired!

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on August 21, 2008, in Coaching, Hitting, Team offense. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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