MLB Predictions: Take 2

Here are a few of my MLB predictions for the remainder of the season, as a Braves fan I hope I am wrong! AwardsAL MVP: Josh Hamilton, RangersAL CY YOUNG: Justin Verlander, TigersAL Comeback POY: Adam Dunn, White SoxAL ROY: Yu Darvish, RangersAL MOY: Buck Showalter, Orioles NL MVP: Joey Votto, RedsNL CY YOUNG: Matt Cain, GiantsNL Comeback POY: Buster Posey, GiantsNL ROY: Bryce Harper, NationalsNL MOY: Davey Johnson, NationalsHere’s a look at the Braves current roster vs. all-current former drafted Braves; I got the virtual team ratings from fantasysp.com according to fantasy numbers this season. It’s pretty interesting where the positional players rank. Right now the current Braves still have the edge. And finally… a little off topic, how about the up and down past month for Jason Heyward? Here’s hoping he finishes the year strong. J-Hey Sweet 16? a tale of two crazy streaks lol – twitter.com/gralton/status…— Josh Gralton (@gralton) June 23, 2012

Tweetin’ Times of Pro Sports

Twitter has undoubtedly blown up over the past year, especially in professional sports as a marketing tool and outlet for fans to connect with athletes off the field. Social media has become the marker of our generation; how far will will it go in sports? tattoos? team jersey-backs? legal names like @MettaWorldPeace or @OchoCinco? at this point nothing seems impossible- time will tell, but certainly it has become a way for the world to connect on a whole new level.

What I Know Now

A few things I’ve learned over the years that I wish I knew a long time ago; all these were things I did wrong at some point and is some of the basic info I would pass on to a new coach: Eliminate The Lectures This is especially true at the U6-U12 level, a great quote I heard from a coach once was, “If you can’t say it in 20 seconds, you probably don’t know what you’re talking about anyhow.” This is so true, many times I’ve tried to pep-talk a team for whatever reason not having a clear goal or statement to make in mind, while using soccer terminology that most of the kids didn’t understand. Make 1-2 CLEAR, UNDERSTANDABLE key points and be done. That’s all you will have their attention for, even the best players will tune you out if you ramble on forever; it’s not about you- it’s about them. I’ve learned that you should teach mostly by asking them. What did we do well? What can we improve upon? Why did you make this decision? etc. Let them be involved in the active conversation & learning process instead of sitting them down to hear you talk for 5 minutes, you will have no chance. Finally-No post-game mortem! Keep the post game talk short and sweet, emotions are so high for the kids and the coach that you won’t get anything across/do anything productive by reprimanding them or chewing them out, chances are they will have enough of that on the ride home anyway. Let the energy die down and say what you need to say at your next practice. Stop Teaching In-Game A big problem with the sport in the US is that youth coaches fail to realize that coaching soccer is not like coaching any other sport we play here. In basketball and football you can call timeouts and set-up plays, in baseball you can choose pitch selection, set up sacrifice bunts, send runners, etc. Soccer is the only sport that is primarily learned by the player FROM PLAYING. You teach during practice! The game isn’t the time to start trying to teach new things because by then you’re too late. Soccer players must constantly adapt to a rapidly changing environment to perform well- coaches that yell from the sidelines during a match, every play for every player- are essentially trying to control every action/result that is to occur, eliminating the player decision making process- hurting their development for the long term by producing robotic/non-confident skill set players that are have no idea what to do or how to react when those cues don’t come. Practice Productively It absolutely drives me crazy when I watch go out and observe a practice that has no particular structure what-so-ever. U6-U10 practices should be totally involving for every kid out there; every kid needs a ball at their feet and working the entire time, 80-90% of these practices should be entirely focused on DRIBBLING using engaging & fun skill games instead of boring, mundane drills. If you waste your limited practices by doing a bunch of drills where you line the kids up in one line, pass them the ball in front of the goal and they run in and shoot it… you might as well stay at home. How many times do you see a player in a game get the ball right in front of the goal unopposed where they are able to run in and shoot it? almost never. Bottom line just let the kids play, so often do I see coaches running drills focused on concepts that have no benefit or transition into the actual game. If you’re unsure how a player will use the learned skills in a match then you probably need to rethink teaching it. If all else fails just let them scrimmage, parents may not like it but if you have no idea what you’re doing then default to the game- it has always and will always be the best teacher!

Motivation

“If you really put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.” It’s so true in life that no matter what you do, someone will always be there to doubt and belittle you; most of surveys I get back, 9/10 will be positive, but the 1 that’s not, the one that says “your not good at your job, your not a good coach, your doing things wrong,” etc. THAT is the fuel to my fire, my motivation, its keeps me sharp and keeps me driving to bigger and better things- I have learned to understand that at an early age; no matter what you do, no matter how good you are or ever will become- that someone out there will ALWAYS put you down or think you can’t do it… ALWAYS. No matter what, nothing worth having or striving for comes easy. The best individuals of a particular craft- the elite, the BEST in the world, have the ability to push all of that aside, do their best and succeed ANYWAY. I feel like that more than any other variable- seperates those that are successful and those that are not.