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Should players try to steal signs from the other team?

I polled by Facebook page for coaching questions and got some great ones. Here are my answers:

Drew Piper: I was wondering about your feelings about stealing signs from other teams. It’s been in the news in the past few years. Do you support watching signs to steal them from the other team or is it an “unwritten rule” you don’t do that?? Just curious on your take.

Inge response: Awesome question!! Ok… this one is a double edged sword. As a player and a coach it’s our responsibility to disguise our signs, therefore it’s fair game to try to steal them. I promise you, everyone does it in the big leagues! On the flip side, it needs to be a subtle relay of the signs to your teammates. Don’t yell and scream it across the field to your guys. If you feel like the other team is getting your signs, simply calm down and switch the signs up…It helps to be prepared ahead of time that this could happen and make the necessary adjustments.

Jimmy Nevel: Best advice/tip for a 7 year old who loves to play, but doesn’t have much hand eye coordination, and struggles with Fielding and catching

Inge response: The most important thing is that they “love to play”. At 7 years old that is the only important factor. Everything else will eventually come as long as they enjoy the game.

Dennis Lake: What’s the most important thing to teach kids to get accuracy on their throws?

Inge response: Start with a fun game I do with young kids… take a stool outside somewhere and place a few cans in a stack on top of it. (Carnival style!! Ha!!) 2 things are then accomplished. 1- they learn to make adjustments to eventually hit the cans. 2- they gain confidence with every crush of the cans and it’s fun for them. From a dad/coach perspective… make sure the feet are in line with the target the proper way and the glove starts pointed at the target only to be replaced with the throwing hand at finish.

Rod Faulk: What is the best way to structure a practice to build skills but ensure the players enjoy it?

Inge response: There are infinite ways to accomplish this… first just remember what it was like to be a young man. No one wants to listen to a coach ramble on for hours, they want to play! With that in mind, start with fun warm ups that don’t feel like warm ups to them. For example… throwing touchdown passes to them one at a time. They will get baseball work in along with a great warm up. Mix in fun fundamentals by using the flat training gloves and make it a competition in some way. Wiffleball games are great for bonding and you’d be surprised how much they will gain in skills from this. Just keep it fresh, fun, and competitive. Be creative!

Taylor Cassidy: What is the best way to keep young players engaged in practices and games? Especially since today seems more like a job then when we were kids. How do we keep it fun? How do we help today’s parents remember that baseball is just a game and not life and death. Travel ball didn’t exist when we were young but parents act like their 12 year old is going pro tomorrow. Coaches and parents both are very secretive about where their child is playing and what team is forming next. It’s actually quite comical since we all know the percentage of kids that will actually progress to the next level. How do you explain all of this to your young players?

Inge Response: Fun fact: Taylor was my catcher back in the day when I pitched!! Hi buddy! This question is the most significant one for me. It’s the reason that I began taking over coaching for my own kids. There are so many people that get it all wrong in today’s game! Coaches are playing for trophies instead of teaching kids to be good people/ teammates. The best compliment a player can ever get from another teammate is that he is a great teammate. In today’s travel ball world we are producing too many egotistical individuals instead of teammates. This can all be corrected very easily though. BASEBALL IS FUN! NOT A JOB! There has never been a MLB player that picked up a baseball for the first time as a kid with the thought of it being a job… it started as fun. So why do we as parents try to turn it into a job. Teach them to compete but also teach them how to pick up struggling teammates when they need it. That’s what baseball needs these days, not another selfish individual. Our kids will be much better off if we try to remember this is just a game and to have fun with it!

Shane Rogalski: Hands down, no questions asked, when you think of the overall best player you played with on the Tigers, who would it be?

Inge response: MIGGY! MIGGY! MIGGY!! Miguel Cabrera…Hands down, the best hitter I’ve ever been around!!

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