With images and stories coming out of Red Sox spring training and temperatures occasionally cracking 40 degrees, baseball fans young and old cannot help but have hope for the coming season.
We've all endured an unbelievable amount of snowfall over the past two months. The snow is the "gift" that keeps on giving with any number of associated consequences from school cancelations, ice dam related leaks, massive potholes, and blown tires to name but a few.
I want to highlight one potential unintended consequence that could emerge this spring that is of great concern to me and should be to all baseball parents and coaches. With weather likely compressing schedules, we need to keep in mind the arm health of our young players. There are many players who play on multiple teams each spring between Little League and AAU. Every year this puts a burden on young arms if not managed closely through communication between parents/players/coaches.
This spring both organizations will look to maintain as normal a schedule as possible in terms of number of games. This will likely mean more baseball in a more concentrated window of time. With roster sizes unlikely to expand, this puts more young arms at risk this year than ever before.
If you are a parent of a child playing on multiple teams, you are that child's agent/advocate. You are their primary protector.
Unfortunately, too many coaches get wrapped up in winning and losing and lose sight of their role in maintaining your youngsters health. They'll ask the kid: "How do you feel? Can you go today?"
Your kid, being a competitor who doesn't want to let his team down will likely say: "Yes coach!"
Little League International has mandated rules regarding required rest based on the number of pitches thrown. We track that information every game. Unfortunately, that visibility is limited to the Little League team. Your volunteer Little League coach doesn't have visibility to what your child is doing on any other team they play for. Only you and your kid will know that which is where communication comes in.
I implore you to keep track of your child's pitch count (as well as innings caught behind the plate where applicable) and communicate with both your Little League coach and any other coach they may play for.
It would be truly tragic if the unintended consequence of Snow-mageddon was to have an echoing ARM-mageddon that sidelines youngsters due to overuse this spring.
One of the most frequently asked questions each year surrounds buying bats. Little League International has finally come out with a mobile friendly resource for bat shoppers so that you can check the bat from your smart phone right in the store before you buy!
Westwood Little League -- Mission and Volunteer Opportunities
Westwood Little League is committed to providing a safe, competitive environment promoting the enjoyment, appreciation and understanding of the game of baseball. Our primary focus is on instructing the fundamentals of the game - rules, mechanics, and basic strategy. We are 100% reliant on parent volunteers to ensure the accomplishment of these goals each season.
Baseball helps instill values of teamwork, sportsmanship, hard work and respect. WLL seeks to develop coaches who are knowledgeable, positive and encouraging teachers of the game. Through our partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance and other means, WLL provides coaches with resources and strategies for keeping the game fun and competitive, with an emphasis on youth development prioritized over winning/losing.
We encourage community participation and are always seeking new energetic people to join us by giving of their time, talents, and energy to help us continuously improve the Little League experience. If you would like to get involved, please contact any of our board members. Contact information is available under the CONTACTS tab to the left. Thank you to all our current volunteers and all of our generous sponsors. WLL is able to accomplish is mission only through the dedication and generosity of its volunteers and sponsors. Thank you as well to all families participating in the program!
Westwood Little League and the Williamsport Tournament
Little League World Series 2013
Little League International hosts a tournament of 12 & 11 year olds each summer to crown a true World Champion. The tournament culminates in Williamsport, PA with the arrival of 8 International Region champions and 8 U.S. Regional Champions.
The tournament begins in late June/early July with teams from some 8,000 Little League programs from across the globe competing starting with District Level play. There are 16 Districts in the state of Massachusetts. Westwood competes in District 11. Little League International maintains detailed information about the Tournament at this link and WLL maintains a Williamsport link on the left about Westwood's participation. The tournament provides a terrific opportunity for all involved with Little League including players, coaches and volunteers to demonstrate the core values of the Little League program.
Little League International does not dictate how local leagues should form a "Williamsport team" -- but Little League International does strongly discourage having a process that relies only on a small group of people. Instead, Little League International encourages local leagues to select a tournament team democratically, with the players themselves involved in the process. Aware of this strong recommendation from Little League International, Westwood Little League has acted this year to democratize the process of team selection. The details of the new process approved by the WLL Board this year are set forth under the Williamsport tab on the left. The process includes a major role for player input as well as the input of head and assistant coaches. Please direct any questions or comments about the process to WLL President Rob Gotti. WLL looks forward to implementing the new, improved process this year.
Westwood Little League and the Positive Coach Alliance
Westwood Little League Supports the Positive Coach Alliance
Positive Coaching Alliance is a national non-profit developing “Better Athletes, Better People” by working to provide all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience.
Since its 1998 launch at Stanford University by Founder and CEO Jim Thompson, PCA has impacted more than 5 million youth athletes. PCA reaches youth and high school sport leaders, coaches, athletes, parents, and officials through partnerships with schools and youth sports organizations nationwide that comprise live workshops, online courses , books , and e-communications, providing free Tips and Tools.
At the center of PCA’s work are three models:
The Double-Goal Coach®, who strives to win while also pursuing the more-important goal of life lessons through sports;
The Second-Goal Parent®, who concentrates on life lessons, while letting coaches and athletes focus on competing; and
The Triple-Impact Competitor®, who strives to impact sport on three levels by improving oneself, teammates and the game as a whole.
PCA’s allies include a National Advisory Board of top athletes, coaches, academicians and business leaders; prominent national youth sports organizations; and corporations and foundations that support its work.
Westwood Little League provided two PCA led opportunities for parents and coaches in 2013. In 2014, PCA provided WLL’s board of directors a Leadership Seminar. All parents and coaches are encouraged to become familiar with PCA principles -- check out the PCA website!
Looking for an instructional book for baseball players ages 11 and up looking to add to their knowledge of the game? Changes in the Game explains the rule changes, field changes, and equipment changes, a player experiences while transitioning from Little League on to play on a regulation size baseball field past age 12. Written by Pete Henyan, a professional baseball player and coach, the book is specifically targeted for 11-14 year old ballplayers, parents and coaches. More information including ordering details can be found here.