Poor weather practices
I remember playing a AA game way back in 1992 in Huntsville, AL. It was early April and it was very cold in Huntsville. The temperature was in the mid-40’s around game time. After spending a month in spring training in warm
temperatures, that series in Huntsville was not a picnic.
I remember seeing teammates from the Dominican, Venezuela, Florida, Texas, and California huddled in the dugout wearing everything they could find to stay warm. They were not used to that weather and wanted nothing to do with it. I also remember our pitching coach coming to me and saying “You’re first out of the pen today.” My response was something like “awesome.” It took him back a bit. He said “The cold doesn’t bother you?” I said “Nope. This weather was about half my college season in Pennsylvania. I’ll be fine.”
And I was more than fine. I pitched several strong innings. I may have even got the win.
Here’s my point …
Playing in bad weather is much more mental than physical. If you are a player then you will need to turn whatever weather you face into a positive. If you are a coach then be very careful of how you treat it as well.
In bad weather, do you typically send players home or just practice indoors? If so, you may be inadvertently telling your players that “we can’t possibly play well in bad weather.” Change you view. Create a mantra like “When poor weather comes, we shine!” or “The worse the weather is the better we get.” Say it over and over and do not tolerate complaints about the weather.
One year when I played in the California League, the manager of Palm Springs fined players $25 every time they said the word “hot.” The message … “you are going to play in the summer desert heat and you will play well. Period.“
Now, I’m not saying that you should be outside chucking the ball around in a 10 degree wind chill with flurries. You need to use some common sense. What I am saying is that if your players will face less than ideal weather come game time, they better have spent time in those conditions in practice.
Most teams want nothing to do with bad weather baseball. Don’t be like most teams. Own it!
Tomorrow’s post: Anatomy of a pitch