If you're thinking of coaching Pee-Wee Baseball...
It's dang near spring, and I imagine some of you out there have young kids who want to play baseball, and you are considering coaching.
When my son was little and I was skinny, I coached Pee-Wee Baseball. I'd like to pass along some tips, in case you are considering coaching.
They say coaching peewee baseball is like herding chickens. That's true, except for the fact that when you're herding chickens, you never have to try to convince ten of them to stand still in a field for 30 minutes.
In truth, coaching peewee baseball is probably closer to leading the Hyperactive Chicken Precision Marching Troupe.
The joy and the challenge of coaching peewee baseball, of course, come from the peewees playing it. Coaching kids this young is an interesting psychological trial. You never know what they'll latch on to.
For example, I remember seeing a kid on another team early in the season who let a bad pitch go by him once. Someone on the coaching staff made the mistake of telling the kid he had a "good eye!" for not swinging at the errant pitch. From then on, the kid watched every ball go by and wouldn't have swung if they had pitched him a beach ball underhand. He may not have known how to hit very well, but he knew that he knew how to watch a ball go by and by God he was going to go with his strength.
Then there are the distractions. Professional athletes have to deal with distractions such as contract negotiations, gun laws, etc. A five-year-old athlete has distractions too. Like planes. And kites. And birds. And the game being played over on the other field. And what ever that is up his nose. And, the most devastating, most vexatious distraction of them all: dirt.
It's weird. It's primal. Kids on a baseball field are compelled to play in dirt like dogs are compelled to roll in dog poop.
Using his foot, or squatting down to dirt level, the peewee baseball player will draw lines in the dirt. He'll draw circles. He'll draw squares in circles with a line through them. He'll pick up a handful of dirt and pour it slowly into the other hand, like a farmer sifting his soil before the planting season. He'll throw dirt into the air. He'll throw dirt at the other team's third base coach. He'll pour the dirt on his head, put his hat on over it, then look around with an expression on his face like "now that's a good use of dirt!"
Then, when I say, "What are you doing?" he'll look at me like it was the dumbest question since Flounder asked the guys if they were playing cards.
Coaching pee-wees can be a challenge. I'm not saying don't do it. I'm just saying, go in with your eyes open and your patience ready...
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