Monday, September 30, 2013

Learning How to Get Better

Little Man's fall baseball team has been stomping their competition.  They have won every game and the feeling of victory has been sweet.  Especially to five of the boys from our spring team.  Those five boys had endure so much and knew how it felt to be on the losing end.  Three of the boys on our fall team were on the winning end during the spring.  They had yet to experience that loss of being out powered.

This all changed over the weekend.  A tournament the boys were scheduled to play was cancelled.  One of our coaches knew of a AA tournament that we could play.  Our little team is a single A rec ball team.  We did not hand pick our boys.  AA teams hold try-outs and hand pick their teams.  Some of these teams have been playing together for years and move up each division together.  Our boys were in for a challenge!

Now, we were coming into another world of ball playing.  Most of our parents did not understand the world of tournament ball.  The stakes are higher and the playing more serious.  We felt that our little team needed a challenge and this would be it.  Their batting was hot, but work in the defense was needed.  We were definitely better defensively than other teams we had played in rec ball.  However, we needed to get better.  Our boys didn't understand this.  They had won their games and were satisfied.  The tournament would be our answer.

The team we played first was a newly formed AA team.  We figured we had a chance.  The boys played a good defensive game.  They made a few costly errors, but overall it was a good game.  The pitching machine was awful!  The spring needed to be replaced and it caused the ball to arc.  The pitches were all over the place and the ball speed was slow.  Our boys had a hard time adjusting.  We lost the game.  Our first ever loss this season.

We didn't have time to focus on a loss.  We played another game right after it.  The team we played was seasoned.  They had played all last year together and worked well with each other.  Their boys could hit and defend.  Our boys tried their best, but became frustrated and made errors.  They tried their hardest to win.  At the end of the game, the reality of two losses set in.

The coaches talked to the boys.  They praised them for their hard work and talked to them about what they needed to work on.  We would get to play the two teams again the next day.  The five boys from our spring team took the losing in stride.  For the three that had yet to experience a loss, they were a bit devastated that it happened.

The next day, we started out playing the team that had been all other teams.  Our boys were not as excited to play today.  They liked playing baseball, but they didn't like playing against the one that beat them.  Needless to say we loss that game.

I told Little Man and the team that the only way you ever get better at playing is to play someone better than you.  If you only want to win and only play teams that are not as good as you, then you are not getting better.  This weekend showed the boys what they are lacking.  It gives them a good foundation to build upon to get to the next level of play.

I think the boys learned a valuable lesson in the art of losing and will strive to improve their game.