May 20, 2011

Posted by: Administrator

Categories: Baseball, Softball, Team Sports

Homerun for Chelsea Mobile Monkey Event!

Mobile Monkey is making its way to Escondido this Sunday, May 22, 2011 from 7:30am to 3:30pm!

HomerunMonkey is the official apparel sponsor for this wonderful event!
Come down and support a great cause…Homerun for Chelsea!

Practice your swing in our 50 foot batting cage! We’ll even play music to keep you pumped! This event is sure to be loads of fun for the entire family!

Location:
Kit Carson Park

We’ll be located adjacent to the baseball and softball fields

Escondido, CA


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Baseball/Softball Glove Buying Guide

Choosing an appropriate baseball glove or softball glove is not necessarily as difficult as it may seem at first. When selecting a glove, there are many factors to be considered. Field position, level of play and preferred features will all play an important role in your decision. Gloves differ in size, amount of padding, webbing, pocket depth and more. Below, we explain what each feature means to a player.

When choosing a glove, it is always best to try it on first. If you prefer to buy online, you should still shop around to find the brand, size, style and options that fit your needs and comfort level. Once you have played around with several models, you can safely order your glove online. A glove relies so much on feel that you just don’t want to order blindly.

Brand may also be important to you. We offer a wide variety of gloves from top makers like Wilson, Nike, Easton, Rawlings, Mizuno, Diamond, Louisville Slugger, Worth, Verdero and Reebok. All of these manufacturers design gloves priced from budget to premium, and use a variety of materials, ranging from excellent quality to standard.

CHOOSING A GLOVE BY POSITION
CATCHER’S MITTS
Catcher’s mitts are unique because, while some gloves can be used in multiple positions, catcher’s mitts are exclusive to catchers. Catcher’s mitts (or catcher’s gloves) are fingerless and heavily padded to allow for catching fastballs all game long. Baseball catcher’s mitts also feature a smaller pocket that fielder’s gloves to make it easier to get the ball out quickly while softball catcher’s mitts have a larger pocket with less padding to accomodate the larger ball and slower pitching speeds. Some mitts include a finger hole for the catcher to place the index finger outside the glove. This is a preference option and the catcher should try different types of mitts on in their local baseball shop to see if this style is comfortable.

Fitting: Catcher’s mitts are measured by circumference rather than length. Youth catcher’s gloves measure 31″ or less and adult catcher’s gloves measure 32″ or larger. To get your correct size,
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PITCHER’S GLOVES
As a pitcher, you’ll want a glove with a closed webbing so they can hide and adjust their grip without the batter seeing what he’s doing. A pitcher’s glove is typically the same size as a third baseman’s glove (11 1/2″ – 12″). The only major difference is the webbing. In many leagues, the pitcher’s glove must be all one color (either all black or all brown).

Some pitcher’s gloves offer a finger hole to keep your index finger on the outside of the glove. If you prefer this style and your glove doesn’t come with it standard (some Rawlings models offer this), we recommend that you go to a leather shop and have a piece of leather attached to cover your finger. While this is for safety as well, the real reason is that pitchers will subconsciously tip off the speed of their pitches. The leather prevents this.

Most importantly, make sure the glove is comfortable on your hand. The size doesn’t really matter as long as you can focus on your pitches. If you’re a softball player, look for a glove that is a little larger in the pocket and longer in length for betting ball handling.

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FIRST BASEMAN’S MITTS
First baseman’s mitts have the same basic look of a catchers mitt, but they are much longer and have less padding in the palm area. First baseman’s gloves are also fingerless but feature a open webbing style so players can trap the ball better than with a closed web glove. These gloves feature a deeper pocket and more padding along the thumb.

Like catcher’s mitts, first baseman’s mitts can only be worn at first base. However, for very young children who play multiple positions, it may be more cost effective to buy a multi-use glove. Wait until they’re established in the position to get a first baseman’s mitt.

Fitting:
Adult firstbase BASEBALL gloves are typically 12″ – 12.5″ in length and have a deeper pocket and more padding along the thumb.
Adult firstbase BASEBALL gloves are typically 13 – 14″ in length.

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INFIELD GLOVES
When playing second base, third base or shortstop, keep in mind that you will spend most of your time fielding ground balls and throwing to first and you will want a glove that accommodates this role. If you play infield, you will want a smaller glove that allows you to catch and grab very quickly. You will also want a glove with squared fingers. Rounded fingers may hinder your ability to quickly grab a ground ball. The squared fingers will spread out widely with all fingers on the ground, which will allow for more of a barrier to keep the ball from going right past you.

Many infielders prefer an open webbing style glove so players can retrieve and throw the ball to base more quickly. Third basemen often prefer a closed web if they want extra support since balls tend to come harder and faster down the third base line. Infield gloves for SOFTBALL have a deeper pocket for catching the larger ball.

Fitting: Infielder’s gloves generally measure 10.5″ – 12″ in length and have a shallow pocket.

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OUTFIELD GLOVES
Outfielder’s gloves are designed much deeper than infielder’s gloves. Outfield gloves are larger, heavier and more thickly padded than those of infielders. While this makes fielding ground balls a little more difficult, the size greatly improves the ability to catch fly balls.

Many outfielders prefer a closed web to trap the ball more easily. However, there is a case to be made for open web. Outfielders are often hit with the sun in their eyes while looking up to catch a fly ball. With an open web, you can still see through while shielding your eyes. Really, there is no right or wrong on this feature. It’s completely by personal preference.

Outfielders gloves are larger and longer (12″ or more for adults) since these positions spend much of the game catching fly balls.

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BREAKING IN YOUR GLOVE
That stiff glove… straight from the store is nearly impossible to use at first. But once you get it just right, there was nothing better!

Quite honestly, the best way to break in a new glove is to use it. This can take more time than you have or want, so you can quicken the process with some tried and true methods. You’re likely to get a number of different methods depending on who you ask. It’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s suggested method since glove leather can vary widely.

First things first… When buying a new glove, remember that fit is of the utmost importance. Like shoes, you want the glove to fit properly right from the start. Don’t choose a glove hoping it will stretch.

There are many ways to break in your new glove. Most are very similar and involve some sort of oil or cream. Depending on your preference, you can use shaving cream (foam, not gel), vaseline, mink oil or saddle soap. Sporting goods stores also carry a variety of specially made glove oils, but the other products listed here work as well. These solutions soften the leather to the more pliable state most players like. Avoid anything that contains silicone as this will cause the leather to dry out and will shorten the glove’s lifespan.

Use the oil or cream sparingly though. You should only use enough product to create a light film on the glove…. Use too much and you’ll just have a mess on your hands. Using your fingers, get a small amount and wipe it around around the entire surface of the glove. Add a little extra to the glove area where it bends.

Now you’ll need to create a pocket in the glove. Simply place a baseball in the glove where the ball should be caught. Wrap the glove with a rubberband, shoelace or long piece of string. This will allow the pocket to take the shape of the ball. Keep the glove wrapped for 1 -2 days. After the specified amount of time, unwrap the glove and bend it to ensure that it is properly softened and to work it in a bit more. Throw the ball into the center of the glove’s pocket several times. You can also beat the glove (but be careful not to smash your fingers). Re-wrap the glove and store it overnight. Your glove should be ready to use in the morning.

Please note: While some swear by the “heating” method… I would avoid this at all cost. Common sense tells you that when you heat leather… even for 20 minutes, it’s bound to dry out.

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Coach’s Guide To Interacting With Parents

Being a coach can be hard enough without parents becoming an issue. But the fact is that a good parent-coach interaction is important to the team’s success.

Most parents are very supportive and try not to complain. Furthermore, most issues are non-issues and have a way of working themselves out over time. If you are well-organized, coaching well, are modeling great sportsmanship and your teams are competitive, you won’t hear many complaints.

Many parents are simply misinformed, don’t really understand the game or just love to complain. The bigger issue is usually the “player agents”… akin to stage moms. These parents believe that their child is special and have a career ahead of them and their agenda is far from hidden. Regardless of which type of parent you’re dealing with, there are steps to improve the parent-coach relationship. After all, it’s supposed to be about the kids, right?

Disagreements between a parent and coach typically begin when the parent believes that their child is not on the field enough, but a fair amount of problems involve disagreements with coaching style or competitive level of play. Playtime is by far the top complaint. Parents want to see their child play as much as possible. Unfortunately for you as a coach, you have a team full of kids whose parents would love to see their child playing a good portion of the game. You also have to do your best to ensure a win or your coaching style will be called into question. Some days it would seem that you just can’t win (and with some people, you just can’t. Try not to dwell on that).

TREAT PLAYERS WITH RESPECT
This rule needs to be the basis of all interactions. This will go very far in helping your cause when there is an issue. If your players feel respected, they will respect you. Hot tempers are often the result of feeling disrespected. Respect also needs to be paid to the parents, even the angry ones. The way you treat people will more often than not alleviate much of the frustration that caused the parent to confront you in the first place. Respect is easy to spot and don’t think for one second that these parents aren’t watching your interactions.

DON’T FORGET THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-CONFIDENCE
As with respect, learning how to coach self-confidence into your players will dispel much of the impending conflict. More than anything else, parents want their child to play their best. They want them to exhibit confidence in who they are and their ability even if their child is not the best player on the team. You don’t want your players to feel belittled or unworthy.

Being a coach is an awesome responsibility. You have self-esteem in your hands and it can grow under your care or it can be shot down very quickly. You should be reinforcing the idea that, while everyone wants to win, the important thing is that everyone do their best.

THIS IS YOUR TEAM… ESTABLISH THE RULES AHEAD OF TIME:
Now that we have coaching style dealt with, let’s discuss the importance of setting rules and boundaries. This should be done before the season starts. If possible, call a meeting before the first practice (definitely before the first game) and explain what you expect from parents and what they can expect from you. Remember that many of these parents and players have worked with other coaches and they may come into the season with pre-conceived expections. Parents and players will come into the season with pre-conceived expectations. If you, as the coach, do not articulate what the expectations should be for your team, the parents will use their uninformed expectations as the standard by which you are measured. You want to emphasize that your rules are non-negotiable, but that you are willing to keep the door open for discussion.

Be sure to open the discussion to hear their concerns as well. By getting everyone’s expectations out up front, you can understand their position and assure them that you will do your best to make sure that everyone has a good time. Let them know what type of behavior and attitude is expected and accepted.
Describe your goals for the team, your coaching style, and how your style will help the team attain the goals. Explain to both the players and parents how you will determine play time and how much emphasis will be placed on winning games. Set these expectations early, but don’t stop there. Include parents in a little pre-game pep talk in which you go over the team’s goals and expectations. Keep this short and be sure you’re not singling anyone out.

Even when you set player and parent expectations up front, there inevitably will be times when conflict arises and it is important to have a conflict resolution policy in place to reduce the emotional impact and maintain the team’s positive attitude.

USE TECHNOLOGY TO KEEP PARENTS UPDATED
These days, it’s so easy to keep the lines of communication open. Set up a Facebook (and.or Twitter) page for your team and post updates as needed. Not only will this cut out many of the calls you get about schedules and events, it also becomes a place where parents can express concerns in a neutral setting. If you are having a recurring issue that isn’t a hotbed topic, bring it to the forum and get input from the parents.

RESOLVE CONFLICT WITH CIVILITY
As a coach, making yourself available for discussion with the player and parent (an open door policy if you will) goes a long way to keeping anger at bay. Be sure that parents feel comfortable approaching you, but not so comfortable that they begin to invade. The open door policy allows you to resolve issues as they come up without them boiling over and exploding later on.

Many coaches prefer a player managed policy in which parents don’t get involved in issues, but rather allow the player and coach to hash things out on their own. Obviously, this type of conflict resolution is reserved for middle school, high school and college when children are able to make thought out decisions on their own. With this style, it is the player’s responsibility to voice their grievance. Coaches that successfully use this policy listen to the player’s concern to understand the underlying issue but also know the best communication method to reach each player.

Every coach, regardless of how effective their communication style is or how passionate they are about coaching, will have player and parent conflicts. If you are prepared for it, the whole process will go much smoother and any disagreements can be worked through in an effective manner. To keep any misunderstandings down to a minimum, set the expectations early in the season, let both the player and parent know how and when they can approach you to voice their concern, and then listen to them and agree to a resolution path. Calm heads and open communication will lead to a successful season for all involved.

Cartoon by Randy Glasbergen

 

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Hockey: Staying Fit in the Off-Season

A good off-season workout routine is crucial to hone your skills and prepare you for in-season play and performance. Proper form, consistency and attention to detail will keep you in optimum shape to help you endure long games when the season finally rolls back around.

On average players are performing for 15-20 minutes of a 60-minute game, so a hockey training program should meet the demands of this physically challenging sport. Be sure that your workout program incorporates the following activities: cardiovascular training, strength and flexibility training as well as endurance exercises. Remember that simply playing hockey to keep your body fit is not enough. Off-season and in-season body training will help you to maintain speed and strength as well as the physical and mental readiness for each upcoming season.

Hockey players are faced with 30-80 second intervals with a 4-5 minute rest between shifts and usually consist of short, intense bouts of high speed skating and aggressive body contact. The intermittent nature of the game means that endurance becomes of the utmost importance. Add to all this the fact that players are skating, holding a stick and controlling a puck and you’ll see that hockey is in fact very physically challenging.

Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardiovascular fitness helps players cope with these demands and can help speed recover from an injury. Establishing a good cardiovascular “base” is very important before focusing on more specific exercises. Start with a 4-day workout program, concentrating on the lower body for two days; upper body for a day. Begin every session by focusing on strong aerobic exercises by cycling on an exercise bike or treadmill for 20 minutes. Include sprints, starting with 400-meter exercises and then working up to shorter and faster exercises. Running for distance is probably your best option to get your heart rate up and help with endurance.

Strength and Flexibility Training
Strength and flexibility training in the off-season promote a balanced body, improves muscular endurance and power and helps stabilize joints. However, be sure that your weight training is targeted and specific. Increased lean mass is not the only goal of strength training. Gains in maximal strength are only useful on the rink if they are converted into explosive power and power endurance. This takes a more refined approach than a typical bodybuilding routine.

Flexibility exercises stretch tight muscles and improve joints’ range of motion. Incorporating strength and flexibility training into your off-season workout routine also helps prevent injury. Start by lifting weights three to four times per week, taking a day off between workouts to allow your body to rest and recover. Be sure that you are stretching after each workout to keep your body flexible and strong. Children should use strength training (not weight training), using his/her body weight to provide the resistance. This will ensure that you are not piling on more than your child can lift. Weight lifting injuries are common among children, but they should be able to lift their own body weight with little trouble after time.

Some other good exercises to build into your routine include squat exercises, jumping rope, sprinting and stair climbing. These are all great for upper body strengthening. Also try fast push-ups and power abdominal crunches.

Endurance Training
Training for endurance involves intensity and duration. This type of training is typical of a long distance runner’s routine and will help you increase oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle and increased utilization as fat for fuel (which spares muscle glycogen). Endurance training is about getting yourself to the point that you can endure intense physical activity for longer periods of time without being too winded afterward. It also means that your muscles can continue after such strenuous exercise. In essence, there are three forms of endurance training that you’ll need to incorporate into your routine; aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance and speed endurance.

  • AEROBIC ENDURANCE: Aerobic simply means “with oxygen”. During an aerobic workout, your body is working at a level that the demands for oxygen and fuel can be meet by the body’s intake. Aerobic endurance is developed using continuous and interval running to improve maximum oxygen intake and to improve the heart’s function as a muscular pump.

    Aerobic endurance can be sub-divided into short, medium and long aerobic endurance. You’ll want to get proficient in each of these areas:
    Short aerobic – 2 minutes to 8 minutes (lactic/aerobic)
    Medium aerobic – 8 minutes to 30 minutes (mainly aerobic)
    Long aerobic – 30 minutes + (aerobic)

  • ANAEROBIC ENDURANCE: Anaerobic simply means “without oxygen”. During anaerobic workout, your body is working so hard that the demands for oxygen and fuel exceed the rate of supply and your muscles have to rely on the stored reserves of fuel. The oxygen-starved muscles take the body into an oxygen debt of sorts and lactic starts to accumulate in the muscles. Unless the oxygen debt is repaid, your activity will not be resumed. Anaerobic endurance can be developed by using repetition methods of high intensity work with limited recovery.

    Anaerobic endurance can be sub-divided into short, medium and long aerobic endurance. You’ll want to get proficient in each of these areas:
    Short anaerobic – less than 25 seconds (mainly alactic)
    Medium anaerobic – 25 seconds to 60 seconds (mainly lactic)
    Long anaerobic – 60 seconds to 120 seconds (lactic +aerobic)

  • SPEED ENDURANCE: Speed endurance is used to develop the co-ordination of muscle contraction. This type of training should form the later part of pre-season training and in-season training. It is important to develop a solid fitness base beforehand, which includes strength and endurance conditioning. Because speed endurance training can be so demanding, keep session duration to 20-30 minutes maximum. Rest intervals should consist of active recovery exercises such as walking or jogging slowly on the spot.

    Sprints are great for speed endurance. Try changing this training up a bit with some high intensity shuttle runs. You’ll need 7 cones in total. Pace out 30 meters on grass or a running track. Place a cone at the start and at 5 meter intervals. Sprint from the starting cone to the 5 meter cone and back. Turn and sprint to the 10 meter cone and back to start. Sprint to the 15 meter cone and back to start and so on until you sprint the full 30 meters and back. Rest for 90 seconds and repeat. Complete a total of 6 sets keeping rest periods to 90 seconds.

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    Baseball/Softball: Breaking In Your New Baseball Glove

    It’s springtime and that means loads of BBQs and pick-up baseball games! Whether you’re replacing an old glove or this is your first in a long time, you’ll need to break your glove in to give it that well worn feel. I remember this process quite well from my own Little League days. That stiff glove… straight from the store was nearly impossible to use at first. But once you got it just right, there was nothing better!

    Quite honestly, the best way to break in a new glove is to use it. This can take more time than you have or want, so you can quicken the process with some tried and true methods. You’re likely to get a number of different methods depending on who you ask. It’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s suggested method since glove leather can vary widely.

    First things first… When buying a new glove, remember that fit is of the utmost importance. Like shoes, you want the glove to fit properly right from the start. Don’t choose a glove hoping it will stretch.

    There are many ways to break in your new glove. Most are very similar and involve some sort of oil or cream. Depending on your preference, you can use shaving cream (foam, not gel), vaseline, mink oil or saddle soap. Sporting goods stores also carry a variety of specially made glove oils, but the other products listed here work as well. These solutions soften the leather to the more pliable state most players like. Avoid anything that contains silicone as this will cause the leather to dry out and will shorten the glove’s lifespan.

    Use the oil or cream sparingly though. You should only use enough product to create a light film on the glove…. Use too much and you’ll just have a mess on your hands. Using your fingers, get a small amount and wipe it around around the entire surface of the glove. Add a little extra to the glove area where it bends.

    Now you’ll need to create a pocket in the glove. Simply place a baseball in the glove where the ball should be caught. Wrap the glove with a rubberband, shoelace or long piece of string. This will allow the pocket to take the shape of the ball. Keep the glove wrapped for 1 -2 days. After the specified amount of time, unwrap the glove and bend it to ensure that it is properly softened and to work it in a bit more. Throw the ball into the center of the glove’s pocket several times. You can also beat the glove (but be careful not to smash your fingers). Re-wrap the glove and store it overnight. Your glove should be ready to use in the morning.

    Please note: While some swear by the “heating” method… I would avoid this at all cost. Common sense tells you that when you heat leather… even for 20 minutes, it’s bound to dry out.

    There are no rules as to how soft or stiff your glove should be. Just get it to your comfortable spot and you’ll be happy.

    Now get out there and PLAY BALL!

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    Baseball: Preventing Injury to a Pitching Arm

    Preventing injury should always be on the mind of the pitcher and coaching staff. Pitching is stressful to the arm and the human arm is not designed to withstand long periods of such tremendous stress. That goes without saying. Without proper training and care, a pitcher can so easily injure or even permanently damage their arm. And once an injury occurs, proper attention is key to keeping the injury from turning into something more serious.

    Over-exertion often leads to strain and injury. While most Little Leagues have rules regarding the number of innings a pitcher can throw, this is not necessarily the best way to determine over-exertion since innings can vary in length and intensity. An inning that drags out for 25-30 pitches will have an exertion level much higher than one in which less than 10 pitches are thrown. Obvious, right? Right. So, it stands to reason that pitch count is a better indication of exertion level than actual innings. Keep the pitch count low, or trade out the pitcher if the inning proves to be too long.

    Between innings, pitchers need to keep their arm warm since the arm temperature can cool down rapidly. “Warming up” is not just a saying. The muscles loosen during the warm-up process, but should be done slowly. Pitchers should keep a jacket on between innings (even during summer months) to keep the muscles from contracting during the cooling effect and to lessen the soreness felt the next day. Just remember… proper care means less risk of injury.

    As soon as the pitcher leaves the mound, have a coach, trainer or another player stretch his arms and legs to prevent the joints from tightening up. Requiring your pitcher to do wind sprints at the end of an inning is a great idea as it will also increase blood flow to the exerted muscles.

    Keep in mind that care for the arm does not stop once the game is over. Now the cool down process is necessary to stop the micro-bleeding in the muscle tissue. Keep an ice pack handy and apply to the shoulder area for about twenty minutes. Be sure to use a thin towel between the arm and the ice pack to prevent over-freezing.

    Diet is also key! A pitcher should eat a high protein/high carb meal about 1 to 2 hours after pitching to replenish the energy lost during the game and to feed those tired muscles.

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    Baseball: New Approved Youth Bats Receive Waivers to Moratorium

    Approved bats at Homerunmonkey.com:
    Easton Omen XLB LNC1XL (-12) Youth Baseball Bat

    Easton Omen XLB LNC2XL (-10) Youth Baseball Bat


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    Testing Results on 2 1/4 Inch Composite Bats Results in Waivers of Moratorium

    The first test result has been received at Little League International regarding composite-barreled bats for use in the Little League (Majors) Division and below. Little League has created a list for those bats that receive waivers of the moratorium that was enacted on Dec. 30, 2010.

    Little League International’s moratorium on the use of composite bats extends to all of its baseball divisions, including the Little League (Majors) division.

    Information on the composite baseball bats that have received waivers of the moratorium for the Little League (Majors) Baseball Division and below can be found here (The list will be updated as more information comes into Little League):
    Approved Composite Bats – (2 1/4 inch barrels)

    Information on the composite baseball bats that have received waivers of the moratorium for the Junior, Senior, and Big League Baseball Divisions of Little League can be found here:
    Approved Composite Bats – (2 5/8 inch barrels)

    By definition, a moratorium is: An authorized delay or stopping of some specified activity. As applied by Little League International, the moratorium disallows the use of all baseball bats constructed with composite material in its barrel unless a specific model shows in laboratory testing that it will not exceed the standard that is printed on the bat, after the bat is broken in.

    There is a process through which manufacturers can submit individual models for a possible waiver if they wish to seek it. Individual bat models are tested at an independent laboratory, and the results are conveyed to the manufacturer. If the manufacturer provides the results to Little League, and the bat passes the test, it will be noted on one of the two lists noted above.

    Wooden and aluminum metal/alloy bats are not subject to the moratorium. Bats that have only a metal or alloy barrel (and no other material, unless it is in the end cap of the bat), and if it meets the other standards (length, diameter, etc. for the respective division in which it is used) are not subject to the moratorium, regardless of the composition of the handle or the transition to the barrel.

    A listing of licensed, non-wood/non-composite baseball bats for use in the Little League (Majors) Division and below can be found here (This list also may be updated frequently):
    2011 Licensed Non-Wood/Non-Composite Bats.

    Because of the moratorium, several common questions have arisen. We have addressed the most common questions in a Frequently-Asked Questions page here: Update Regarding Composite Bats

    If you have further questions, we encourage you to sign on to the Little League’s Facebook page. At that page, over the past few days, Little League International staff has answered hundreds of questions regarding the moratorium.

    Little League International first placed the moratorium on composite bats in the Junior, Senior, and Big League Baseball Divisions of Little League. Subsequent to that moratorium, scientific research that began on October 18, 2010, showed the need for the same moratorium on composite-barreled bats with 2 1/4 inch barrels as well. Starting in September, and throughout the following weeks, this information was conveyed multiple times to every local Little League, every district, to the media, on Facebook, on the Little League web site, and to more than 250,000 parents who had signed up to receive updates from Little League International.

    View the original announcement regarding the moratorium, enacted on September 1, 2010.

    The moratorium on composite bats, which now applies to all baseball divisions of Little League, does not apply to any softball divisions of Little League.

    Source: Little League Online

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    Hockey: Suiting Up For The First Time

    New players to the game of hockey inevitably face the task of putting on all their gear for the first time. While getting dressed in all that gear seems like a daunting task, it’s really not as difficult as it sounds. New players may want to practice a few times at home until they feel comfortable.

    Remember that all your gear is adjustable. If it doesn’t fit quite right the first time, try adjusting them until you find the right fit.

    Here is a step by step guide to putting on hockey equipment:
    1. Put on your undergarments. These can be compression shorts or jock shorts. Jock Shorts have a pocket for a cup and velcro tabs on the front and back of each leg to attach your hockey socks to. Jock shorts can be worn over compression pants. Some compression shorts also have a cup pocket with the velcro tabs.

    2. Step into your athletic cup by putting both feet through the elastic waistband. Secure the garter belt around your waist, making sure that it fits snugly and comfortably around the groin area but is not too tight.

    3. Put on your Hockey Pants/Girdle. Tighten your pants with the belt so that the pants fit comfortably but provide for adequate flexibility. If they are still too loose, you can use a pair of suspenders to keep them up.

    4. Put on your shin guards (these will go under your hockey socks). Make sure that you leave enough space near your ankles for your skates. Some shin-guards have straps that can be tightened. Others need to be secured with hockey socks.

    5. Hockey Socks are long cotton socks that are open on the top and the bottom. Your hockey socks go over your shin pads and attach to your garter belt.

    6. Put on your skates and tie them very tight without cutting off circulation to your feet. The bottom of your knee pad should come just to the tongue of your skate. Tape everything in place.

    7. Shoulder Pads go over the compression shirt or t-shirt. Slip your head through the middle hole and put your arms through the arm bands underneath the shoulder plate. Tighten the straps until the shoulder pads are secure but allow adequate range of motion.

    8. Elbow Pads go over your long sleeve compression shirt. The joint of your elbow should rest squarely in the cup of the elbow pads. Adjust the staps so the pads fit tight but are still be comfortable.

    9. Neck Guard fits around the neck to protect against sharp skate blades. Most models fasten in the back with an adjustable closure.

    10. Finally, put on your jersey, helmet, and gloves. Put the mouth guard in and you are ready to play!

    After practice or games, be sure to remove the gear in the opposite order you put things on. Everything will then go back in the bag in the order you need them next time.

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    Sports Nutrition:
    Fueling Your Little Athlete

    All too often, we complain about how inactive this generation has become. With all the technological options keeping so many occupied, it’s refreshing to still see so many kids at the local baseball field, hockey rink, gymnasium or swimming pool. These parents have done a great thing by keeping their kids active!

    Right after sign ups, parents scramble around for the proper equipment… which, of course is necessary to keep them safe. So, we’ve addressed the outside… let’s work to get the inside healthy! It’s a well known fact that athletes require a special diet to fuel their activity. Much like a car, our bodies cannot run without the proper fuel. What your athlete eats is probably the single most import factor on their performance.

    So while you may not want to go to the extreme of hiring a nutritionist like professional athletes do, we have some tips to keep players fueled up and ready to go!

    Please note: Endurance training (multiple daily workouts) may mean that you will require slightly more servings of certain foods than is generally recommended.

    So what exactly SHOULD their diet be?
    1. Carbohydrates
    Carbs have taken quite the hit lately with numberous dieticians warning of their weight gaining potential. But in the world of sports, carbohydrates are essential for maintaining a high energy level. Carbohydrates are the first energy source the body uses to exercise. When carbohydrate intake gets too low, your muscles run out of fuel and our body starts to use fat and protein.

    Since most sports feature short bursts of intense effort followe by rest, it is imperative that you keep your body fueled up. Pasta, rice, whole grains (as in breads and cereals), fruit and vegetables and even milk products are all great sources of carbohydrates. During a busy and rigorous training schedule, you should keep carbohydrates to snack on before, during and after exercise.

    a. Before exercise, your meal/snack should be a combination of high carbohydrate and low glycemic index (half a lightly buttered bagel, fruit smoothie, yogurt with oatmeal). Carbs give you a nice energy boost and delay fatigue.
    b. During your workout, carbohydrates help to maintain blood sugar to fuel your muscles. Be sure to choose snacks that consist mostly of carbohydrates, some protein and little fat. This combination is commonly found in energy bars, dried fruit or a peanut butter sandwich (jelly’s fine to add). You will want to replenish your carbohydrates about every 90 minutes or so to maintain energy levels.
    c. Carbohydrates aid in the repair of tissue will make all the difference for ending an active day on a healthy, positive note. Your recovery snack options can include trail mix, sports bars, and yogurt. Just be sure that the amount of carbs in your snack are higher than normal.

    2. Protein
    Protein is probably the most highly sought out dietary supplement. With protein powders and shakes, the protein intake from and athlete’s regular and supplemented diet is quite elevated from the average person. In general, your normal intake should be sufficient to meet your needs and you want to be careful to ensure that protein isn’t replacing carbohydrates in your diet since carbs are more helpful than protein in boosting your energy.

    3. Hydration
    Even slight dehydration can affect how well you perform. Athletes in particular need to be drinking at least 5 ounces of water or sports drinks every 15-20 minutes. Keep in mind that children are at a greater risk of becoming dehydrated than adults. And most importantly, if you are thirsty, you’re already severly dehydrated! Athletes should be drinking before, during and after a game or workout.

    While water is the best thirst quencher and cure for dehydration, kids tend to resist drinking the flavorless liquid. If your child shies away from drinking water, you need to be sure that you have plenty of sports drinks handy. Either way, it’s important that you avoid dehydration. The damage is more than just being thirsty.

    4. Food Choices
    Competitions and tournaments, primarily those you travel to, often result in quick meals at restaurants… primarily fast food. If the right choices are made, this is generally not a problem.

    Attending competitions and tournaments often means that you are eating out in restaurants… primarily fast food. But even fast food restaurants can a good part of an athlete’s nutrition… if the right choices are made. Here are a few tips when eating out:
    a. Avoid breading and deep-fried foods. Pizza is ok in moderation, but fatty meat toppings should be avoided.
    b. Be careful of what is on top: Dressings and condiments (especially mayonnaise and “special” sauces) are usually what make your meal an unhealthy choice. These sauces add calories and fat without any health benefit whatsoever.
    c. Some smart choices: Baked potatoes instead of french fries, vegetable pizza over meat lover’s, broth-based soups (like chicken noodle) instead of cream or cheese based soups.
    d. Snacks should also be high in carbohydrates, but low in fat. Pretzels, trail mix, rice cakes, cereal bars, fruit and yogurt are a few good choices.

    Whether your child is participating in a championship hockey, baseball or lacrosse game, a big swim meet or pick up game of soccer at the local park, good nutrition can make a difference. Children in general need the right fuel for their growth and development, but an athlete needs to take extra care to keep them healthy and to help them to be the best they can be in their chosen sport. What an athlete eats and drinks can have a huge effect on his or her performance. Encourage your child to be active and to eat like an athlete.

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    Which Type of Coach Are You?

    Coaching a junior league team is a special type of journey that few actually get the pleasure of experiencing. The role involves incredible responsibility and will have a far-reaching impact on the lives of your players. Your approach can help the kids develop a passion for the game or can stifle their desire to ever play the game again.

    Which Type of Coach Are You?

    The Leader
    The Leader is the type of coach that the kids respond to because they command trust and respect. This type of coach sets the example from the beginning and continues to set the pace and tone of games and practices in a positive and upbeat manner. The Leader Coach uses a sound knowledge of the game and skillful persuasion to help the players master the game and have fun at the same time. The Leader never passes up an opportunity to reinforce learning with real-game experience and always adheres to the same rules he/she expects of the players.

    The Motivator
    The Motivator knows more than just the rules of the game… This type of coach also knows how to communicate with players in a way that gets results. The goal of the Motivator is to guide, inspire and empower the young player to realize and develop his/her full potential. A successful motivator shows a positive attitude and enthusiasm for the game and the players.

    Getting the kids to believe in themselves is much easier for some coaches than others. Motivation may mean keeping the practice fun, fresh and challenging. When motivating a player, stress performance goals… not outcome goals. The Motivator stresses that while you can’t control what your opponent does or the outcome of every match, the purpose is to play their best and have fun doing it. Like the Leader, this type of coach shows respect and encourages players to remain positive regardless of the outcome.

    The Dictator
    The Dictator is a dangerous type of coach. The kids respond, but it’s usually out of fear. This type of coach may very well have a sound knowledge of the game, but there is no persuasion and no room for opinions. Even the best coach can’t control the actions of all players in the game, but the Dictator sure does give it a try.

    The Confrontationalist
    The Confrontationalist is rare (luckily). This type of coach goes beyond the polite disagreements that are typical in any sporting event. With little to no regard for the example being set, the Confrontationalist will argue, bully and scream his way into the spotlight and onto the bad side of most who are unlucky enough to witness his/her tirades. A general lack of communication skills and anger management pit the Confrontationalist against the umpire/ref, the other coaches and at times, even the children trying to play the game.

    Pick your style and have fun
    A great coach is not easy to find and requires a very unique set of talents and skills. Organized sports are great for boosting self-esteem, developing teamwork skills, establishing rules and roles, and (of course) providing fun and entertainment. Most coaches are fantastic and the experience is memorable in a good way. Remember that the players are learning and your role is to guide them to victory… not necessarily on the scoreboard, but most definitely in experience.

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