(Continued from July 2, 2011) ...... So, the season began and I spent many hours developing lineup cards that would be fair to all. Yes, in some cases, I realized that some of the better players would be sitting on the bench for a few innings, but my goal was to be fair to all and provide a positive experience for them!
As every single player had to be put into the batting lineup, there weren't many choices there. My only choice was where to place each player in the order. The fact that they had to bat in the lineup was a decision that had been already made by the league rule book.
However, the decision-making came with placing players in the field. While I never placed a player in a position where he was doomed to fail, I did try to put the players in positions where they had a chance for success. In any event, all players were going to have several innings in the field. Sitting on the bench was considered to be a temporary position for any boy.
I also developed something different for our team: instead of using the time-honored tradition of playing a boy in the field for the first 3 innings and then sitting for the final 4 innings (a tough position for any kid - knowing that he just has to sit around for an hour or so with ZERO opportunity of getting back in), I rotated their innings.
While some of the so-called “better” players played nearly every inning, the lesser players played innings 1-3-5-7 or 2-4-6 - I was careful to mix up the lineup, so that we had optimal players at the most demanding positions.
By using this method, I believed that I was guaranteed to have a guy's attention on the game for the full game. Fortunately for all, this method worked and everybody, including all of the players sand their parents, seemed to be happy, as every players and his parents were guaranteed 3 or 4 innings per game in the field, regular turns in the batting order, and the opportunity to be directly in each game until the final out.
Wow, I had certainly hit the home run with this long-anticipated philosophy that I was finally able to put in place as a coach. Letting the kids play regularly was certain to be a major success ….......... or so I thought!
(Please come back next week for Part 3)