Hey Guys… Coach Dan here.
Coach Eric and I had lunch together today. Naturally, we talked alot about baseball – and each of you players. We were kicking around some thoughts about: “Is there anything we can do to gain an edge, or raise our game a notch?” Here’s what we both agreed on – and really want to impress upon each of you. The way you warm-up is generally the way you will play. And – our warm-up is generally loose (which we like), but also undisciplined (which we don’t like). We have tried, as your coaches, to give you guys the space to get in a comfort-zone and prepare your body and mind… your own way – with little “rules” governing how we warm-up. Well…
We still don’t want to make a bunch of rules. Life is full of rules – most of them are meaningless – and we don’t want to add to that list. But… here’s what we do want.
1) When you arrive – get in the cage and take good swings at good pitches, using a bat that will help you be ready to play. Have fun – but be serious. This is your opportunity to get ready to hit… really get ready.
2) After you hit in the cage – get a partner and throw. Start short and end with long-toss. You don’t need to throw curve balls, sliders, knuckle balls, fork balls, etc. You need to throw the ball straight and accurately. The object is to get your arm loose and ready. Pitchers especially… if you can’t throw a straight pitch for a strike 4 out of 5 times — then none of your other pitches are going to matter very much.
3) After you throw – take time to “be still” and focus. Don’t horse-play and be silly. Get your brain ready to play your butt off. Don’t waste energy and don’t distract teammates as they get ready.
4) Finally… it’s not that you have to move about as a single unit… but, as much as possible – hang together. You are a team.
What we have done for the last 5 or 6 games is wait until the second or third inning to begin taking the game really seriously… and by then, sometimes – it’s too late. Tonight, let’s start as a team before the game starts – and really and truly hit the ground running in the first inning – playing hard… holding nothing back… and playing with pride.
We ended the season ranked third in the division, yet I believe we are a legitimate “sleeper”. If we play our game – starting in the first inning – we can beat anybody in either division.
Tonight will be a test. Collins Hill is a good team… in my mind – quite possibly better than Dacula. The last time we played them, the game was over before we started. Tonight, let’s show up believing and knowing that we belong… and that they aren’t any better or deserving than we are. If we show-up scared or looking up to the other team as though they are awesome… then the game is over.
I don’t mean this pridefully – but hear this. Coach Jeff, Coach John, Coach Eric, and I… we are each as good or better at coaching than any other coach in the league. We aren’t coming to the games concerned about being out coached — or believing that we are a step behind the opposing coaches. Likewise – you players need to show-up with the same confidence and attitudes. It’s not cocky to know you are good – and that you should win, because you are good. It’s only cocky if you’re a jerk about it.
We are a team of 15 men. Tonight – let’s be 15 strong men — willing and ready to do our very best from beginning to end, and leave the results of those efforts to speak for themselves. If we do that – I believe we will be victorious… and that’s how I’m going to coach the game.
See you there.
(After you read this, call a buddy and encourage him to read it. I would like every player to read this before the game tonight.)
Category Archives: Class A
Hey Guys… Coach Dan here.
A year before I was born (1966), for those of you wondering when dirt was first created, the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta. The first regular season game for the Atlanta Braves was April 12, 1966 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. The stadium was sold out, but the Braves lost in the 13th inning 3-2.
One of baseball’s and the Atlanta Braves greatest fans to me would have to be my grandfather and we called him “Daddy Ralph,” a good southern paternal name. He loved the Braves’ and baseball. I never remember being in his house during baseball season when the Braves were not on TBS in his living room. I also remember him taking me to a few Braves games and doing the whole baseball thing that you do at the park. He even bought my first baseball glove to be used for rec baseball and it was a MacGregor “Hank Aaron – 715” fielders glove. I still have it!
I tell you all this because this will be the first year of Braves’ baseball for me without him. In June of 2007 at the age of 95 he left this world to live with the one who made the most impact on his life, JESUS. I am so glad he did. He was ready…his health was poor…and we just don’t live forever. Still, I’m going to miss him. He could tell you everything Bobby Cox and previous managers were doing wrong and he could tell you who that new kid was and how good he was going to be.
He loved the Hebron Angels too! He never got to see a game, but he got to hear about all of them and whenever we visited him he would say to Michael and Evan, “There’s my baseball players…” and he would hug all over them. Last year we bought him a Hebron Angels team t-shirt and I’ve never seen him prouder.
He believed in hard work and he encouraged dreamers, especially in his elder years. Here are a few things about life that I learned specifically from him.
Love God and give your life to Jesus.
Love your family and love other people. Give people respect and treat them with dignity even if they have experienced hard times, were less fortunate or made bad decisions that they regret.
Work hard for the man who hired you and make the wages be deserved.
Do good things for people when others aren’t looking.
These are just a few and sorry to be so long on this one, but had to share it.
If he were still around…I’d have him come to one of our games and let him tell us coaches what we’re doing wrong and listen to him talk about how great “ballplayers” you all are and are going to be. He would believe in you all and so do I.
Here is a note that I got from “Coach Skip” of South Gwinnett after our game Saturday night. I told you….Class Act! Check it out…
Everyone from players to parents talked about your team. You played the Titans, which might be the best team in the tournament, to a 2-0 game and from what I saw, you could have won it. Your team is bigger and it is athletic. You have a team that can go out and play competitively with just about anyone. That is all we all strive for. From there, you win games. Its early and they will learn from it. Our game was much closer than the score. You do have a great bunch of kids, that was obvious. The key is making improvements when you can, taking care of the boys, and creating something that feels bigger than any one player. And yes, you have done it right. To pray on the mound after the game with ya’ll is a pleasure and honor. The Lord has blessed us so much, it feels good to bring these boys together to praise him, and publically acknowledge him. That witness goes far beyond the confines of the field. Our prayer has always been that our son is influenced by Godly men. Thank you for that influence.
Have fun today. Let’s play again in the championship.
So, Angels…do you think those teams this weekend took notice of you guys? You better believe they did. Great Job!! Coach Dan, Coach Jeff, Coach John and I are having a blast! Don’t stop what your doing because you guys are the ones making this ride worth getting on!
I’m proud of you guys and love our team. Good stuff today…It’s only going to get better…never hang your head. If you win…look them straight in the eyes and say “Good game.” If you ever lose after giving all you had, look them straight in the eyes and say, “GOOD GAME.”
Having class and character takes work, but it is much more valuable than any baseball games we’ll ever play. Skip Argo, South Gwinnett coach respects us and knows we will be back for more…don’t forget that and by the way Coach Skip has class and character.