Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tiny Tikes Teeball

I feel like I'm in that Strongbad email where he dusts off his computer screen and shoos the cockroach away. I'd like to give a shout out to Deb for encouraging me to get back on the proverbial blog horse - considering I am now assistant coaching teeball and it's hilarious.

My dad asked me to assistant coach my little brother's team - not telling me that he'd be gone most Thursdays at institute. But I was still down, even after I realized I'd be alone half the games.

The first practice pretty much rocked - not only did it seem we had a really young team, it started hailing about an hour into it. Micah looked up and said, "Ow!" So smart in so many ways, yet looks up in the stinging hailstorm. I will never understand the way that mind works under that red hair.

This is only the beginning of many, many good times I've had on those fields.

Let me tell you the number one thing you need when you're coaching teeball - energy, energy and more energy. If we're batting it's, "Does everyone have a helmet who's batting?" "Is everyone in a safe place so they won't be hit by the bat and/or the ball?" "Who's up to bat now?" "Good job! You almost hit the ball!" "Good job! You hit the ball! Drop the bat and run to first! Run to first! Run to first!" This is especially important for one of my players, who understands how to get the ball, but doesn't understand that this doesn't pertain to right after she bats.

Then, after batting it's fielding, which means I have to get them all out of helmets and into mitts and out on the field. Ah, repetition. "Green! Time to go out on the field! Out on the field! Out on the field!" I feel like a broken Speak 'N Spell. Then, it's keeping everyone in their places and getting them to look for where the ball is going. Some kids just get it, some kids don't, and some kids just don't care. It's fascinating trying to figure out which it is for each child. "Pay attention green!"

I've found a good way to keep the kids from piling on each other when they're all trying to get the ball is to say the name of the first person to get to the ball and say, "Ashley has the ball" over and over, until they let them alone.

One of the hard parts about teeball is that nothing really matters - there aren't any points, outs or real innings, so nothing that any of the kids do really matters. This means it's hard to keep them focused and teach them the basics of baseball when there aren't immediately obvious consequences to their actions. No one wants to be on any other base or area but first because nothing happens beyond that point. We really emphasize throwing it to first, rather than the lead runner. I remember learning to throw it to the base with the lead runner my first year of softball and thinking, "Really?"

Another great time was during pictures - it was a Thursday, which meant I was flying solo. Oy - I was really grateful for the parents to help me keep them in order from shortest to tallest while I tried to figure out just exactly where we were supposed to be going. Plus, I totally didn't think about it and had treats handed out after the game, which was consequently before pictures. Crackles.

Getting the kids to understand what the photographer wanted was...okay. Again, some got it, some didn't. But they were all adorable in their pics. I was in the group pic and complimentary pic with my "child," since my dad wasn't there to take it.

Weird. Did I really just do a whole post about teeball? Welcome back.


Mandi said...

This. Is. Awesome. That is all.

anjuli said...

Coolness. Let me know when a game is and I'll come watch the adorable red headed child play. And the awesome assistant coach. And pictures. We need pictures. :) (Karen)

Jen said...

That sounds way frun...but I think I'm glad it's you and not me coaching. And may I second the picture motion.

Belacani Deb said...

YES!!!! Amy's back and better than ever! Tee-ball...I never would have thought that'd be the post I was so desperate to read, and yet, I find myself smiling in a way I wasn't before. Thanks for the post Amy! GO MICAH!!!