Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

Awareness Game #1

September 18, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, Mental Side

I live in Pennsylvania but a growing number of people are moving to our country’s 51st state – the State of Oblivion.  For a variety of reasons, people seem to be less aware of what is going on around them.  I think the cell phone is the biggest culprit.  Everyday in school, hundreds of teenagers pass me in the hallway with their nose buried in their phone.  Adults on the street aren’t much better.  There are some serious dangers with this trend especially for those worried about crime.  If a criminal is searching for unsuspecting prey, who do you

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Jeter’s awareness is what created this famous play.

suppose they are going to target?  A person who has their eyes up and scanning or someone who has their eyes on their phone?  The answer is obvious.

In baseball, we coaches wish our players would show more awareness on the field like these players …

  • A batter hits a ball down the right field line and stretches it into a double because he knew ahead of time the right fielder is left handed and will have more trouble getting the ball back into second base when compared to a righty.
  • A runner on second base takes off on contact on a line drive to center field with less than 2 outs. Because he was aware of where the center fielder was positioned before the pitch, he knows the outfielder will not be able to catch the ball in the air.  He takes off without having to look.
  • A runner choses to steal on a 1-2 pitch because the 0-1 pitch was a curve ball in the dirt.  After a waste pitch up high on the 0-2 pitch, the runner knows another curve ball in the dirt is coming.  Therefore, he breaks to second on the pitch.
  • After each pitch sign given by the catcher, a player notices the shortstop move a little to his right when the pitch is off-speed and a little to his left on fastballs.  When he bats, he now can figure out what pitch is coming.

We would all love our players to think like this but we struggle with how to get them to develop and practice this awareness.

Today’s post is Part 1 of three posts that will describe games that people can play to develop and practice their awareness.  The best thing about these games is that they are played off the field and can be applied to any age group.  They will help with their baseball awareness but more importantly they will help with general awareness throughout their lives.

The first game is one that I play with my young kids (ages 5, 7, and 9) almost every time we leave the house.

Awareness Game #1

For this game I ask them questions about the situations or places we just were.  If we walk out of a store and get into the car I might ask them a few of these types of questions:

  • What color was the cashier’s shirt?
  • What was the name (nametag) of the cashier?
  • Was the person behind us in line a girl or boy?
  • How many emergency exit signs were there?
  • Name one thing the person in front of us bought.

At this point my kids have caught on.  Now when we go into stores they are looking around trying to notice more stuff that I might ask about when we leave.  It helps that I give quarters out with correct answers!

My kids may not turn out to be great athletes but I sure as heck have an interest in getting them to improve their awareness in life.

Do your players a favor and start to do this with them.  Take the types of questions I provided and gear them to situations on the field to get them to see more of what is happening around them.  Point to a player on the bench and say “Without looking, tell me which outfielder is left handed?” or “which middle infielder drops his eyes after each pitch?”  Doing so keeps them in the game and also creates some good habits as well.

Tomorrow’s post:  Awareness Game #2

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