NFCC class day two

Gotta make this a quick one tonight. It’s after 11:30 PM and I have to be up and in class again tomorrow at 8:00 AM. But it was worth it — Rich and I had dinner with a high school buddy I haven’t seen in 20+ years: Dave Rutkowski. We’ve kept in touch via e-mail, but since I was in the area we got together for some good Tex-Mex. It doesn’t hurt that he’s CFO of the company!

Anyway, this was another good class today. We talked about making up a lineup, and how to develop a game plan based on statistics. Now, that’s probably pretty useless to us travel coaches because most of the time we don’t have any idea how the opponent is doing, or even who the opponent is half the time. But it was still interesting to learn how it’s done.

We spent some valuable time on the mental side of hitting as well. Scott talked about Ken Ravizza’s book Heads Up Baseball: Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time and some of the principles in there, as well as some of his own principles. He seems like a very positive-focused coach. He also has a resume that crosses both softball and professional baseball so he has a wide range of reference and experience.

Jay Miller led a discussion about the DP and Flex. I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one in the class who finds that whole thing confusing. Pretty much everyone does. It’s one reason I rarely use it. (The other is I like the kids to hit for themselves since I think it’s the most fun part of the game.) He also showed us how you can essentially have two DPs in the game. Let’s just say it involves an illegal substitution and the fact that hardly anyone pays any attention to which defensive players are in the game. Even Carol and Scott seemed shocked to hear he does this. Given that his wife is Lacy Lee Baker, executive director of the NFCA and a former NCAA employee, it seems really surprising that he’d out and out flout the rules. But there you go.

After taking this class, I am beginning to see the value in pushing the envelope as far as when your baserunners leave the bag — in other words leave a little early. The general philosophy is you have two choices on a steal — be safe or be called for leaving early. I’ve always been against it on principle but maybe I’m being parochial about it. In any case, it’s gotten me thinking that our baserunners may be leaving late in an effort to be on time. It’s something to check on next chance we get.

There was more on baserunning and manufacturing runs. Much of it was a repeat of things I already knew, but good to hear them reinforced again. The game is changing so fast these days it’s good to make sure what you’re doing isn’t outdated.

They also do a good job of distinguishing between a play — something you call in a specific situation — and a philosophy, such as take two bases unless something holds you up. Knowing your philosophy going in, and making sure your players know it, helps cut down on some of the delays that lead to mistakes.

One more half day to go tomorrow. Then it’s fly back home, take the test, and earn my second star in the Master Coach program. Wonder if anyone has shovelled the snow off the driveway? I’m not counting on it unless they couldn’t get their cars out!

And oh, by the way. Today it was much colder. So much for the sweet Dallas weather. Tomorrow should be closer to 60 so maybe it’ll make for a nice drive to the airport.


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 January 11, 2009, in Coaching. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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